An Atheist With Gandhi
by Gora (Goparaju Ramachandra Rao) 


Gandhi with Gora 
oil painting by V. Veerabrahmam 

With Introduction by  Shri K. G. Mashruwala 

Navajivan Publishing House 
Ahmedabad -- 380 014 

First Edition, 2,000 Copies, April 1951 
Reprint, 3,000 Copies, August 1958 
Reprint, 2,000 Copies, October 1971 
Reprint, 2,000 Copies, February 1986

Price Rs. 5.00 

© The Navajivan Trust, 1951 
Printed and Published by 
Jitendra T. Desai 
Navajivan Mudranalaya 
Ahmedabad -- 380 014

Table of Contents  (File 1; modified for HTML format)

  • An Explanation
  • II  Contact Through Correspondence 
  • III  I Go To Sevagram 
  • IV  My First Interview With Gandhiji 
  • My Second Interview 
  • VI  I Go To Sevagram Again 
  • VII  A Long Interview 
  • VIII  My Daughter's Marriage 
  • IX  The Difference 
  • Gandhi's God 

  • Publisher's Note 

    The author of this booklet, Shri G. Rao wrote to us through Shri Mashruwala, whether we would be willing to publish it. As he says in his "Offering of Thanks" the booklet is "primarily a factual account of my (Shri Rao's) conversations with Gandhiji on the atheistic view of life" and it also contains "some of my reflections on the conversations". Such accounts of conversations with Gandhiji, important as they are by themselves, make very interesting reading and give us a true insight into the life and personality of Gandhiji. Therefore, such accounts are always welcome and we readily publish this one. We need not say that along with the account of the conversations which he gives us, the opinions and observations that he makes are his own. As the reader will readily feel through its pages, it has all along the ring of a sincere seeker who wishes to realize himself as an a-theist and he thus shows a religious spirit which is the essence of a good life. Under various religious labels what we are truly called upon to profess and proclaim is a life of truth and goodness on earth. It is this broad-based view of life that Gandhiji stood for; and hence he had no hesitation in saying for himself that he was a Hindu, a Mussalman, a Sikh, a Parsi, etc. If, as Shri Kishorlalbhai says, atheism is also a creed among many others, -- and there is all logic in saying so -- would not Gandhiji as well have said that he was an atheist as well, provided it meant a life of truth and goodness and devoted service to the whole of God's or No-God's creation? Did he not say about Charles Bradlaugh that, notwithstanding his non-belief in God, he was a man of noble character and a truly religious man? And he was a great atheist. Creedal religions -- and atheism, too, is a creed -- unhappily have till now divided the human family. Gandhiji's main work in this sphere was to show that, limited as man is, he may perhaps have to live in these creedal compartments; but they are no unsurmountable barriers or boundaries within his essential unity and oneness in spirit. As the Bible says, there are many mansions in God's great house; but the house is one. Or as the Sanskrit shloka says,


    (Just as all the water falling from the sky goes to the sea, so the homage paid to all the various gods ultimately reaches Keshava, the Supreme God.) 

    Caged as we all are in our own exclusive pride of limited truths, we can see the whole truth only if we live the truth as we see it, and such humble and sincere pursuit only can lead us to the whole Truth. The kindly light of such spirit of truth only can lead us to the whole Truth in which we live and have our entire being. We hope this book will help the reader to appreciate this great catholicity of approach to God and view of life to which Gandhiji bore testimony all through his long life devoted to serve God through His creatures. 

    4-4-1951 



    Offering of Thanks 

    This book has one serious drawback. Though it is primarily a factual account of my conversations with Gandhiji on the atheistic view of life, it contains also some of my reflections on the conversations; but it sadly misses Gandhiji's observations. 

    To make up for the defect to the greatest extent possible, I approached Shri K. G. Mashruwala with a request to write the introduction to the book and to add his comments on the contents. I was aware that the Editorship of the Harijan barely leaves him time to spare for such a task. And any demand on the little leisure he has is but cruel in view of the rest which his delicate health requires. Yet I had no alternative; Shri Mashruwala is the best person to interpret Gandhiji. 

    It was so good of Shri Mashruwala to have readily agreed to my request with the only proviso that he would take his own time to write down the introduction. He did it within two months. I express my deep sense of gratitude and thankfulness to him. 

    I also thank Shri M. Siva Kamayya who was my colleague when I was a college lecturer. At my request he went through the manuscript of the book and with his suggestions he helped me to fill in most of the gaps in the sequence that a book of this kind is likely to have. 

