Gandhi and Comparative Religion Essay

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Gandhi and Comparative Religion

Mahatma Gandhi was deeply interested in the comparative study of religions since the days of his youth. His interest in religious matters was due to the background of India, which was saturated with religious ideas and spirituality. Religion, to Gandhi, was not a matter of individual experience: Gandhi found God within creation. The meaning of the word 'Dharma' is 'religion' in India. This is a comprehensive term which embraces all of humanity. Gandhi referred to "God" as "Truth," which has great significance. His mission was not only to humanize religion, but also to moralize it. Gandhi's interpretation of Hinduism, Islam, and Christianity made his religion a federation of different religious faiths. His
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To others, Religion is one condition among so many other countries, but to the Indian people it is one great sustaining force, pertaining to all the spheres of their lives. Mahatma Gandhi who was born and brought up in India could not escape this strong influence of religion in all his activities.

In ancient times it was a common belief that religion is a matter of individual experience. But modern psychology has shown that there is no such thing as a merely individual experience, which is absolutely cut off from the society. There is an important element of truth in the views of Durkheim and other members of the French Sociological school, who maintain that religion, is essentially a social phenomenon. The views of Jesus: "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's and to God the things that are God's" did not find much favour in Gandhi. Rather his view was more in accordance with the writings of H.G. Wells, according to whom "the doctrine of the kingdom of heaven as Jesus preached it, it was no less than a bold and uncompromising demand for a complete change and cleansing of the life of our struggling races an utter cleansing without and within." (2) . Gandhi's religion was spiritual humanism because he declared that the service of the poor whom he called "Daridranarayana" is a true service of God. In other words, Gandhi found God amidst his creation; this creation
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