A 92-year-old letter by Mahatma Gandhi, in which he called Jesus Christ “one of the great teachers of mankind”, has been put up for sale in the United States, PTI reported on Thursday. Gandhi wrote the letter, dated April 6, 1926, from Sabarmati Ashram to American religious leader Milton Newberry Frantz.
Typed in faint ink, the letter was part of a private collection for decades. Pennsylvania-based Raab Collection is now selling it for $50,000 (Rs 32.6 lakh), and said it was “one of the finest letters on religion that Gandhi ever wrote”. Raab Collection Principal Nathan Raab called it a “powerful, emotional letter”.
The letter was written in response to Frantz’s request to Gandhi to read a publication on Christianity. “I am afraid it is not possible for me to subscribe to the creed you have sent me,” Gandhi said in the letter. “The subscriber is made to believe that the highest manifestation of the unseen reality was Jesus Christ. In spite of all my efforts, I have not been able to feel the truth of that statement.”
The letter further says: “I have not been able to move beyond the belief that Jesus was one of the great teachers of mankind. Do you not think that religious unity is to be had not by a mechanical subscription to a common creed but by all respecting the creed of each?”
What makes the letter powerful is Gandhi’s stated respect for other religions, Nathan Raab said. “I think his message of tolerance, of not preaching only his feelings, is as important now as it was back then,” he said.