    I will be thankful to the readers for their unreserved comments on the book. They will help the cause of atheism in its service to humanity. 

    C. Ramachandra Rao 
    25-11-1950 
    Atheistic Centre, 
    Patamata, via Bezwada, 
    S. India 



    Introduction  by Shri K. G. Mashruwala 

    I

    Shri Goparaju Ramachandra Rao (hereafter, for brevity, referred to by his nickname Gora*) is an earnest social worker of Andhra. He has made the cause of Harijans his own and identified himself with them in a manner few are capable of. He is a Brahmin, brought up in an orthodox joint Hindu family, consisting of aged parents, brothers, sisters, and his own assemblage of wife and children. He was never rich and has become poorer since, because he holds heterodox views about God, Karma and other principles of Hinduism. It cost him his lecturership in a college. Then he has taken the unusual course of marrying his daughter to a Harijan youth. This has made him socially boycotted by many of his kinsmen and friends of the Brahman and savarna Hindu society. His own parents, sisters, and his wife's relations dislike his heterodoxy and extreme zeal for social reform, and some of them too boycotted him for a time. But he loves them, understands their limitations, and he and his wife and children suffer the ostracism patiently and without resentment. This has reconciled some of them considerably, though not yet fully. 

    He is a believer in Gandhiji's philosophy and constructive programme, except in one important respect. He does not share Gandhiji's faith in God -- far less a "living" faith in God. Not only does he not share this belief, he shows a great zeal in propagating its opposite. This has made him somewhat unacceptable even in the Gandhian circle. 

    Gora made his first attempt to contact Gandhiji in 1930. But he tried to approach him through atheism. And even Gandhiji could not appreciate it, and did not respond to his approaches quickly. For a long time he did not feel inclined to give him an interview. But though he called himself an atheist, Gora was young and earnest, and like all young men a hero-worshipper. He adored Gandhiji immensely. If he had been also an adorer of God, one could say that he adored Gandhiji next to God. But, this expression cannot be used for him, since, so far as he could, he had dismissed God. Can it be said, then, that he adored Gandhiji as next to none? Perhaps not. For, though he had dismissed God, God's throne was not demolished and Gora had installed the doctrine of Free will of Man and Principles of Social Morals on that throne. He would forsake anything in the world, even Gandhiji, rather than his faith in the doctrine of Free will and Principles of Ethics. So, his adoration of Gandhiji was like that of most young and devout hero-worshippers of that period, only next to their own first creed. 

    To come back. In spite of lack of encouragement, Gora did not give up his attempt of coming into intimate contact with Gandhiji. Ultimately, after 14 years of waiting he succeeded in doing so in the last week of November, 1944. As Gandhiji died in January, 1948, this book is for practical purposes, a story of personal contacts and correspondence with Gandhiji during a period of less than four years. But, short as the period is, it is very interesting both as a story and a study. It is the account of a period, when the relationship between the two was in the stage of a particular metamorphosis. It related how from a stranger, rather unwelcome, Gora became to Gandhiji a close and dear member of his "Family" and Gandhiji, too, grew in his eyes from a great national leader into a personal relation, almost a master, ever increasing in moral stature and, therefore, becoming more and more adorable. Of course, as in the case of all missionaries, his zeal to convert Gandhiji to his own views persisted. It was the curious phenomenon of one, who with the devotion of a disciple and the filiation of a son, desired to convert another, whom he would rather follow as a master and respect as a father, into his own disciple! Not that such phenomena are altogether unknown. But they are rare. 

    A great part of the book is a discussion between Gandhiji and the author on Theism and Atheism. Gora desires me to discuss this subject in my own way in this introduction. I have done so in the next section. But I think that in order to follow it better, it would be more helpful to the reader to defer reading the second section until he has finished the main text. 

    II 

    The reader must have observed that in his very first meeting with the author, Gandhiji found that though Gora loved to call himself an atheist, he was a sincere and serious-minded man. He was, what might be called, 'a man of God'. Indeed, he resented being considered 'godless', and insisted in distinguishing between atheism and godlessness. 

    This looks puzzling and self-contradictory. Gora tries to overcome the contradiction by saying that "Godlessness is negative; it merely denies the existence of God. Atheism is positive.... It means self-confidence and free will." It is, I believe, a meaning given to this word by Gora himself, and not easily knowable from its structure. 

