Gandhis Teachings, Beliefs And Virtues


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Gandhis Teachings, Beliefs And Virtues

  1. 1. Gandhi’s Teachings, Beliefs, and Virtues Brian Wong 8W
  2. 2. Introduction Gandhi consisted of an Indian political leader, who instigated and motivated India’s independence from the British government. Nonetheless, he was not renowned for his political status – for, with resilience, justice, defiance, he protruded – as a spiritual leader of the Indian people. Gandhi’s beliefs are generally derived form Hindu and Jain beliefs, prioritising truth as the ‘God’, or the most significant principle of him (Gandhism). Gandhi’s teachings, beliefs, and virtues encapsulate various aspects, with subsequent branches of each aspect: Satyagraha, and Satya - The ardent pursuit of truth, and truth itself; Ahimsa - the notion of non-violence and vegetarianism; Brahmacharya – Spiritual and Practical Purity, and Asceticism; Equality etc. Gandhi’s beliefs are generally derived from Hindu and Jain beliefs, prioritising truth as the ‘God’, or the most significant principle of him (Gandhism).
  3. 3. Introduction Nonetheless, in order to truly interpret such an enigmatic, virtuous and prominent spiritual figure, it is highly essential of one to conceive of his beliefs, which shall be further elaborated in the subsequent pages, preliminarily to any further discourse or conclusions established regarding him.
  4. 4. Satya
  5. 5. Introduction
  6. 6. Satya Satya consists of a Sanskrit term illustrating the notion of truth and ‘goodness’, which, according to Hindu beliefs, consists of the sole pathways to the Ultimate Truth – The Sat, or the transcendental Absolute Truth in Christians’ perspective. The hypothetical and philosophical symbolisation of Satya, and based on which Gandhi employed the most to reiterate and reinforce the causes why Satya is to be pursued and acknowledged, constitutes the notion that Satya never alters, succumbs to distortions, be subject to moderations; it is beyond distinctions of time, space, and person, evading the dynamic states of the universe, and remaining a constant and perpetual truth. In spite of the fact that Satya, at an indeed most comparatively insignificant and minuscule scale, consists of the benevolent deployment of the truth to assist others, the notion of
  7. 7. Satya truth is not merely or solely a synonym or insinuation of fact or correctness – for it comprises and encapsulates righteousness, conscience, and true enlightenment of a superior level, which nevertheless does not resemble the acknowledgement of a Supreme Being’s omnipotence, but purity of the soul, and the conception of the universal Absolute Truth – involving metaphysical matters in which the existence of the universe is perused and examined philosophically. Satya, in other relatively subtle contexts, also implies general religious superiority, as indicated through Satya’s being conventionally conceived by various Eastern religions – Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism – as indispensable and prominent notions.
  8. 8. Gandhi’s Satya ‘The Truth is far more powerful than any weapon of mass destruction.’ – Gandhi on Satya
  9. 9. Gandhi’s Satya The principle of Satya, as conceived by Gandhi, consists of a notion that transcends all levels and aspects of human comprehension. Gandhi did not consider himself to be a pacifist, socialist or on any definable spectrum of politics, yet only proclaimed that he adhered to the truth, or Satya, of life, a trait of his derived from which were his perseverant and ardent Satyagrahas – non-violent protests advocating Satya through Ahimsa. Nonetheless, Gandhi does not perceive of truth as the absolute solution to metaphysical matters, but truth that influences and involves one from one’s subjective perspective. Gandhi demands and requires that his disciples do not necessarily abide by his ‘truths’ by word, yet by spirit – should one genuinely and authentically evaluates that violence is, under certain occasions, mandatory and inevitable, it is truthful, and righteously corresponding to Satya to believe in it.
