Counterpoint: Mahatma Gandhi, the first supramental being!
By Vivekanand Jha*
Notwithstanding the theories galore, Mahatma Gandhi’s experiments with truth were the first experiences of the supramental being on earth, as envisaged by Sri Aurobindo.
“My Experiments With Truth”, the book I read during my matriculation period, had filled me with immeasurable respect for Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, who I then knew, was an average man who, by dint of his experiments with truth, transformed himself into a Mahatma. Incidentally, a few incidents transpiring in his sophomoric years – the one, when he stubbornly agreed to fail in the class, rather than getting promoted through the adoption of foul means; and, the second, his coming out of the brothel, unscathed – contributed towards my developing an unfathomable adoration for him. Especially, despite my sophomoric years I could sense his audacity to speak the blunt truth, come what may, immensely endeared him to me.
However, with the passage of decades, my evolving into a political thinker, reading scores of books, the prominent of which was Gandhi and Jinnah, exposed me towards many unpalatable aspects and dimensions of Mahatma Gandhi’s life. Some of these were: Mahatma Gandhi’s not only endorsing the Ali Brothers’ Khilafat Movement but playing a pivotal part in promoting their objective, leading to Moplah violence, which had taken the lives of scores of Hindus; his calling off the Non-Cooperation Movement, based on the inconsequential incident of Chauri Chaura, his sabotaging of the elevation of Subhas Chandra Bose as the President of the Congress Party when he came out with his infamous comment, ‘Sitaramayyah’s defeat is my defeat’; his evincing no interest in saving Bhagat Singh from the impending gallows, so on and so forth.
But then, as if the aforesaid incidents were not enough, some of his advocacies appeared absolutely quixotic, using a euphemism for ‘ foolhardy’: his letter to the British Prime Minister, asking him to vacate homes in England, present themselves as fodder to invading German Army, so as to enable the German invaders to plunder their homes and massacre them without any resistance. This Gandhi said, would be the perfect step towards the resistance offered to the enemies through non-violence. This prescription of the Mahatma appeared to be as sheer balderdash, for offering yourself as the sacrificial goats, in all certainty, will seldom melt the hearts of invaders whose lexicon possessed no words such as ‘compassion’. Further, if offering no resistance could have been the trigger for melting the hearts of tyrants or tormentors, could not the butchery of cows have stopped long back? I wondered. This, to my perception, formed the travesty of the so-called Gandhian philosophization of non-violence. Worse still, the weird practice of continence as unveiled by Mahatma, with his own granddaughter Manu Ben, Prabha Devi, the wife of Jayaprakash Narayan, which resulted in the complete ruination of the life of Manu Ben and even Prabha Devi–Jayaprakash Narayan had, time and again, quarrelled with his wife for a child– just for sheer gratification of Mahatma Gandhi’s fascination for vindicating his strict regimen of Brahmacharya, appeared sheer exhibition of an unwarranted fanaticism to me. Would not Mahatma know that sleeping with his granddaughter, notwithstanding the element of embedded altruism in it, was a social taboo? Would not he know that, by his sheer frenetic erotic experiments bordering on quixotism for him, purportedly an act of eccentricity for the common people, he was bringing opprobrium for himself as well as stigmatising others involved in such exhibition of quixotism?
Writing in his book Indian Struggle, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose poured accolades upon Mahatma Gandhi as being the mass leader who could take the mass movement to a crescendo. However, in the same breath, he opposed Gandhi’s whimsicality on the grounds of his insistence to represent the entire Congress single-handedly. Netaji felt that Gandhi alone was no match for wily British politicians. Thus the Gandhian stubbornness, on several occasions, to presume his own presence as the ubiquitous force, became all the more evident. Regrettably, such an instance was evident on more than one such occasions –the elevation of Jawaharlal Nehru as the President of the Congress Party, which even surprised Jawaharlal in no ambiguous measure, and his anointment as India’s first Prime Minister when majority of Congress leaders had sought to elevate Sardar Patel as India’s first Prime Minister—exposes Mahatma Gandhi as a dictator who prevailed over his party as the numero uno.
Sri Aurobindo, the Yogiraj and a well-known mystique conceptualised the concept of ‘ Supramental being’ who will finally govern the universe and shall try to administer the world the way he deems fit. Significantly, Mahatma Gandhi was the supramental being who never shied away from telling the truth and endeavoured to pilot the world as per his own vision. Irrespective of his vision of finding salience with others, Gandhi went hammer and tongs for the crystallization of the same. Moreover, he sought to bind the world with his own utopian vision as it became explicit with his highly quixotic thoughts which seldom had takers across the world.
But then, with the beginning of this supramental being to pilot the world as per his own vision might have failed with the partition of India, yet his very experiments with truth – his ability to speak the blunt truth, including his bizarre practice of continence, did not raise hackles, let alone indict him for his actions. This is where Mahatma Gandhi, the supramental being is remarkably different from others. This is why Gandhi continues to be worshipped across the world as Mahatma.
*Author, Academician and Public Intellectual. The views expressed are personal.