    Generally, people who speak of God and of topics connected with or concerning God are considered mystics. The reason is that they use a very mysterious word. In ordinary science, people use words, which are exact or are given an exact meaning by appropriate definitions. Not so, the word God

    Gora introduced himself to Gandhiji by seeking his definite meaning of the word God. At that time, Gandhiji wrote "God is beyond human comprehension." This answer is in accordance with the famous texts of the Upanishads,


    (Not this, not this -- beyond all that is cognizable); or


    (From which, along with the mind, words turn back). Ordinarily, this should lead one to expect that if God was beyond human (rather, mental) comprehension, there should be very little literature about Him. The seer should say simply, "I feel the presence of Something, which I am unable to comprehend and express. I have given the name God to it. I feel that I am inisolable from It. But I can say nothing more about It." But this is not what writers and seers usually do. In spite of the above affirmation, attempts are made to explain God in terms of something known to man in a positive manner. Thus, God has been called Sat (Being), Chit (Awareness). Ananda (Bliss and Satiety), Satya (Truth), Shiva (Good and Holy), Sundara (Beautiful), Prema (Love), Shiva Lord, Father, Mother, Judge, Dispenser of fruit (Karma-Phala-Pradata), Immortal (Amrita), Perpetual (Sanatana), Endless (Ananta), Merciful, Will, Power, Action, the ultimate 'I' of every being and so on. Moreover, every teacher shows preference for one or two of such explanatory terms to the rest, and emphasizes that aspect to a greater. The result is that the Incomprehensible God is brought into the realm of Comprehensible terms, and the unlimited and inexpressible One takes a limited, concrete and fairly understood meaning in the minds of his followers. Thus as many forms of God and theories about His relation to individuals and the universe are created as the number of great teachers. This leads to "labelled religions" -- establishment of sects and factions with their various systems about the right way of leading life and viewing the world. 

    I agree with Gora that labelled religions fail ultimately in bringing and binding people together, which Religion is expected to do. But how are the labels to be abolished? No founder of any great religion desired to found a sect confined to a few people only. He claimed to deliver his message to the whole world. But every one of them has become the distinguishing mark of one or more labels. 

    Atheism is a reaction against this. But it, too, is a similar process from the opposite. It also develops into one or more labelled sects, as good or as bad as any of the former groups. 

    It seems we can make conversions, that is, bring about a change of labels, discard some old ones and create new ones; but we cannot found an unlabelled Religion, which every one will accept. Our minds are too small for that as yet. If we are wise, we can only meet together with that object and succeed in doing so to some extent, provided we do not try to explain God or Atma in the language of comprehensible terms. 

    But to return to atheism. The rationalist and the scientist, (or one who regards himself to be so), sees the contradiction involved in the above teachings, and the sectarian conflicts arising out of them. He for one does not feel the 'presence of that Something' of which the Seer speaks with so much confidence. He examines every substance and every form of energy most minutely but fails to find there the presence of God. He isolates every knowable property of every object, and at the end finds that there is no remainder, and concludes that 'God is nowhere'. And, on account of the manner of his training, he does not miss Him in his everyday life. He, therefore, refuses to accept the personal testimony of the seer as satisfactory, dismisses it, at its best, as an illusion and, at its worst, as a deliberate lie invented with ulterior motives. He declares himself an atheist. He thinks that he can cut the Gordian knot of religious and social conflicts, irrational traditions, customs and modes of thinking, indifference to obvious social duties, inertia, etc., if this great illusion created by the word God is dispelled once for all, by explaining to the people that no such thing as God exists. His message is, "Forget God; forget that there is some mysterious Intelligent Being, Who has planned this Universe and the course of humanity and your part in it, and that you are like a mere piece on His chessboard moved from one square to another by Him. Do this and you will realize that you are a free individual, master of your own destiny, that all religious and social customs, habits of life and ideas regarding what is proper and improper are made by men like you and me according to our perfect or imperfect intelligence." 

