Excerpts form the SPEECH AT PRAYER MEETING, BOMBAY March 14, 1946
The root of satyagraha is in prayer……… Satyagraha teaches us the art of living as well as dying.
The singing of Ramdhun is the most important part of congregational prayer. The millions may find it difficult to correctly recite and understand the Gita verses and the Arabic and Zend-Avesta prayers, but everybody can join in chanting Ramanama or God's name. It is as simple as it is effective. Only it must proceed from the heart. In its simplicity lies its greatness and the secret of its universality. Anything that millions can do together becomes charged with a unique power.
Gandhiji said that my prayer, will-power and mental concentration were developed. This lesson he had learnt during his experience over many years, from the time he first started satyagraha.
I introduced the practice of having congregational prayer some time before the commencement of the South African satyagraha struggle.
IAs a practising satyagrahi and the author of satyagrahas, he could say that its seed lay in prayers. Satyagraha could be pitted against all earthly powers for it was a divine power.
The root of satyagraha is in prayer. A satyagrahi relies upon God for protection against the tyranny of brute force. Why should you then be always afraid of the British or anybody playing you false? If someone deceives you, he will be the loser. The fight of satyagraha is for the strong in spirit, not the doubter or the timid. Satyagraha teaches us the art of living as well as dying. Birth and death are inevitable among mortals.
The art of dying follows as a corollary from the art of living.
Death must come to all. A man may die of a lightning stroke or as aresult of a heart failure or failure of respiration. But that is not the death that a satygarahi can wish for or pray for himself. The art of dying for a satyagrahi consists in facing death cheerfully in the performance of one's duty.