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Mahatma Gandhi On ‘The Power of Rama Nama’

Mahatma Gandhi on Rama Nama

Mahatma Gandhi: Rama Nama in Nature cure

In the armoury of the nature curist, Rama Nama is the most potent weapon. Let no one wonder at it. A noted ayurvedic physician told me the other day: ‘all my life I have been administering drugs. But since you have prescribed Rama Nama as a cure for physical ailments, it has occurred to me that what you say has, too, the authority of Vagbhata and Charaka.’

The recitation of Rama Nama as a remedy for spiritual ailments is as old as the hills. But the greater includes the less. And my claim is that the recitation of Rama Nama is a sovereign remedy for our physical ailments also. A Nature-Cure man won’t tell the patient: ‘Invite me and I shall cure you of your ailment.’ He will only tell about the all healing principle that is in every being and how one can cure oneself by evoking it and making it an active force in his life. If India could realize the power of that principle, not only would we be free but we would be a land of healthy individuals, too – not the land of epidemics and ill-health that we are today.

The potency of Rama Nama is, however, subject to certain conditions and limitations. Rama Nama is not like black magic. If some one suffers from surfeit and wants to be cured of its after-effects so that he can again indulge himself at the table, Rama Nama is not for him. Rama Nama can be used only for a good, never for an evil end, or else thieves and robbers would be the greatest devotees. Rama Nama is for the pure in heart and for those who want to attain purity, and remain pure. It can never be a means for self-indulgence. The remedy for surfeit is fasting, not prayer. Prayer can come in only when fasting has done its work. It can make fasting easy and bearable. Similarly, the taking of Rama Nama will be a meaningless farce when at the same time you are drugging your system with medicines. A doctor who uses his talent to pander to the vices of his patient degrades himself and his patient.* What worse degradation can there be for man that instead of regarding his body as an instrument of worshipping his Maker, he should make it the object of adoration and waste money like water to keep it going anyhow? Rama Nama, on the other hand, purifies while it cures, and, therefore, it elevates. Therein lies its use as well as its limitation.

[Harijan, 7.4.1946]

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