11. Religion of Mahatma Gandhi
By Ranjit Chaudhari
THOUGH THE MEANING of religion in the Hindu concept of Dharma is not without complexities, Gandhi tried to make it broad enough to lend it a universal character. His idea of religion was not totally esoteric. He knew that every religion was connected with some belief system supported by rituals. He tried to get rid of the rituals as far as possible. To Gandhi religion was a human institution made by human ingenuity to solve practical affairs as well as spiritual matters.
His oft-quoted passages can be cited. He said "By religion, I do not mean formal religion, or customary religion, but that religion which underlies all religions, which brings us face to face with our Maker. It is the permanent element in human nature which counts no cost too great in order to find full expression and which leaves the soul utterly restless until it has found itself. Again, he observed : "Religion which takes no account of practical affairs and does not help to solve them, is no religion. He did not define religion in exact and definitive language. One of his attempts was to bring religion closer to common man. In that regard his was functional. But most of the times Gandhi felt that religion could not be understood without knowing its relation with God.