Gandhi Comes Alive

Gandhi's Favourite Hymns

These are the favourite hymns of Gandhi which were usually sung at his prayer meetings.
Ram Dhun
  • Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram,
  • Patita Pavan Sitaram
  • Ishwar Allah Tero Nam,
  • Sabko Sanmati de Bhagwan
  • Gandhi Remembered.....
      The Original Hymn
    • Vaishnav Jan to taynay kahyeeye,
    • Jay peerh paraayee janney ray
    • Par dukkhey upkar karey,
    • Toyey man abhiman na anney ray.
    • Sakal lokma sahuney vandey,
    • Ninda na karey kainee ray
    • Vaach kaach, man nischal raakhey,
    • Dhan-dhan jananee tainee ray.
    • Samdristhi nay trishna tyagee,
    • Par-stree jaynay mat ray
    • Jivaah thaki asatya na bolay,
    • Par-dhan nav jhaley haath ray.
    • Moh maya vyaapey nahin jeyney,
    • Drud vairagya jeyna manma ray
    • Ram-naam-shoon taalee laagee,
    • Sakal teerth teyna tanma ray.
    • Vanalobhee ney kapatrahith chey,
    • Kaam, krodh nivarya ray
    • Bhane Narsaiyon tainoo darshan kartan,
    • Kul ekotair taryaa ray
    • A godlike man is one,
    • Who feels another’s pain
    • Who shares another’s sorrow,
    • And pride does disdain.
    • Who regards himself as the lowliest of the low,
    • Speaks not a word of evil against any one
    • One who keeps himself steadfast in words, body and mind,
    • Blessed is the mother who gives birth to such a son.
    • Who looks upon everyone as his equal and has renounced lust,
    • And who honours women like he honours his mother
    • Whose tongue knows not the taste of falsehood till his last
    • breath, Nor covets another's worldly goods.
    • He does not desire worldly things,
    • For he treads the path of renunciation
    • Ever on his lips is Rama's holy name,
    • All places of pilgrimage are within him.
    • One who is not greedy and deceitful,
    • And has conquered lust and anger
    • Through such a man Saint Narsaiyon has a godly vision,
    • Generations to come, of such a man, will attain salvation
    Ancient Hymns
  • In the early morning
  • I worship him who is beyond all thought and speech,
  • Yet by whose grace all speech is uttered,
  • I worship him of whom the Scriptures say
  • That he shall not be limited by words
  • I worship him whom ancient sages name
  • The God of gods,
  • Him the unborn,
  • Him the perfect,
  • Him the source of all
  • In the early morning
  • I bow to him who dwelleth beyond darkness,
  • I worship him who is perfection,
  • Him, entitled anciently the Wholly Good:
  • In him,
  • We, peering through this veil of darkness,
  • Imagine that we see the universe brought forth,
  • Even as, in darkness,
  • Men think a rope a snake.
  • Source: Gandhi- The Writer by Bhabani Bhattacharya

    From The Ramcharitamanas of Tulsidas
  • Grant me, O Master, by Thy grace
  • To follow all the good and pure:
  • To be content with simple things;
  • To use my fellows not as means but ends:
  • To serve them stalwartly, in thought, word, deed;
  • Never to utter word of hatred or of shame:
  • To cast away all selfishness and pride:
  • To speak no ill of others:
  • To have a mind at peace,
  • Set free from care, and led astray from Thee
  • Neither by happiness nor by woe:
  • Set Thou my feet upon this path,
  • And keep me steadfast in it,
  • Thus only shall I please Thee, serve Thee right.
  • Source: Gandhi- The Writer by Bhabani Bhattacharya

    From The Ramcharitamanas of Tulsidas
  • This and this alone
  • Is true religion-
  • To serve Thy brethren:
  • This is sin above all other sin,
  • To harm Thy brethren:
  • In such a faith is happiness,
  • In lack of it is misery and pain:
  • Blessed is he who swerveth not aside
  • From this straight path:
  • Blessed is he whose life is lived
  • Thus ceaselessly in serving God:
  • By bearing others' burdens,
  • And so alone,
  • Is life, true life, to be attained:
  • Nothing is hard to him who, casting self aside,
  • Thinks only this-
  • How may I serve fellow-men?
  • Source: Gandhi- The Writer by Bhabani Bhattacharya

