XXXVII. TO MEET
I must skip many of the recollections of South Africa.
At the conclusion of the Satyagraha struggle in 1914, I
received Gokhale's instruction to return home via London.
So in July Kasturbai, Kallenbach and I sailed for
During Satyagraha I had begun travelling third class.
I therefore took third class passages for this voyage.
But there was a good deal of difference between third
class accommodation on the boat on this route and that
provided on Indian coastal boats or railway trains. There
is hardly sufficient sitting, much less sleeping,
accommodation in the Indian service, and little
cleanliness. During the voyage to London, on the other
hand, there was enough room and cleanliness, and the
steamship company had provided special facilities for us.
The company had provided reserved closet accommodation
for us, and as we were fruitarians, the steward had
orders to supply us with fruits and nuts. As a rule third
class passengers get little fruit or nuts. These
facilities made our eighteen days on the boat quite
Some of the incidents during the voyage are well worth
recording. Mr. Kallenbach was very fond of binoculars,
and had one or two costly pairs. We had daily discussion
over one of these. I tried to impress on him that this
possession was not in keeping with the ideal of
simplicity that we aspired to reach. Our discussions came
to a head one day, as we were standing near the porthole
of our cabin.
'Rather than allow these to be a bone of contention
between us, why not throw them into the sea and be done
with them?' said I.
'Certainly throw the wretched things away.' said Mr.
'I mean it,' said I.
'So do I,' quickly came the reply.
And forthwith I flung them into the sea. They were
worth some ?, but their value lay less in their price
than in Mr. Kallenbach's infatuation for them. However,
having got rid of them, he never regretted it.
This is out one out of the many incidents that
happened between Mr. Kallenbach and me.
Every day we had to learn something new in this way,
for both of us were trying to tread the path of Truth. In
the march towards Truth, anger, selfishness, hatred,
etc., naturally give way, for otherwise Truth would be
impossible to attain. A man who is swayed by passions may
have good enough intentions, may be truthful in word, but
he will never find the Truth. A successful search for
Truth means complete deliverance from the dual throng
such as of love and hate, happiness and misery.
Not much time had elapsed since my fast when we
started on our voyage. I had not regained my normal
strength. I used to stroll on duck to get a little
exercise, so as to revive my appetite and digest what I
ate. But even this exercise was beyond me, causing pain
in the calves, so much so that on reaching London I found
that I was worse rather than better. There I came to know
Dr. Jivraj Mehta. I gave him the history of my fast and
subsequent pain, and he said, 'If you do not take
complete rest for a few days, there is a fear of your
legs going out of use.'
It was then that I learned that a man emerging from a
long fast should not be in a hurry to regain lost
strength, and should also put a curb on his appetite.
More caution and perhaps more restraint are necessary in
breaking a fast than in keeping it.
In Madeira we heard that the great War might break out
at any moment. As we entered the English Channel, we
received the news of its actual outbreak. We were stopped
for some time. It was a difficult business to tow the
boat through the submarine mines which had been laid
throughout the Channel, and it took about two days to
War was declared on the 4th of August. We reached
London on the 6th.