Subscribe to RSS

Posts Tagged ‘Pursuit of Truth’

Gandhi’s Words of Wisdom

“My life is my message”
~ Mahatma Gandhi


Mahatma Gandhi
(October 2, 1869 – January 30, 1948)


Introduction

Mohandas K. Gandhi was born in India on October 2, 1869, one hundred fifty two 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.

During his lifetime, he was recognized as father of Indian democracy, a monumental accomplishment achieved through non-violent relentless pursuit of Truth as God (satyagraha). Gandhi changed himself to change the world by being the change he wanted see.

Though Mahatma Gandhi realized that his life was his message, he often wrote (or was quoted about) his philosophical ideas on subjects of perennial importance. Because Gandhi walked his talk authentically, peacefully, and universally, his words – like his humble life – will be remembered for centuries, and will continue to inspire and actuate countless millions of people worldwide.

Gandhi’s Words of Wisdom

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

“My life is my message”

“[T]he world will not change if we don’t change.”

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

“You may never know what results come of your actions,

but if you do nothing, there will be no results.”

“If we are to make progress,
we must not repeat history but make new history.
We must add to inheritance left by our ancestors.”

“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.”

“Civil disobedience becomes a sacred duty when the state has become lawless or corrupt. And a citizen who barters with such a state shares in its corruption and lawlessness.”

“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 nonviolence. Truth is my God. Nonviolence is the means of realizing Him.”

“Nonviolence succeeds only when we have a real living faith in God.”

“My faith runs so very much faster than my reason that I can challenge the whole world and say, ‘God is, was and ever shall be’.”

“Spiritual relationship is far more precious than physical. Physical relationship divorced from spiritual is body without soul.”

“A man with a grain of faith in God never loses hope, because he ever believes in the ultimate triumph of Truth.”

”Nonviolence is the greatest force man has been endowed with.

Truth is the only goal he has. For God is none other than Truth.

But Truth cannot be, never will be, reached except through nonviolence…

That which distinguishes man from all other animals is his capacity to be non-violent.

And he fulfills his mission only to the extent that he is non-violent and no more.“

“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.”

“Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics
do not know what religion is.”

“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.”


Dedication and Invocation

As a blessing, may we deeply reflect on Gandhi’s enduring philosophy and exemplary life.

Thereby, like this Great Soul, may we be inspired “from the deepest recesses of the heart” to live in “in a gentle way” that nonviolently blesses all life everywhere as Truth and LOVE.  

And so shall it be!

Ron Rattner

“Gandhi the Man”
~ Ron’s Memoirs

“My life is my message.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi

“Non-violence, which is the quality of the heart,

cannot come by an appeal to the brain.”

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

~ Mahatma Gandhi

“I consider myself a Hindu, Christian, Moslem, Jew, Buddhist and Confucian.” ….. “My religion is based on truth and non-violence. Truth is my God. Non-violence is the means of realizing Him.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi


Mahatma Gandhi ~ October 2, 1869 – January 30, 1948


Introduction to “Gandhi the Man”

Dear Friends,

Since my midlife awakening, my life has unfolded in previously imaginable ways, like a spiritual mystery story. Instead of a “who done it?” mystery it has been an ongoing “who am I?” mystery.

The following memoirs chapter is titled “Gandhi the Man” because that is also the title of a wonderful Gandhi biography by Eknath Easwaran which significantly furthered my still unfolding spiritual mystery story.

The importance for me of that Gandhi biography can be best understood in context of my recently posted 9/11 tribute to Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and from review of three prior memoirs chapters about my introduction to Hindu teachings and to Mahatma Gandhi.

So for your convenience I’ll summarize those prior chapters in this Introduction, but respectfully suggest that if interested you read them separately.

1) Silva Mind Control

At a Silva Mind Control workshop Mahatma Gandhi became my first known inner spiritual guide, when he appeared telepathically to answer questions and counsel me long after his 1948 assassination. Because he was quite famous, I clearly recognized him wearing a white Indian dhoti. However I then knew very little about Gandhi’s life and story, and he had appeared only after I asked the universe to send my most appropriate inner guide. So I soon wondered why the universe had chosen Gandhi to counsel me.

2) Why Be Here Now?

After Silva Mind Control, I was guided to read an extraordinary book called “Be Here Now” which told how Harvard professor Richard Alpert had become Ram Dass, a Western teacher of Eastern wisdom, after meeting his Hindu guru Neem Karoli Baba. The book also included suggestions for Eastern spiritual practices, like repeating (as a mantra) “Rama, Rama, Rama, Rama…”, an important Hindu name for God. That suggestion soon manifested in my life, in an amazingly unprecedented, way as my “who am I” spiritual mystery story enfolded.

