Mahatma Gandhi is a name known around the world. Gandhi altered the course of
India and left a lasting influence on humanity because of his stance on change
Mahatma Gandhi was also a prolific writer. He wrote on a
near daily basis about subjects as diverse as vegetarianism and politics. The
self improvement advice he offered enhanced the lives of individuals and
Background of Mahatma Gandhi
Mahatma Gandhi was born on October 2,
1869 in Porbandar, British India. He was assassinated in New Delhi, India on
January 30, 1948 at the age of 78. Gandhi's father held an important political
position while his mother was a devotee of Jainism, an Indian religion that
promotes non-violence towards all living things.
Young Gandhi was heavily
influenced by his mother and her beliefs helped shape his own philosophy of
He sought spiritual aspects even as a child, an area where he
excelled, but was an average student and athlete.
He managed to get accepted
into law school in London where he trained in Indian law. While in London, he
met members of the Theosophical Society through a vegetarian club he joined.
With them, he studied the Bhagavad Gita and developed a keen interest in
Upon completing his schooling, Mahatma Gandhi moved back to
India but was unable to succeed in his own law business due to his overwhelming
The job he took led him to South Africa for 21 years where he
saw the poverty of the indentured laborers of wealthy Muslims. The inequality of
the society helped form his political views as he often faced racial
discrimination himself. He became awakened to social injustices and took it upon
himself to make a difference in the world.
He returned to India and gained
popularity as a political figure. He won favor with Muslims and Hindus and
fought to gain independence from the British by using the weapons of peaceful
resistance, non-violence, and non-cooperation.
Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated
in 1948 by a Hindu nationalist over a political disagreement while he was
preparing to address a prayer meeting. His death was mourned by India and the
The Beliefs Of Mahatma Gandhi
Mahatma Gandhi was
not only an important political leader in India, he was a spiritual leader as
well. His beliefs and principles are referred to as Gandhism even though Gandhi
himself discouraged the use of the term and didn't want any sect of people to
hold him as its leader.
Mahatma Gandhi stated his beliefs were nothing new, he
merely tried to live and teach eternal truths as they had been known throughout
the ages. He was one of the few people to actually apply these truths to every
day life and its problems. Because of that he was even dubbed the Bodhisattva
(enlightened being) of the twentieth century.
The beliefs of Mahatma Gandhi include:
Mahatma Gandhi believed truth must pervade all aspects of
life, politics, and decision making. He also felt each must
follow his own truth rather than blindly accepting what
another claims to be truth. Truth was very important to Gandhi
and he even felt it was more powerful than any modern weapon.
Mahatma Gandhi was taught the principles
of non-violence from childhood. He remarked there were causes
he was willing to die for but none he was willing to kill for.
He believed in non-violence towards all living things and for
that reason he was vegetarian and taught others the wisdom of
not killing animals for food.
Mahatma Gandhi felt it was important for individuals and
nations to be self sufficient and embrace simple living. His
vision for India was one where the nation could meet the needs
of its people first before it got caught up in
industrialization and wealth creation.
Gandhi believed in dressing in homespun cloth or khadi. It was
part of his philosophy because he thought it helped combat
poverty and social discrimination. He saw how the west was
influencing wealthier Indians, including their dress. Gandhi's
mode of dressing was a non-violent protest against the British
presence and influence in India.
Gandhi used fasting as a means of exerting control over his
urges and improving his mind and body control. When he did
partake of food, he avoided animal products, alcohol, spices,
and salt. Gandhi also took a vow of celibacy even though he
was married. His goal was to cleanse his spirit by overcoming
temptations and pain.
Mahatma Gandhi was
drawn to Hinduism, especially Hindu Universalism. He was
particularly influenced by the Bhagavad Gita. However, he also
believed truth and non-violence were at the root of all
religions, and all religions were true and all also had some
errors in them.
At the heart of the work of
Mahatma Gandhi was the belief that all people should be free
and equal. His efforts towards this end influenced many other
notable historical figures such as Martin Luther King Jr.,
Lech Walesa, Steve Biko, and Aung San Suu Kyi.
Writings Of Mahatma Gandhi
Mahatma Gandhi wrote
constantly. He wrote for newspapers and wrote letters to many
individuals that were later preserved. He also wrote an
Various collections of his work have been put
together by others according to topic or the particular type
of self improvement tips or political advice he was offering.
The most extensive collection of his writing was compiled by
the Indian Government and contains over 100 volumes.
"The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi
" was published between
1960 and 1994. The Government of India organized the writings
of Mahatma Gandhi chronologically and published them in
volumes. Each volume is further broken down in a chronological
fashion. There are 100 books in the collection. They contain
news articles, letters, and transcripts of speeches given by
Gandhi from 1888 to 1926.
"The Story Of My
Experiments With Truth
" is an autobiography written by Mahatma
Gandhi. It was originally published in segments as it was
written in weekly installments. The stories cover the early
life of Mahatma Gandhi up to the year 1920. Decades later, an
updated version included collected works from the years 1925
This book was widely acclaimed and was even
designated as one of the 100 Best Spiritual Books of the 20th
Century. In this book, Gandhi relates tales from his early
life as he experimented with spirituality and the principles
that would shape his life. He tells of the time he ate meat
and of his early marriage at the age of 13.
The book is not a
detailed autobiography or filled with self help advice for
spiritual seekers. Instead, it tells of the simple experiments
Gandhi took with his own daily life to test universal truths
such as non-violence, and struggling to master the physical
body through fasting and abstinence.
The Legacy Of
Mahatma Gandhi had a profound and
lasting affect on India. He helped gain the country's
independence and helped shaped its spiritual future.
touched the lives of millions of people in other countries and
in generations since his passing. While many may not recall
much of the political significance of his actions, the one
lasting lesson Mahatma Gandhi taught the world was that
non-violence is a powerful tool for change of individuals and
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