    When The heart Is hard
    When The heart Is hard
    • When the heart is hard and parched up, come upon me
    • with a shower of mercy.
    • When grace is lost from life, come with a burst of song.
    • When tumultuous work raises its din on all sides shutting
    • me out from beyond, come to me, my lord of swith thy peace and rest..ilence,
    • with thy peace and rest..
    • When my beggarly heart sits crouched, shut up in a corner,
    • break open the door, my kind, and come with the ceremony
    • of a king.
    • And who honours women like he honours his mother
    • O thou holy one, thou wakeful, come with thy light and thy thunder.

    - Rabindranath Tagore (Gitanjali, No.39)

    (Source: Gandhi- The Writer by Bhabani Bhattacharya)

    Here Is Thy Footstool
  • Here is thy footstool and there rest thy feet where live the
  • poorest and lowliest and lost.
  • When I try to bow to there, my obeisance cannot reach down to the depth where thy feet rest among the poorest and
  • lowliest and lost.
  • Pride can never approach to where thou walkest in the
  • clothes of the humble among the poorest, and lowliest and lost.
  • My heart can never find its way to where thou keepest
  • company with the companionless among the poorest, the lowliest and the lost.
  • - Gitanjali, No.10

    (Source: Gandhi- The Writer by Bhabani Bhattacharya)

    The True Vaishnava
  • He is a real Vaishnava, who feels the suffering of others as his own suffering. He is ever ready to serve, and is never guilty of overweening pride. He bows before everyone, despises none, preserves purity in thought, word and deed. Blessed is the mother of such a son: in every woman he reveres his mother. He pre- serves equanimity and never stains his mouth with falsehood, nor touches the riches of another. The bonds of desire cannot hold him. Ever in harmony with Ramanama, his body in itself possesses all the places of pilgrimage. He knows neither desire nor disappointment, neither passion nor wrath.
  • - Narasimha Mehta

    The Path of Love
  • "The way of the Lord is open only to heroes, to cowards it is fast shut."
  • "Give up thy life and all that thou hast, so thou mayst assume the name of the Lord.
  • "Only he who leaves his son, his wife, his riches, and his life, shall drink from the vessel of God.
  • "For in truth, he that would fish for pearls must dive into the deepest depths of the sea & take his life in his hands.
  • "Death affrights him not: he forgets all the misery of body and soul.
  • "He who stands hesitating on the bank and fears to dive, gains nought.
  • "But the path of love is trial by fire. The coward shrinks back from it."
  • "He who dares the leap into the fire, attains to everlasting bliss."
  • -Pritama

    My Heartfelt Prayer
  • "Lord, preserve me from looking on things which arouse evil thoughts. It were better for me to be blind."
  • "Lord, preserve me from soiling my lips with impure words. It were better for me to be dumb."
  • "Lord, preserve me from hearing any word of slander and insult. It were better for me to be deaf."
  • "Lord, preserve me from looking with desire on any of those who should be my sisters. It were better for me to be dead"
  • -Tukaram

    Lead Kindly Light
  • Lead, kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom,Lead Thou me on;
  • The night is dark, and I am far from home;Lead Thou me on.
  • Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see
  • The distant scene; one step enough for me.
  • I was not ever thus, nor pray'd that Thou Shouldst lead me on;
  • I loved to choose, and see my path; but now Lead Thou me on.
  • I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears,
  • Pride ruled my will: remember not past years.
  • So long Thy power hath blest me, sure it still Will lead me on.
  • O'er moor and fen, o'er crag and torrent, till The night is gone;
  • And with the morn those Angel faces smile, Which I have loved long since, and lost awhile.
  • -Cardinal Newman

    The Wondrous Cross
  • When I survey the wondrous Cross
  • On which the Prince of Glory died,

  • My richest gain I count but loss,
  • And pour contempt on all my pride.

  • Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast
  • Save in the Cross of Christ, my God;

  • All the vain things that charm me most,
  • I sacrifice them to His Blood.

  • See from His Head, His Hands, His Feet,
  • Sorrow and love flow mingling down;

  • Did e'er such love and sorrow meet,
  • Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

  • Were the whole realm of nature mine,
  • That were an offering far too small;

  • Love so amazing, so divine,
  • Demands my soul, my life, my all.

  • To Christ, Who won for sinners grace
  • By bitter grief and anguish sore,

  • Be praise from all the ransom'd race,
  • For ever and evermore.
  • - I. Watts

    Rock of Ages
  • Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
  • Let me hide myself in Thee;
  • Let the Water and the Blood,
  • From Thy riven Side which flow'd,
  • Be of sin the double cure,
  • Cleanse me from its guilt and power.

  • Not the labours of my hands
  • Can fulfill Thy law's demands;
  • Could my zeal no respite know,
  • Could my tears for ever flow,
  • All for sin could not atone;
  • Thou must save, and Thou alone,

  • Nothing in my hand I bring,
  • Simply to Thy Cross I cling;
  • Naked, come to Thee for dress;
  • Helpless, look to Thee for grace;
  • Foul, I to the Fountain fly;
  • Wash me, Saviour, or I die.

  • While I draw this fleeting breath,
  • When my eyelids close in death,
  • When I soar through tracts unknown,
  • See Thee on Thy Judgment Throne;
  • Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
  • Let me hide myself in Thee.
  • -A. M.Toplady

    The Sermon On The Mount
  • Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
  • Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
  • Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
  • Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
  • Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
  • Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
  • Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
  • Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
  • So long Thy power hath blest me, sure it still Will lead me on.
  • O'er moor and fen, o'er crag and torrent, till The night is gone;
  • And with the morn those Angel faces smile, Which I have loved long since, and lost awhile.
  • -Gospel of Matthew

    This Was Bapu, (1959), pp. 158.62

    My Share in Your Sorrow

    (The following 6 letters were written to help Esther; Faering during the days when the announcement of her betrothal) to Dr. E. K. Menon brought a storm of criticism, much of it harsh and ungenerous, upon her head.)

  • More things are wrought by prayer
  • Than this world dreams of.
  • Wherefore let thy voice
  • Rise like a fountain for me night and day.
  • For what are men better than sheep or goats
  • That nourish a blind life within the brain,
  • If knowing God they lift not hands of prayer
  • Both for themselves and those who call them friend?
  • For so the whole round earth is every way
  • Bound by gold chains about the feet of God.
  • -Tennyson

    My dear child,

    The above is my share in your sorrow for today. May it lighten your burden.

    With love,

    Bombay, 16th March, 1920

    In All Things Thee To See
  • Teach me, my God and King,
  • In all things Thee to see,

  • And what I do in anything,
  • To do it as for Thee,

  • All may of Thee partake,
  • Nothing can be so mean

  • Which with this tincture, 'for Thy sake',
  • Will not grow bright and clean.

  • A servant with this clause

  • Makes drudgery divine;

  • Who sweeps a room as for Thy laws
  • Makes that and the' action fine.

  • This is the famous stone
  • That turneth all to gold;

  • For that which God doth touch and own
  • Cannot for less be told.
  • -George Herbert

    My dear child,

    May there be some line, some word, some thought to soften your grief.

    With love,

    Bombay, 17th March, 1920

    Such Use As He Will
  • Lord, it belongs not my care
  • Whether I die or live;

  • To love and serve Thee is my share,
  • And this Thy grace must give.

  • If life be long I will be glad
  • That I may long obey;

  • If short, yet why should I be sad
  • To soar to endless day?

  • Christ leads me through no darker rooms
  • Than He went through before;

  • He that into God's kingdom comes
  • Must enter by this door.

  • Come, Lord, when grace hath made me meet
  • Thy blessed face to see;

  • For if Thy work on earth be sweet,

  • What will Thy glory be?

