Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi
He was a great apostle of truth and non-violence.
He was the architect of India’s freedom
Father of the Nation(Assassinated in 1948).
He released flood of spiritual energy.
His moral standards were very high.
He made the common people to resist injustice and tyranny in high places.
He resisted the governments of South Africa and England.
He was not a mere political leader or a social reformer.
First and foremost, he was a man of God, saint, sannyasi.
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born at Porbandar, Kathiawar In Gujarat, on the 2nd October 1869.
He joined in 1887 at Samaldas College at Bhavnagar, left after one term.
Sent to England to study law.
Took three oaths leaving for England: will not touch wine, woman and meat.
He was married at the age of 18.
Sailed to England on 4th September 1887.
He learned there Latin, French and English.
Passed the London matriculation.
Called to Bar on 10th June 1891.
While in England read Bhagavad Gita, Light of Asia, NT, Heroes and Hero worship (Carlyle)
Returned to India in 1891. Did not find suitable job.
Worked with Dada Abdullah& Co in South Africa. Went there for one year but continued for long time.
In south Africa Indian population gave him their legal work.
Did free public service.
Applied to be advocate of the Supreme Court and got.
In south Africa and England he laid before the governments the grievances of the Indians living in south Africa.
And he organized the “Natal Indian Congress” on May 2, 1894.
He set up his practice in Johannesburg in 1903.
He raised politics to the level of religion.
He worked for Swaraj for India.
He also said that he preferred Truth to Swaraj.
For him Truth was God.
There was perfect harmony between Gandhi’s life and teaching
He was the author of Satyagraha and an ideal Sathyagrahi.
He was also a man of Action, “Ideal Karma Yogin”.
His spiritual foundation is derived from Ishopanishad v1: “ All this , whatsoever moves on earth is pervaded by the Lord. When thou hast surrendered all this, then thou mayest enjoy. Do not covet the wealth of any man.”
Basics ideas are: faith in God, surrender to His will, brotherhood of all, renunciation and service.
For him Truth was God.
God is not a mere abstract idea, but a living presence.
He said if you cut of mu limbs I will not die but “ blast my belief in God and I am dead.”
He called God, the mysterious being, as Sat.
Move from God is truth is to truth is God.
To Know God is to attain self realization. Truth can be perceived in different ways and therefore there is no need for force.
Also perfect non-violence is necessary for us in our search for Truth.
Ahimsa and truth are so intertwined that it is difficult to disentangle and separate them.
Ahimsa is the means and truth is the end.
Hinduism is a relentless pursuit after Truth.
Non-violence is not mere non-killing.
Every act of giving pain to the mind or the body of any living creatures directly or indirectly is a breach of ahimsa.
Gandhi’s gospel of truth and non-violence is based on his faith that God is love as well as truth.
Caste system: Gandhi believed that modern caste system in India is a travesty of the Varnashramadharma and is a breach of the doctrine of ahimsa.
For Gandhi the theory of Varna is based on
Division of labor
The principle of heredity
The equality and oneness of all life.
For Gandhi all professions should be on an equal footing.
He also said if both Hinduism and India are to live and grow from day-today caste should go away.
His campaign against Untouchability was his biggest contribution to Hinduism.
In contrast to the industrialized West Gandhi believed in village economy.
Swadeshi is swadharma applied to one’s immediate environment.
Gandhi spiritualized economics and politics.
He extended swadeshi to economics, education, politics and religion.
The struggle for Swaraj is an all round awakening – social, educational, moral , economic and political.
Education should be in mother tongue. Along with other basic crafts.
All should retain their own religion.
He was emphatically against the proselytizing activities of the Christian missionaries.
All religions are branches of the tree of Truth.
At the same time all religions are imperfect because they have come through human channels.
Religion is bet propagated by the noble lives led by its followers.
It is not mere toleration but believing that all faiths lead to the same goal.
He said child marriage, enforced widowhood and the devadasi system are as much blots on Hindu society as untouchability.
In order to see progress women should be treated as the equal of men.
Difference in sex and physical form are denotes only differences in function and not difference in status.
Women should not be called as weaker sex.
If nonviolence is our law of being, the future is with women.
Social reform should go hand in hand with political and economic reforms.
Cows are endowed with a soul . it is the gift of Hinduism to the world.
Satyagraha means holding on to truth.
Satyagraha is his way of fighting tyranny and injustice.
He coined the word in South Africa. It is not passive resistance. It is active, but non-violent resistance.
It is vindication of Truth, not by infliction of suffering on the opponent, but on one’s own self.
The branches of Satyagraha are non-co-operation, civil disobedience etc.