It was no secret that Mohandas Gandhi had an unusual sex life. He spoke constantly of sex and gave detailed, often provocative, instructions to his followers as to how to they might best observe chastity. And his views were not always popular; “abnormal and unnatural” was how the first Prime Minister of independent India, Jawaharlal Nehru, described Gandhi’s advice to newlyweds to stay celibate for the sake of their souls.
But was there something more complex than a pious plea for chastity at play in Gandhi’s beliefs, preachings and even his unusual personal practices (which included, alongside his famed chastity, sleeping naked next to nubile, naked women to test his restraint)? In the course of researching my new book on Gandhi, going through a hundred volumes of his complete works and many tomes of eye-witness material, details became apparent which add up to a more bizarre sexual history.
Much of this material was known during his lifetime, but was distorted or suppressed after his death during the process of elevating Gandhi into the “Father of the Nation” Was the Mahatma, in fact, as the pre-independence prime minister of the Indian state of Travancore called him, “a most dangerous, semi-repressed sex maniac”?
Gandhi was born in the Indian state of Gujarat and married at 13 in 1883; his wife Kasturba was 14, not early by the standards of Gujarat at that time. The young couple had a normal sex life, sharing a bed in a separate room in his family home, and Kasturba was soon pregnant.
Two years later, as his father lay dying, Gandhi left his bedside to have sex with Kasturba. Meanwhile, his father drew his last breath. The young man compounded his grief with guilt that he had not been present, and represented his subsequent revulsion towards “lustful love” as being related to his father’s death.
However, Gandhi and Kasturba’s last child wasn’t born until fifteen years later, in 1900.
In fact, Gandhi did not develop his censorious attitude to sex (and certainly not to marital sex) until he was in his 30s, while a volunteer in the ambulance corps, assisting the British Empire in its wars in Southern Africa.
On long marches in sparsely populated land in the Boer War and the Zulu uprisings, Gandhi considered how he could best “give service” to humanity and decided it must be by embracing poverty and chastity.
At the age of 38, in 1906, he took a vow of brahmacharya, which meant living a spiritual life but is normally referred to as chastity, without which such a life is deemed impossible by Hindus.
Gandhi found it easy to embrace poverty. It was chastity that eluded him. So he worked out a series of complex rules which meant he could say he was chaste while still engaging in the most explicit sexual conversation, letters and behaviour
It is well known that Gandhi, was the most trusted and the most loyal stooge of the British crown, served the British interest through his Satyagraha or the nonviolent freedom struggle. But most of the people of this country, who take him to be a man of high moral, do not know what short vile lechery he indulged in in the name of keeping Brahmacharys or celibacy, or in experimenting with the same. In 1903, when he was only 34 years old ( alternatively in 1906, when he was 37), or in other words, when he was at the zenith of his youth, he took a vow that he will observe celibacy and will remain a brahmachari for the rest of his life.
But the question remains, what made Gandhi, an extremely sensual man, to take such a vow? Gandhi was so sensual that when his father Karamchand was dying, he preferred to make love and have sex with his wife Kasturba in another room of the same house.
So, when such a sensual Gandhi took vow to keep celibacy, one becomes suspicious that there must have been an evil intention behind that vow. Many believe that at that time, he developed some form of aversion towards Kasturba, an illiterate mother of three children, or in other words, he disliked to share bed with her. So, his intention was to abandon Kasturba as a sleeping partner in the name of keeping celibacy.
In 1882, when Mohandas was married to Kasturba, he was 13 and Kasturba was 14. While he was in South Africa, he came in contact with several educated and well-bred women through his profession and Gandhi liked their company very much. From their company, Gandhi used to obtain a special kind of intellectual pleasure, which was not possible from Kasturba. At that time, more than a dozen women came very close to.
While he was in South Africa, he came in contact with several educated and well-bred women through his profession and Gandhi liked their company very much. From their company, Gandhi used to obtain a special kind of intellectual pleasure, which was not possible from Kasturba. At that time, more than a dozen women came very close toFrom their company, Gandhi used to obtain a special kind of intellectual pleasure, which was not possible from Kasturba. At that time, more than a dozen women came very close to himand six of them were of Western origin.They were Graham Polak, Nilla Cram Cook, MadellineSlade (aka Miraben), Margarate Spiegel, Sonja Schlesin and Esther Faering (M V Kamath, Mahatmaand Celibacy. His closest Indian women were Srimati Prabhavati Devi (wife of Jaiprakash Narain), Kanchan Shah, Prema Ben Kantak, Sushila Nair (sister of Pyarelal), Manu Gandhi (wife of his grand-nephew Joysukhlal Gandhi), Ava Gandhi and Saraladevi Chaudhurani. This Saraladevi was a niece of the poet Rabindranath Tagore and her mother was Srimati Swarnakumari Devi.
With the zeal of the convert, within a year of his vow, he told readers of his newspaper Indian Opinion: “It is the duty of every thoughtful Indian not to marry. In case he is helpless in regard to marriage, he should abstain from sexual intercourse with his wife.”
Meanwhile, Gandhi was challenging that abstinence in his own way. He set up ashrams in which he began his first “experiments” with sex; boys and girls were to bathe and sleep together, chastely, but were punished for any sexual talk. Men and women were segregated, and Gandhi’s advice was that husbands should not be alone with their wives, and, when they felt passion, should take a cold bath.
