Mahatma Gandhi was a radical thinker with an idealistic vision. He strove utmost to put that vision into practice in his life. He was no less than the Buddha or Jesus in his aspirations as well as materialisation of those aspirations. Jesus was crucified by the religious people whose vested interests were at stake. Gandhi was shot dead by a person who represented vested religious interests.
Gandhi was a Hindu in the sense he followed the religious practices of Hinduism. But his religion surpassed the straitjackets of any organised religion. He internalised religion to the highest degree possible for an ordinary human being. He interpreted the Gita in his own unique way just as he did with the other scriptures.
According to Gandhi’s interpretation, the Mahabharata is not the history of an actual war. “It [the Mahabharata] is not a history of war between two families,” wrote Gandhi, “but the history of man – the history of the spiritual struggle of man.” The Pandavas and the Kauravas become the forces of good and evil within every human being, according to Gandhi’s interpretation of the Mahabharata.
Gandhi even doubted the historical reality of Krishna. “I have no knowledge that the Krishna of Mahabharata ever lived. My Krishna has nothing to do with any historical person,” wrote Gandhi.  In the same article he goes to say, “I believe in Krishna of my imagination as a perfect incarnation, spotless in every sense of the word, the inspirer of the Gita.” Further, he says that if the Mahabharata is indeed history and Krishna “actually did some of the acts attributed to him, even at the risk of being banished from the Hindu fold, I should not hesitate to reject that Krishna as God-incarnate.”
What Gandhi says about Krishna will become clearer when we understand his views on Rama. “My Rama,” says Gandhi, “the Rama of my prayers is not the historical Rama, the son of Dasharatha, the King of Ayodhya. He is the eternal, the unborn, the one without a second….” 
Rama is the concept of God that lies deep within Gandhi’s heart, a concept that is at once abstract and concrete. It is abstract because it has no material form; it is concrete because it is the divinity present deep within every human being.
In a 1942 article Gandhi wrote, “Rama is not known by only a thousand names. His names are innumerable, and He is the same whether we call Him Allah, Khuda, Rahim, Razzak, the Bread-giver, or any name that comes from the heart of a true devotee.” 
What Gandhi called Rama, a Christian may call Jesus, a Muslim Allah or a Jew Yahweh. All these gods are one and the same God, for Gandhi. We call that God by different names because we have been taught those names in our childhood. As we grow up it is our bounden duty to realise the oneness of that God, to realise the presence of that God in the deepest core of our heart. Shorn of that realisation, religion will remain meaningless. Worse, religion will remain a cause of strife and division among people.
Religion has a very pragmatic duty to fulfil in Gandhi’s vision. It should help people to see the divinity within each human being. It should help us to foster that divinity. It should make each person a god, in short. Gandhi used scriptures, religious practices, prayers and self-disciplinary measures for that very purpose: to become a god. That is why he could confidently say, “My life is my message.” His life was indeed as divine as it could be for a human being.
Gandhi who defined God as Truth later changed the equation as: Truth is God. When he speaks about Truth as God, Gandhi becomes a mystic. “Truth is God. This Truth is … that which alone is, which constitutes the stuff of which all things are made…”  The quest for God is the quest for Truth. That is why Gandhi could affirm that “(God) is even the atheism of the atheist.” 
There are moments when Gandhi’s writing is very much like a mystic’s. Look at this for example: “We are not, He alone Is. And if we will be, we must eternally sing His praise and do His will. Let us dance to the tune of His bansi – lute, and all would be well.” 
Ultimately Gandhi wanted to liberate man from the passions of the body and make him the spirit of Truth. “How beautiful it would be, if all of us, young and old, men and women, devoted ourselves wholly to Truth in all that we might do in our waking hours, whether working, eating, drinking or playing, till dissolution of the body makes us one with Truth?” 
Gandhi was far superior to the ordinary man in his thinking and action. That is why quite many people never understood him, and don’t understand him even today. That is also why he had to pay for his vision with his life. He was too great a burden for the ordinary soul to bear!
1. Harijan: Jan 21, 1939
2. Young India: Jan 1, 1925
3. Harijan: April 28, 1946
4. Harijan: Feb 15, 1942
5. Ashram Observances in Action
6. Young India: Mar 5, 1925
7. Young India: Mar 5, 1925
8. From Yeravda Mandir, chapter 1
Author’s personal note: I am not a Gandhian scholar. Nor can I dream of becoming his follower. I am just a distant admirer of this great person. The knowledge I gathered for this article comes from a few anthologies of Gandhi’s writings edited by Anand T. Hingorani, a devoted follower of Gandhi. [Matheikal]