    As I view it, I think that our Gora sails in the same boat as those who speak of God. The theist, on account of his own psychic limitations, is unable to comprehend God as neti (abstract) and settles down again and again to some iti (limited, concrete) idea in the name of God. Even after declaring that God is beyond human comprehension, Gandhiji, too, settled down first to the comprehensible iti (limited) idea, 'God is Truth'. Later, he converted this proposition into 'Truth is God' and regarded that as a better or more correct form of expression. The converted formula seemed to satisfy non-theists, atheists, agnostics also. It allowed him to give an equal place to them in his Congress of All Religions. Atheists, provided they accepted Truth as the Supreme End, had an equal place in his Sarva-dharma-samabhava (equal regard for all religions), with theists. But, whether you say God is Truth or Truth is God, in both cases the term Truth is chosen because of its greater comprehensibleness. So, too, when you say God is Love, or Ananda (Bliss) and so on. Man has some definite and generally accepted ideas about Truth, Love, Bliss, Holiness etc. and some concrete form is always present before his mind, when he thinks of these terms. Not so if he were to say, simply, God is God, or use synonyms like Om, Allah, Jehovah, Theos, etc. These terms are taken as indicating nothing definite beyond referring to some indescribably, great, powerful and mysterious force. 

    Not satisfied with either the incomprehensible term God (Theos), or any of the usual comprehensible ideas about It, Gora chooses the term Not-God (Atheos) to express his approach towards the Root Principle. He thinks that that word us easier to understand and comprehend. It is free from all mysticism. 

    But this, too, is an illusion. At the very first interview with Gandhiji, the author had to explain that the word is not what its negative form suggests. he also denied that it is equivalent to 'Godlessness' of un-moral suggestions. Since the word is not clear in itself, he has to define it by saying, "Atheism means self-confidence and free will." Paraphrased, it means, "Atheos (Not-God) is self-confidence and free will in man, as opposed to Theos (God), which is, in his terminology, the feeling of diffidence and helplessness." 

    The first question that arises on this interpretation is, are all atheists agreed upon this definition of atheism? I am afraid that there will be found as much difference of opinion about the positive contents of the word atheism as there is about God. 

    Moreover, it is impossible for a theist to put the same content in the term God. Thus, he might say "God is Self-confidence and Free will in man", or in short "God is Soul-force", or conversely, "Self-confidence and Free will is God." Dependence, slavishness belongs to Matter, atheos, not-God. The controversy is similar to the one referred to in the Upanishad, whether the world started from Sat (some thing in existence ab initio) or from asat (nothing). 

    One of the questions which I put to Gora was: 

    "What do you mean by free will? Do you simply suggest freedom to act without inhibitions of religious taboos and beliefs?" 

    Gora answered: Free will is much more than to act without inhibition of religious taboos and beliefs. Just as love and hate are together in the emotional make-up of mankind, so also the feeling of independence, that is free will, and the feeling of dependence, that is slavishness, are together in every one. 

    "By free will man feels he is free to think, to speak and to act; by slavishness man feels that he is made to think, to speak and to act. Theism is the manifestation of the slavishness in man, because theistic outlook subordinates human life to the divine will or universal order by laying down the principle that we are playthings in the hands of Providence. Conversely, atheism is the manifestation of the free will in man." 

    But as said above, it is possible for a theist to attribute slavishness to atheism, and freedom to theism, and to quote freely from the Upanishads in support of his proposition. For instance, the Chhandogyopanishad (8-7-i), says:

    "One should seek the Atma which is devoid of evil, old age, death, sorrow (or failure), and hunger and thirst, posessed of the capacity to realize the fulfilment of a desire and a will. One should have a very keen desire to understand this Atma. One who understands and thereafter fully knows the Atma attains mastery over all the lokas (spheres) and all the desires." 

    Thus it is possible to derive from one's faith in God all that strength, will, and spirit of independence, for which Gora would demand faith in atheism. 

    There are two sets of mistakes which all those who discuss God or no-God, allow themselves to slip into. The first is that the questioner begins to discuss the existence or non-existence of God, before he knows what he himself is. This is attempting an impossible feat. Until one thoroughly understands, knows, realizes, what one's own being in essence is, all speculation about God is futile. It may be possible to understand the mechanical construction and working of the atom-bomb without any idea of the essential structure of an atom, but it is not possible to understand God until one knows the Self. 

    The first question which I put to Gora was: 

    "What is the ultimate reality of yourself?" 

    Gora replied: 

    "One thing of which I am most certain is my own existence. Death puts an end to my existence inasmuch as I am not with equal certainty, aware of existence beyond death. During sleep also I am not aware of my existence; but unlike the condition of death, on waking up I become aware of my existence again. 

    "I love to continue. So the ultimate reality of myself is my unceasing effort to ward off death. Death is not inevitable. When the synthesis of protoplasm is made possible, we shall be able to control not only death but old age and disease also." 

