In the first year of this blog, I posted a summary of an article called Gandhi’s Top 10 Fundamentals for Changing the World. It was one of the more popular early posts here because it used all those keywords – a famous name, “top 10”, etc. But more importantly and why I posted it, the article also contained some key phrases from his teaching. Like “Without action, you aren’t going anywhere.”
Today, about 7 and a half years later, a friend send me a similarly titled article, 10 Reasons Why Gandhi Is My Hero. Where the first was aphorisms from his teaching, this one is quotes from stories about his life.
Gandhi was raised with strong but various Indian philosophy influences then later explored western ones. Plato, Ruskin, Salter, Thoreau, and Tolstoy are said to have been strong influences.
Gandhi was indeed a remarkable man. But he was also very human and apparently not an easy man to deal with. This is often true of driven personalities. While he was heroic and driven to service, some of that drive came from anger. He was motivated to spirituality but not spiritually awakened. He also engaged in some questionable behavior and took some very controversial positions.
I say this not to demean his work in any way – but rather to see him realistically and remind ourselves what an ordinary human can accomplish. I suspect Gandhi would have agreed. He was not enamored of the Mahatma title – he said it “pained” him.
He has inspired many around the world including Martin Luther King and the US civil rights movement. King said “Christ gave us the goals and Mahatma Gandhi the tactics.”
His Birthday on Oct 2 is celebrated as the International Day of Nonviolence or Gandhi Jayanti. He is an example worth remembering – but as the person he was.