We know that Gandhiji entitled his autobiography, MY EXPERIMENTS WITH TRUTH. Why did he entitle it thus? What were his experiments? What Truth was he striving to know?
Gandhiji experimented with how to bring one universal ideal – that of Truth – to everyday life and activity. To make it part of his thoughts, words, and deeds. The results of his experiments affected the hearts of millions, not just during his lifetime, but will continue to do so for years to come.
You could say he tried on Truth for size and he found that it fit all of humanity for every occasion provided that one wears it with humility and selflessness. As he tried to live by the ideal of Truth, he also invited others to make the same discoveries for themselves or new ones by their own light of the same Truth.
In order to live the simple truths for himself, Gandhi established ashrams. Beginning in South Africa and continuing in India, he established ashrams where residents would seek to guide their lives by spiritual idealism in fulfillment of practical aims. The ashrams provided the space for experimentation. In them and under his careful observation, a microcosm of humanity could evolve practical means consistent with and leading to a larger truth.
In these Ashrams Gandhiji gathered together people of different religions, different classes, and different levels of education. In the Ashrams all were equally respected.
The Ashram life proved to be his laboratory for experiments with Truth, for experimenting with how to live Truth. Through his own experiments with life, Mahatma Gandhi examined a course to develop the means of Satyagraha and Ahimsa within himself.
Should we not do the same? We don’t have to live in an ashram to lead the ashram life. We just need an ideal by which to live our life. For these states of consciousness – that of Truth and Love – shape the life of the individual as well as affect the surrounding environment.
Gandhiji set a standard for himself and then continued throughout his life to live up to a higher and more universal ideal; striving ever so humbly to realize Truth. And knowing that the path to Truth is as narrow as a razor’s edge; like Gandhi, we too, strive to walk that path and like Gandhi, we weep when we fall.