Mahatma Gandhi, an inspiring figure even today

Follow his principles of Satya, Ahimsa, Sarvodaya and Satyagraha

Today is Gandhi Jayanti, the day which marks the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, who was born today in 1869. This year, 2nd October commemorates his 150th Birth Anniversary.

Today is an opportunity to recall the four basic principles taught by Mahatma Gandhi: Satya (truthfulness), ahimsa (non-violence), sarvodaya (welfare of all) and Satyagraha (peaceful protest).

These four principles constitute the Gandhian philosophy. Since they allude to the very basis of dharma, they are still and perhaps even more relevant in this day and age.

The word dharma is derived from dhri, which means “to hold”. It literally means “that which holds” the people of this world and the whole creation. The same is described in the Vedic Text, in Atharva Veda as: Prithivim dharmana dhritam, i.e. “this world is upheld by dharma”. The term dharma can best be explained as the “law of being” without which things cannot exist.

Satya means oneness in your thoughts, speech and actions. Gandhi was a great believer in the power of truth. He said, “There is no God higher than truth.” The Yoga-shastras as well as the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali propagate truthfulness as essential for living a disciplined life. The root cause of any corruption in the society is nonobservance of truthfulness.

Ahimsa teaches us the path of nonviolence. It should be practiced not only in actions but also in thoughts and speech.

The third principle is Sarvodaya or welfare for all. “Bahujan hitay-bahujan sukhay”, which translates as “the good of the masses, the benefit of the masses”, is one of the basic philosophical concepts described in the Vedas. Any action, which is aimed at the welfare of the people, will be accepted by the entire society.

Mahatma Gandhi based his protests on satya and ahimsa as he believed that “Non-violence and truth are inseparable and presuppose one another.” He called it Satyagraha, which means peaceful demonstrations, prolonged fasts etc. i.e. civil resistance based on nonviolence. Satyagraha is formed by two Sanskrit words satya (truth) and agraha (holding firmly to or firmness). Gandhi said, “Satyagraha is a weapon of the strong; it admits of no violence under any circumstance whatsoever; and it ever insists upon truth”.

Prescription

  • Violence is invariably due to non-fulfilment of someone’s desires or expectations.
  • It is a manifestation of anger OUT (not anger IN). It is a part of hurting some one’s ego.
  • In violence, never react. Think differently.
  • ACT the Lord Shiva way: Continuously (thick matted hairs) with cool mind (half- moon) and continuous flow of positive thoughts (Ganga) keeping your ego under control (Sheshnag) neutralize your anger (Neelkanth) till you get the insight of the answer you require.

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