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Gandhi’s Words of Wisdom

“My life is my message”
~ Mahatma Gandhi


Mohandas K. Gandhi (October 2, 1869 – January 30, 1948)


Mohandas K. Gandhi was born in India on October 2, 1869, over one hundred forty years ago. He came to be known and loved by the Indian people and worldwide as “Mahatma”, an honorary Sanskrit term meaning “Great Soul”, like the term “Saint” in Christianity.

Gandhi helped change the world by being the change he wanted see. Though he realized that his life was his message, he regularly wrote down his philosophical ideas on subjects of universal importance.

Because Gandhi walked his talk authentically, peacefully, and universally, his words – like his life – will be remembered for centuries, and will continue to inspire and actuate countless millions of people worldwide.

So, in tribute to this great soul, let us recall some of his inspiring words of wisdom:

“You must be the change
you want to see in the world.”

“In a gentle way you can shake the world..”

“An eye for eye only ends up making the whole world blind.”

“A man is but the product of his thoughts; what he thinks, he becomes.”

“Always aim at complete harmony of thought and word and deed. Always aim at purifying your thoughts and everything will be well.”


“Happiness is when what you think, what you say,
and what you do are in harmony.”

“Nobody can hurt me without my permission.”

“It is unwise to be too sure of one’s own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err.”

“I do not want to foresee the future. I am concerned with taking care of the present.
God has given me no control over the moment following.”

“When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible, but in the end they always fall—think of it. Always.”

“There are many causes that I am prepared to die for but no causes that I am prepared to kill for.”

“An ounce of practice is worth more than tons of preaching.”

“Prayer is not an old woman’s idle amusement. Properly understood and applied, it is the most potent instrument of action.”

“Prayer has saved my life, without it I should have been a lunatic long ago. I feel that as food is indispensable for the body so was prayer indispensable for the soul. I find solace in life and in prayer. With the Grace of God everything can be achieved. When His Grace filled one’s being nothing was impossible for one to achieve.

“Prayer is nothing else but an intense longing of the heart. You may express yourself through the lips; you may express yourself in the private closet or in the public; but to be genuine, the expression must come from the deepest recesses of the heart…

“It is my constant prayer that I may never have a feeling of anger against my traducers, that even if I fall a victim to an assassin’s bullet, I may deliver my soul with the remembrance of God upon my lips.”

“All the religions of the world, while they may differ in other respects, unitedly proclaim that nothing lives in this world but Truth.”

“My religion is based on truth and non-violence. Truth is my God. Non-violence is the means of realizing Him.”

“I consider myself a Hindu, Christian, Moslem, Jew, Buddhist and Confucian.”

“Truth is by nature self-evident. As soon as you remove the cobwebs of ignorance that surround it, it shines clear.”

“I look only to the good qualities of men. Not being faultless myself, I won’t presume to probe into the faults of others.”

“I claim to be a simple individual liable to err like any other fellow mortal. I own, however, that I have humility enough to confess my errors and to retrace my steps.”

”Constant development is the law of life, and a man who always tries to maintain his dogmas in order to appear consistent drives himself into a false position.”

“I cannot think of permanent enmity between man and man, and believing as I do in the theory of reincarnation, I live in the hope that if not in this birth, in some other birth I shall be able to hug all of humanity in friendly embrace.”

“Nonviolence, which is the quality of the heart, cannot come by an appeal to the brain.”

“Nonviolence is not a cloistered virtue to be practiced by the individual for his peace and final salvation, but it is a rule of conduct for society. To practice nonviolence in mundane matters is to know its true value. It is to bring heaven upon earth. I hold it therefore to be wrong to limit the use of nonviolence to cave dwellers [hermits] and for acquiring merit for a favored position in the other world. All virtue ceases to have use if it serves no purpose in every walk of life.”

“It is no nonviolence if we merely love those that love us. It is nonviolence only when we love those that hate us. I know how difficult it is to follow this grand law of love. But are not all-great and good things difficult to do? Love of the hater is the most difficult of all. But by the grace of God even this most difficult thing becomes easy to accomplish if we want to do it.” (From a private letter, dated 31-12-34.)

“To see the universal and all-pervading Spirit of Truth face to face, one must be able to love the meanest of all creation as oneself.”

“Ahimsa is not the crude thing it has been made to appear. Not to hurt any living thing is no doubt a part of ahimsa. But it is its least expression. The principle of ahimsa is hurt by every evil thought, by undue haste, by lying, by hatred, by wishing ill to anybody. It is also violated by our holding on to what the world needs.”

“I do not believe…that an individual may gain spiritually and those who surround him suffer. I believe in advaita, I believe in the essential unity of man and, for that matter, of all that lives. Therefore, I believe that if one man gains spiritually, the whole world gains with him and, if one man falls, the whole world falls to that extent.”

“I do not believe that the spiritual law works on a field of its own. On the contrary, it expresses itself only through the ordinary activities of life. It thus affects the economic, the social and the political fields.”

“Suffering, cheerfully endured, ceases to be suffering and is transmuted into an ineffable joy.”

“The goal ever recedes from us. The greater the progress the greater the recognition of our unworthiness. Satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment. Full effort is full victory.”

“What do I think of Western civilization?
I think it would be a very good idea.”



Like Gandhi, may each of us be inspired “from the deepest recesses of the heart” to live in “in a gentle way” that will bless all life on our precious planet.

And so it shall be!

