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Happy Birthday, Grandfather!

 Original Post Source by Arun Gandhi:  Gandhi Day Message

 Bapu and Kasturba

Artist Gary Manson from Gatlinburg, Tennessee

 

Gandhi Day Message

Gandhi was born October 2, 1869 

One hundred and forty-five years ago Mohandas K. Gandhi was born in an innocuous town in Western India and no one imagined he would become an Apostle of peace, love and humanity.  He was killed 66 years ago leaving the world a legacy of goodness, compassion and the way to achieve true civilization. 

Instead the world decided to go in the opposite direction, the direction of materialism and militarism, both antithetical to the concept of civilization.  The result is in 1914 the world was embroiled in the first World War which devastated scores of millions of lives.  Now, coincidentally, in 2014 we are tottering on the brink of World War III? 

Materialism and militarism, the twin evils, have led humanity to a life of crime, violence and wars causing the deaths of more than 300 million people in one century.  Yet, we refuse to learn anything from the dehumanizing and devastating way of life and behave as though we are trapped in a downward spiral and can do nothing about it

After a lecture on Nonviolence In The 21st Century a 17 year old high school student asked me: What do you think your grandfather would have done if he was alive today?  It is a difficult question to speculate on  but I do know grandfather had an immense store of compassion and confidence in the goodness of human beings.  If he was alive today he would have started all over again working to change humanity.  He firmly believed that a society will change only when people change.  Which is why he repeatedly reminded us: WE MUST BECOME THE CHANGE WE WISH TO SEE IN THE WORLD! 

The philosophy of nonviolence that he left as a legacy is not, I repeat NOT, simply a peaceful way of resolving conflicts.  If understood in depth, it is a means of personal transformation.  So, to paraphrase President John F. Kennedy:  Ask not what the world can do for you, ask what you can do for your world!   

 

 

Enough IS Enough…!

Originally Posted: When is Enough, Enough?

Enough IS Enough…!


http://www.jcckc.org/The senseless shooting at the Jewish Center in Kansas City yesterday, and the loss of three innocent lives, must not be brushed aside as yet another hate-monger gone mad. Hate is a sickness that is stoked by a society that continuously divides people by religion, nationality, economics, social standings, gender, philosophy, orientation, and every other means we can keep people apart. It is time we wake up to find a cure for this malady rather than brush such incidents under the carpet.

The victims of this horrible crime deserve the sympathy of every human who believes in a civilized society. Both Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. said Hate can only be overcome with love, not punishment. Remembering all the evil events of history only feeds evil, it does not eliminate it. The salvation for this world lies only in accepting everyone as equal and human and not define people by the labels that divide and keep people apart.

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Grandfather Gandhi’s Life Style by Arun Gandhi

Grandfather Gandhi Illustration © Evan Turk

Grandfather Gandhi Illustration © Evan Turk

Grandfather Gandhi’s Life Style 

By Arun Gandhi, 5th grandson of Mahatma Gandhi

People often wonder why Grandfather Gandhi was mostly half-naked as the British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, once described him. He chose this garb because he found that a large number of people in India were so poor that they could not afford to wear any more clothes than was necessary to hide their nakedness. Grandfather was emotionally devastated to see their plight and decided that if he was going to be their leader he should not wear any more clothes than them.

When he became frugal in his attire he, naturally, adopted poverty in life as well. He established ashrams, which is an Indian term for a community living together as one big family. Those who chose to join him had to live simply, so that others could simply live. They were allowed to wear more clothes than he did but the homes were made of mud and bamboo, like the huts of the poor, and the food was simple. The community worked in the fields to produce their own food. It was not just an outward show of sympathy with the poor but a genuine emotional bond which made him a beloved leader of the poor and the rich.

I lived with him in the community called Sevagram — a combination of two Indian words — Seva meaning service and gram meaning village. So the community was serving themselves and the neighboring poor. All the structures were made of bamboo and mud and thatched roofs with mud floors. There was minimum furniture — just beds made of bamboo frame and a web of rope. For everything else we sat on the floor. The reason why we could not sleep on the floor was because the area was famous for the deadly cobra snakes and no one wanted to encourage them to come snuggle at night!

The homes in Sevagram had no toilets or bathrooms. There was a separate block of toilets and bathrooms at the edge of the property because there were no modern water closets as we have now. There were buckets — one to collect the urine and the other for fecal matter. No one wanted the smell to pervade their homes so they were far away which made it difficult for people who had to go at night.

There was no electricity so we had to use oil lanterns. The result was that people retired early at night and got up very early in the morning. Gandhi adopted this life-style not because he was a crank but because he felt that a good leader must identify himself or herself with the poorest among them. This is why he became the most beloved leader of the 20th century!

Grandfather Gandhi by Arun Gandhi, Bethany Hegedus Illustrated by Evan Turk

Originally published at Gandhi Legacy Tour here: Grandfather Gandhi’s Life Style

Happy Jayanti Bapu!

Original Post Source: Gandhi Legacy Tour Blog 

Today, October 2nd, is Gandhi’s Birthday…

To all my personal friends and friends of my late grandfather Mohandas ‘Mahatma’ Gandhi I send warm regards and best wishes from my home in Rochester, New York.  I have been encouraged by many to continue writing an annual message on the day of Grandfather’s birthday, October 2nd (1869 – 1948). This date is now know as the United Nations International Day of Nonviolence which was designated by the U.N. to acknowledge Mohandas ‘Mahatma’ Gandhi each year. 