    To put it briefly, according to Gora, the ultimate essence of the Self (to avoid the use of the word Atma) is the desire and effort to live for ever. The difference between the teaching of the Upanishad and Gora's proposition is that the former definitely lays down that the Self is without wear and death (

    ), and the latter that it is the goal of the Self, but it is not yet an achieved reality. It will be seen that when Gora speaks of non-achievement, he thinks in terms of the body. The will to immortality with the underlying faith that it is achievable is presupposed and put forth by him as a postulate. Indeed, according to Gora, it is something more than mere Faith; it is a definitely established fact that (unless destroyed by external forces) the protoplasm is essentially an immortal physical organism, and what needs to be done is only its extended application so that that immortality might become available to the entire colony of the cells known as the human body. If it can be achieved in case of one organism, it is potentially true of all, though every one may not be able to do so factually. Thus, according to Gora, the tiny protoplasm is the representative deathless Self. He has stopped there. He does not enquire how that chemical compound of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, etc. gets charged with the desire and power to continue to exist, multiply, expand, from complicated colonies, etc., and so my submission is that as long as the knowledge of the self is vague, there will remain uncertainty not only about the nature of God, but also about His existence. There are so many systems, like the Sankhya, the Jaina, and the Buddhist, which have their theories of the Self, but which either do not accept God or are doubtful or claim indifference about Him. The attitude towards God changes progressively with one's advance in the understanding of the Self. So, one who wishes to be clear about God must first be clear about the nature of one's own being. 

    This is not easy. It does not require to be taken on faith. But if a questioner does not want to take it on the word of others, he must forsake every other pursuit of life and concentrate upon it night and day until he cones to an unmistakable conclusion. If he has no patience or time for that, he must accept the testimony of those who have done so, even as he does in other spheres of science. He relies upon expert doctors for his ailments, expert lawyers for his rights and liabilities, expert technicians for his machines and large undertakings, and upon professors for the various theories of science. We accept the velocity of light as 186,000 miles per second on the authority of a book-text on physics. How many of us have ever tried to test its truth? 186,000 is a rough figure; the exact velocity is some odd miles more and lately doubts have been expressed about the exact figure. But we, laymen, do not bother with the details. We are quite satisfied with 186,000 and would not feel elated or depressed to learn tomorrow that the real figure was a few thousand more or less than 186,000. For our imagination is hardly able to comprehend in a concrete manner the difference between velocities of even 86,000 and 186,000 per second. Similarly we accept on the authority of physicians that potassium cyanide is a deadly poison to man. How many of us have tried to test its truth? But, for that, do we regard ourselves to be putting blind faith in the physicists and the physicians? No. Because we know that, if we are keen about it, the propositions can be verified by us by actual experiment. So, too, the truth about God and of the Self as preliminary to it, is verifiable, provided there is a diligent pursuit of it. If we have not the diligence or the capacity for it, who is to blame? The Gita says:

    "Some people come to know the Self, through the Self, within themselves by Concentration. Some do it through the Sankhya method, others do it by the method of Karma yoga. Others, not knowing such methods, hear it from others and believe it. They too conquer death by their faith." 

    It will be seen that the question of the condition after death also remains a matter of doubt and speculation, until one is clear about the Self. 

    But we try to come to a decision about God, Death and Karma, before we are able to decide what we ourselves are. This is impossible. Shri Raman Maharshi rightly used to emphasize the quest of "Who am I?", before every philosophical query. Until this is clear, every explanation is a theory, a hypothesis. Both those who positively assert re-birth or rise from the grave on the day of judgement and those who, like Gora, positively deny it enter into the realm of hypotheses and speculations about matters which they have no means of proving and which hinge upon the right decision of the nature of the Self.* 

    The second mistake, which follows from the inadequate understanding of the Self, is the attempt to bring within comprehensible terms one who, though directly cognizable, is even after cognition incapable of being expressed in the language of cognizable terms. This is not true only of Atma, and God. It is true of several other experiences also. You know what is sweet; you can give a list of sweet things; but you cannot define it exactly. You know what is anger or love; you can describe and paint vividly various moods and degrees of anger and love; but you cannot define these passions in an exact language. It is possible to give a list of sweet things or raise pictures of love and anger, because these are, after all, objects cognizable by the mind. The Self, and necessarily therefore God, is beyond the comprehension of mind, being the force behind and at the root of the mind and not in front or arising out of it. 