The rules did not, however, apply to him. Sushila Nayar, the attractive sister of Gandhi’s secretary, also his personal physician, attended Gandhi from girlhood. She used to sleep and bathe with Gandhi. When challenged, he explained how he ensured decency was not offended. “While she is bathing I keep my eyes tightly shut,” he said, “I do not know … whether she bathes naked or with her underwear on. I can tell from the sound that she uses soap.” The provision of such personal services to Gandhi was a much sought-after sign of his favour and aroused jealousy among the ashram inmates.
As he grew older (and following Kasturba’s death) he was to have more women around him and would oblige women to sleep with him whom – according to his segregated ashram rules – were forbidden to sleep with their own husbands. Gandhi would have women in his bed, engaging in his “experiments” which seem to have been, from a reading of his letters, an exercise in strip-tease or other non-contact sexual activity. Much explicit material has been destroyed but tantalising remarks in Gandhi’s letters remain such as: “Vina’s sleeping with me might be called an accident. All that can be said is that she slept close to me.” One might assume, then, that getting into the spirit of the Gandhian experiment meant something more than just sleeping close to him.
It can’t, one imagines, can have helped with the “involuntary discharges” which Gandhi complained of experiencing more frequently since his return to India. He had an almost magical belief in the power of semen: “One who conserves his vital fluid acquires unfailing power,” he said.
Meanwhile, it seemed that challenging times required greater efforts of spiritual fortitude, and for that, more attractive women were required.
Obviously, Gandhi became the target of bitter criticism, even by his closest companions, due to his sexual perversion in the name of experiments on brahmacharya. One day his stenographer R P Parashuram, observing him lying naked with naked Manu Gandhi, submitted his resignation letter and left the ashram. Gandhi told him that he was at liberty to do whatever he wanted. He could remain at the ashram or go.
Nirmal Kumar Basu was one of the closest associates of Gandhi and accompanied him during his Noakhali tour. There an incident took place on 17th December that turned Nirmal Kumar into a severe critique of Gandhi. On that night Gandhi was sleeping, as usual naked, with Manu Gandhi and Dr Sushila Nair. Sushila was a doctor and accompanied Gandhi to look after his health. Just before dawn, it appeared that something unusual was happening in the room where Gandhi was sleeping with Manu and Sushila. It was found that Gandhi was screaming in shrill voice and slapping his forehead.
Neither Manu nor Sushila had ever disclosed what happened on that fateful night. But it was not so difficult to guess. Most probably, Gandhi made sexual advances to Sushila and tried to rape an unwilling Sushila. She, on the other hand, prevented Gandhi and cried for help and that made Gandhi to scream out of frustration. After this incident, Nirmal Kumar decided to abandon Gandhi and he permanently left him on 18th March, 1947.
Later on, Nirmal Kumar expressed his grievances through a letter. He wrote that, perhaps he, lying naked with several naked women, wanted to test whether that aroused his sexual passion. But, in fact, he was ruining the lives of his young women associates. It is a shame that we are still using the word Mahatma before the name of such a sexually pervert man.
The real sexual pervert that was Gandhi the man is a far cry from the noble Gandhi from the major Hollywood motion picture that bares his name staring Ben Kingsley who insidently won an Acadamey Award for the role of Gandhi. If we were to see Gandhi’s real life the rating of the film would be x.
I have been asked by Sri S .Radhakrishnan to answer the following three questions:
(1) What is your religion?
(2) How are you led to it?
(3) What is its bearing on social life?
1.My religion is Hinduism which, for me, is Religion of humanity and includes the best of all the religions known to me.
2.I take it that the present tense in the second question is purposely used instead of the past. I am being led to my religion through Truth and Non Violence i.e. love in the broadest sense. I often describe my religion as Religion of Truth. Of late instead of saying God is Truth I have been saying Truth is God, in order more fully to define my religion. I used, at one time, to know by heart the thousand names of God which a booklet in Hinduism gives in verse form and which perhaps tens of thousands recite every morning. But nowadays nothing so completely describes my God as Truth. Denial of God we have known. Denial of Truth we have not known. The most ignorant among mankind have some truth in them. We are all sparks of Truth. The sum total of these sparks is indescribable, as-yet-unknown- Truth, which is God. I am being daily led nearer to It by constant prayer.
3.The bearing of this religion on social life is, or has to be, seen in one’s daily social contact. To be true to such religion one has to lose oneself in continuous and continuing service of all life.
Realisation of Truth is impossible without complete merging of oneself in, and identification with, this limitless ocean of life. Hence, for me, there is no escape from social service, there is no happiness on earth, beyond or apart from it. Social service here must be taken to include every department of life in this scheme there is nothing low, nothing high. For, all is one, though we seem to be many.
Top 20 Most Inspiring Gandhi Quotes
Be the change that you want to see in the world.
A man is but a product of his thoughts. What he thinks he becomes.
I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.
Nobody can hurt me without my permission.
Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.
The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is an attribute of the strong.
Your beliefs become your thoughts. Your thoughts become your words. Your words become your actions. Your actions become your habits. Your habits become your values. Your values become your destiny.
An ounce of practice is worth a thousand words.
A coward is incapable of exhibiting love; it is the prerogative of the brave.
Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.
Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.
Service which is rendered without joy helps neither the servant nor the served.
If you want real peace in the world, start with children.
The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.
In a gentle way, you can shake the world.
If I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning.
Hate the sin, love the sinner.
Glory lies in the attempt to reach one’s goal and not in reaching it.
Whenever you are confronted with an opponent, conquer him with love.
An eye for an eye will make the whole world blind.
Put on some Sinatra and let’s get naked (Just Kidding)
Source: Contemporary Indian Philosophy, Edited by Radhakrishnan and J H Muirhead, George Allen & Unwin Ltd, Museum Street, London, 1936