“[T]he world will not change if we don’t change.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi
“We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. This is the divine mystery supreme. A wonderful thing it is and the source of our happiness. We need not wait to see what others do. “
~ Mahatma Gandhi
“If we are to make progress,
we must not repeat history but make new history.
We must add to inheritance left by our ancestors.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi
“My life is my message”
~ Mahatma Gandhi
“Whatever we think, do, or say,
changes this world in some way.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings
Introduction to “Be The Change”
From “Gandhi The Man” we learned that Mohandas K. Gandhi, changed himself to change the world – that from a frail and fearful child, he became Mahatma Gandhi, one of the most inspiring and positively influential human beings in known human history.
“Generations to come will scarce believe that such a one as this ever in flesh and blood walked upon this earth.”
~ Albert Einstein (after Gandhi’s 1948 assassination)
“[S]ince the time of Christ there has been no single individual whose life and ideals have influenced the masses more than Mahatma Gandhi’s.”
“God sent him into the world as a prophet who for the first time…went beyond his flock and influenced the great masses of people politically.”
~ Paramahansa Yogananda
“Mahatma Gandhi, implemented [the] very noble philosophy of nonviolence in modern politics, and he succeeded. That is a very great thing. It has represented an evolutionary leap in political consciousness, his experimentation with truth.”
~ H.H. Dalai Lama, from “The Dalai Lama, A Policy of Kindness”
Gandhi’s extraordinary transformation, became epigrammatically encapsulated by the slogan “Be The Change”, which was often attributed to him, though it is not a direct quotation.
The following posting explains the source and significance of the “Be The Change” slogan, consistent with Gandhi’s exemplary life, and his “satyagraha” movement’s resolutely non-violent active assertion of fundamental human morality, which has brought this world an unprecedented “evolutionary leap in political consciousness”.
1) Gandhi’s original quotations and philosophy about changing the world;
2) My explanation of the significance of Mahatma Gandi’s “be the change” philosophy; and
3) An embedded YouTube video performance by talented American rapper MC Yogi who, inspired by Gandhi, has creatively conveyed the Mahatma’s life story in rap with rhymed words and powerful pictures.
Gandhi’s original quotations about changing the world
According to his grandson, Arun Gandhi, he was speaking after a prayer service where people said to him that the world has to change for us to change.
He responded, “No, the world will not change if we don’t change.”
So we must each be the change we want to see.
Similarly, In 1913 Mohandas K. Gandhi published an essay about snakebites that included this passage:
“We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. This is the divine mystery supreme. A wonderful thing it is and the source of our happiness. We need not wait to see what others do.” (*For source, see footnote below)
Also at this time Gandhi published in Hindi a lengthy treatise titled A GUIDE TO HEALTH which included an entire chapter about avoiding and treating snakebites.
An 88 page English translation of that treatise was published in 1921, with statements similar to the above essay quotation. In it Gandhi vehemently asserted that no God created creature is instinctively predatory and dangerous to humans if approached with LOVE.
Thus he declared:
“[W]e are wrong in regarding the serpent as a natural enemy of man.
The great St. Francis of Asissi, who used to roam about the
forests, was not hurt by the serpents or the wild beasts, but they
even lived on terms of intimacy with him. So too, thousands of
Yogis and Fakirs live in the forests of Hindustan, amidst lions and
tigers and serpents, but we never hear of their meeting death at
the hands of these animals.”
“I have implicit faith in the doctrine that, so long as man is not
inimical to the other creatures, they will not be inimical to him.
Love is the greatest of the attributes of man. Without it the
worship of God would be an empty nothing. It is, in short, the
root of all religion whatsoever.”
*Footnote: 1964, The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, Volume XII, April 1913 to December 1914, Chapter: General Knowledge About Health XXXII: Accidents Snake-Bite, (From Gujarati, Indian Opinion, 9-8-1913), Start Page 156, Quote Page 158, The Publications Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India. (Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi at gandhiheritageportal.org) link ↩
What is the signicance of Mahatma Gandhi’s “be the change” philosophy?
The slogan “Be The Change” symbolizes and summarizes Gandhi’s important moral and spiritual philosophy. And Gandhi’s inspiring life, is of particular political importance in the current unprecedented “new normal” era.
By following Mahatma Gandhi’s example we can avert current threats to life as we’ve known it, and morally ascend beyond all historical precedents, to realize Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s prophetic “dream” of an idyllic future, and (as foreseen by the Mahatma) “add to [the] inheritance left by our ancestors” .
Mahatma Gandhi and his “satyagraha” movement successfully applied the noble spiritual philosophy of nonviolence and ahimsa to civil disobedience in modern politics. It followed his realization, and determined fearless faith, that unconditional love and forgiveness are the most powerful of human attributes and the foundation of all enduring religious traditions aimed at realizing God as Truth.
The more we live lovingly and fearlessly, the more we find peace and happiness, and as a “critical mass” help to positively transform the world. “Whatever we think, do, or say, changes this world in some way.” Accordingly, all of our fearless, forgiving, and loving thoughts, behaviors, and emotions inevitably uplift this world and all its supposedly separate life-forms.
The Gandhi Rap – Be the change you want to see
Because Gandhi walked his talk authentically, peacefully, and universally, his words and life were very inspiring and powerful. He changed the world by being the change he wanted see, particularly the non-violent end of the British Raj in India, followed by Indian independence and democracy.
So Gandhi’s life and words have inspired and actuated countless millions of people worldwide.
One of the those people is a talented American rapper named MC Yogi who has creatively conveyed the Mahatma’s life story in rap with rhymed words and powerful pictures.
You can listen, watch and enjoy his unique Gandhi Rap here:
Dedication and Invocation
Inspired by Gandhi’s example, let each of us consciously live our lives as our message.
And together let us be the change we want see.
This posting is dedicated to inspiring a “critical mass” elevation and transformation of humankind consistent with Gandhi’s exemplary life, and his “satyagraha” movement’s resolutely non-violent active assertion of fundamental human morality, which has brought this world an unprecedented “evolutionary leap in political consciousness”.
May Mahatma Gandhi’s inspiring example remind us of our common Self-identity as Love with all Life on our beautiful blue planet. And may it encourage and inspire us to live fearlessly and forgivingly with loving-kindness and compassion for everyone and everything everywhere.
And so it shall be!