    And still, philosophers, seers and devotees produce books after books discussing God, and trying to analyze Him, dissect Him, confine Him into a few or many cognizable terms, clothe Him with names, forms and attributes, create places or abode for Him, identify Him with some astronomical object, natures's phenomenon, or some great historical or mythological person. No one seems satisfied with such simple and frank statements as, "I am, God is, I am not outside of God. I may be able perhaps to speculate about smaller matter accurately, but I cannot speculate anything about myself or about God, His Will, if any, His plans, if any, and the method of their execution, if any." 

    Let us consider this subject in another manner. The peculiarity of every comprehensible attribute is that it is suggestive of an equally comprehensible opposite attitude. They always go in pairs; e.g. truth and falsehood; knowledge and ignorance; happiness and pain; love and hate, great and small, beautiful and ugly, good and evil; strong and weak, fulness and void (vacuum); sura and asura; and so on. 

    But there is no comprehensible opposite of an incomprehensible term. Thus if you make of God a comprehensible Being (such as holy, majestic, good, just etc.), you have its opposite in Satan. But when you know God as an incomprehensible yet real existence, it has no opposite. The attempt to coin an opposite term becomes equally incomprehensible. Real non-existence, asat, not-God, a-theos is as incomprehensible as God. The comprehensible a-theos, not-God of Gora is as good or as bad as the comprehensible God. As I have shown above, it is equally possible to speak of God as free will (soul-force) as of not-God. 

    For this reason, Advaita Vedanta explains the terms sat, chit, and ananda, though positive in form, double negative in content. It says Brahma is called sat, chit, and ananda in order only to signify that It is not asat (nonexistent), a-chit (ignorance), anananda (despair and sorrow). These terms are not meant to convey that Brahma is a condition of existence in which there is consciousness and joy, in the sense these terms are understood by men. 

    Gora attributes his strength of will and the success he has been able to achieve in his field of service to his atheistic approach and appeal to atheism. 

    He thinks that he has been able to make a better appeal to both the intelligent and the ignorant against the several moral, social, economic, and political evils of our day by this method than by appealing to them in the name of God or a religion. 

    Gandhiji worked all through his life and achieved his successes, as every one knows, on account of his intense faith in God. He declared that Satyagraha was impossible of full practice without a living faith in God. On finding that the word God created some difficulties in the modernized mind, he substituted it by the word Truth. But Truth or God, he never abandoned his path of devotion -- bhakti. He would have sworn that he attributed all his success to his faith in and appeal to God. 

    Indeed, believers in God and the various religions and religious dogmas which go with these, have been frequently known to uphold, encourage and perpetuate all sorts of social and other evils, even to the extent of war, massacre, slavery, gambling, drunkenness and debauchery. And there are hundreds of people, who declare faith in God, offer regular prayers and worship to Him, and recite His name continuously. And yet there are many among them whose life is very impure, selfish, and violent. There is no evil deed which they might not commit. 

    On the other hand, there are atheists, (and the Jains and the Buddhists might also claim to be included among them), who deny God, but who lead and constantly endeavour to lead a very righteous and moral life, and a life of service and self-sacrifice. And when they work among the people, the people forget whether they are theists or atheists, but look to their sincerity, moral character, spirit of service and sacrifice, and accept their leadership and guidance. Jawaharlal is not a theist, and makes no mention of God or the Soul in any of his speeches. But his popularity is next to none. Sandar was a theist, and many a time devoutly spoke of Him, and he too was equally popular. 

    In the same way Gora might believe that he is able to work among the masses better because of his appeal to and conviction about atheism. I feel that it is an illusory belief. The people look into the heart of Gora and not into his words. And they think that whatever may be his religious creed, here is a righteous man, a devout and godly person, a friend of the poor and the down-trodden, one who will suffer hardships for them, and stand by them in their difficulties. He is essentially a man of religion, and a man of God. But he chooses the name atheism for his creed, and calls his God, Atheos -- Not-God. 

    Let him. This is an intellectual appendix of his career. It is, at best, of secondary importance. Of great and practical importance is his living faith in living and dying for what he believes to be right, good and just, and in accordance with the highest principles of social and personal morality. When once the course of right conduct is decided, he cannot be swerved from it from considerations of personal discomfort, prides, prejudices and customs of society or the likes and dislikes of kinsmen. It is this essential religiousness in him which, I believe, is the key to his success. 

    His atheistic doctrines might change with the advancement of thought and experience, or might get more firmly set in course of time. This depends upon several factors. But as long as he retains a loving heart, exemplary moral character and courage, both in personal and public life, and a life of service and sacrifice, his name will be found in the list of God's own devotees. For his sake, deva will assume the name adeva

    K. G. Mashruwala