To a great extent this whole human race is totally materialistic. Social interactions are based on material wealth. Selfishness is the centre of materialism. Out of all the three qualities that exist in the world, (i.e. the three gunas of prakruti, satva rajas and tamas), the highest and best is satva guna, which is totally incompatible with materialism. Very few people practice satva guna. Those who do follow the principle of satva guna with faith and determination exist in the world like a rare and beautiful flower that blooms in a garden. And even after his death the fragrance of his humanity remains. Those who follow the path of satva guna are usually introverts – i.e. they like to be with themselves. Such people, with their progressive and thoughtful minds, with their hearts full of humanity and gentle souls who have looked within themselves, are very few in this world. Materialistic people are cannot be companions of such sensitive and idealistic persons, because their basic nature is very different. However, idealistic people do hide away in caves or live on the top of a mountain. They live in the course of the world and are a part of the world just as the waves are part of the ocean. But they are idealistic and set their sights on higher objectives. During their lifetime, idealistic people do not disregard their fellow, worldly co-travellers. In fact they extend all the humanitarian virtues, such as empathy, fellow feeling, compassion, sympathy and generosity towards them. But such people remain engrossed in their work without being affected or touched (by the outside world).
Ramjibhai was a very idealistic and sensitive person. However, he never set his sights on extraordinary goals or ideals, because he never had any ambitions to become a great person. But, he had enormous respect for such great persons and incorporated their virtues in his life. Due to his high standing and influence in the field of industry he had innumerable friends. He counted many of these as his close friends, to whom he could open his heart and mind. He was very comfortable with them, but at the same time he also liked to be alone and spend time by himself. During these times alone, Ramjibhai would look within himself and this soul-searching made him mentally and physically stronger, but at the same time a more mellow person.
Ramjibhai had started his career from the very lowest level. He knew what poverty was. Due to the fact that he had experienced poverty, he understood the importance of self-discipline and simplicity. He realized the importance of righteous living. He had great esteem for the higher values in life. These were a part of his personality and also played an important role in his development. And so despite reaching the standing of a great industrialist and having great wealth, these values never disappeared from his personality. On the contrary, these traits became more and more pronounced and anybody who came into contact with him for a short or long time, as a passing acquaintance or a long standing friend, reaped their benefit. This was his greatness.
Gradually, his propensity towards social service became more and more pronounced. He had heartfelt sympathy towards the weak and downtrodden. He believed it was his duty to serve the poor and sick. This was why gave as many donations anonymously as he did publically.
Of course he had inherited these great virtues from his father Laxmichand Kamani’s righteous thinking and inclination to serve others. Not only did Ramjibhai uphold this inheritance, but he also enhanced it and passed it on to his children.
Luckily, in his efforts to develop these high ideals and virtues he was directly and indirectly influenced by Gandhiji. The life of this great man was a fount of inspiration for Ramjibhai.
Due to his business, social work and religious works, countless people from all levels of society, having different natures came into contact with him. He treated all of them alike. Very few people, whether they came into close or fleeting contact, really understood his true nature. This was because he always maintained relations suited to that person. Ramjibhai’s nature was such that he always saw the virtues in a person. In this way, just as for Dattatreya*, everybody was his teacher and in seeing the virtues in a person he never discriminated between anybody, whether young or old.
He had an innumerable number of friends, the list is very long. Maybe not all of them, but it is definitely necessary to mention some of them. Harilal Govinji Parikh, Mohanlal Virjibhai Patel, Premchandbhai Khara, Dr. Tapidas of Sevak Mandal, Krishnashankar Girijashankar Vaidhya, Manilal Kothari, Kakabhai Kothari, Balwantrai Mehta, Motibhai Amin, Dhanjibhai Govindji Kamdar, Vanechand Hirachand Doshi, Jagjivanrai Narayan Mehta, Chatrabhuj Sunderji Doshi, Jivanlal Motichand Shah, Jamnalal Bajaj were all his business associates. But although he came to be associated with Jivanlalbhai, Harackhandbhai and Jamnalal Bajaj because of business, it did not stop there. The friendship deepened and became intimate without any expectations on either side. These were golden friendships. Many of his friendships were formed before he became an industrialist, and were long lasting and remained strong even after he reached a high position. Ramjibhai knew how to make friends and also had the ability to make them endure.*Dattatreya is at once the incarnation of Vishnu, Shiva and Brahma.
When Ramjibhai was running a school for farmers in Amreli, Gijubhai Badheka used to bring both male and female teachers to see it. Once, all of them expressed a desire to see the Khodiyar water fall in Dhari. Ramjibhai also went there with them. Seeing the small water fall, the peaceful atmosphere and beautiful surroundings, everybody was in a very good mood. Some of them caught the water as it flowed, others stood under its stream and yet others swam in the small pool. Suddenly a lady slipped and fell into the water and went under the water. Everybody was paralysed (with fear) and nobody knew what to do. Ramjibhai immediately realised the dangerous predicament of the lady and in a second, threw off his shirt, jumped into the water and rescued her.
Whenever any problems arose in his state or the country, Ramjibhai always became actively involved and helped out both physically and monetarily. Many such examples have already been given in previously this book. He always extended as much financial help as he could afford, on any occasion it was required. He settled some persons in manual industries and set up a business for others so that they would have the means to earn a livelihood. He always behaved politely even with those people who had different ideas from his own and was able to tactfully extract work from them and would help them as much as possible. If anybody did him a favour he would always see that the person was suitably repaid.
Ramjibhai always took any opportunity to extend the maximum possible help on many occasions in his life. Whether it was a quarrel between brothers over their inheritance, or any disagreement between two people, he would always try and settle the dispute. Ramjibhai always showed generosity, compassion and sympathy towards the downtrodden and the workers in his own factories. He would always overlook mistakes of his workers, and would praise them for any small success and encourage them in their work. Anybody who has ever come into contact with him has experienced his benevolence, either directly or indirectly and his humanity was always in evidence in both his private and public life.