Bishwa Nath Singh
Mahatma Gandhi is very widely recognized as the creator and practitioner of an ideology that honed non-violence and a staunch commitment to truth into tools of political resistance and activism and that is why he is called as the father of our Nation.
(Picture of Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of Our Nation)
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Bishwa Nath Singh:
Mahatma Gandhi was greatly influenced by Vedanta, but was not really a traditional Vedantist. Vedantic thought tells us the atman or self in each individual is essentially one, a part of the divine being or Brahman. Gandhi applied this prin...ciple in his unique way, extending it to strive for a better society, free of all divisions. He worked for caste and communal amity and maintained that the service of the neediest people is the worship of Daridranarayan (God in the form of the poor). His life s mission was to work for the betterment of society by affirmative action. For him, India s independence was not merely about wrangling power from the British but about creating a more equitable society or Swarajya, "for those toiling and unemployed millions who do not get even a square meal a day and have to scratch along with a piece of stale roti and a pinch of salt".The Bhagavad Gita says, "You have the right to act, but do so without expecting the fruits of your action." From this, Gandhi drew inspiration to persevere undaunted in his struggle, fully understanding that his may be a prolonged struggle which may or may not yield the expected results within a reasonable period of time.Many attribute his fetish for fasts to the Jain philosophy, which was an early influence on him. However, there was a key difference in the application of this principle by Gandhi. While the Jain concept of fasting is renunciation of action, that of Gandhi was fasting for a cause.In the Sermon on the Mount, another great inspiration for Gandhi, Jesus says, "Resist not him that is evil, but whosoever smiteth thee on thy right cheek turn to him the other also." Forgiveness, the central principle of Christ, was embraced by Gandhi, but he did not stop at that. He extended this principle to make non-violent opposition a potent weapon. Fighting against injustice without causing any harm or harboring any ill-feelings towards the enemy came to be his guiding principle. Hence, though deeply religious, he cannot be categorized as belonging to any particular sect or creed. Like all great messiahs and masters, he rose above the practices of the day and culled the essence from each faith, beautifully interweaving various religious traditions to create a mosaic of spirituality that was uniquely his own. In a fable from the Mahabharata, Guru Dronacharya went on a trip for about ten days and asked his disciples to learn as many shlokas ( verses)as they could during this time. When he came back, all his disciples except one narrated many shlokas, and he was pleased with them. The exception was Yudhishthira. He had learnt only one verse. The guru was furious and gave him a whacking. Yudhishthira stoically bore the punishment and did not utter a single word. When his anger had abated, the guru asked Yudhishthira how he could be so irresponsible. Yudhishthira answered, "The shloka ( verse) I learnt asked one to control anger. It took me a full ten days to do so but finally, I succeeded. I am glad I have truly learnt this shloka ( verses)." Dronacharya was ashamed at his own lack of restraint and realized that true learning is in the application of what one has learnt.This fable symbolizes the belief of Gandhi, who firmly believed that it is useless to preach something without practicing it. To him, practice always came first. Hence, when asked how his principles could be applied to something as complex as politics, his answer was that he cannot isolate politics from the deepest things of his life, for the simple reason that his politics are not corrupt, they are inextricably bound up with non-violence and truth. He had lived a life where his mind, thoughts and actions were always in synergy with the principles he subscribed to, the ultimate goal of spirituality.Mahatma Gandhi was a great son of our motherland.One can have glimpse of his Biography in brief: The Father of Nation, India. Known all over the World as Mahatma Gandhi (1869 – 1948), Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born at Porbunder in Kathiawar of the then British India on October 2, 1869. He was the third son of Karamchand Gandhi, (Prime Minister of the erstwhile West Indian states of Porbunder, Rajkot and Vankaner) and his fourth wife Putlibai. He had his schooling in Rajkot, passed his Matric and then went to London for his higher studies which he completed at the University College, London, and was called to the Bar. He practiced law in South Africa and India. He had married Kasturba in 1883 and had four sons – Harilal, Manilal, Ramdas and Devdas. He was a strict vegetarian by upbringing who later on turned a fruitarian later and a practitioner of naturopathy for all health-related questions. He was born Hindu and an ardent believer in God, his was a great spiritual presence. He strove for the brotherhood of all religions, liberty and equality for women, eradication of the evil of untouchability and other caste-based discriminations. He was imprisoned several times both in South Africa and India for his unyielding struggles for upholding human dignity. Even on the day when New Delhi and other parts of India were celebrating the country’s freedom from foreign yoke, Gandhi was working among the rioting Muslims and Hindus in the far away Calcutta. Later on his return to Delhi, while he was going for his evening prayer meeting in the premises of Birla House, New Delhi , he fell to the bullets of a Hindu fanatic on January 30. 1948 thus India as a whole lost one of the greatest illustrious son of her motherland and the world a firm believer of truth and non-violence who had proved himself as a becon light for the entire world showing the path of truth and non-violence all throughout his life. Let us join to pay our humble obeisance to his lotus feet and respectful homage to him!
jUNE 1, 2011.