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God is a Word

“In the beginning was the word
and the word was with God
and the word was God”
~ John 1:1
“And God said to Moses, I AM THAT I AM:”
~ Exodus 3:14


"In the beginning was the word  and the word was with God  and the word was God"

Q. What is God?

A. As the Bible says – God is word:

A word used by different people
to designate different ideas
of a transcendent power;

An eternal force which they can intuit
but can’t ever comprehend.

Any such transcendent power
can never be aptly named.

For any designation connotes and constitutes
some limitation of the illimitable –

THAT.

So, whether or not the “universe” was created by God,
“God” is a word created by man.

But, just as ‘a rose by any other name is the same’,
However humankind calls or tries to imagine it

There exists an indescribable infinitely potential and pervasive Power:

A Substantial Reality and Existence underlying All, as

THAT.


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Words About Words

“In the beginning was the word
and the word was with God
and the word was God”
~ John 1:1
“Better than a thousand useless words is one useful word,
hearing which one attains peace.
Better than a thousand useless verses is one useful verse,
hearing which one attains peace.”
~ Buddha
“…since in order to speak,
one must first listen,
learn to speak by listening.”
~ Rumi
“Speak little; say much.”

~ Swami Ron Onandonananda



Words are thoughts.

Words are mind symbols uttered or inscribed
to denominate and communicate ideas.



Words are then,
Life is NOW.


Life is a word game:

Adding a few syllables to the Ineffable,

we play the word game of life

until we find and become THAT –

Silence that says ALL.



Language can be a ladder for ascent to the Ineffable.


With wisdom words
we implicate
that
 Truth
words never explicate.



Truth transcends wisdom:

Wisdom is primordial;
but,
Truth is pre-primordial.



There’s nothing to say, but words point the way.

So, let’s elevate our spiritual “lexi-consciousness.”


Cosmic contra-diction:

In the beginning was the Word,

but in the end Silence says all.

We maximize the impact of our words

when we minimize the number of our words.


The epigrammatic is most dramatic.



Better than any words is experience.



As the Bible says, “God” is a word – a noun –

with countless connotations, different for different people –

all believing or disbelieving in “God”.


“God” is a word designating different ideas of a Transcendent Power.


Thus, “God” did not create man,

but man created the word “God” –

with thoughts from ruminations, revelations, intuitions, and speculations,
trying to identify THAT which is beyond words, beyond all thought.


When words are inscribed or uttered with deep insight

and heartfelt compassion, they can be very powerful.

Such words are imbued with the energy of their originator.

So, words from an ‘enlightened being’ are like sun rays;

they radiate the light of their Source.



Live laconically, and

Walk your talk:



Join “The Society of Laconic Walk/Talkers”, where –

The less we talk,

the further we go.

The further we go,

the more we Know.

The more we Know,

the less we say,

’Til as Silence we are the Way.



Ron’s Audio recitation of Words About Words

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Think Before You Speak

“All that we are is the result of what we have thought:
it is founded on our thoughts, it is made up of our thoughts.
If a man speaks or acts with an evil thought, pain follows him,
as the wheel follows the foot of the ox that draws the carriage.”
~ Buddha
“A man is but the product of his thoughts; what he thinks, he becomes.”
~ Gandhi
“Nothing’s either good or bad,
 but thinking makes it so.”
~ Shakespeare


This world is wrought 
with naught but thought.
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings



Think Before You Speak:

The thought manifests as the word.
The word manifests as the deed.
The deed develops into the habit.
The habit hardens into the character.
The character gives birth to the destiny.

So, watch your thoughts with care
And let them spring from love
Born out of respect for all beings.

~ The Buddha, as paraphrased by Mahagosananda


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Your Religion Is Not Important



The following is a brief dialogue between  the Dalai Lama and Brazilian theologist Leonardo Boff, one of the renovators of the Theology of Freedom, as recounted by Boff:

“In a round table discussion about religion and freedom in which 
Dalai Lama and myself were participating, at recess I maliciously, and also with interest, asked him: 
“Your holiness, what is the best religion?”

“I thought he would say:      “The Tibetan Buddhism” or “The oriental religions, much older than Christianity”

“Dalai Lama paused, smiled and looked me in the eyes ….which surprised me because I knew of the malice contained in my question.  “He answered: 

“The best religion is the one that gets you closest to God. 
It is the one that makes you a better person.”


“To get out of my embarrassment with such a wise answer, I asked:

 “What is it that makes me better?”

“He responded:

“Whatever makes you
more Compassionate,
more Sensible,
more Detached,
more Loving,
more Humanitarian,
more Responsible,
more Ethical.”

 “The religion that will do that for you is the best religion”


“I was silent for a moment, marveling and even today 
thinking of his wise and irrefutable response:

“I am not interested, my friend, about your religion 
or if you are religious or not.

“What really is important to me is your behavior in 
front of your peers, family, work, community, 
and in front of the world.”

“Remember, the universe is the echo of our actions and our  thoughts.

“The law of action and reaction is not exclusively for physics.  
 It is also of human relations.
 If I act with goodness, I will receive goodness.
 If I act with evil, I will get evil.

“What our grandparents told us is the pure truth. 
 You will always have what you desire for others. 
 Being happy is not a matter of destiny. 
 It is a matter of options.”


Finally he said:

“Take care of your Thoughts because they become Words.
Take care of your Words because they will become Actions.
Take care of your Actions because they will become Habits.
Take care of your Habits because they will form your Character.
Take care of your Character because it will form your Destiny,
and your Destiny will be your Life
     … and …
“There is no religion higher than the Truth.”


Here is a link to a You Tube Powerpoint presentation of this dialogue.

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