Rajmohan, the son of Gandhi’s fourth son Devdas, did not spend a significant time with his grandfather as a young man, yet each moment with the Mahatma was significant and meaningful for him. Rajmohan always retained a new lesson, a fresh understanding about some aspect of life after being around his grandfather.
When Gandhi would give his 5 pm prayer meeting, Rajmohan would have the honor of being seated next to him. As the meetings were interfaith, prayers would be recited from multiple traditions. It was a radical act at a time when certain sects of Hindus and Muslims in particular were escalating tensions among themselves. Sometimes, Rajmohan recalls, some angry Hindus would stand up and raise their voices against repeating the Muslim prayer, the opening of the Koran. Gandhi would then ask the opinion of the entire group, “Should we share this prayer?” and nearly everyone would agree; so Gandhi would ask those in opposition to it to “kindly withdraw their request.” And sometimes they did. However, sometimes they did not. And when they did not, Gandhi would then say to the Hindu fundamentalists (for such they were), “if we are not going to say the Muslim prayers, then we shall skip the Hindu prayers and get on with the meeting.” Rajmohan felt that instances such as these revealed to him the very democratic core of Gandhi’s beliefs and teachings. He would not outright defy the those extremist HIndus in the name of ‘majority rule,’ but he would do something to show them what they had done.
Take time at 5 pm today to reflect on the words from a variety of wisdom traditions in the spirit of Gandhi’s meetings.
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