[The following is a summary of a speech delivered by Gandhiji at Arsikere
in Mysore State]
We do not know what Shri Krishna?s life means for us, we do not read
the Gita, we make no attempt to teach it to our children. The Gita is such
a transcendental book that men of every creed, age and clime may read it
with respect, and find in it the principles of their respective religions.
If we thought of Krishna on every Janmashtami day and read the Gita and
resolved to follow its teachings, we should not be in our present sorry
Shri Krishna served the people all his life; he was
a real servant of the people. He could have led the hosts at Kurukshetra,
but he preferred to be Arjuna?s charioteer. His whole life was one
unbroken Gita of karma. He refused proud Duryodhana?s sweets and
preferred humble Vidura?s spinach. As a child he was cowherd and
we still know him by the name of Gopala. But we, his worshippers, have
neglected and cow today, the Adi-Karnatakas, slaughter cows and eat beef,
and our infants and invalids have to grow without cow?s milk.
Krishna knew no sleep or idleness. He kept sleepless
vigil of the world, we his posterity have become indolent and forgotten
the use of our hands. In the Bhagwadgita Lord Krishna has shown the path
of bhakti - which means the path of karma. Lokmanya Tilak has shown the
path of bhakti-which means the path of karma.
Lokmanya Tilak has shown that whether we desire to be
bhaktas or jnanis, karma is the only way; but the karma should not be
for self but for others. Action for one?s own self binds, action
for the sake of others delivers from bondage. What can be the altruistic
action which can be universally done, by Hindus, Mussulmans, Christians,
by men, women and children? I have tried to demonstrate that spinning
alone is that sacrificial act, for that alone can make us do something
in God?s name, something for the poorest, something that can infuse
activity in their idle limbs.
Lord Krishna has also taught that to be a true bhakta
we should make no difference between a brahmana and a scavenger. If that
is true, there can be no place for untouchability in Hinduism. If you
are still hugging that superstition, you can cleanse yourself by getting
rid of it on this the sacred day of Krishna?s birth. He who swears
by the Gita may know no distinction between Hindu and Mussulman, for Lord
Krishna has declared that he who adores God in a true spirit by whatsoever
name adores Him. The path of bhakti, karma, love as expounded in the Gita,
leaves no room for the despising of man by man.
Young India, 1-9-27