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MAHATMA GANDHI MAHATMA GANDHI AN ORTHODOX HINDU AS A GREAT POLITICAL STRATEGIST -Dr. Vasudeo Kshirsagar.

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Presentation on theme: "MAHATMA GANDHI MAHATMA GANDHI AN ORTHODOX HINDU AS A GREAT POLITICAL STRATEGIST -Dr. Vasudeo Kshirsagar."— Presentation transcript:

1 MAHATMA GANDHI MAHATMA GANDHI AN ORTHODOX HINDU AS A GREAT POLITICAL STRATEGIST -Dr. Vasudeo Kshirsagar

2 2 Gandhi is as tall as Himalyas There are more than thousand books written on Gandhi There is hardly any thing to add more Gandhi has written books Hindu Dharma My Religion The story of My Experiments with Truth In addition I have referred other books Gandhi – The writer by Bahabani Bhattacharya Gandhi – A Memoir by William L. Shirer Mohandas Gandhi –Essential Writings by John Dear Mahatma Gandhi –His Life and Ideas by Charles F. Andrews

3 3 Mahatma Gandhi He was not only a Political Leader A follower of Hindu Religion He claimed as Sanatani Hindu Not as the influence of Heredity or Borne in Hindu family He would reject it, if he found it inconsistent with Moral sense

4 4 Mahatma Gandhi He is Hindu for following reasons Most tolerant of all Religions Freedom from Dogma Gives the largest votary for self expression Respects all other religions and Also assimilates good in other religions Room for worship of all Prophets of the World Advises everyone worship God according to his or her own faith.

5 5 Hindu Religion The Hindu Religion is a reflection of composite character of the Hindus, who are not one people but many. It is based on universal receptivity. It has ever aimed at accommodating itself to circumstances, and has carried on the process of adaptation through more than three thousand years. It has first borne with and then so to speak, swallowed, digested and assimilated something from all creeds. Monier Williams (Religious Thoughts & Life in India)

6 6 Hindu Religion The Vedic Seers had Universal Vision which is reflected in last hymn from Rig-Veda. They have addressed it to mankind as a whole, as how humanity should form one brotherhood. Assemble, speak together, and let your minds be all of one accord As ancient gods unanimous sit down to their appointed share The place is common, common the assembly, common the mind, so be there thought united. A common purpose do I lie before you, and worship with your general oblation One and the same be your resolve, and may be your minds of one accord, united to the thoughts of all that all may happily agree Let Noble thoughts come to us from every side of the Universe.

7 7 GANDHI’S INTRODUCTION TO DIFFERENT RELIGIONS He met two unmarried Theosophists brothers in London Requested for his help for proper interpretation on Sir Erwin Arnold’s translation “ THE SONG CELESTICAL” Gandhi was ashamed of his ignorance about Bhagwad Gita He has meager knowledge of Sanskrit, but managed to explain where translation failed to bring out the real meaning. The verses in second chapter of Bhagwad Gita made a deep life long impression IF ONE PONDERS ON THE OBJECTS OF THE SENSES THERE SPRINGS ATTRACTION EROM ATTRACTION GROWS DESIRE, DESIRE FLAMES TO FIERCE PASSION, PASSION BREEDS RECKLESSNESS; THEN THE MEMORY – ALL BETRYED LET NOBLE PURPOSE GO, AND SAPS THE MIND, TILL PURPOSE,MIND, AND MAN ARE ALL UNDONE

8 8 GANDHI’S INTRODUCTION TO DIFFERENT RELIGIONS At same time he met a good Christian from Manchester in vegetarian boarding. He advised Gandhi to read Bible. Gandhi read several books with little interest as he had difficulty in understanding. But the NEW TESTAMENT produced different impression, especially SERMON ON THE MOUNT, which went straight to his heart. “BUT I SAY TO YOU, DO NOT (VIOLENTLY) RESIST EVIL: WHOEVER SHALL STRIKE YOU ON THE RIGHT CHEEK, TURN THE OTHER CHEEK. AND ANY ONE TAKES AWAY YOUR COAT, LET HIM HAVE YOUR CLOAK AS WELL” Gandhi was delighted beyond measure. His young mind tried to unify the teaching of Gita and Sermon On The Mount. He concluded RENUNCIATION is the highest form of religion. In London same time he attended the meetings of Anjuman Islamia and studied Koran.

