Saturday, June 7, 2008

(Benefits of) The “Gita” and the “Ramayana”

Gandhiji, through this article, presented the thoughts of a correspondent who had written a letter describing how study of Ramayana and Gita had benefitted him.


Many young people, unable to keep away from sin in spite of their best efforts, become despondent and gradually sink deeper into sin. Some even begin to look upon sin as virtue. I often advise such people to read the Gita and the Ramayana again and again. But they don’t find it interesting. For their consolation I give below an extract bearing on the subject form the letter1 of a young man. One would scarcely find young men more despondent and cynical than the writer of this letter was. Sins had made their abode in his body. But the faith he has today should inspire hope in young people. No one who studies the Ramayana and such other works, placing his faith in the experience of those who have conquered their passions, can remain unmoved. Even on the study of ordinary subjects, we often have to spend many years and employ diverse means. How much effort then would be needed to study something which concerns peace not only in the life but hereafter? What can be said of one who in spite of this would spend the minimum time and attention on the Ramayana and the Gita and still expect them to be interesting? The writer of the above letter says that passions invade him the moment he is conscious of being calm. What is true of the body is true of the mind. One whose body is perfectly healthy is never conscious of his health. That consciousness in not necessary at all. Being healthy is the nature of the body. The same is the case with mind. The day we become conscious of it being clean we should understand thatpassions are creeping in. So the way to keep the mind ever clean is to keep it constantly engrossed in good thoughts. That is why Ramayana and the like were invented and sung. One in whose heart Rama dwells permanently, can never be assailed by passions. The truth is that Ramanama ultimately sinks into the heart of one who recites it with true devotion. When this happens, it become an impregnable fortress. Impurity can be combated not by brooding over it, but by contemplating purity. With good intentions we often go in for contrary remedies. We contemplate impurity when we brood: where did it come from? This is to be compared with violent remedies, the true remedy being non-co-operation. When impurity invades us, there is no need to bid it quit.

We must contemplate purity as if impurity did not exist. There is a trace of fear in bidding it quit. Courage lies in not even thinking of it. One should develop the faith that impurity will not even touch one. This method is proved by experience.

[From Gujarati]
Navajivan, 14-4-1929

1 Not translated here. The correspondent had described his study of theRamayana and the Gita had benefited him.

--------------------------------CWMG Vol. 045, Art. 329, Pg. 344------------------------

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