mahatma - oct 2nd, 2012

What makes a man of peace? Everywhere we look we find conflict and struggle. We live in a world of upheaval, one that longs for leaders who know how to inspire, espouse, and instill the ethics of personal austerity and nonviolence. But what we find instead are so many self-serving political buffoons. Bapu, where are you?

Mohandas Mahatma Gandhi (whose birth we celebrate today) had a way with wisdom. He learned to simplify his life to such an extent that insight soaked through the fabric of his being. Like bleeding madras, his ethical principles homogenized the disparity and frustrations of life, honing in on a path to truth that has inspired millions. His concept of small self sufficient communities who can rule themselves without hindering others – still today might be the only workable model for achieving lasting peace.

Gandhi said: “If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. . . We need not wait to see what others do.”

If only it were as easy as the bumper sticker slogan Be the change you want to see. Though personal and social transformations go hand in hand, we can only create the kind of world we want to live in by “great numbers of people working together with discipline and persistence.”

As the elections and referendums approach, in all their self-serving special interest glory, we must stop thinking just about ourselves and instead, as a people, stay intent on holding our laws and leaders to higher ethical principles. We can not be content with anything less.

“I have simply tried my own way to apply the eternal truths to our daily life and problems. I have nothing new to teach the world. Truth and non-violence are as old as the hills.”

Well, maybe, but many of us need to re-focus. For measurement purposes, here are Gandhi’s seven deadly sins:

“Wealth without work
Pleasure without conscience
Science without humanity
Knowledge without character
Politics without principle
Commerce without morality
Worship without sacrifice.”

― Mahatma Gandhi