5. The idea of Karma
is very complicated. I have told you something so it in my former lectures.
The one chief point is that that theory is not the theory of fatalism, not a
theory in which the human being is tied down to some, one, bound down by the
force of something outside itself. In one sense only will there be fatalism;
if we are free to do many things we are also not free to do other things, and
we cannot be freed from and results of our acts. Some results may be
manifested in great strength, others very weakly; some may take a very long
time and others a very short time; some are of such a nature that they take a
long time to work out, while the influence of others may be removed by simply
washing with water and that will be the case in the matter of acts done
incidentally without any settled purpose or any fixed desire. In such a case
with reference to many acts we may counteract their effects by willing to do
so. So the theory of karma is not in any sense a theory of fatalism,
but we say that all of us are not going to one goal without any desire on our
part, not that we are to reach that state without any effort on our part, but
that our present condition is the effect of our acts, thoughts and words in
the past state.12 To say that all will reach the prefect state
merely because some one has died that they might be saved, merely from a
belief in this person, would be a theory of fatalism, because those who have
lived a pure and virtuous state and have not accepted a certain theory will
not reach the perfected state simply for that reason and no other the faith in
saviors is simply this, that by following out the divine principle which is in
our selves when this is fully developed we also shall become Christ's, by the
crucifixion of the lower nature on the altar of the higher. We also use the
cross as a symbol. All living beings have to pass through or evolve from the
lowest, the monadic, condition to the highest state of existence and cannot
reach this unless they obtain possession of the three things necessary; right
belief, right knowledge and right conduct. The right, belief, really speaking,
is not that there is no passing through forms after death, but the soul keeps
progressing always in its own nature without any backward direction at all13.
We have expressed this in clear language without any parables or metaphors,
but when we preach these truths to the ignorant masses some story or picture
might be necessary for them and after that the explanation of the real
meaning; as well have all allegory in the Pilgrim's Progress. It is just like
reaching the Celestial City in that book, but we must all understand that
these things are parables. Others may need music to assist their religion, but
when we understand the esoteric meaning which underlies all religion there
will be no quarrelling and no need of names or of forms; and this is really
the object of all religions.
1. The sentence makes sense
only as thus completed. Gandhi seems to be basing his argument on the
etymological derivation of the word `religion'.
2. This statement is
anomalous, for it is precisely Gandhi's argument that the material energies
manifested there in the universe are not treated as `God' in Jaina philosophy.
Nor can it be said that Gandhi here means to refer to the `spiritual energies'
which, as we shall learn in the next section, are actually treated as `God' in
Jaina philosophy. For in the present section Gandhi is confining his attention
to the material sector of the universe.
3. That soul does not occupy
space only means that it is not something physical; for strictly speaking, the
Jaina does maintain that there obtains some sort of relationship between the
substance called `soul' and that called `space'. The printed text here
contains some bracketed material but that is redundant.
4. This statement is worded
somewhat loosely; for according to the Jaina, even when occupied by soul the
body done not come to possess intelligence; what it becomes then is an
`instrument of the intelligent activities undertake by soul'.
5. `Christian Science' was a
prevalent Western cult of Gandhi's days According to it, the physical bodies
possess no real reality, the only real realities being the souls. Gandhi
agrees with this view only to the extent that according to him too the
physical body does not influence that soul which refuses to be influenced by
this body but not to the extent of denying the very reality of the physical
6. This sentence needs some
correction of the type here suggested.
7. Here the phrase `generated
by human beings' means `generated by those karmic bodies which are
going to take to themselves a human body,' This becomes clear from the
immediately forthcoming part of Gandhi's argument
8. It is not possible to
correct this part of the sentence, but it must be pointing out something that
Gandhi considers to be a shortcoming of scientific knowledge.
9. The exact import of the
argument Gandhi adduces in this sentence and the next is not quite clear. May
be he is distinguishing between the `sense of separateness' felt by one who is
enlightened and the felt by one who is not, further subdividing the latter
into the `sense of separateness' felt by one who is of a `self‑regarding'
disposition and that felt by one who is of an `other regarding' disposition.
10. The phrase `full of
comprehension' means `full of implied meanings'.
11. Here "they" might stand
for `Jainas' or for `this country (i.e. India) and its religions'. Maybe some
words are missing in this sentence.
12. This sentence will give a
clearer meaning if "we say that all of us are not going...." is read as "we do
not say that all of us are going...
13. The meaning of this
sentence is not quite clear. May be Gandhi is saying that the possession of
`right belief' dose not rule out the possibility of future birth but that it
does rule out the possibility of a future degeneration.