  10. 10. Gandhi’s Satya Gandhi’s lifestyle constituted his constant experimentations with truth; he was prepared to learn through trial and error, often conceding to have committed mistakes and altering his behaviour accordingly. He would prioritise truth over political independence— believing that Indians should not become murderers and commit the very malevolence they were accusing the British of perpetrating in India. Gandhi’s most prominent beliefs also encapsulated and comprised his pursuit of truth, which actually consisted of the main core of his notions, Gandhi conceiving of his life as a journey to discovering his subjective, arbitrary, yet ‘righteous’ truth. Satya consisted of Gandhi’s teachings, and the ‘intent’ of his whole life - to examine and comprehend for oneself, acknowledging the significance of others, and of truth, which, according to Gandhi, connoted a force greater than any mechanisms or forces. Gandhi’s philosophy encompassed ontology and its association with truth. For Gandhi, "to be" did not mean to exist within the realm of time, as it has in the past with the Greek philosophers – yet the ontological perception of Gandhi consisted of the existence within the constituency of truth, within the realm of Satya, and under the protection of ‘God’ – Truth, which, in congruence to the Hindu beliefs regarding Brahman’s
  11. 11. Gandhi’s Satya omnipotence, omniscience, and supreme identity, and the Atmans, resembling Brahma’s existence in all mortals, theoretically exists within every mortal. With such perceptions and values regarding Satya, Gandhi pursued this notion through his Satyagrahas, in which the conscientious and virtuous Satya was assiduously followed and adhered to. Extending past the conventional perception of passive resistance under Gandhi’s interpretation, the Satyagrahas of Gandhi truly resembled their literal implications of insistence on truth: With an initiative approach, Gandhi instigated a notion that passive resistance differed from his Satyagraha – mass civil disobedience, according to the allegedly valid beliefs that Satyagrahas adhere to the truth, are solely deployed for benign intents, and do not, under all circumstances, employ violence. One of the most prominent notions of Satyagraha consists
  12. 12. Gandhi’s Satya of the notion that , in stead of coercing one’s opponent, one needs to co- operate with the opponent to achieve a mutual compromise and the preliminarily set goal. In addition, no violence or untruthful acts should be perpetuated in the course of any Satyagraha, for the means shall subsequently controvert the aims, defying the original intent of achieving Ahimsa and Satya.
  13. 13. Brahmacharya
  14. 14. Introduction
  15. 15. Brahmacharya Brahmacharya consists of a conventional Hinduism spiritual education occurring during the teenage years, literally implying a period of time in which Brahma shall provide assistance to the student; it is the period of time in which a student becomes inculcated in the mystical doctrine. Under other non-Hindu circumstances, Brahmacharya denotes a mode of life devoted to spiritual endeavour in which sexual continence or even abstinence (celibacy) is highly valued and ardently pursued. The general conception of Brahmacharya consists of two sections: Brahma – the omnipotent creator constituting a core part of the Hindu Godhead Trimurti; and Charya – The notion of being adhered to.
  16. 16. Gandhi’s Brahmacharya
  17. 17. Gandhi’s Brahmacharya Gandhi conceived of the significance of Brahmacharya when he was 16; while his father contracted a disease and deteriorated in health rapidly. Being very dedicated to his parents, he attended to his father at all times during his illness. Nonetheless, Gandhi was relieved and exempt from his duty when his uncle came to replace Gandhi’s vigil over his father. Having retired to his room, Gandhi imprudently and impetuously committed carnal acts with his wife. Subsequently, a servant entered the room and reported to Gandhi that his father had just died. Subjectively perceiving himself culpable, and being substantially influenced by the incident, Gandhi became celibate at the age of 36, while still married. This decision was deeply influenced by the philosophy of Brahmacharya — spiritual and practical purity — substantially associated with celibacy and asceticism, one of the five significant beliefs constituting Jainism, a religion from which Gandhi had and would acquire his insights and beliefs.
  18. 18. Gandhi’s Brahmacharya Gandhi conceived of Brahmacharya as a means to near God, transcendence realism, purity, realisation, and truth; he admitted to having once possessed lustful urges with his childhood bride, Kasturba. Inclined to control his originally impetuous love through restraining his lustful love to solely pure love, Gandhi hence perceived of Brahmacharya as his ‘monitoring of senses’. Gandhi even elaborated his conceptions to implementing his Brahmacharya practices through intentionally endeavouring to resist lust, by sleeping next to a woman on the same bed while maintaining and restricting himself to not conduct sexual intercourse with her.
  19. 19. Ahimsa
  20. 20. Introduction
  21. 21. Ahimsa Ahimsa consists of the notion of conducting no impairment – hence avoiding violence – to other mortals. It constitutes an important tenet and principle of the religions that originated in ancient India – Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism. Ahimsa is a doctrine of regulation that controverts the killing or injuring of living beings. It is closely connected with the notion that all kinds of violence entail negative karmic consequences, depending upon which shall be one’s reincarnation form. The extent to which the principle of non- violence can or should be applied to different life forms is controversial between various authorities, movements and currents within the three religions and has been a matter of debate for thousands of years. Ahimsa in Jainism emphasises vegetarianism and forbids hunting and ritual sacrifice. Jains equivocate even the smallest insects and other miniscule animals so as to not jeopardise or injure their lives; they also make conceivable and substantial efforts not to injure plants in everyday life as far as possible.