  • My knowledge of that life is small;
  • The eye of faith is dim;

  • But 'tis enough that Christ knows all,
  • And I shall be with Him.
  • -Richard Baxter

    My dear child,

    Another evening has come to fill me with thoughts of you. I pass them to our common Maker to make of them such use as He will for your good.

    With love,

  • Oh I could go through all life's troubles singing,
  • Turning each night to day,

  • If self were not so fast around me, clinging
  • To all I do or say.

  • My very thoughts are selfish, always building
  • Mean castles in the air,

  • I use my love of others for a gilding
  • To make myself look fair.

  • I fancy all the world engrossed with judging
  • My merit or my blame,

  • Its warmest praise seems an ungracious grudging
  • Of praise which I might claim.

  • Alas! no speed in life can snatch us wholly
  • Our of self's hateful sight,

  • And it keeps step, when'er we travel slowly

  • And sleeps with us at night.

  • O Lord that I could waste my life for others,
  • With no ends of my own,

  • That I could pour myself into my brothers
  • And live for them alone.

  • My dear child,

    You have forgotten your promise. Do not keep me without anything from you for so many days. The above is my selection for the day.

    With love,

    In Our Father's House At Last
  • I say to thee, do thou repeat
  • To the first man thou mayest meet

  • In lane, highway or open street-
  • That he and we and all men move

  • Under a canopy of love,
  • MAs broad as the blue sky above;

  • That doubt and trouble, fear and pain,
  • And anguish all are shadows vain.

  • That death itself shall not remain,
  • That weary deserts we may tread,

  • A dreary labyrinth may thread,
  • Through dark ways underground be led,

  • Yet, if we all one Guide obey,
  • The dreariest path, the darkest way

  • Shall issue out in heavenly day;
  • And we on diverse shores now cast,

  • Shall meet, our perilous voyage past,
  • All in our Father's house at last.

  • - Trench

    My dear child,

    I am on the train to Delhi. I could not go out for rest. I sent you nothing yesterday. I could not. This may be my last for some days because I shall not know what will happen from day to day. Do let me have a line from you.

    With love,

    Sunday, 21-3-20

    • A Gandhi Anthology-I (1958), Compiled by V. G. Desai
    • An Autobiography or The Story of My Experiments with Truth (1969), Translated from Gujarati by Mahadev Desai
    • Ashram Observances in Action (1959)
    • Bapu-My Mother (1955), by Manubehn Gandhi
    • Bapu's Letters to Ashram Sisters (1960), edited by Kakasaheb Kalelkar Bapu's Letters to Mira (1959)
    • Food for the Soul (1957), edited by Anand T. Hingorani and published by Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Bombay-7
    • Harijan
    • Hind Swaraj or Indian Home Rule (1962)
    • Homage to the Departed (1958), Compiled and Edited by S. B. Kher
    • Mahadevbhaini Diary, Vol. 2 (Gujarati Edition, 1949), by Mahadev Desai; edited by Narahari Parikh
    • Mahatma Gandhi-The Last Phase, Vol. I, Book I (1965), Vol. II (1958), by Pyarelal
    • "My Dear Child" [Letters to Esther Faering] (1959)
    • My Memorable Moments with Bapu (1960), by Manubehn Gandhi Ramanama (1964)
    • Speeches and Writings of Mahatma Gandhi, (G. A. Natesan & Co., 4th Edition)
    • Stray, Glimpses of Bapu (1960), by Kakasaheb Kalelkar The Collected Works of Mahatma
    • Gandhi (The Publication Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Govt. of India)
    • The Diary of Mahadev Desai, Vol. I (1953), by Mahadev Desai-Translated from Gujarati and edited by Valji Govindji Desai
    • The End of an Epoch (1962), by Manubehn Gandhi-Translated from Gujarati by Gopalkrishna Gandhi
    • The Gospel of Selfless Action or The Gita According to Gandhi (1969) by Mahadev Desai
    • This Was Bapu (1959), Compiled by R. K. Prabhu Young India