I continue to write this annual message and I now share this with you and those who hold dear the wisdom, and benefit from the philosophy and message of Mahatma Gandhi.

[Editor’s note: The Gandhi Legacy Tour 2013-14 led by Arun Gandhi still has only a few remaining openings that will be available for a very short time – less than 14 days from this publication.  Don’t miss out!]

Celebrating Gandhi Birthday

Bapu, we still love you!

On a previous Gandhi birthday I received a letter from an Indian friend who lived for many years in Britain and San Diego and recently decided to go back to India to take back home the Gandhi legacy “Become the change you wish to see in the world.” Like millions before him he is disillusioned. He has not been able to find Gandhi in the new India. Of course, Gandhi’s image adorns all the currency notes, there are statues in town squares and every city and town has a “Mahatma Gandhi Road.” Lip service is paid to Gandhiji’s memory on his birthday and his death anniversary.

>> Continue reading at Arun Gandhi’s blog

 

Arun Gandhi & John Wayne: A Lesson on Lying

Original Post Source: Gandhi Legacy Tour

Durban Gandhi Newspaper and settlement

I was 16 years old and living with my parents at the institute my grandfather had founded 18 miles outside of the city of Durban, South Africa, in the middle of the sugar plantations. We were well within the country and had no neighbors, so my two sisters and I always look forward being able to go to town to visit friends or go to the movies. One day my father asked me to take him to the city to attend a conference that lasted the whole day and I jumped at the chance.

As he went to town, my mother gave me a grocery list of things I needed and my father asked me to take care of some outstanding things like taking the car serviced. When I left my father, he told me: See you here at 5 pm and we will go home together.

After quickly completing all the assignments, I went to the nearest cinema.I focused so much with the film, a John Wayne movie, I forgot the time. It was 5:30 pm when I remembered. I ran to the garage and got the car and hurried to where my father was waiting. It was nearly 6 pm.

He anxiously asked: Why are you late? I felt bad about it and I could not say I was watching a John Wayne movie in Durban. Then I told him the car was not ready and had to wait. I said this without knowing that my father had already called the garage.

> Continue reading at Gandhi Legacy Tour

God Without Religion – a forward by Arun Gandhi

Arun Gandhi

Arun Gandhi

The question “What is God?” has baffled humankind for eons and will continue to defy logical understanding as long as we live with the concept that there is a heaven up above, where God sits judging all of humanity and punishing those who misbehave. Eminent thinkers throughout history have tried to find a logical answer to this vexing question, with little success. On the other hand His Holiness Gautama, the Buddha, did tapasya (Sanskrit for asceticism) under a banyan tree and, like some others, found that God exists within every human heart in the form of love, compassion, understanding, and other positive attributes humankind is capable of but often chooses to suppress. It seems that instead of trying to assert strict logic or put a solid image to our concept of God, we ought to follow their example and devote greater energy to intuitively understanding the meaning of God.

This book, God Without Religion: Questioning Centuries of Accepted Truths by Sankara Saranam, helps us do just that. It offers a refreshing attempt to provide humankind with a modernized spiritual road-map for use in our eternal quest to comprehend God.

Since the identity of God is so inscrutable (if not the best-kept secret in the world) and the philosophy surrounding this power so impenetrable, religious leaders of various faiths have defined God in ways that raise more questions than they answer. The easiest and most accepted explanation is to see God in the shape of those who are considered God’s messengers-among Jews, Moses and the Hebrew Prophets; among Christians, Jesus; among Muslims, Muhammad; among Hindus, Krishna; and among Buddhists, Gautama.

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My Two Cents on Aurora

Arun Gandhi on Aurora Batman Shooting

Dr. Arun Gandhi

My heart goes out today to the people of Aurora who have suffered this immense and mindless tragedy. To those who have lost their loved ones and to those who escaped with injuries this incident will never make any sense.

The question WHY? will always haunt them. Already the nation is screaming for more protection, more security. And, yes, the Government has already set the security apparatus in motion and we will gladly surrender more of our freedom so that we can feel safe or, at least, enjoy the illusion of safety.

As much as this is the time for sympathy and healing for those who suffered this tragedy it is also a time for national soul-searching. It is easy to isolate this incident as an evil act of a madman and tighten security and move on with life. We have done this over and over again but the scourge of violence refuses to disappear. Why will it, when we find so much joy in violence that we will suffer any inconvenience to see one set of madmen brutalize and destroy another set of madmen?

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The inconsistencies of terror & religion

Western democracies proclaim that in politics they keep church and state separate but in reality this is not always true. How many of our nation’s policies and laws have religious overtones and are a result of the majority party’s religious affiliations?

It seems virtually impossible for any average politician to act contrary to his or her religious background.

ARUN GANDHI | WASHINGTON POST –

Arun Gandhi

The same rule applies to terrorists. In reality terrorists are quite simply mass murders. But when an individual commits murder we don’t associate religion with the act because the murder is an act of passion and not an act motivated by religion.

Terrorism, like politics, has its roots in religious beliefs and individuals, or collectives, are motivated by their warped understanding of their religion. But, whether this justifies branding a nefarious act of terrorism as “Islamic” or “Christian” is debatable. We all know that religious scriptures are ambiguously written so that anyone can interpret them to mean whatever they want it to mean. This should not be construed to mean that the essence of any religion is evil. Just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, misinterpretation of religion is the act of an insane individual or a group.

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