A letter written by Mahatma Gandhi about Jesus Christ is being put up for sale in the US.
The letter, signed by Gandhi and dated 6 April 1926, was written to Milton Newberry Frantz, a religious elder in the US at the time.
Gandhi wrote that Jesus was “one of the greatest teachers of mankind”.
The letter has been in a private collection for decades and is being sold by the Pennsylvania-based Raab Collection for $50,000 (£36,275).
Gandhi, an iconic independence leader, is revered in India and fondly known as father of the nation. He was a Hindu, who wrote extensively about the religion’s philosophy and teachings.
Gandhi wrote to Frantz from his residence in the Sabarmati ashram in the western state of Gujarat in response to a letter asking him to read a publication about Christianity.
Gandhi wrote: “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.”
“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?”
The Raab Collection said in a statement that their “research discloses no other letter of Gandhi mentioning Jesus to have ever reached the public market.”
GANDHI SALES AND AUCTIONS
- April 2012: Soil and blades of grass from the scene of Gandhi’s assassination sold for £10,000 at auction.
- February 2013: A letter written by Gandhi sold for £115,000 at auction – after being expected to fetch £10-15,000. The letter, typed by Gandhi when he was detained in India by British forces in 1943, contains a plea for his freedom.
- May 2013: Gandhi’s last will and testament written in Gujarati sold at auction for £55,000.
- May 2013: Spinning wheel used by Gandhi while in prison has been sold at auction for about £110,000.
- March 2009: Gandhi’s iconic round glasses, a pocket watch, sandals, plate and bowl sell for $1.8m in New York.
- July 2009: A house in South Africa where Gandhi lived in the early 1900s is put up for sale.
- July 2007: One of the last letters to be written by Gandhi is withdrawn from auction in London so that it can be acquired by the Indian government
- July 1998: Letters and cards written by Gandhi are sold for more than $30,000 at the London auction house, Sotheby’s.