The autobiography of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, subtitled The Story of My Experiments With Truth, focuses on Gandhi’s struggles for non-violence and civil disobedience through the acts of Satyagraha, literally meaning “holding firmly to truth. ” In each of the chapters, he talks about instances in life in which he had struggled with Truth, considering Truth being the ultimate source of energy. The question many might ask is: how can one who is so skinny, one who had to live with a stick throughout his struggles, get such energy?
It was because of his experiments and the trials that Gandhi developed dietetics, non-violence, hydropathy, naturopathy etc. After finishing his studies in England, he came to South Africa where he changed from a typical lawyer to one who was remarkable. It’s more surprising that with the ideologies he produced from studying law, eastern and western philosophy, he kept them all by his side and followed them to the extreme. He was conservative to his thoughts in any situation and in following them perhaps, to some, inflexibly so.
One reason I become overwhelmed by Gandhi is his simplicity, wearing a single dhoti (an Indian clothing) and living solely by vegetables. Even when he was or his son was on his deathbed, he insisted that eating anything other than vegetables was wrong. He considered that through those necessities — in line with his teachings — it is possible that one can live freely. This means one can live without food or drink, without anger or desire, if they are to follow a simple code of behavior.
This book thus teaches one in practical life on how to live without any of the material needs. ? – “I cannot attain freedom by a mechanical refusal to act, but only by intelligent action in a detached manner. This struggle resolves itself into an incessant crucifixion of the flesh so that the spirit may become entire free. ” – “That freedom is attainable only through slow and painful stages. ” – “A reformer cannot afford to have close intimacy with him whom he seeks to reform – “he who would be friends with God must remain alone, or make the whole world his friend. – on actively forgiving sin: “Man, as soon as he gets back his consciousness of right, is thankful to the Divine mercy for the escape. ” – “When such Ahimsa [non-violence] becomes all-embracing, it transforms everything it touches. There is no limit to its power. ” – On monastic changes to his life: “Let not the reader think that this living made my life by any means a dreary affair. On the contrary the change harmonized my inward and outward life. It was also more in keeping with the means of my family. My life was certainly more truthful and my soul knew no bounds of joy. ” ?
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