Philosophy Of Gandhi
Power has many faces. Some forms of power are abrupt, forceful and potentially harmful. Yet, there is another kind of power that is constant, unyielding but also loving and peaceful. Mahatma Gandhi, the famed leader of the nonviolence movement in India, championed the belief that nonviolence is the law for all humanity and that it takes greater strength to use peaceful resistance to achieve your ends than to resort to brute force. According to Ghandi: “Power rightly exercised must sit light as a flower, no one should feel the weight of it.” Calling himself a “practical idealist,” he believed in facing injustice in the world by having the courage to love and show “ahimsa”, selflessness, which he wrote brought “delight” to his life. Following Gandhi, we can learn to recognize the subtle power of nonviolence to bring a sense of peace to our lives and the lives of others.
Born in India, on October 2,1869 as Mohandas Gandhi, he searched spiritually for many years, eventually earning the name Mahatama, meaning “great soul.” While living in South Africa, he studied the works of many religions as well as the literary works of writers such as Tolstoy and Thoreau, which led him to forgo the pursuit of wealth for a life of self-improvement. It was also at that time that he began to experience discrimination and to react to it by organizing peaceful marches, community meetings and boycotts, which often led to his arrest. After returning to India, he created a highly successful system of nonviolent protest to win independence from the British. Using fasting, prayer and a stubborn resolve not to hate the British, his legacy has made a lasting impression on people all over the world. Gandhi believed that, “Hate is the subtlest form of violence. We cannot be really nonviolent and yet have hate in us.”
For Gandhi, the ultimate end of nonviolence was an enlightened world, in which people would naturally care for one another, without needing to be governed. But, he also realized that this utopian vision was not yet a reality. Therefore, he believed strongly that people should have the courage to defend their visions, but when at all possible, they should do so without causing pain to anyone else. He added that by using the principles of nonviolence, the weak would grow stronger. To Gandhi, it was integral that people always speak their truth but he also believed that, “One should speak the truth in gentle language.”
Gandhi’s remarkable legacy continues to affect huge numbers of people today. While his beliefs have profound universal applications, he also lived these ideals privately. The true essence of nonviolence begins with the way we conduct our private lives and the way we feel about other human beings. As Gandhi taught, we can be powerful and loving. We can speak our personal truth in a way that spreads enlightenment.