9 9 In 1893 in South Africa he had discussion with Baptist Minister Rev. J.J. Doke about Soul Force or Passive Resistance. Doke told that Soul Force has been mentioned first in Bhagwad Gita Gandhi replied him from the passage on the SERMON ON THE MOUNT “LOVE YOUR ENEMIES; PRAY FOR THEM THAT PERSECUTE YOU, THAT YE MAY SONS OF YOUR FATHER WHICH IS IN HEAVEN” Overjoyed him and the BHAGWAD GITA deepened the impression, And Tolstoy’s The Kingdome Of God Within You gave the permanent form. ACCORDING TO GANDHI SOUL-FORCE IS INFINITLY SUPERIOR TO BODY- FORCE Jesus Christ, Daniel, and Socratics represented the purest form of Soul-Force.

10 10 GANDHI’S STAY IN AFRICA In 1893 he had close contacts with Christian and Muslim friends Attended Protestant Christian convention with Mr. Baker Delighted with their prayers and devoutness Christian friends were endeavoring to convert him He saw no reason to change his belief or change his religion It was impossible for him to believe that he go to heaven or attain salvation only by becoming Christian. Christian friends were shocked to listen his opinion.

11 11 Abdullah Sheth a Muslim friend kept him inducing to study Islam He started exhaustive comparative study of different religions Christianity and Islam. He also met different religious leaders and had discussion on different religions. He also kept constant contact with Raychandbhai (a Gujrati sage) and expressed his difficulties with religious studies. Raychandbhai sent several Hindu religious books to Gandhi After studying different religions, he wrote to Raychandbhai “EVERYBODY CAN ATTAIN LIBERATION BY FOLLOWING HIS OWN RELIGION. FOR LIBERATION MEANSE COMPLETE FREEDOM FROM ATTACHMENT AND HATRED AND THIS IS THE COMMON GOAL OF ALL RELIGIONS”

12 12 SECRET OF STAYING POWER OF HINDUISM According to Gandhi Hinduism has survived in spite of several attacks by different religions for following reasons It has tried to imbibe whatever was good in other religions Hindu Beliefs God exists, he is without beginning, immaculate without any attribute or form He omnipresent and omnipotent Soul exists and is distinct from body It is without beginning, without birth But it takes on, from time to time, a body as a result of karma And goes on being borne again To be free from the cycle of birth and death and attain Moksha One has to do good deeds, have compassion for all beings Live with truth Action should be undertaken for his own sake, Without an eye on the fruit

13 13 JUSTIFICATION FOR NOT CONVERTING TO CHRISTIANITY ADDRESS TO CHRISTIAN MISSIONARIES IN CALCUTTA AT Y.W.C.A. JULY 28, “I was to find my satisfaction through reasoning, I must study the scriptures of other religions also and make my choice. And I turned to Koran. I tried to understand what I could of Judaism as distinguished from Christianity. I studied Zoroastrianism, and I came to conclusion that all religions are right, and every one of them imperfect, because they were interpreted with our poor intellects, some times with our poor hearts, and most often misinterpreted.” However, he remained indebted to his Christian friends for the religious quest they awakened in him. He studied Bible, Tolstoy’s books. The Gospels in Brief, What to do? And other books which made a deep impression on him. By reading these books he realized more and more the infinite possibilities of Universal Love. In Sabarmati Ashram he use to sing Lead kindly Light amid encircling gloom, And When I survey the Wondrous Cross

14 14 GANDHI RESPECTED ALL RELIGIONS “My Hindu instinct tells me that all religions are more or less true. All proceeded from the same God, but all are imperfect because they have come down to us through imperfect human instrumentality.” Young India Gandhi quoted words of Jalaluddin Rumi of Persia ( ) “The ways of God are as many as the number of souls of men… God’s light is one but its rays are various in hue. We can worship any path, provided it be with a true and sincere heart” Views on Conversion Conversion must not mean denationalization. Conversion should mean a definite giving up of the evil of old, adoption of all the good of the new, and scrupulous avoidance of every thing evil in the new. Conversion, therefore, should mean a life of greater dedication to one’s country, greater surrender to God, greater self purification.