3) “Be Here Now”, “Rama”, and Rainbow Synchronicity

After taking depositions in Hawaii, I stayed for weekend relaxing on a hotel beach, and hiking nearby. On a Friday afternoon I decided to briefly hike (without a backpack) in a mountainous and jungle-like Hawaiian state park across from my hotel. While hiking I lost sight of all trails and became fearful of being lost, hungry and chilled throughout the night.


Then for the first time in my life, I spontaneously began, calling out loud “Rama, Rama, Rama, Rama…” – fearfully invoking a Divine solution to my plight. And soon I experienced an “Aha moment” suddenly revealing that a nearby meandering mountain stream was flowing down and out of the jungle park. So I walked downstream in it, and kept repeating “Rama”, “Rama”, “Rama” until I was safely back in my hotel.

There I felt extraordinarily peaceful, but very “strange”. In this strange state, I gazed into a large dressing room mirror and beheld in amazement my face and head enveloped in a beautiful multi-colored aura, like those depicted on ancient religious icons. Virtually thoughtless, I then sat for hours intently gazing in wonder at my mirrored auric image, before going to bed.


On awakening Saturday morning, as I immediately recalled this wondrous experience, there ensued a confusing inner dialogue between the “voice in my head” and my thought-free intuition. Whenever my heart was uplifted by recalling that beautiful experience, the ‘voice’ told me that I’d been hallucinating. So, that morning I went out to the beach in a state of confusion.

It was a beautiful calm and sunny day with a few white wispy clouds in the sky. But my mind was not calm. As I sat in the sand, I kept wondering whether or not I’d really seen that beautiful multi-colored aura.

Finally I intuitively resolved my inner debate, and thought: “Yes, it definitely was a ‘real’ aura, but I’m not sure I remember all its beautiful colors. What were they?”


Whereupon, I looked up and beheld a lovely rainbow, with the very same colors I’d seen in the aura. While I’d been lost in thought, a couple of dark clouds had appeared with a quickly passing light tropical shower, leaving in its wake the fleeting rainbow. As a lawyer, I took the sudden appearance of the rainbow as Divine “corroboration” of my rainbow aura experience.

The rainbow’s unexpected appearance, was one of innumerable continuing synchronicities which have blessed and guided my inner transformation process as clues for my ever unfolding spiritual mystery story, which I will continue sharing with you in the following “Gandhi the Man” chapter.


Gandhi the Man

After my synchronistic “Rama” rainbow experience in Hawaii, I felt an inner affinity with “Rama” as a divine name, but didn’t yet adopt a practice of regularly repeating it as a mantra. However, I became intrigued by the powerful potentiality of that practice by a new spiritual friend.

Soon after discovering the Rama mantra in “Be Here Now” and then spontaneously reciting it in Hawaii, I synchronistically met in California an American woman named “Veda Rama”, originally from Boston. She had become a spiritual devotee of Ram Dass in New England (when he was writing “Be Here Now”), and had followed him to the New Mexico Lama Foundation, where she helped to artistically produce and distribute the first hand-assembled and hand-bound editions of that wonderful book. While in New Mexico, she had received the spiritual name “Veda Rama” (meaning “truth of God”).


After meeting Veda Rama I introduced her to my beloved Guruji, Shri Dhyanyogi. He later initiated her as “Ram Dassi” – the feminine equivalent of Ram Dass (meaning “servant of God”).


She became – and remains – a very dear spiritual friend, with whom I’ve shared countless synchronicity experiences. Those experiences have included my story of how Mahatma Gandhi appeared and counseled me at Silva Mind Control, as my first inner guide – so that I’d become quite curious about Gandhi’s life history. And soon after hearing my Gandhi story, she gave me a beautiful pictorial Gandhi biography titled “Gandhi the Man” by Eknath Easwaran, as a birthday gift.


From reading that biography I learned that Gandhi was a timid and fearful child. So in his early years Gandhi’s beloved nurse Rambha taught him to repeat the name“Rama” whenever he felt afraid. Later throughout his adult life, reciting the Rama mantra became Gandhi’s most important spiritual practice, along with regularly reading the Bhagavad Gita.

Thus, as an adult Gandhi often walked constantly repeating his Rama mantra in rhythm with his steps; and he wrote extensively about the importance of repeating the name “Rama” (the Ramanama).:

“When a child, my nurse taught me to repeat Ramanama whenever I felt afraid or miserable, and it has been second nature with me with growing knowledge and advancing years. I may even say that the Word is in my heart, if not actually on my lips, all the twenty-four hours. It has been my saviour and I am ever stayed on it.” “The mantram becomes one’s staff of life and carries one through every ordeal….” “Each repetition … has a new meaning, each repetition carries you nearer and nearer to God.”


Even as Gandhi fell to an assassin’s pistol fired point-blank into his heart, in fearless forgiveness he uttered nothing but “Rama, Rama …” his last words from the eternal depths of his heart.

