Letters of  His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

In the following letter to Mahatma Gandhi, Srila Prabhupada advised him to retire from active politics and warned him that if he did not do so, an inglorious death was waiting for him. In this letter, which was written nearly six months prior to his assassination, Srila Prabhupada had proposed that if the Mahatma wanted to do some real good to the people in general all over the world, then he must give up the rotten politics immediately and rise up for the preaching work of the philosophy and religion of “Bhagavad-gita’. But unfortunately, the Mahatma did not pay any attention to the solemn advice of Srila Prabhupada. Had he acceded to Prabhupada’s noble counsel, he would have been saved from dying an inglorious death. (Niraj Bidawatka, Editor)



12 July, 1947




Mahatma Gandhijee

Bhangi Colony

New Delhi.



Dear Friend Mahatmajee,

Please accept my respectful Namaskar. I am your unknown friend but I had to write to you at times and again although you never cared to reply them. I sent you my papers “Back to Godhead” but your secretaries told me that you have very little time to read the letters and much less for reading the magazines. I asked for an interview with you but your busy secretaries never cared to reply this. Anyway as I am your very old friend although unknown to you I am again writing to you in order to bring you to the rightful position deserved by you. As a sincere friend I must not deviate from my duty towards a friend like your good self.

I tell you as a sincere friend that you must immediately retire from active politics if you do not desire to die an inglorious death. You have 125 years to live as you have desired to live but you if you die an inglorious death it is no worth. The honour and prestige that you have obtained during the course of you present life time, were not possible to be obtained by any one else within the living memory. But you must know that all these honours and prestiges were false in as much as they were created by the Illusory Energy of Godhead called the maya. By this falsity I do not mean to say that your so many friends were false to you nor you were false to them. By this falsity I mean illusion or in other words the false friendship and honours obtained thereby were but creation of maya and therefore they are always temporary or false as you may call it. But none of you neither your friends nor yourself knew this truth.

Now by the Grace of God that illusion is going to be cleared and thus your faithful friends like Acarya Kripalini and others are accusing you for your inability at the present moment to give them any practical programme of work as you happened to give them during your glorious days of non-co-operation movement. So you are also in a plight to find out a proper solution for the present political tangle created by your opponents. You should therefore take a note of warning from your insignificant friend like me, that unless you retire timely from politics and engage yourself cent per cent in the preaching work of Bhagavad-gita, which is the real function of the Mahatmas, you shall have to meet with such inglorious deaths as Mussolini, Hitlers, Tojos, Churchills or Lloyd Georges met with.

You can very easily understand as to how some of your political enemies in the garb of friends (both Indian and English) have deliberately cheated you and have broken your heart by doing the same mischief for which you have struggled so hard for so many years. You wanted chiefly Hindu-Moslem unity in India and they have tactfully managed to undo your work, by creation of the Pakistan and India separately. You wanted freedom for India but they have given permanent dependence of India. You wanted to do something for the upliftment of the position of the bhangis but they are still rotting as bhangis even though you are living in the bhangi colony. They are all therefore illusions and when these things will be presented to you as they are, you must consider them as God-sent. God has favored you by dissipating the illusion you were hovering in, and by the same illusion you were, nursing those ideas as Truth(?).

You must know that you are in the relative world which is called by the sages as Dvaita i.e. dual- and nothing is absolute here. Your Ahimsa is always followed by Himsa as the light is followed by darkness or the father is followed by the son. Nothing is absolute truth in this dual world. You did not know this neither you ever cared to know this from the right sources and therefore all your attempts to create unity were followed by disunity and Ahimsa was followed by Himsa.

But it is better late than never. You must know now something about the Absolute Truth. The Truth with which you have been experimenting so long is relative. The relative truths are creations of the daivi maya qualified by the three modes of Nature. They are all insurmountable as is explained in the Bhagavad-gita (7.14). The Absolute Truth is the Absolute Godhead.

In the Katha Upanisad it is ordered that one must approach the bona fide Guru who is not only well versed in all the scriptures of the world but is also the realized soul in Brahman the Absolute—in order to learn the science of Absolute Truth. So also it is instructed in the Bhagavad-gita as follows:—

tad viddhi pranipatena

pariprasnena sevaya

upadeksyanti tad jnanam

jnaninas tattvadarsinah

(Bg. 4.34)

But I know that you never underwent such transcendental training except some severe penances which you invented for your purpose as you have invented so many things in the course of experimenting with the relative truths. You might have easily avoided them if you had approached the Guru as above mentioned. But your sincere efforts to attain some Godly qualities by austerities etc. surely have raised you to some higher position which you can better utilize for the purpose of the Absolute Truth. If you, however, remain satisfied with such temporary position only and do not try to know the Absolute Truth, then surely you are to fall down from the artificially exalted position under the laws of Nature. But if you really want to approach the Absolute Truth and want to do some real good to the people in general all over the world, which shall include your ideas of unity, peace and non-violence, then you must give up the rotten politics immediately and rise up for the preaching work of the philosophy and religion of “Bhagavad-gita” without offering unnecessary and dogmatic interpretations on them. I had occasionally discussed this subject in my paper “Back to Godhead” and a leaf from the same is enclosed herewith for your reference.

