Majmudar (Spelman College) retells the "pilgrimage of faith" (p. 59) of Mohandas Gandhi (1869–1948) as he evolved into the Mahatma, contributing to the vast array of books advancing diverse studies of influences on his spiritual quest. In particular, Majmudar highlights the exemplary power of Rajchandra Mehta (1867–1901), a didactic poet, savant, and jeweler. Mehta personally interacted with young Gandhi for less than two years (1891–93) on Ghandi's return from London to Bombay (today Mumbai) and before his departure for South Africa. Thereafter, they corresponded until Mehta’s early death, although only three of their letters survive. Throughout, Majmudar argues that Mehta, whose mother tongue was the same Gujarati with a Kathiawadi accent as Gandhi’s, quickly became Gandhi’s "friend-cum-advisor and teacher supreme on the path of Truth" (p. 29). Mehta’s Jain religious beliefs and non-violent practices reinforced those that Gandhi absorbed from his own Vaishnava Hindu family. While Majmudar acknowledges that Mehta’s influence was "deep and invisible," she characterizes it "like an underground sprinkler system penetrating the deepest layers of [Gandhi’s] soul" (p. 76). Readers interested in the influences of Jainism or Mehta on Gandhi’s spiritual development will find Majumdar’s book informative. Summing Up: Recommended. General readers.
In Gandhi and Rajchandra: The Making of the Mahatma. (Lexington Books), Dr. Uma Majmudar walks the reader through the life and times of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, exploring his transformation through various influences in his life, Srimad Rajchandra in particular. Through her comprehensive research and analysis, she convincingly presents the profound impact of a Jain zaveri (jeweler)-cum-spiritual seeker upon Gandhi, who “molded Gandhi’s inner self, his character, his life, thoughts and actions.” . . . Dr. Majmudar’s earnest efforts in highlighting this exceptional bond only enhances and elevates an evergreen, ever-relevant study of the Mahatma and his principles.
The lay Jain spiritual teacher Shrimad Rajchandra profoundly influenced many of Gandhi’s beliefs and practices, from celibacy in marriage to ideas about non-violence. This book provides an absorbing, readable introduction to Gandhi and Rajchandra’s relationship.