15 15 Three people left deep impression on Gandhi’s life Raychandbhai (Shri Rajchandra) a Gujrati sage whom he met in India. Count Leo Tolstoy, a Russian Aristocrat and greatest author of novels in world literature. He was also tormented with spiritual problems as Gandhi faced in South Africa. Gandhi never met Tolstoy. They have contacts by writing letters. John Ruskin

16 16 Gandhi-Tolstoy Gandhi’s notable reference about Tolstoy with his biographical data appeared in Indian Opinion in Gandhi considered Tolstoy as most talented person in the western world. His teachings are as follows: MEN SHOULD NOT ACCUMULATE WEALTH NO MATTER HOW MUCH EVIL A PERSON DOES TO US;WE SHOULD ALWAYS DO WELL TO HIM. SUCH IS THE COMMANDMENT OF GOD, AND ALSO HIS LAW. NO ONE SHOULD TAKE PART IN FIGHTING IT IS SINFUL TO WEILD POLITICAL POWER, AS IT LEADS TO MANY EVILS. MAN MUST PAY MORE ATTENTION TO HIS DUTIES THAN TO HIS RIGHTS AGRICULTURE IS MAN’S TRUE OCCUPATION. IT IS WRONG TO ESTABLISH BIG CITIES, TO EMPLOY HUNDREDS AND THOUSANDS IN FACTORIES SO THAT A FEW CAN EXPLOIT THE POVERTY OF MANY. Gandhi adopted this message to reorient his own life.

17 17 Gandhi-John Ruskin John Ruskin’s book “Un To The Last”, Gandhi read in South Africa in a 24 hours railway journey from Johannesburg to Durban which made deepest convictions on his mind. The teachings of this book in Gandhi’s words That the good of individual is contained in the good of all That a lawyers work has the same value as the barber’s in as much as all have the same right of earnings their livelihood from their work That the life of labor, i.e. the life of the tiller of the soil and the handicrafts man is the life worth living.

18 18 GANDHI AS AN ORTHODOX HINDU The most favorite religious books were Bhagwad Gita and Ramayana He has also read Hindu Scriptures extensively He was influenced by Pantajali’s Yogsutra, Vivekananda’s Raj Yoga Upanishads, Most favorite is Isa Upanishad As a sanatani Hindu he believed in Vedas and other Hindu scriptures. But he refrained from using the word divine origin. If he believes Vedas are divine in origin, then Bible, Koran, and Zend- Avesta much divinely inspired as Vedas.At the same time he declined to be bound by interpretation, however learned may be, if it repugnant to reason or moral sense.

19 19 GANDHI AS AN ORTHODOX HINDU He believed in Vernashrama: Vernashrama in his opinion is, inherent in human nature, and Hinduism has simply reduced it to a science. Verna means predetermination of the choice of man’s profession of his ancestors for earning his livelihood. Each child naturally follows the “color” of his father. Verna, therefore, is in a way the law of heredity. There is nothing against for a Sudra, to prevent from acquiring highest knowledge as he wishes. A Brahmin falls, if he has no knowledge. Verna has nothing to do with the caste All are borne equal to serve God’s creation.

20 20 Cow Protection Gandhi had very strong feelings about cow protection Most wonderful phenomena in all human evolution It takes the human being beyond his species It is protection of whole dumb creation of God

21 21 Idol Worship He thought Idol Worship is part of human nature. Everybody hankers after symbolism Why one should be more composed in Church than elsewhere. No Hindu considers an image to be God Hinduism tells everyone to worship God according to his own faith There is a room for worship all the prophets of the world and so it Lives at peace with all the religions. Gandhi was never excited in Idol Worship He believed in God in the following manner God is Truth and Love God is ethics and morality God is the source of life and light God is omniscient and omnipresent God is atheism to atheist He knows us and our heart better than ourselves I know, too that I shall never know God if I do not wrestle with against evil

22 22 Prayer Prayer was critically important for Gandhi. Each morning, he spent one hour in silent meditation before sunrise. Each evening he spent another hour in silent meditation. Every day for 50 years he had read from Sermon On The Mount, the Koran, and most importantly, the Bhagwad Gita with focus on the second chapter. He quotes the Gita’s words “do your allotted work but renounce the fruit; be detached and work;have no desire for reward” This he believes, is the Gita’s unmistakable teaching. The object of Gita is to show the best way of attaining self-realization. According to Gandhi prayer is the very soul and essence of religion. Prayer must be the very core of the life of man. God has thousand names or rather He is nameless. Worship Him by whichever name pleases to you For him God is Truth and Love. Gandhi believed in the Hindu aphorism that no one really knows the Scriptures who has not attained perfection in Innocence (Ahimsa), Truth (Satya) and Self Control (Brahmcharya) and who has not renounced all acquisition or possession of wealth. He believed, along with every Hindu in God and his Oneness, in rebirth and salvation.

