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10. GLIMPSES OF RELIGION :

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AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY:
THE STORY OF MY EXPERIMENTS WITH TRUTH

by Mohandas K. Gandhi



10. GLIMPSES OF RELIGION-





From my sixth or seventh year up to my sixteenth I was at school, being taught all sorts of
things except religion. I may say that I failed to get from the teachers what they could have given
me without any effort on their part. And yet I kept on picking up things here and there from my
surroundings. The term 'religion' I am using in its broadest sense, meaning thereby selfrealization
or knowledge of self.



Being born in the Vaishnava faith, I had often to go to the Haveli. But it never appealed to me. I
did not like its glitter and pomp. Also I heard rumours of immorality being practised there, and lost
all interest in it. Hence I could gain nothing from the Haveli.



But what I failed to get there I obtained from my nurse, an old servant of the family, whose
affection for me I still recall. I have said before that there was in me a fear of ghosts and spirits.
Rambha, for that was her name…

9. MY FATHER'S DEATH AND MY DOUBLE SHAME :

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AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY:
THE STORY OF MY EXPERIMENTS WITH TRUTH
by Mohandas K. Gandhi




The time of which I am now speaking is my sixteenth year. My father, as we have seen, was
bed-ridden, suffering from a fistula. My mother, an old servant of the house, and I were his
principal attendants. I had the duties of a nurse, which mainly consisted in dressing the wound,
giving my father his medicine, and compounding drugs whenever they had to be made up at
home. Every night I massaged his legs, and retired only when he asked me to so so or after he
had fallen asleep. I loved to do this service. I do not remember ever having neglected it. All the
time at my disposal, after the performance of the daily duties, was divided between school and
attending on my father. I would only go out for an evening walk either when he permitted me or
when he was feeling well.



This was also the time when my wife was expecting a baby--a circumstance which, as I can
see today, meant a double shame for me. For one thing I did not res…

8. STEALING AND ATONEMENT :

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AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY:
THE STORY OF MY EXPERIMENTS WITH TRUTH
by Mohandas K. Gandhi




I have still to relate some of my failings during this meat-eating period and also previous to it, which date from before my marriage or soon after. A relative and I became fond of smoking. Not that we saw any good in smoking, or were
enamoured of the smell of a cigarette. We simply imagined a sort of pleasure in emitting clouds of  smoke from our mouths. My uncle had the habit, and when we saw him smoking, we thought we should copy his example. But we had no money. So we began pilfering stumps of cigarettes thrown away by my uncle.



The stumps, however, were not always available, and could not emit much smoke either. So we began to steal coppers from the servant's pocket money in order to purchase Indian cigarettes. But the question was where to keep them. We could not of course smoke in the presence of elders. We managed somehow for a few weeks on those stolen coppers. In the meantime we heard that the stal…

7. A TRAGEDY (CONTINUED)

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AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY:
THE STORY OF MY EXPERIMENTS WITH TRUTH
by Mohandas K. Gandhi



So the day came. It is difficult fully to describe my condition. There were on the one hand, the zeal for 'reform', and the novelty of making a momentous departure in life. There was, on the other, the shame of hiding like a thief to do this very thing. I cannot say which of the two swayed me more. We went in search of a lonely spot by the river, and there I saw, for the first time in my
life--meat. There was baker's bread also. I relished neither. The goat's meat was as tough as leather. I simply could not eat it. I was sick and had to leave off eating.



I had a very bad night afterwards. A horrible nightmare haunted me. Every time I dropped off to sleep it would seem as though a live goat were bleating inside me, and I would jump up full of remorse. But then I would remind myself that meat-eating was a duty, and so become more cheerful.



My friend was not a man to give in easily. He now began to c…

6. A TRAGEDY :

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AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY:
THE STORY OF MY EXPERIMENTS WITH TRUTH
by Mohandas K. Gandhi


6. A TRAGEDY :



Amongst my few friends at the high school i had, at different times, two who might be called intimate. One of these friendships did not last long, though I never forsook my friend. He forsook me, because I made friends with the other. This latter friendship I regard as a tragedy in my life. It lasted long. I formed it in the spirit of a reformer.



This companion was originally my elder brother's friend. They were classmates. I knew his weaknesses, but I regarded him as a faithful friend. My mother, my eldest brother, and my wife warned me that I was in bad company. I was too proud to heed my wife's warning. But I dared not go against the opinion of my mother and my eldest brother. Nevertheless I pleaded with them
saying, 'I know he has the weaknesses you attribute to him, but you do not know his virtues. He cannot lead me astray, as my association with him is meant to reform him. For I a…

5. AT THE HIGH SCHOOL :

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5. AT THE HIGH SCHOOL :



I have already said that I was learning at the high school when I was married. We three brothers were learning at the same school. The eldest brother was in a much higher class, and the brother who was married at the same time as I was, only one class ahead of me. Marriage resulted in both of us wasting a year. Indeed the result was even worse for my brother, for he gave up studies altogether. Heaven knows how many youths are in the same plight as he. Only in our present Hindu society do studies and marriage go thus in hand.




My studies were continued. I was not regarded as a dunce at the high school. I always enjoyed the affection of my teachers. Certificates of progress and character used to be sent to the parents every year. I never had a bad certificate. In fact I even won prizes after I passed out of the second
standard. In the fifth and sixth I obtained scholarships of rupees four and ten respectively, an achievement for which I have to thank good luck more t…