Be Mahatma Gandhi
By Sri Sri Ravi Shankar | Published: 02nd October 2013 08:15 AM |
Today, we are passing through a crisis in our country. We need a change in our thought process, a change in our attitude, and a change in our society.
We got freedom from the sacrifices by many of our ancestors. We need to preserve that. We have forgotten that we are a spiritual country.
Many people believe that spiritualism is not for this world, that it is not a practical tool to bring about societal transformation. But that's a misconception.
Mahatma Gandhi was a deeply spiritual person. He used to read the Bhagwad Geeta every day. He went district by district, state by state, and conducted big satsangs.
A huge spirit of oneness came up in the country, and that brought us freedom. At the same time, he was also a politician. He had the sense of sacrifice. ‘I want nothing for myself but I want it for my people’.
That spirit is going down and we need to inculcate those value systems again, both in politics and in business. When we were growing up, we grew up with inspirational stories about Mahatma Gandhi.
One incident was when Mahatma Gandhi was travelling in a small train to Darjeeling. When the train was moving up the hill, somewhere, the engine got itself disconnected from the coaches. So the engine went ahead and the coaches started sliding backward.
So while there was panic all around, Mahatma Gandhi was dictating letters. The person who was taking the dictation said, “Bapu, we may not be alive. We are in-between life and death.” Do you know what Mahatma Gandhi said then? He said, ‘If we die, we die. But if we are saved, we would have wasted so much time? Come on, take dictation.’ He would not waste a moment of his life. There is another story I would like to share with you.
Once someone said, ‘Bapu, your dhoti is torn.’ Gandhi went into the bathroom and adjusted his garments a little bit, and then said, ‘See now, and tell me where it is torn? There is a lot of it left to get torn.’ His idea was not to waste resources; not to be a consumerist by nature.
In the time of Mahatma Gandhi, great pride was attached to non-violence. But today, pride is associated with violence. It is time now, that we reverse this tendency. Pride should be in non-violence and in peace. We need to take a fresh look at the state of affairs in the world. The people have to awaken and become more aware towards the character building of the nation.
Today, we are again standing at that crossroads, where the country essentially requires a wave of spirituality. What does spirituality mean? Sitting somewhere for a while and doing kirtan? No. Spirituality (Adhyatma) means the feeling of oneness with everyone. We need to move from greed to generosity, service and a sense of belongingness in the community. We need to tread the path of non-violence, service and love. For every act of violence, we have to create hundred acts of non-violence. The voice of non-violence has to be heard loud and clear.
If we are able to inspire more and more people to see life with this magnanimous outlook, who can take responsibility for the emotional well being of others, human society has a realistic chance of becoming more peaceful and harmonious.
So the change starts right here, where we are; from each one of us. And it is then that Mahatma Gandhi’s dream for an honest society or Ram Rajya will become a reality.