Unkown Lessons from the Mahatma

Posted on: Friday, October 2, 2015 | Posted by: Art of Living Universe


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Gandhi Jayanti is an occasion to reflect on what we can learn from Gandhiji. Everyone’s life teaches us both what to do and what not to do. The ideals that Gandhiji set are an inspiration for generations – a sense of sacrifice, acceptance for everyone, an unbroken faith in satsang and dedication to the higher cause of the country and the welfare of people. But there were aspects of his life that teach us what not to do as well.

My teacher, Pt. Sudhakar Chaturvedi, who is still alive at 118 years stayed with Gandhiji for a long time. Bangalori, as Gandhiji would call him since he hailed from Bangalore, used to teach him the Bhagavad Gita. They were together on the day Kasturba passed away in Yerawada Jail. Watching her in the throes of death, Gandhiji said, “Bangalori, your Bapu has to face the test of fire (agni-pariksha) today.” Panditji saw tears in Bapu’s eyes for the first time. As he read the second chapter of the Gita for Kasturba, she breathed her last. Gandhiji remarked, “I realize that I gave her a lot of pain and no happiness.” Kasturba supported him in his mission till the end. Perhaps he would not have been so remorseful had he honored and agreed to some of her wishes once in a while.

Gandhiji was also deeply pained when his son converted to another religion. He spoke a lot against conversion and admitted his regret that he could not give his children an education of values and respect for their own religion. He came to be regarded as the Father of the Nation but could not be a good father to his own sons. While aspiring to bring freedom to an entire country, he gave none to his own wife. Due to his rigidity, Gandhiji put his family through a lot of distress and his own children rebelled against him. Approaching every aspect of life with a fixed attitude is not practical. One needs to have different yardsticks for dealing with different people and situations.

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