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    Sale 7471

    Valuable Printed Books and Manuscripts

    14 November 2007, London, King Street

  • Lot 43

    GANDHI, Mohandas Karamchand (1869-1948). Autograph letter signed ('M.K. Gandhi'; postscript signed with initials 'M.K.G.') to Mrs [A.M.] Lewis, Durban, 4 August 1894, 4 pages, 4to, a few annotations in pencil by recipient.

    Price Realised  

    GANDHI, Mohandas Karamchand (1869-1948). Autograph letter signed ('M.K. Gandhi'; postscript signed with initials 'M.K.G.') to Mrs [A.M.] Lewis, Durban, 4 August 1894, 4 pages, 4to, a few annotations in pencil by recipient.

    'WE WILL NOT LEARN TRUTH BY MEANS OF FALSEHOODS': the young Gandhi champions theosophy. In only his second year in South Africa, Gandhi writes to a British correspondent on his efforts to promote interest in theosophy in South Africa, mentioning a Pretorian doctor to whom he has given his copy of [Anna Kingsford's] The Perfect Way. 'I have settled in Durban for practice as an Advocate ... During my stay here I intend to spread as much as possible information about theosophy (To me there is little difference between Theosophy & Esoteric Christianity)', suggesting that the Esoteric Christian Union should send him a selection of books for sale, proposing a financial framework for their sale and advertisement, and giving his 'personal guarantee for the safe keeping of the books and the sale proceeds'. The letter goes on to consider a controversial work ('Souls'), discussing whether it is 'absolutely true' or 'an attempt to delude', and adding 'we will not learn truth by means of falsehoods'; for an accurate appreciation of the work, 'acquaintance with the author's character is absolutely necessary'; Gandhi concludes with a dispirited reference to a proposed petition, and a verse of consolation from the Bhagavad Gita enjoining 'freedom from attachment to fruits of works'.

    The recipient was one of the founders of the Esoteric Christian Union. Gandhi lived in South Africa from 1893 to 1914, formative years both for his political activism and, as here, for his philosophical and spiritual interests.


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