The Way of Gandhiji

From Mani Bhawan, Gandhi's Home in Mumbai, India
I am praying for the light that will dispel the darkness. 
Let those who have living faith in non-violence, join me in the prayer
  – MK Gandhi 

An Excerpt from the Te of Piglet by Benjamin Hoff:

 "Know the masculine, but keep to the feminine.....Return to the infant state." "children, who play life, discern its true law and relations more clearly than men, who...think that they are wiser by experience, that is, by failure." "great man retains child's mind." The great man, we would say, plays like a child and attracts like a woman. His play may be serious and his attraction seem masculine on its surface, but they are childlike and feminine nevertheless.

And that brings us to someonw we consider the greatest Piglet of all time, who changed his life an the lives of millions by applying the tremendous power available to those who attract positive with positive. We will introduce him with these words by Chuang-tse:

 If a great master ruled the empire, he would stimulate the minds of the people by working in harmony with them, so they carried out his teachings unconsciously and without rebelling. under his influence they would reform their manners, the evil and violence within them would be extinguished, and they would move forward as individuals acting for the common good, as if they did so on their own initiative. 

Could such a leader be compared to even the greatest names in recorded history? He would come from a time befroe any of them existed. His only desire would be to bring other minds to rest in the Virtue of those long-forgotten days. 

As a small boy, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was frail and shy. "My books and my lessons were my sole companions," he later wrote. "to be at school at the stroke of the hour and to run back home as soon as the school closed-that was my daily habit. I literally ran back, because I could not bear to talk to anybody." for years he would not go out at night. As a young man, he went ot England to study law. "even when I paid a social call," he wrote, "the presence of half a dozen or more people would strike me dumb." 

But Mohandas Gandhi was a Learner. He learned from his studies. He learned from being the perpetual Piglet. And from his parents he learned, in time, some of the most important lessons of his life. 

From his father he learned bravery, generosity, and unwavering adherence to the principles of morality and truth. From his mother he learned the importance of gentleness, modesty, and consideration, as well as the flexible strength that enables one to overcome through yielding. From both he learned that if one wants positive results, one must be positive, and that goodness persistently applied will always triumph over evil, even though it may seem to take a good deal of time doing so. 

Eventually, though applying what he learned to the advancement of one Underdog Cause after another, Gandhi became known as quite a fighter, winning battles that many older, more experienced campaigners told him could not be won. he not only won them; he did so by, as the Chinese saying puts it, "fighting without fighting." 

Encountering massive, statutory discrimination against Indians in South Africa, Gandhi began a campaign of nonviolent resistance. In jail for his respectfully uncompliant behavior, he read and was inspired by Henry David Thoreau's essay "Civil Disobedience." but words like "resistance" and "disobedience" bothered him.
wanting a more positive term, he and a cousin came up with Satyagraha, or Truth Power.
Gandhi said that Turth Power would overcome opponents by changing them with respectful, patient persistence-transforming them, not annihilating them. Again and again, he was told it would not work. And again and agaian, despite overwhelming odds, it did.

In South Africa, Truth Power brought about the Indian Relief Bill. In India, it achieved the grating of democratic reforms; united long-separated political territories, parties, and factions; stopped civil war; revived home industries; freed the nation from British rule; and freed the "untouchables" from the ages-old caste system that had persecuted and imprisoned them. It earned Gandhi-who held no government office, but led India just the same-a popular respect so high  that he could exact political concessions by fasting. And it earned fro him, despite his strong distaste for it, the title of Mahatma, Great Soul. Gandhi insisted that he was no god-the success of Satyagraha in his life, he said, showed that anyone could achieve similar results.

Wherever Gandhi went, he tanformed situations and lives. As one friend and biographer worte, "He...changed human beings by regarding them not as what they thought they were but as though they were what they wished to be, and as though the good in them was all of them."

Many descriptions have been written of M.K. Gandhi and his Truth Power movment. But our favorite has never, we believe, been quoted. It was written by Lao-tse centuries before Mohandas Gandhi's birth, in chapter after chapter of the Tao Te Ching:

Nothing in the world is more yielding and gentle than water. yet it has no equal for conquering the reistsant and tough. The flexible can overcome the unbending; the soft can overcome the hard. 

Why is the sea of the king of ten thousand streams? because it lies beneath them. therefore, if the great man would rule the poeple, he must put himself below them. If he would lead them, he must put himself behind. Then they will neither feel oppressed by his weight nor threatened by his prominence. The world will delight in pushing him forward, and will never tire of him. 

A good commander does not rush ahead. A good fighter does not show anger. A good conquerer does not antagonize. A good employer does not act superior. This is called "the Virtue of not striving," "making use of the abilities of men," and "matching heaven"-the extreme limit of the ancients.

I am good to those who are good. I am good to those who are not good. And so all attain goodness. I am sinceere to the sincere. I am sincere to the insincere. And so all attain sincerity. 

Fine weapons are insturments of evil. All creatures hate them. therefore, followers of the Way do not use them....To rejoice over victory by violence is to rejoice over slaughter. He who rejoices over slaughter cannot unite all within the empire....The wise ruler sees a military triumph as a funeral. 

The violent die violently-that is the foundation of my teaching. 

Yiield and prevail. vend and be straightened. empty and be filled....The great man embraces the One, and becomes its model to the empire. Not showing off, he shines. Not asserting himself, he becomes known. Not taking credit, he is accclaimed. not boasting, he endures. he does not strive against others, so others do not contend with him. The ancients said, "Yield and prevail." Is that a worthless saying? Put it into practice, and all things will come ot you. 

Many say that Lao-tse's advice to those who would rule (or manage their own lives) is pleasant-sounding but impractical-that in real life it couldn't work .yet in real life it did work. One might even say it worked miracles. But Mohandas K. Gandhi wouldn't have put it that way, any more than Lao-tse would have. He knew all too well what such "miracles" consist of: the patient, persistent application of the laws of spiritual transformation, especially that of Attract Positive with Positive. 

"I will not like to live in this world if it is not to be one"- MK Gandhi 


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