  22. 22. Ahimsa In accordance to this policy, the consumption of certain types of food, whose cultivations harm small insects and worms as well as agriculture itself, is to be abstained from and not advocated. Ahimsa is generally based on Hinduism’s conception and acknowledgment of but an insubstantial difference between the Atmans of humans, and those of other forms of mortals.
  23. 23. Gandhi’s Ahimsa ‘What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans, and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty and democracy?’ - Gandhi on Ahimsa
  24. 24. Gandhi’s Ahimsa Elaborating on the conventional Hindu and Jain notion of Ahimsa, Gandhi implemented ahimsa onto politics; he was the pioneer of employing non-violence in political protests, conceiving that non-violence would rid me of one’s obstreperousness, contempt, and belligerence, suppressing one’s anger. Gandhi pursued the notion that the killing of mortals consisted of a highly unmoral and malevolent act, hence his advocating of vegetarianism. Deploying Satyagrahas based on notions of non-violence (Ahimsa), and non-resistance, Gandhi urged the orthodox Hindu-Jain notion of ahimsa to another, comparatively political and substantial level. Gandhi also pursued most resolutely the notion of vegetarianism, he himself not consuming any meat at all, for he recognised the Jain belief of vegetarianism as a foundation for his non-violence belief, and a most economically practical conception. Nonetheless, Gandhi perceived and acknowledged that Ahimsa required an abundance of audacity and resilience, and hence advocated a vicious yet intrepid defense, in contrary to chivalrous cowardice.
  25. 25. Simplicity
  26. 26. Introduction
  27. 27. Simplicity Simplicity comprises two layers of definitions, one of which consists of the pursuit of abstaining from flamboyance, ostentation, costly goods; the other being the notion of avoiding the mundane matters of life. In accordance to Christian notions, the Supreme Being – the Deity ‘God’ – possess infinite simplicity, as a resemblance of the exemption from the ‘inferior’ issues through aloofness and transcendence. In spite of the philosophical notions regarding the theoretical superiority of simplicity (Occam’s Razor), simplicity in general constitutes the practice of a plain and non-ornate lifestyle.
  28. 28. Gandhi’s Simplicity ‘…reducing myself to zero…’ – Gandhi on Simplicity
  29. 29. Gandhi’s Simplicity In correspondence to the aforementioned, conventional, and general perception of simplicity as being empty, pure, and aloof, and constituting one of Jainism’s five prominent notions – Aparigraha – the detachment from others. Gandhi also refuted that success was based on exuberant pompousness, for he, as a political figure, possessed the attire of the allegedly inferior ‘untouchables’, without his western suits. He wore the clothes of the poorest inhabitants of the social hierarchy in India, employing his home-spun cloth, while concurrently encouraging others to spin their own clothes, plant, and avoid the exuberant ostentation of westerners, and, hence, their clothes. Avoiding all unnecessary expenditures and gifts, Gandhi endeavoured to reduce himself to such divine and infinite simplicity that he was, according to himself, trying to reduce himself to zero. Gandhi spent one day of each week in silence, conceiving that abstaining from speaking brought him
  30. 30. Gandhi’s Simplicity inner harmony – a tranquil yet simple state of peace of mind.
  31. 31. Love, Faith, and Hope
  32. 32. Introduction
  33. 33. Love, Faith, and Hope Comprising a perpetually eminent core part of Christianity’ virtues, and themselves being the three substantial theological virtues, love, faith, and hope are also general virtues or beliefs advocated by various religions, of which these three notions are valued and conceived as the means to transcendence realism (Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, or Jainism), or salvation (Christianity). The notion of love comprises three types – Eros love, Phileo love, and Agape love (i.e. Sacrificial love); Faith consists of the love of God and the acknowledgment of his omnipotence, while encompassing the realms of beliefs of intrepidity, resilience, and defiance; and Hope comprises the acknowledgment of fortune, and a genuinely sanguine demeanour.
