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कृण्वन्तो विश्वमार्यम्


Mahatma Gandhi gave a lecture in a program arranged by Ahmedabad Arya Samaj on 20th Jan 1920. He said in his lecture that he found two defects in the Arya Samaj:

He said: "I have especially observed two defects in the present Arya Samaj movement. One of them is asahishnuta; in English it is described as intolerance. I do not go to the length of saying that this is found in the Arya Samaj alone, but certain it is that the Arya Samaj has allowed itself to be carried away by the prevailing wind. Propagating religion in a spirit of intolerance defeats its own purpose. The religion so propagated cannot endure for long. It is for dharma to counteract any trend which may do even the smallest harm to the people. I have never seen any good coming out of intolerance. Propagation of religion in such spirit is only an imitation of missionaries and takes the same form as their activities, with the result that propagation comes to be the be-all and end-all of dharma. This idea of propagation obtains among Muslims and Christians and intolerance has entered the Arya Samaj because it has adopted the same method. Sir Alfred Lyall writes in the book of his that real dharma spreads so silently that the people do not even know that it does. At present the Arya Samaj is just one of the many religious sects. If it is asked how religion can spread so silently, Nature gives the answer. Look at the wonder of Nature. Think of a tree. Can you observe its growth? You find your limbs growing without your ever bothering about them. Religion spreads in just the same manner. Real dharma has no place for intolerance. The excellences of such religion we shall not find elsewhere. No other religion has succeeded in keeping away from violence, remaining immune against it, as well as Hinduism has. Hatred is alien to its very spirit. Hinduism,
too, has relied on the sword and has taken to fighting, but in other religions, these things have been carried to extremes.

The other defect which I observed in the Samaj is lack of restraint on the tongue. These days the tongue is in greater use than the sword and, the way it is used, the wound it inflicts is more painful than that by a sword. I have often noticed in the sermons that the Samajists exercise no control over their tongue. Let everyone realize that we can never deny the truth. Think and reflect over the temper of the rishis and munis. You will see that they preached the truth with the utmost gentleness, without ever getting excited and with the purest feelings in their hearts. Even when, sometimes, they said unpalatable things, their words had sweetness and truth in them. The Samajists would do well to give up the method of propagation which obtains among Christians. It is not worth copying.

I have not said this by way of criticism, but in a friendly spirit. I have expressed my opinion and no more."

On honest self introspection, if we, the followers of Maharshi Dayananda and members of Arya Samaj find any thing true and worth acceptable in what Gandhiji said above, we must try to improve upon. We should take advantage even from what our critics say about us. And if we do not agree at all with Gandhiji’s above utterances, then we should understand that our intention and our way of preaching are not properly understood by many great persons like Gandhiji.

= Bhavesh Merja