“I must say that no one else has ever made on me the impression that Raychandbhai did. His words went straight home to me… In my moments of spiritual crisis, he was my refuge.”
These are the words penned by Mahatma Gandhi, the most influential figure India has produced in generations, in His autobiography – on his guiding light, Shrimad Rajchandraji.
Gandhiji met Shrimadji for the first time in Mumbai, upon his return from England as a barrister in 1891 and instantly took to His liking. Subsequent meetings ensued in the two years that Gandhiji spent in Mumbai. As the association grew, his respect for Shrimadji grew in leaps and bounds. Even after Gandhiji moved to South Africa, the meetings continued, though not in person, but through correspondence. This close association contributed a great deal in moulding Gandhiji’s character. In fact, he attributes his strong foundation of truth, non-violence and self-improvement, to Shrimadji.
Shrimadji’s letters and compositions were Gandhiji’s dear companions. He contemplated upon them time and time again. Gandhiji would write about Shrimadji, speak about Him in speeches and discuss Him with close associates. His words are windows to a heart overflowing with devotion for Shrimadji. He continued to be deeply inspired by his bond with Shrimadji and His spiritual works. The bond between Shrimadji and Gandhiji initiated a brilliant new chapter, not only in their own lives, but in the cultural, political and spiritual history of the nation and the world. Their legacies continue to offer new paradigms to global peace and human progress.
Fascinating Facts Of Shrimadji’s Impact on Gandhiji
Gandhiji dedicated an entire chapter to Shrimadji entitled ‘Raychandbhai’ in his autobiography ‘The Story of My Experiments with Truth.’ He also mentions Shrimadji in the chapters, ‘Religious Ferment’, ‘Comparative Study of Religions’ and ‘Brahmacharya’.
When Gandhiji was sent to London to put forward the plight of the Indians in South Africa, he carried some letters that Shrimadji had written to him as well as an English translation of ‘Shri Atmasiddhi Shastra’ – Shrimadji’s philosophical magnum opus, translated by Gandhiji himself.
Shrimadji’s distinctive composition, ‘Apurva Avsar Evo Kyare Aavshe?’ was one of Gandhiji’s favourites. It was included in the ‘Ashram Bhajanavali’ – a collection of devotional songs sung at daily prayer meetings. Gandhiji often recited Shrimadji’s poem ‘Nirkhine Nav Yauvana’ to strengthen his belief in celibacy.
Gandhiji prepared an article entitled, ‘Some Recollections of Raychandbhai’, in which he extensively extolled Shrimadji. He wrote this article while he was jailed in Yerwada, Pune.