  34. 34. Gandhi’s Love, Faith, and Hope ‘As Christian friends were endeavouring to convert me, so were Muslim friends. Abdullah Seth had kept on inducing me to study Islam, and of course he had always something to say regarding its beauty.’ – Gandhi on Faith
  35. 35. Gandhi’s Love, Faith, and Hope Gandhi conceived of love and truth as the two most prominent sectors of his beliefs, and, in general, of religions. Through the Christian Agape love and Sacrificial love, Gandhi was inclined to save his fellows through non-violent, yet, consequently, precarious means; should one not possess agape love (charity), and sacrificial love, how could one, in congruence to Gandhi, proclaim that one would be willing to sacrifice one’s life in exchange for justice? In addition, Gandhi also advocated the notion of faith, as he insisted on the significance of his being an Hindu, and not actually converting to other religions, notwithstanding his not conceding the transcendence, omniscience, and the omnipotence of Brahman – the ultimate Hindu deity: In contrary to allegedly ‘blindly’ pursuing Gods, Gandhi treated religions as symbols of portmanteau collections of notions and beliefs, from
  36. 36. Gandhi’s Love, Faith, and Hope which, and regardless of which religions, Gandhi would select beliefs to practise upon – in accordance to him, every different religion has its advantages and drawbacks. He held no preference over religions, for he recognised and loved all religions, hence promoting universalism. In addition, Gandhi also evaluated the belief of hope as highly significant and indispensable in his resistance – for the hope for India’s independence was apparently required to be substantial, so substantial that derived from which was sufficient audacity and resilience to overthrow a prominent empire.
  37. 37. Equality
  38. 38. Introduction
  39. 39. Equality The notion of Equality, or Egalitarianism consists of the advocating of substantial notion of Equality, encapsulating justice, fair treatment, and the possession of equal rights.
  40. 40. Gandhi’s Equality ‘Untouchability poisons Hinduism as a drop of arsenic poisons milk.’ – Gandhi on Equality
  41. 41. Gandhi’s Equality Gandhi perceived of equality as a means to reach simplicity and agape love, through which purity could be attained. Conceiving of the notion of untouchability as ludicrous as unjust for all men were allegedly equal, Gandhi enunciated the significance of acknowledging the equality of all humans, regardless of races – Blacks or Whites, ethic groups, nationalities – English or Indians, religious groups, social class – Untouchables or Royals, for Gandhi was inclined to impart the fact that all men were equal, according to the Satya and the notion of Simplicity.
  42. 42. Swaraj
  43. 43. Swaraj Swaraj consists theoretically of self-governance or ‘home-rule’, yet the word if generally employed as Gandhi’s conception for Indian Independence from foreign domination, emphasising on self- governance – governance not by a hierarchical government, but decentralised, anarchy-like self governance through individuals, which juxtaposes the British political structure.
  44. 44. Gandhi’s Swaraj ‘…the ideally nonviolent state would be an ordered anarchy.’ – Gandhi on Swaraj
  45. 45. Gandhi’s Swaraj Gandhi was a philosophical anarchist, envisioning India to be a country without an underlying government. While political systems were largely hierarchical, with each layer of authority from the individual to the central government had increasing levels of authority over the layer below, Gandhi believed that society should be the exact opposite, reiterating his notion of Equality through insinuating the significance of acknowledging everyone as at a same level. In accordance to his belief, Gandhi perceived that with each individual being under his own sovereignty, there would be no need for universal laws. This would be achieved over time with nonviolent conflict mediation, as power is divested from layers of hierarchical authorities, ultimately to the individual, which would come to embody the ethic of nonviolence. Rather than a system where rights were enforced by a higher authority, people were self-governed by mutual responsibilities, ruling themselves in small communities and without hindering others.
  46. 46. Conclusion
  47. 47. Conclusion Gandhi was an enigmatic spiritual leader of India. With a substantial collection of prominent beliefs deriving from various religions, and yet incorporating all of these notions with politics and humanitarianism, Gandhi instigated, with love, faith, candour, intrepidity, and justice, an inevitable, unstoppable, and homogenous force that: Politically revolted against an eminent empire; practised satyagrahas to pursue the truth; and to discover the meaning of life through implementing love, aloofness, equality, and non-violence. Gandhi was indeed an unfathomably and inscrutably influential yet benevolent political figure of India, who freed millions from the callous oppression of the British government, with no violence at all.