SECTION II : Extracts From Letters

[ from Selected Works of Mahatma Gandhi : Vol - 4 ]

Mahatma Gandhi

Selected Works of Mahatma Gandhi
Volume IV

Table of Contents

  • Foreword
  • Publisher's Note



  1. Faith in God
  2. Religions and Scriptures
  3. Value of Prayer
  4. Truth and Non-violence
  5. The Science of Satyagraha
  6. Fasting in Satyagraha
  7. Unto This Last
  8. Khadi and Village Industry
  9. East and West
  10. Hindu-Muslim Unity
  11. Upliftment of Women
  12. The Good of All
  13. India's Freedom
  14. Education
  15. Caste System and Untouchability
  16. Brahmacharya
  17. Fearlessness
  18. Health and Hygene
  19. Self-restraint
  20. Self-development
  21. Selfless Service
  22. Voluntary Poverty

About This Volumes

Selected Works of Mahatma Gandhi

Selected Works of Mahatma Gandhi comprises of Five volumes.

  • Vol-I: Autobiography
  • Vol-II: Satyagraha in South Africa
  • Vol-III: Basic Works
    1. Ethical Religion
    2. Unto This Last
    3. Hind Swaraj or Indian Home Rule
    4. From Yeravada Mandir
    5. Discourses on the Gita
    6. Constructive Programme
    7. Key to Health
  • Vol-IV: Selected Letters
  • Vol-V: Voice of Truth

This book, Selected Letters, is volume-4.

Written by : M. K. Gandhi
General Editor : Shriman Narayan
Volume Selected Works of Mahatma Gandhi : A set of five books
ISBN: 81-7229-278-3 (set)
Printed and Published by :
Jitendra T. Desai
Navajivan Mudranalaya,
© Navajivan Trust, 1968


Chapter 22: Voluntary Poverty

Remember please that henceforth our lot is poverty. The more I think of it, the more I feel that it is more blessed to be poor than to be rich. The uses of poverty are far sweeter than those of riches.

Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, Vol. IX, p. 206, 25-3-1919

It will never happen that all are equally rich or equally poor at the same time. But if we consider the good and evil aspects [of the various professions] it seems that the world is sustained by farmers. Farmers are of course poor. If a lawyer would boast of his altruism or spirituality, let him earn his livelihood through physical labour and carry on his legal practice without charging anything for it.

Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, Vol. X, p. 206, 2-4-1910

Good men have no desire for worldly pursuits. They desire withdrawal from them, that is, moksha.

Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, Vol. XIII, p. 34, 4-3-1915

A person who has embraced poverty in the cause of the country and has dedicated himself to service of others can never lose his mother by death, because all women, old enough to be so, are his mothers. The father also does not die because every eider is like a father to him. Service is his wife; can she ever know death? The rest of the world is like brothers and sisters to him. To go on a mourning visit on the death of one's mother is only a formality. Should money be wasted to follow it out of deference to the world?

Collected Work, of Mahatma Gandhi, Vol. XIV PP- 466-67, 2-7-1918

Spinning for me is an emblem of fellowship with the poorest of the land and its daily practice is a renewal of the bond between them and ourselves. Thus considered, it is for me a thing of beauty and joy forever. I would prefer to go without a meal than without the wheel and I would like you to understand this great implication of the wheel.

My Dear Child, p. 79, 10-2-1926

The ideal of voluntary poverty is most attractive. We have made progress, but my utter inability to realize it fully in my own life has made it difficult at the Ashram for the others to do much. They have the will but no finished object lesson.

Bapu's Letters to Mira, p. 182, 6-5-1932

From day to day I realize the fact that nature produces every moment the amount needed at that moment and no more. We fail to take count of this fact consciously or unconsciously. This failure is responsible for the universal spectacle of men suffering from surfeit here and from want there. We are devising a corrective for the present situation in which there is starvation on the one hand and the burning of so-called surplus wheat by producers in the U.S.A. on the other. Perfect obedience to nature's law is indeed impossible at present, but that need not worry us.

The Diary of Mahadev Desai, Vol. I, p. 168, 17-6-1932