The Story of My Experiments with Truth (Gujarātī:) is the autobiography of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, covering his life from early childhood through to 1920. It was written in weekly installments and published in his journal Navjivan from 1925 to 1929. Its English translation also appeared in installments in his other journal Young India. It was initiated at the insistence of Swami Anand and other close co-workers of Gandhi, for him to explain the background of his public campaigns. In 1999, the book was designated as one of the "100 Best Spiritual Books of the 20th Century" by a committee of global spiritual and religious authorities.

from the book

Four or five years ago, at the instance of some of my nearest co-workers, I agreed to write my 
autobiography. I made the start, but scarcely had Iturned over the first sheet when riots broke out 
in Bombay and the work remained at a standstill. Then followed a series of events which 
culminated in my imprisonment at Yeravda. Sjt. Jeramdas, who was one of my fellow-prisoners 
there, asked me to put everything else on one side and finish writing the autobiography. I replied 
that I had already framed a programme of study for  myself, and that I could not think of doing 
anything else until this course was complete. I should indeed have finished the autobiography 
had I gone through my full term of imprisonment at Yeravda, for there was still a year left to 
complete the task, when I was discharged. Swami Anand has now repeated the proposal, and as 
I have finished the history of Satyagraha in South  Africa, I am tempted to undertake the 
autobiography forNavajivan. The Swami wanted me to write it separately for publication as a 
book. But I have no spare time. I could only write a chapter week by week. Something has to be 
written for Navajivanevery week. Why should it not be the autobiography? The Swami agreed to 
the proposal, and here am I hard at work. 
But a God-fearing friend had his doubts, which he shared with me on my day of silence. 'What 
has set you on this adventure? he asked. 'Writing an autobiography is a practice peculiar to the 
west. I know of nobody in the East having written one, except amongst those who have come 
under Western influence. And what will you write? Supposing you reject tomorrow the things you 
hold as principles today, or supposing you revise in the future your plans of today, is it not likely 
that the men who shape their conduct on the authori ty of your word, spoken or written, may be 
misled. Don't you think it would be better not to write anything like an autobiography, at any rate 
just yet?' 
This argument had some effect on me. But it is not my purpose to attempt a real 
autobiography. I simply want to tell the story of my numerous experiments with truth, and as my 
life consists of nothing but those experiments, it is true that the story will take the shape of an 
autobiography. But I shall not mind, if every page of it speaks only of my experiments. I believe, 
or at any rate flatter myself with the belief, thata connected account of all these experiments will 
not be without benefit to the reader. My experiments in the political field are now known, not only 
in India, but to a certain extent to the 'civilized ' world. For me, they have not much value; and the 
title of Mahatma that they have won for me has, therefore, even less. Often the title has deeply 
pained me; and there is not a moment I can recall when it may be said to have tickled me. But I 
should certainly like to narrate my experiments in the spiritual field which are known only to 
myself, and from which I have derived such power asI posses for working in the political field. If 
the experiments are really spiritual, then there can be no room for self-praise. They can only add 
to my humility. The more I reflect and look back onthe past, the more vividly do I feel my 
What I want to achieve,—what I have been striving and pining to achieve these thirty years—is 
self-realization, to see God face to face, to attain Moksha./1/ I live and move and have my being 
in pursuit of this goal. All that I do by way of speaking and writing, and all my ventures in the 
political field, are directed to this same end. Butas I have all along believed that what is possible
for one is possible for all, my experiments have not been conducted in the closet, but in the open; 
and I do not think that this fact detracts from their spiritual value. There are some things which are
known only to oneself and one's Maker. These are clearly incommunicable. The experiments I 
am about to relate are not such. But they are spiritual or rather moral; for the essence of religion 
is morality.

No comments:

Post a Comment

leave your opinion