23 23 GANDHI AS AN ORTHODOX HINDU Untouchability and Caste system is shame to Hinduism Caste is an excrescence, just like untouchability, upon Hinduism. Failure to follow Vernashram is responsible for economic ruins and spiritual ruin. Caste and untouchability is defection of faith The modern Caste, with arrogant exclusiveness, is good as gone.

24 24 GANDHI AS A RELIGIOUS POLITICAL STRATEGIST Battling violence in a strange new manner called Passive Resistance A seemingly airy weapon named Truth Force Later he found the name as “SATYAGRAHA” SATYA MEANS TRUTH AGRAHA MEANS FIRMNESS In passive resistance there is a scope for the use of arms when suitable occasion arises. In Satyagraha physical force is forbidden Satyagraha postulates the conquest of the adversary by suffering in one’s own person. The influence impinged on the early concept First by Thoreau Tolstoy Socrates

25 25 Henry David Thoreau He was an American writer Practiced what he preached Impelled by his duty, he wrote much against his country Campaigning for abolition of Negro slavery, he wrote a famous essay “ON THE DUTY OF CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE” He went to prison for the sake of his principles and sanctified by his sufferings.

26 26 GANDHI’S MESSAGE OF NONVIOLENCE Nonviolence is the greatest contribution to humanity It is the way to peace, justice, and to reach the God He took seriously biblical commandments “Though shall not kill” and “Love your enemies” along with Hindu Tradition Ahimsa (nonkilling). Applied non violence to his own heart and life and practiced in South Africa, India, and the World. He taught the nonviolence is not just the refusal to kill, It is the action of love and truth as a positive social change.

27 27 UNIQNESS OF GANDHI AS A POLITICIAN Gandhi was a brilliant political strategist and revolutionary person Only politician kept reliance upon God in his public practice of NON VOILENCE It was a spirituality Away of life Center of his Religion He insisted that Nonviolence succeeds only when we have real living faith in God. A messenger telling us that God is nonviolent and wants us to become nonviolent even on the political, national, and international levels.

28 28 DREAM OF RELIGIOUS UNIVERSAL GOVERNMENT “ INDEED RELIGION SHOULD PERVADE EVERY ONE OF OUR ACTIONS. HERE RELIGION DOES NOT MEAN SECTARIANISM. IT MEANSE A BELIEF IN ORDERED MORAL GOVERNMENT OF UNIVERSE. IT IS NOT LESS REAL BECAUSE IT IS UNSEEN. THIS RELIGION TRANSCENDS HINDUISM, ISLAM, CHRISTIANITY etc. IT DOES NOT SUPERSEED THEM. IT HARMONZES THEM AND GIVES THEM REALITY. (Harijan , p.445)

29 29 MAHATMA - GREAT SOUL Gandhi was not borne Great To put it cryptically, he was Every man So he has secret funds of strength and has his overt areas of weakness Putting his feet on an unfertile soil and barren earth, never departed from his grass roots With knife in hand, he slashed off every element of weakness in the depth of his being Like an artist with chisel in hand working on a rough stone bit by bit he carved out himself MAHATMA - GREAT SOUL

30 30 MAHATMA - GREAT SOUL EVEN SINCE FORTIETH YEAR OF HIS LIFE HE WAS THROUGHLY IMMERSED IN KIND OF NIRVANA, A PASSIOONLESS NESS. AND IN THIS CONTEXT, ONE CANNOT HELP BEING REMINDED OF GAUTAM BUDDHA. A MAN WHO ATTAINS ABSOLUTE CONTROL OVER HIS INNER SELF IN HIS HIGHLY SOPHISTICATED ERA BY A RARER PHENOMENON THAN ONE KIND WHO LIVED 2500 YEARS AGO.


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