Because he walked his talk authentically, peacefully, and spiritually, his words and life have been exceptionally inspiring and powerful. Gandhi changed the world by being the non-violent change he wanted see, particularly the end of the British Raj in India, followed by Indian independence and democracy. 

But few people realize that Gandhi’s legacy includes not just his world renowned campaign for Indian independence, but that he began and named his unprecedented civil rights movement with a brilliantly waged struggle against institutionalized apartheid racism in South Africa.

Gandhi was educated in England as a Common Law barrister, and was not trained in Indian law. So to engage in legal practice he moved from India to South Africa, where for over twenty years he practiced as an idealistic and extraordinarily effective common law civil rights attorney before returning to India, where he became that nation’s most beloved modern hero, and one of the most inspiring and positively influential human beings in all history.

From his deep and extraordinary spiritual aspiration and determination to realize Truth as God or Rama, Gandhi changed himself to change the world. He transformed from beginning life as a timid child, to become a fearlessly determined civil rights advocate relentlessly pursuing nonviolent secular and spiritual Truth.

Gandhi’s history in South Africa is described in my recently posted 9/11 tribute to Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King. It tells the inspiring story of how on September 11, 1906, a young lawyer named Mohandas K. Gandhi organized and addressed an  anti-apartheid  meeting of 3,000 people crowded into the Empire Theater in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Members of the Indian community – both Moslem and Hindu – had gathered there in opposition to a proposed apartheid law that would require Indians to register, be finger-printed and carry special identity cards at all times, and which would further deprive them of civil liberties for failure to comply with the egregiously immoral law.

Gandhi argued that the law be resisted, but warned that resisters realize that they could be jailed, fined, beaten and even killed. The assembly not only declared its opposition to the legislation; its members raised their right hands and swore, with God as their witness, that they would not submit to such an unjust law. Following their September 11th meeting and pledge, Indians refused to register and began burning their ID cards at mass rallies and protests. Thus began the original 9/11 non-violence movement that would literally change the world as the most powerful positive tool for salutary social change.

The September 11th Johannesburg event began a powerful anti-apartheid movement in South Africa. Thereafter, in 1908 Gandhi carefully coined a new word – “satyagraha” – to describe the movement’s ground-breaking inter-religious spiritual mission.

Satyagraha is Sanskrit neologism combining “satya” (Truth) with “agraha” (holding firmly). But because Satyagraha is rooted in Vedic spiritual wisdom it is extremely difficult to translate into English. It roughly means the non-violent and resolute pursuit of “Truth” as equated with “God”.

Thus, Gandhi’s satyagraha movement was fundamentally spiritual, not just political. It encompassed relentless pursuit of spiritual Truth through the political practice of active, faith-based civil disobedience. It was steadfastly dedicated to asserting and living Divine Truth by nonviolently and respectfully resisting institutional immorality and injustice to achieve societal and political justice.

Beyond mere “pacifism” or “passive resistance”, it encompassed an actively militant, yet resolutely non-violent faith-based assertion of one’s moral beliefs, with open defiance of unjust laws or decrees, and with steadfast remembrance that Divinity [viz. “Truth”] is immanent in all creation, including one’s oppressors.  In addition to practicing satyagraha and ahimsa, Gandhi, was a vegetarian, who lived a non-materialistic, simple life, and practiced aparigraha, non-attachment to possessions.

The more I learned about Gandhi the more he inspired me. I identified with him as a civil rights advocate and as a spiritual truth-seeker. Also his non-attachment to possessions and vegetarianism, was significant for me since I, too, had become a vegetarian living with increasing non-attachment to worldly possessions. And in 1978 my beloved Guruji initiated me with a “Rama” mantra.

Thus, Gandhi’s inner appearance at Silva Mind Control, to counsel me was absolutely appropriate. Gandhiji became and (after over forty years) remains one the few most important humans who have inspired my still unfolding spiritual mystery story – a transformation and transmutation from “Ron” to “Ram”. Even now, I frequently and tearfully call that Divine name.

So, as inspired by Gandhi, “Rama” remains – enshrined in my heart as a constant impetus to my ever evolving spiritual mystery story.

Once when asked about his teachings, Gandhi aptly replied:


“My life is my message.”


Upon deeply realizing and experiencing the universal wisdom of that statement, I was inspired to compose this sutra/poem:


On the Earth branch
of the great Cosmic University,

We are all students
and we are all teachers.

We are all learning love.
And, as Gandhi observed,
our lives are our teachings.

So, as we live
and as we learn,
we each may teach –
peace, love, and compassion.

And so it shall be!


Invocation


May Mahatma Gandhi’s exemplary life,
ever inspire and morally motivate countless humans
to live life peacefully and compassionately
in eternal harmony with Nature and Divinity –
as LOVE!

Shri Ram, Jai Ram, Jai Jai Ram!

Namasté!

Ron Rattner