Ram Rajya — Gandhi and His Religious Outlook
TRANSCEND MEMBERS, 25 Feb 2019
25 Feb 2019 – The world is celebrating the 150th Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi this year. On this important occasion, let us remember Gandhi’s belief in the core values of Truth, Nonviolence, Satyagraha, Religious Amity, Harmony, Cleanliness and Love for Nature. He not only believed in these values but consistently acted in consonance with them.
But it is difficult to say as to which of these values was paramount to him. He often said that whenever he faced a moral problem, he turned towards Bhagwad Gita for guidance and resolution of his dilemma. Gita, as we know is the discourse on morality and ethics between Arjuna and Lord Krishna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra. Gandhi himself had written a commentary on Gita that he named Anasakti Yoga — Yoga of non-attachment.
Gandhi was also a Sanatani Hindu and believed in Lord Ram, one of the dominant pillars of Hinduism. He talked of Ram Rajya meaning thereby a society that is just, humane, which provides equality for everyone — women, farmers, tribal populations, poor and marginalised peoples, believers of different faiths, etc.
Yet he was often felt dismayed by the dirt and noise found both inside and outside several Indian temples. For him cleanliness, peaceful environment was as important as belief in Lord Ram. He would have perhaps argued, ‘how could Ram agree to live in filthy and noisy surroundings that prevailed in many famous Hindu temples such as Kashi Vishwanath in Varanasi of India?’
Gandhi’s ashrams were always kept clean by Gandhi himself and the inmates, thereby creating a feeling of peace and harmony. In fact, his simple life style and love for Nature was a manifestation of his innermost spirit of spotlessness and orderliness. He believed that Nature with its varied diversity and ecology could exist harmoniously because of maintenance of a spirit of sharing and coexistence. Human beings interfered in this harmony because of their greed and a feeling of power. His life style was in consonance with his belief; this had helped our planet to remain free from degradation for centuries.
Today of course, we have broken the harmonious coexistence of our ecosystem that is resulting in pollution, global warming and climate change.
This has also resulted in the rise of sea levels and putting at risk many islands in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. The ex President of the small nation of Maldives, H.E. Mohamed Nasheed visited New Delhi recently. Maldives consists of 26 atolls and is located about 1000 km from Sri Lanka and India and has a population of less than five hundred thousand. Referring to the rising sea levels that were engulfing his country, Nasheed dramatically asked the question ‘Don’t we have the right to exist on the Earth?’
In the important year of the celebration of the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, it becomes imperative for us to remember his beliefs and emphasis on the core concepts of Non-violence, cleanliness, simplicity and harmony.
Gandhi had stated:
“Nonviolence is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind. It is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of man. Nonviolence is the law of our life.”
On another occasion he also said:
“There is enough for people’s needs on this planet, but not for their greed”.
Dr Ravi P Bhatia is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment, an educationist, Gandhian scholar and peace researcher. Retired professor, Delhi University. His new book, A Garland of Ideas—Gandhian, Religious, Educational, Environmental was published recently in Delhi. firstname.lastname@example.org
This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 25 Feb 2019.
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