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Mahatma Gandhi's 135th birth anniversary

By Dr. Reet Priiman


Light and Love

     Spiritual circles over the world and especially over India marked on the 2nd October Mahatma Gandhi's 135th birth anniversary.

     Sathya Sai Baba, Mahatma Gandhi - teaches/taught  'God is one - his names and manifestations are many'.

     A tiny selection of Swami's quotations.

     "Gandhi directed the movement for Indian independence along spiritual lines which drew courage and confidence, and communicated both to the people, from Naamasmaran, the recitation and reflection on the names of God. He cleansed the heart of the nation, of hatred and envy, of fear and doubt. He stuck to the ideal and the path; you too should do the same. A student has study, as his ideal and his path. That study cannot be postponed or done slipshod. So, whatever the obstacle or temptation, it must be overcome." (Sathya Sai Baba. Discourse "Tonic for Youth." Summer Showers in Brindavan, 31 May 1972).

     "Intelligence, intellect, intuition - these three govern the thoughts and actions of man. One leads to another. This is the significance of the prayer with which Gandhi awakened the urge of liberation in this vast country; liberation not only from alien rule but also from alien tendencies and trends of thought. He caused the reverberation all over the land from a million throats of the prayer, "Sab Ko sanmathi dhe Bhagavaan" - "O Lord! Grant every one the equipment of beneficent intelligence". Once that is assured, progress is certain." (Sathya Sai Baba. Discourse "The Three Bodies." 23 November 1972, Prasanthi Nilayam).

     "Gandhi used to go round the country praying ... "O Lord, give every one, give all, goodness of mind."  You who are attending this Yajna dedicated for the welfare of the world should pray likewise and, yourself entertain only Sanmathi, so that the world will profit by the example." (Sathya Sai Baba. Discourse "The Vedhic Rite." 10. October 1974,  Prasanthi Nilayam). 

    "When quite young, Mohandas Karamachand Gandhi witnessed along with his mother a drama on "Sravana and his devotion to his parents" and he resolved that he must also become a Sravana. He witnessed a play on Harischandra and that drama impressed him so deeply that he resolved to become as heroically devoted to virtue as Harischandra himself. These transformed him so much that he became a Mahatma. Gandhi had a teacher when he was attending school who taught him wrong paths. But Gandhi did not adopt his advice. As a consequence, he was able to bring freedom (Swaraj) to the country. There are in this land of Bharath thousands and thousands of prospective Mahatmas. The examples we have to hold before them are of those men and women who have learnt and practised spiritual education (Atma Vidya)." (Sathya Sai Baba. Vidya Vahini, p. 25). 

    India's President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday led the nation in paying homage to Mahatma Gandhi on his 135th birth anniversary. 

    "The Times of India," Editorial, The Speaking Tree (Saturday, October 02, 2004 12:00:42 AM) honoured Mahatma Gandhi with abridgment  "Ideal of Simple Living And High Thinking" made by T N Khoshoo from  TERI's "Mahatma Gandhi: An Apostle of Applied Human Ecology:" 

     I decided to share this article with you as Gandhi's ideas are today even more actual the during the life-time of the Great Saint.
    India needs eco-friendly development. Mahatma Gandhi said that economic development becomes relevant only when it is based on principles of environmental conservation and harmony, and equity with social justice.

    Equity has an ethical content in the real world: It would involve sacrifice on the part of the privileged in favour of the less privileged.

   Gandhi conceded that a certain degree of physical harmony and comfort is necessary, but above a certain level, it becomes more of a hindrance.

    So the ideal of creating an unlimited number of wants and satisfying them seems to be a snare that lures us away from the pursuit of the ideal of plain living and high thinking.

    Our happiness really lies in contentment. Gandhi often said that an ounce of practice is worth more than a ton of preaching.

    Industrial countries on the fast track will eventually become ecological security risks, because they will not easily give up their present-day unsustainable lifestyles.

    In his essay The economic possibilities for our grandchildren, Lord Keynes said in 1930: "For at least another hundred years we must pretend to everyone that fair is foul and foul is fair; for foul is useful and fair is not. Avarice, usury and precaution must be our gods for a little longer still. For only they can lead us out of the tunnel of economic necessity and into daylight."

   We need to usher in environmental education with regard to long-range ecological security. Natural, agro and industrial economic systems have to be both conserved and used in a sustainable manner.

   There has to be a healthy blend of environmental, social, developmental and economic imperatives.

    A sustainable society has faith in science and technology as an instrument of environment-friendly social and economic change - because economic growth should not be at the expense of ecological assets.

    We should work in partnership with nature and conserve non-renewable resources and energy and reduce wastage.

    We must believe that the earth's resources have to be protected and sustained not only for humankind, but for other species, too, for present and future generations.

    We need to share our resources across species as we are all inter-connected as one giant living orga-nism. The guiding principle of economics has to be the meeting of needs, and not greed.

    Gandhi said: "The earth provides enough to satisfy every man's needs, but not every man's greed."

    This age of consumerism can lead to over-extraction and over-consumption, resulting in pollution and eco-degradation, with serious environmental impact.

    Market economy must include both the present and future costs of pollution and eco-degradation to help conserve our collective home.

    Using the polluter-pays-principle, the costs must be met by the manu-facturer and/or country concerned for failing to use enviro-friendly technology.

    Gandhi said: "Whenever you are in doubt or when the self becomes too much with you, apply the following test: Recall the face of the poorest and weakest man you may have seen and ask yourself if the step you contemplate is going to be of any use to him. Will he gain anything by it? Will it restore him to control over his own life and destiny? In other words, will it lead to swaraj (self-rule) for the hungry and spiritually starving millions? Then you will find your doubts and your self melting away."

     Quotations  of M K Gandhi printed in "The Times of India" Sacred Space on Saturday, October 02, 2004 12:00:31 AM).

     "Ahimsa... is not merely a negative state of harmlessness, but a positive state of love, of doing good even to the evildoer" (M K Gandhi, 1920).

     "Non-violence is a power which can be wielded equally by all children, young men and women or grown-up people provided they have a living faith in the God of love and have, therefore, equal love for all mankind" (M K Gandhi, 1936).  


     On 8 - 9  Oct 2004 at Memphis, Tennessee will go on The First Gandhian Conference on Nonviolence,  "Teaching to Practice Gandhian Nonviolence: Perspectives from Academics and Activists."

     The First Gandhian Conference on Nonviolence is co-sponsored by the Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence, the National Civil Rights Museum, and the National Conference for Community and Justice.

     Conference is Hosted by Christian Brothers University and Rhodes College.

     Proper information:

     This conference is a nice example how to put in practice and spread  the human values by Gandhi and Swami's Teaching.

     Namaste - Reet