I would only request you to retire from politics at least for a month only and let us have discussion on the Bhagavad-gita. I am sure, thereby, that you shall get a new light from the result of such discussions not only for your benefit but for the benefit of the world at large—as I know that you are sincere, honest and moralist.

Awaiting your early reply with interest.

Yours sincerely,

Abhay Charan De.1


Enclosure—one leaf from Back to Godhead


1 Abhay Charan De – Srila Prabhupada’s name before he accepted sannyasa, the renounced order




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  1. Why should his death be called inglorious? In fact, it was immensely glorious, as he died with Gods name on his lips. It was the act of preaching far more eloquent than 1,000 lectures on Gita, because the whole world learnt about his last words he spoke when dying. Christian world would be quite indifferent if he started to preach that “Krishna is the Supreme Lord” as suggested, because they already have one; but they unanimously bowed to Gandhis immediate act of forgiveness towards his murderer which is something only true “Christlike” saint is able to do. Due to this act done in the moment of death Gandhi actually has become a worldwide symbol of peace and spirit he would never become otherwise. Perhaps this was the departure God meant for him in order to speak volumes in just two words: “He Ram!”


    • You are mistaken when you say that the Christian world would be indifferent if he started to preach that “Krishna is the Supreme Lord”. Majority of the Hare Krishna devotees are Christians. The Christians have embraced Krishna wholeheartedly.

      The glory one attains by preaching Krishna consciousness is immense because such glory remains eternal. Whereas the glory attained by serving ones nation is temporary – and the result is also inglorious – one will be criticized, condemned and ultimately get killed by the same countrymen for whom one has devoted his entire life. So service to Krishna is always better than serving one’s country or family because Krishna will never forsake you. He will personally take care of you birth after birth.

      – Niraj Bidawatka
      Editor, The Hare Krishna Revolution


  2. Namaste Niraj,
    I think you view the scene from a bit distorted perspective. I, being myself a Westerner, personaly know no Christian who ever became a Vishnuist, but know dozens of Western individuals of Christian upbringing who did not found their existential questions answered by traditional Christian religion and thus embraced Eastern teachings — Zen, TM Meditation, Sant Mat, Yoga and, of course, Hare Krishna Movement. Your claim that “majority of the Hare Krishna devotees are Christians” is a misunderstanding. You simply cannot convert a convinced Christian to your side of table on the same principle as you yourself can never be converted to Christianity. Faith that is “as hard as a rock” cannot be moved because it is already proved by ones own spiritual life and experience. But you can quite easily “convert” still unconvinced, undecided and searching people to practically any belief that suit their taste or needs of the moment. This is one of reasons why Prabhupada was so successfull in the 60s and 70s when majority of the youths challenged the traditional Christian values and Western civilization in general. But on the large scale, there were dozens of other successfull acharyas of disparate branches of Hinduism, many on the quite oposite pole to your theistic belief, which is a fact you can hardly dispute. The idea that “The Christians have embraced Krishna wholeheartedly” is valid only as far as you acknowledge that with the same enthusiasm they embraced Buddha, Lao-zu, Mahesh Yogi, Osho and uncountable others.
    To preach that “Krishna is a Supreme God” is a great idea indeed, but it is of the same order like preaching “Jehovah is the Highest Lord”, “There is no God but Allah” or “Ek Onkar Sat Nam”. None of these beliefs is universal in true sense as none of their Gods is a self-evident fact. Each of these religions must be backed by their “infallible” holy scriptures or a tradition. There are countless preachers by word but preachers by life are rare. And there are many “convinced Christians” who honor Gandhi exactly on the fact that he proved his faith by his death, which is a rare phenomenon. I remember very well the unprecedented stir made by the movie Gandhi (starring Ben Kingsley) that was screened in the West by the end of 80s. Christians flocked into theatres eagerly to see it and then discussed it excitedly, because they found in the character a rare confirmation of the universality of the faith of God. Gandhi became the symbol of unifying power of Sanatana Dharma and all-embracing universal humanness — well, at least he is often perceived as such in the West. Frankly, Gandhis example as a man of great spiritual integrity, crowned by a death revealing his saintliness, became a decisive momentum in my own life that attracted me to the Indian spiritual culture. And believe me, I am no exceptional case….


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