Mohandas K. Gandhi

Mohandas K. Gandhi

Mohandas K. Gandhi on his “experiments with truth”

What I want to achieve,—what I have been striving and pining to achieve these thirty years,—is self-realization, to see God face to face, to attain Moksha.[1] I live and move and have my being in pursuit of this goal. All that I do by way of speaking and writing, and all my ventures in the political field, are directed to this same end. But as I have all along believed that what is possible for one is possible for all, my experiments have not been conducted in the closet, but in the open, and I do not think that this fact detracts from their spiritual value. There are some things which are known only to oneself and one’s Maker. These are clearly incommunicable. The experiments I am about to relate are not such. But they are spiritual, or rather moral, for the essence of religion is morality.

Only those matters of religion that can be comprehended as much by children as by older people, will be included in this story. If I can narrate them in a dispassionate and humble spirit, many other experimenters will find in them provision for their onward march. Far be it from me to claim any degree of perfection for these experiments. I claim for them nothing more than does a scientist who, though he conducts his experiments with the utmost accuracy, forethought and minuteness, never claims any finality about his conclusions, but keeps an open mind regarding them. I have gone through deep self-introspection, searched myself through and through, and examined and analysed every psychological situation. Yet I am far from claiming any finality or infallibility about my conclusions. One claim I do indeed make and it is this. For me they appear to be absolutely correct, and seem for the time being to be final. For if they were not, I should base no action on them. But at every step I have carried out the process of acceptance or rejection and acted accordingly. And so long as my acts satisfy my reason and my heart, I must firmly adhere to my original conclusions.
Mohandas K. Gandhi in his Introduction to Autobiography: The story of my experiments with truth, (New York: Courier Dover Publications, 1983), p. vii. Translated from the Gujarātī by Mahadev Haribhai Desai in 1927. First published as Satyanā prayogo athavā ātmakathā, (Ahmedabad, India: Navajivan Publishing House, 1927).


[1] Lit. freedom from birth and death. The nearest English equivalent is salvation.