SECTION I : Selected 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


Gandhi Letter 16 : To C F Andrews

July 29, 1918


I must indulge myself again. I begin to perceive a deep meaning behind the Japanese reluctance to listen to the message of a Prophet from a defeated nation1. War will be always with us. There seems to be no possibility of the whole human nature becoming transformed. Moksha and Ahimsa [are] for individuals to attain. Full practice of Ahimsa is inconsistent with possession of wealth, land or rearing of children. There is a real Ahimsa in defending my wife and children even at the risk of striking down the wrongdoer. It is perfect Ahimsa not to strike him but intervene to receive his blows. India did neither on the field on Plassey. We were a cowardly mob warring against one another, hungering for the Company's2 silver and selling our souls for a mess of pottage.
And so have we remained more or less - more rather than less - up to today.
There was no Ahimsa in their miserable performance, notwithstanding examples of personal bravery and later corrections of the exaggerated accounts of those days. Yes, the Japanese reluctance was right. I do not know sufficiently what the fathers of old did. They suffered, I expect, not out of their weakness, but out of their strength. The rishis3 of old stipulated that their religious practices were to be protected by the Kshatriyas. Rama protected Vishwa-mitra from the rakshasas4 disturbing his meditations. He could later on dispense with this protection. I find great difficulties in recruiting but do you know that not one man has yet objected because he would not kill. They object because they fear to die. This unnatural fear of death is mining the nation. For the moment, I am simply thinking of the Hindus. Total disregard of death in a Mahomedan lad is a wonderful possession.
I have not written a coherent letter today but I have given you indications of my mental struggle.
Do you know that Sorabji is dead. He died in Johannesburg. A life full of promise has come to an abrupt end. The ways of God are inscrutable.

With deep love,
Yours, MOHAN

Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, Vol. Xiy pp. 509-10

  1. The reference is to Rabindranath Tagore whose speech in Tokyo against Japan's imitating the West was greeted with unbecoming derision.
  2. East India Company
  3. Ascetics
  4. Demons