A powerful and emotional letter written by Mahatma Gandhi in 1926, in which he discusses the existence of Jesus Christ, is up for grabs in the US for USD 50,000.
The letter dated April 6, 1926 was written by Gandhi from his Sabarmati Ashram in India. Typed in faint ink and with a bold, unaffected signature, the letter was part of a private collection for the past several decades and is now being sold by the Pennsylvania-based Raab Collection.
"Jesus was one of the great teachers of mankind," Gandhi wrote in the letter to Christian religious elder in the United States, Milton Newberry Frantz.
Nathan Raab, principal at the Raab Collection, described the letter as the embodiment of Gandhi's vision for a world of religions at peace. "His belief in Jesus as a teacher of mankind shows his efforts to find commonality with his fellow man," he said.
"It a powerful, emotional letter," he said.
What makes this letter powerful, Raab said, is Gandhi's stated respect for other religions.
"I think his message of tolerance, of not preaching only his feelings, is as important now as it was back then," he said.
"This is one of the finest letters on religion that Gandhi ever wrote," the Raab Collection said in a press statement.
"Our research discloses no other letter of Gandhi mentioning Jesus to have ever reached the public market," the historical-document dealer said.
In the letter, Gandhi, who was a Hindu, expressed respect for all faiths and beliefs.
"Dear Friend, I have your letter. I am afraid it is not possible for me to subscribe to the creed you have sent me. 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," Gandhi wrote in the letter.
"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?" he asked.
"In my opinion, difference in creed there must be so long as there are different brains. But who does it matter if all these are hung upon the common thread of love and mutual esteem?" Gandhi wrote in the letter.