Two of the greatest minds of twentieth century were Mahatma Gandhi and Einstein. Both were born and died within 10 years of each other.
Though one was a statesman and other scientist, they had quite a number of things in common. Both were seekers of truth; Einstein regarding the laws that govern the Universe and Gandhiji regarding the laws that govern human existence and its connection to Universal Consciousness.
Both of them gave a new and major thought to the mankind. Einstein – the theory of gravitation and Gandhiji-the theory of non-violence. Both were also pacifists and
wanted peace and tranquility to exist between humans and nations. Also both were highly sexed human beings.
In April 2017 a ten part documentary series “Genius”, on the life of Albert Einstein was released by National Geographic. This was to coincide with the centenary celebration of general theory of relativity which Einstein published in 1917. “Genius” was highly acclaimed and has been watched by millions of viewers all over the world. Last month on a visit to the U.S. I had an occasion of watching all the episodes.
“Genius” is a human interest story about Einstein with a major focus on his broken family life (he hardly had anything to do with his children) and his innumerable extramarital affairs. Gandhiji’s family life was also miserable with constant fights with his sons.
I believe that all great acts of creativity throughout the history of mankind have been achieved by individuals who were also highly sexed. Picasso, Mozart, Beethoven,
Charlie Chaplin, Newton, Einstein and Gandhiji are some of the examples of such persons who come to mind.
Various scientific studies have shown that sexual chemicals are very important for the functioning of the brain. Probably that is the reason why ancients stressed celibacy and which is practiced in all societies and religions.
In Indian philosophical system, brahmacharya or celibacy has a very important place and yogis and sanyasis have always laid a great stress on its practice.
Gandhiji was a propagator of celibacy and publically flaunted it and wrote extensively about his experiments on brahmacharya.
Sexual urges are the most powerful urges of human body. They are next to hunger and thirst. Subjugating them is very difficult and the history of mankind is replete with
stories of how apsaras and other heavenly beauties tried to break the resolve of brahmacharya of yogis and sanyasis.
Thus the experiment of Gandhiji in subjugating this urge and trying to sublimate it for higher cause was really remarkable. How much success he achieved is debatable since he had quite a number of wet dreams even at the age of 70! And he was constantly troubled by the thoughts of sex. His last years in which he slept naked with his
teenaged nieces is a pointer to that troubled state of his mind. br />
YYet he was brutally honest about his experiments and wrote about them.
Gandhi was like a God to Einstein. He openly expressed his admiration about Gandhiji not only because of his pacifism but, I think, also because of his ability to sublimate his sexual desires – something that Einstein could not do. Also having seen the horrors of two world wars from close quarters, Einstein understood intuitively the superior power of Gandhi’s non-violence in resolving conflicts. He also understood that such a potent non-violent strategy could not be produced by an ordinary politician but by a highly evolved human being and hence his reverence for Mahatma Gandhi.
On Gandhiji’s 70th birthday Einstein famously wrote “Generations to come, it may well be, will scarce believe that such a man as this one ever in flesh and blood walked upon this Earth”.
Unfortunately Gandhi and Einstein never met. Thus Einstein used to be very keen on meeting close associates of Mahatma Gandhi.
Ratan Lal Joshi, a well-known journalist and a dear friend of my father was also a close associate of Gandhiji. He told me a fascinating story of Einstein’s childlike curiosity about Gandhi. In 1954 Shri Joshi obtained Eisenhower fellowship to tour USA and also to interview Einstein. Since Joshi ji was an associate of Gandhi hence a 45 minute interview time was given by Helen Dukas, the secretary of Einstein.
Einstein started asking Joshi ji whether Gandhi laughed, what type of person was he and so on and so forth. Joshi ji felt that he had come to interview Einstein and here he was being interviewed on Gandhi and his allotted time for interview was slipping away. So in order to change the subject he said that young people in India felt that Einstein was the creator of Atom Bomb. At this Einstein got extremely angry and red in face and started muttering in German. This was the signal that the interview was over and so in 15 minutes Shri Joshi had to leave Einstein’s house.
Einstein always regretted his decision to write a letter to President Roosevelt which started the Manhattan Atom Bomb project. Being an ardent pacifist he was really
rattled by Joshi ji’s remark.
On this Gandhi Jayanti day let us pause to think about the great sanyam (control) that Gandhiji exercised on his sexual desires which allowed his brain to become very
powerful and creative and helped in giving us independence from the British rule.