Mahatma Gandhi means non-violence

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Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi also known as Bapu born on 2nd Oct 1869 was a major political and spiritual leader of India and the Indian independence movement. Mahatma Gandhi is a truly inspirational figure from the 20th century. He is commonly known around the world as Mahatma Gandhi and in India also as Bapu. . Considered the father of India, Gandhi was born 1869 and died when assassinated in 1948. A lawyer, Gandhi instituted non-violent civil disobedience movements in India in an effort to gain independence for the country from imperial British rule. His life is so full of inspirational thought and action that you should read up on him. To give you a taste, here are some of his more inspirational and thoughtful quotes. He is officially honoured in India as the Father of the Nation his birthday, 2 October, is commemorated there as Gandhi Jayanti, a national holiday, and worldwide as the International Day of Non-Violence.

Mahatma Gandhi (Bapu) was born in Porbander, a coastal town in present-day Gujarat, Western India, on 2 October 1869. His father, Karamchand Gandhi ,who belonged to the Hindu Modh community, was the diwan of the eponymous Porbander state, a small princely state in the Kathiawar Agency of British India. His mother, Putlibai, who came from the Hindu Pranami Vaishnava community, was Karamchand’s fourth wife, the first three wives having apparently died in childbirth. Growing up with a devout mother and the Jain traditions of the region, the young Mohandas absorbed early the influences that would play an important role in his adult life; these included compassion to sentient beings, vegetarianism, fasting for self-purification, and mutual tolerance between individuals of different creeds.

Mahatma Gandhi’s principles or Gandhism

1) Truth

Gandhi dedicated his life to the wider purpose of discovering truth, or Satya. He tried to achieve this by learning from his own mistakes and conducting experiments on himself. He called his autobiography The Story of My Experiments with Truth.





2) Nonviolence

Although Mahatama Gandhi was in no way the originator of the principle of non-violence, he was the first to apply it in the political field on a huge scale. The concept of nonviolence (ahimsa) and nonresistance has a long history in Indian religious thought and has had many revivals in Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, Jewish and Christian contexts.



3)Vegetarianism

As a young child, Gandhi experimented with meat-eating. This was due partially to his inherent curiosity as well as his rather persuasive peer and friend Sheikh Mehtab. Before leaving for his studies in London, Gandhi made a promise to his mother, Putlibai and his uncle, Becharji Swami that he would abstain from eating meat, taking alcohol, and engaging in promiscuity. He held fast to his promise and gained more than a diet: he gained a basis for his life-long philosophies. As Gandhi grew into adulthood, he became a strict vegetarian.



4)Brahmacharya

When Bapu was 16 his father became very ill. Being very devoted to his parents, he attended to his father at all times during his illness. However, one night, Gandhi’s uncle came to relieve Gandhi for a while. He retired to his bedroom where carnal desires overcame him and he made love to his wife. Shortly afterward a servant came to report that Gandhi’s father had just died. Gandhi felt tremendous guilt and never could forgive himself. He came to refer to this event as “double shame.” The incident had significant influence in Gandhi becoming celibate at the age of 36, while still married.



This decision was deeply influenced by the philosophy of Brahmacharya — spiritual and practical purity — largely associated with celibacy and asceticism. Gandhi saw Brahmacharya as a means of becoming close with God and as a primary foundation for self realization. In his autobiography he tells of his battle against lustful urges and fits of jealousy with his childhood bride, Kasturba. He felt it his personal obligation to remain celibate so that he could learn to love, rather than lust. For Gandhi, Brahmacharya meant “control of the senses in thought, word and deed.”





5) Simplicity

Bapu earnestly believed that a person involved in social service should lead a simple life which he thought could lead to Brahmacharya. His simplicity began by renouncing the western lifestyle he was leading in South Africa. He called it “reducing himself to zero,” which entailed giving up unnecessary expenditure, embracing a simple lifestyle and washing his own clothes.



6) Silence

Gandhi spent one day of each week in silence. He believed that abstaining from speaking brought him inner peace. This influence was drawn from the Hindu principles of mauna and shanti. On such days he communicated with others by writing on paper.



7) Faith

Gandhi was born a Hindu and practised Hinduism all his life, deriving most of his principles from Hinduism. As a common Hindu, he believed all religions to be equal, and rejected all efforts to convert him to a different faith. He was an avid theologian and read extensively about all major religions. For more information see here

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