Catalyst House

Gandhi’s Teachers

Recently I hosted Tushar Gandhi and his lovely wife Sonal during their brief visit to Las Vegas, and as we dined on fine Indian cuisine at the wonderful Gandhi Cuisine restaurant the discussion turned to the subject of Gandhi’s teachers. For our memorable evening we were joined by the eminent UNLV Gandhi scholar, Satish Sharma, who authored four books on that very subject.  Gandhi had four prominent early teachers that helped shape his perennial philosophy of Peace: Rajchandra Ravjibhai Mehta from India, Leo Tolstoy from Russia, John Ruskin from England, and Henry David Thoreau from America. 

gandhis_teachers

UNLV Social Work Professor Satish Sharma. Aaron Mayes UNLV Photo ServicesDr. Sharma shared that his earliest memories related to the idea of peace and nonviolence went back to childhood days and that “I have always favored pacifist tendencies and orientations, and practiced them.” With that orientation, it was only a matter of time that Dr. Sharma would become interested in the pacifists and peace-makers like Gandhi and others. Dr. Sharma adds that through his works he simply wanted people to think of Gandhi, his teachers, and their peace principles. He says: “You have to pay attention to peace and pacifism, you have to believe that without peace and pacifism your lives are going to be miserable, and nations’ lives are going to be miserable too.”

Dr. Sharma’s works on Gandhi’s teachers certainly add to that discussion. For the world, he says: “Ultimately the world is to be guided not by political leaders, but by visionaries. Ideas are much stronger than policies and planning. Ideas make the world go around. And only if they are peaceful ideas, are they going to work.”

UNLV co-sponsored Dr. Sharma’s research along with his publisher – Gujarat Vidyapith, Ahmedabad, India in which we visit on the Gandhi Legacy Tour of India.  His four-book series, published respectively in 2005, 2009, 2011, and 2013.

See:  Gandhi’s Teachers: Henry David Thoreau’ by Satish Sharma

Basic information about the five visionaries, what they were known for, and what were their main lessons that considerably impacted societies all around the world.

[Side note: Dr. Sharma invited Lynnea Bylund to talk to his students about the work of Gandhi Worldwide Education Institute and Gandhi Legacy Tour at UNLV on September 21, 2015 (International Peace Day). His graduate level course is: Issues in Diversity and Developing Multicultural Competence.]  Video of Lynnea Bylund’s talk at UNLV.

Violence Running Rampant!

Originally posted @GWEI 

Violence runs rampant in these austere times. An embodiment of the concept would certainly manifest as the Hydra itself, theSea Monster multi-headed serpent monster from ancient Greek mythology, a monster which Hercules himself had difficulty slaying.

Mimicking the Hydra, violence is manifold and ruthless. In today’s world, where there is mass profit from maintaining perpetual tragedies such as war, obtaining any leverage over this beast is an absolutely Herculean task.

Despite the seemingly infinite difficulties that one who chooses to walk nonviolent a path has before them, many, such as Mohandas Gandhi, Dr. Martin Luther King and Bell Hooks, have boldly endured innumerable gauntlets and tirelessly worked against powers terrifyingly dedicated to the preservation of global suffering, powers operating in the name of ephemeral trinkets such as money and status.

These people, some of whom can be named by grade-school children, others whose names have faded into the aether, laid the groundwork for future generations to blaze formerly unforeseen trails to a world transformed.

I consider myself one of these freshly hatched trailblazers; I’ve spent the last four of my nineteen years of life coming to political consciousness and obtaining skills that have allowed me to work against violence in its various manifestations in my life, and the world more broadly.

In the past four years, I’ve been apart of various projects dedicated to the eradication of violence and the implementation of justice. From pushing the public school system in my home city, Washington, D.C, to adopt restorative justice in various DC public schools utilizing photography and personal stories, to co-creating a theatre piece about real-life experiences with systems of oppression – and many other experiences and opportunities – these past four years have been integral to the formulation of who I am currently.

And who I am currently is still in a process of growth and discovery despite the spectacular aforementioned experiences I’ve had. Who I am currently yearns to learn, do, and grow indefinitely. Which is exactly why I came to the Gandhi Institute in September to work as a Program Intern. Read more

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!   

 

 

Catalyst House