Gandhi and the Gita: The Art of Selfless Living and Dying | Catch My Job


Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (2 October 1869 – 30 January 1948), also remembered as the ‘Father of the Nation’, was the leader of India’s independence movement against British rule. He was awarded the title of Mahatma (Great-Soul) Gandhi. Her life was devoted to many other noble causes like poverty alleviation, women’s rights and untouchability. He pioneered the philosophy of nonviolence that inspired civil rights leaders around the world. His birthday, October 2, is celebrated in India as Gandhi Jayanti and is recognized as the International Day of Non-Violence. On his 153rd birth anniversary, we focus on how the Bhagavad Gita shaped his life and helped him maintain steadfast faith in its principles even in his last moments.

Love for Gandhi Gita: Bhagavad Gita A sacred Hindu poem in the form of a dialogue between Krishna and his disciple Arjuna, believed to be millennia old. Mahatma Gandhi mentioned Bhagavad Gita As a gospel of selfless action and is often said to have comforted him in his darkest hours. He refers to the Gita as his “eternal mother”, placing it in the highest position to his earthly mother. The Gita, according to him, describes the characteristics of a perfect human being. He expounded and lectured on the Gita and imbibed the Gita. The teaching is so dear that he followed every verse till his last breath.

Gandhi’s Gita-A gospel of selfless action: The GitaAccording to Gandhi, we are taught that while humans may chase after vain material desires (such as fame, money, relationships, etc.), the only desire is to realize that we are Atma (or Atman). To become like Him (God) (that is, to attain His highest qualities) and attain eternal peace.

This is the process of self-realization, to understand that we are souls (not body and mind) and are trapped in the endless cycle of life and death due to our actions. Karma simply means that any thought, speech or action taken on others will have a corresponding result in our life. Generally, the results of karma do not ripen immediately, and when they do, at some distant point in the future, we are unable to connect them to their cause (our actions). Any unripe action leads to the birth of future lives.

So how to get rid of the endless cycle of birth and death? Abandoning karma and therefore saving karma? no The Gita recognizes that the world must take action (whether mental or physical) to move on. So how to free yourself from the bonds of karma? The Gita says, “Do your assigned work but forsake its fruits – work with detachment – have no desire for reward and work.”

Renunciation of the fruits of one’s actions is the central message of the Gita. Sacrifice is not indifference to results. But a renouncer is one who performs his duties with cheerfulness and completeness and is desirous of the fruits of action. That is, whether the outcome is favorable or unfavorable, it remains the same.

Gandhi believed that when one applies the central teachings of the Gita to life, one is bound to pursue non-violence and truth. According to Gandhiji ahimsa or non-violence is described as the state in which all living beings do no harm in thought, word and deed. It’s not just about refraining from violent action but a whole way of life. As it extends to all living beings, it includes vegetarianism, a sustainable lifestyle and protection of the environment. Because when there is no desire for fruit, there is no temptation to untruth or violence (hingsa). The cause of any untruth or violence will be rooted in the pursuit of a desire driven by ego. For example, the sins of murder, theft etc. cannot be committed without attachment.

But one who knows that it is He who resides in the body and that this soul is part of Paramatma (God), will surrender everything to Him and be freed from the cycle of ego and karma.

Finally, Gandhi tirelessly adhered to another message of the Gita: we should serve God by serving mankind. For this, he explained how the natural progression of the soul is towards selflessness and purity. This is why he was able to effortlessly devote his entire life to the freedom and prosperity of the people of India.

Gandhi lived in the art of dying: The Gita says: “And he who leaves the body only by remembering Me at the last moment, enters into Me, no doubt.

Or whatever form a man dwells on, at the time of death he remembers that form, and in that form, O Kaunteya, he goes.”

Gandhi truly believed that we ultimately become what we think. Through this one will acquire the attributes and nature of this god (or revered guru) in the next birth. But for this to happen at the moment of death, one must live free from attachment and hatred and have a heart that is ready to love and forgive all. Once we integrate these skills, the peace we find should flow into spiritual practice. Needless to say, Gandhi’s ahimsa (non-violent) nature meant overflowing compassion for all and his spiritual routine was a testament to the highest ideals of living.

India’s independence in 1947, the fruit of all Gandhi’s labors, India was rife with partition and unimaginable brutality that shook his belief in the inherent non-violent nature of man. He wrote to his daughter-in-law, “Connection with Pakistan [partition]… Therefore, I lost confidence in my ability to live long.”

On January 20, 1948, as Gandhi was speaking after his prayers, a loud noise rang out, causing panic among his small audience. To pacify them, Gandhi resumed his sermon. Later, the assailant was caught, and found to have thrown a bomb 75 feet away to kill Gandhi.

After hearing this news, many powerful dignitaries including Lady Mountbatten came to congratulate Gandhi on his bravery. Gandhi remarked that since he mistook the noise for firing practice, it was no act of bravery. He further added: “When someone really comes before me planning to kill me, and I bear his attack cheerfully, chanting Ramnaam, then I will be worthy of praise”.

So while his faith in non-violent living for other people wavered, his life choices and his faith in God grew stronger. To those who expressed any anger towards the assassin, he would say, “You shall not hate the assassin… Let us all pray to God to give him good sense”. He even took the blame for his illness on himself and assumed it must be the result of his waning devotion to Rama. He was a firm believer in living a life of non-violence, practicing non-violence through his thoughts by never finding fault with others and always exaggerating the faults within himself.

On 29 January 1948, just 12 hours before his death, Gandhi uttered these words: “If someone shoots at me and I die without a cry and the name of God on my lips, you should tell the world that there was a reality. Mahatma “.

On 30 January 1948, Gandhi was shot with three bullets at point-blank range.

While falling he chanted the name of his God “O Rama” twice.

It is said that his soul was so pure that his death was a self-fulfilling prophecy. Even at his dying moment he remembered and followed the teachings of the Gita: to remember only God in the dying breath. Furthermore, her death exemplifies forgiveness and compassion, even for the person who killed her.

From Gita and Gandhi, we learn the art of dying, and from it we learn the art of living. Imagine how difficult it will be to remember God at the time of our death if we are attached to material possessions, and people, and cannot let go of our lifelong grudges. How do we enter a new life, isolated and taking God’s name? This is why Gandhi’s life is a perfect example for us to learn from. When one commemorates his birth anniversary, one should aspire to practice non-violence and detachment and take selfless action with compassion.

The author is a PhD scholar at Bennett University

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