The Bhagavad Gita according to Gandhi

I finished this book about a week ago. One of the nicest literature written by the great Bapu. I guess its because his life revolved around it or should I say the teachings of the Gita revolved around his life. I have read lots of things written by him and true to his writing style, you almost feel that he is talking directly to you and that you are sitting there somewhere in his Ashram as he weaves his homespun, the whirring of the spinning wheel the paper onto which his voice is woven.

The following words by the Great Soul in the last few pages sums up part of the important teachings of the Gita.

“The central teaching of the Gita is detachment – abandonment of the fruit of action. And there would be no room for this abandonment if one were to prefer another’s duty to one’s own. Therefore one’s own duty is said to be better than another’s. It is the spirit in which duty is done that matters, and its unattached performance is its own reward.”

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2 thoughts on “The Bhagavad Gita according to Gandhi

  1. Unlike Nelson Mandela, Gandhi was not prepared to bear the brutalities of the oppressive regime in South Africa. So he gatecrashed the Indian politics, for he felt the government in India was liberal. Soon he became a top leader because Nehru was highly refined and allowed Gandhi to have his own plans. Gandhi was influenced by the Bhagavad Gita and the major mistake he did was to inject religion into the arteries of Indian politics. Krishna says in the Gita that he created four-fold division of caste (varnashrama), and Gandhi embraced caste-system as a religious duty. He said that ‘;it was essential, on religious grounds, to preserve the division of society into four fundamental castes, for it was this that had saved Hinduism from disintegration. ‘If Hindu society has been able to stand, it is because it is founded on the caste system. The seeds of swaraj are to be found in the caste system.’ To destroy it would mean that ‘Hindus must give up the principle of hereditary occupation which is the soul of the caste system.’ What a meaningless and biased interpretation! It was by destroying caste system that K.R.Narayanan became president of India and Balakrishnan became the Chief Justice of India — posts reserved exclusively for Brahmins in pre-British Hindu India. Gandhi’s real character was revealed when he launched the ‘Quit India’ movement. The fall of Singapore to the Japanese on Feb15, 1942, was considered one of the greatest military disasters in the history of the British Army and Britain’s most significant defeat in the Second World War.Gandhi took advantage of the weak position of Britain and said: “I, therefore, want freedom immediately, this very night, before dawn.” Like Krishna’s message to Arjun, Gandhi gave a mantra (magic formula) to his followers, ‘Do or Die.” Gandhi wanted to appease the Japanese and he was certain that the British would be defeated. Although Gandhi called ‘Quit India’ a non-violent, passive movement, police stations, post offices and railway stations were attacked and set ablaze in many places. Attempts were made by the agitated mobs to capture court buildings. Troops fired to control mob fury. Uncontrolled crowd threw bombs on the police in Madhya Pradesh, Bombay and Uttar Pradesh. The official death toll, mostly in Bihar and the Eastern United Provinces, was 1,060 demonstrators killed (as opposed to 63 policemen and a small number of military personnel), but unofficial estimates were higher , 1,761 for Bihar alone according to a Congress source. After the event, Gandhi described it as a calamity. His third and last campaign against British rule had ended in total failure. By 1945 he was politically speaking a nonentity. But his conversion of the political movement started by the founders of the Congress Party into a religious movement caused irreparable disaster for the country. Jinnah, who stood with Nehru and worked for a free, united India, was completely disappointed and enraged at the religious fanaticism of Gandhi and clamoured for Pakistan. If Gandhi had not entered Indian politics, India would not have been partitioned. Even without Gandhi, India would have won independence. Was there a Gandhi in Burma? Was there a Gandhi in Malaysia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka or Singapore? Britain was giving freedom to many African countries after World War II even without asking.

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