Power To The People: Mahatma Gandhi’s Key To Change

1642 words - 7 pages

Power to the People: Mahatma Gandhi’s Key to Change
According to Indian social activist Mahatma Gandhi, selfless service is the foundation for creating change throughout the world. “Action is one’s duty”, and one’s duty is actuated by “the spirit of service” (9) which one must take on in order to understand humility and selflessness, strengthen himself, and become an advocate for ahimsa, nonviolence (9). Like so many other social activists, Gandhi had a vision for the future: a vision of peace, independence, and equality for all. To Gandhi, nonviolence is essential if one ever wishes to see this change that he envisioned for the world. Gandhi fought relentlessly for India’s independence from Britain, but he did not fight in the way many people today think of when they hear the word “fight”. Gandhi fought without fists but with courage, heart, empathy, and, most importantly, with love – love for self, love for others, and love for his country. Gandhi confirms that one who loves himself, others, and his country enough to sacrifice himself and devote himself to ahimsa has the power to change the world. If an individual wants to make a difference he should follow the ways in which Mahatma Gandhi lived his life; Gandhi led a life of nonviolence in his everyday life, in the form of civil disobedience, and as a foundation for independence. As Gandhi did, when one reaches a full understanding of nonviolence and acts upon it, he alone can make a difference.
Gandhi advocated nonviolence as a way of life because it is the foundation for furthering ahimsa onto a greater scale. The individual is the gateway to universal reform and once he recognizes and understands selfless action he, too, can become an advocate for ahimsa as he practices it in his daily life. “…all of us are bound to place our resources at the disposal of humanity” (76) and he who serves in such a way, acts for the good of all, is the ideal human being. This person, he who practices truth, commits himself to voluntary poverty, wearing handspun clothing (khadi), eating a vegetarian diet, serving others, and appreciating all religions. Gandhi advocated nonviolence as a way of life in his own practices particularly through voluntary poverty, the renunciation of one’s possessions as a form of sacrifice, yajna, to benefit others (78, 79). Non-possession is key: the less you have and want the better you are because you have willingly surrendered yourself to others in mind, body, and soul (80). This is where one must start, the detachment of self from possessions, because possessions are what distract one from the ultimate purpose of serving God and others (76). “Perfect fulfillment of the ideal of non-possession requires that man should…have no roof over his head, no clothing, and no stock of food…”; he has only what he needs for the present, and nothing more, for he is at the disposal of God who will provide for him (92). This way of life must not exist only externally; one must change his way...

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