Selected Letters of Gandhi : Part-1


Chapter-24: Ashram as an Institution

I Like your question about the Ashram. Labour is a prominent feature of the Ashram, because it is our duty to engage ourselves in the physical work. Any one who avoids such work like as a thief. Besides the work in the Ashram is not only for ourselves but for others also. The spinning wheel is the focal point of such work, because it alone can be conceived as a subsidiary occupation besides agriculture for the millions in India. Its value is economic as well as spiritual. The Ashram exists not only for service to our country but also for service to humanity, and self-realization through such service.
Every one cannot join the Ashram. The Ashram is not an infirmary or orphanage. It is for those men and women who wish to become brothers and sisters of mercy. Therefore it is not for those who are unable to do physical work. However we may take a few of those who are disabled in body but have a keen desire for service. And we must not drive away those who have joined the Ashram and have subsequently been disabled. Many activities of the Ashram may outwardly appear contradictory, but this contradiction will disappear once you see their inner meaning.