Mahatma Gandhi Community Forum

America needs Gandhian principles now...

Whilst we here in America are now blessed with a President who is sound of mind, body, and spiritual practice, the every day American still needs to have a better understanding of Bapu's principles and ideals. The younger generations here cannot even relate to something as recent as the Vietnam War as other than a "historical moment", and most of them don't know who Gandhiji was, or have even heard his name. I would like to entertain ideas on school programs bringing the Mahatma to the attention of the young ones, whereby a school in America could "partner" the program with a school in India...I think this kind of engaged historial study would open the hearts and minds of the young ones here.

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Comment by Morgana Washington on April 2, 2009 at 18:05
Well my friend, I can do nothing but agree to that! We should also take the best from other very old sacred ways as well, since they are all very similar, even if they "wear" different clothes! :-)
Comment by viduur on April 2, 2009 at 5:08
Gandhi was definitely influenced by the western philosophers in many ways esp Thoro, Tolstoy etc. Life and sacrifice of Jesus Christ inspires every soul then Gandhi must have been inspired by him also. But he always criticised Church for bidding conversions in India. When British Govt came with communal award in 1932 to screen out "untouchables" from Hindu fold with malafied intentions then he was the only Hindu, who saw a Christian design behind such a move and went for "fast unto death" to convince everyone that so called "untouchables" are part & parcel of highly diversified Hindu society.

Jesus Christ, Chritianity & Church are not synonymous. So what if Christianity & Chrurch are established in the name of Jesus Christ. Why it is impossible that Christianity & Church can be in conflict with Christ?

Jesus Christ is not a property of Christians only. He belonged to all mankind. Similarly the Philosophy of Hinduism is not a property of Hindus of India. It belonged to whole mankind. Hindus of India never made an attempt to popularise this philosophy outside India, whereas Islam & Christianity failed to win Hindus of India by their Philosophy inspite of ruling India for many centuries. This fact is very well recorded by the History of India.

In this age of Internet, it will be difficult to limit the apeal of Hinduism to India alone. Scrutiny & Comparisons of various religious philosophies are inevitable. It will be increasingly difficult for competing religions to hide their flaws, weakness or hollowness. Message for Islam is very clear by now- Reform or face extinction. Islamic Terrorists are against the reforms and Islam is being pushed towards its extinction.

I ask what the Humanity will lose if Islam or any other religion, which has failed to reform or evolve with the times is become extinct?

When Islam can produce a Bin Laden or so many Talibans in 21st century then there must be some big flaws in the doctrines of Islam.

If Hinduism can produce an Avatar like ( see the words of Einstine on Gandhi) then there must be something very beautiful in Hinduism.

Instead of saving any particular religion, efforts should be made to save the Globe & humanity with the help from best & time tested spiritual philosophy of Hinduism.
Comment by Morgana Washington on April 1, 2009 at 21:52
Yes, but one of his favorite chants for lack of a better word, was a Christian hymn. I think that he took the best of many religions and enfolded them into his spiritual practice. India has been so blessed by having an avatar in the 20th century, no other country has been so blessed. His determination, stamina and smarts were the combination of his spiritual practice and his western education in law. And somehow, i think, a Karmic placement in the right place at the right time. i do not debate the beauty and efficacy of Hinduism as Bapu personalized the practice at all. But I think it is unrealistic to think that other cultures will en masse change their own practices to those that Bapu followed. And yes, i know his work against untouchability was tantamount to his cause....but again, that was part and parcel of how he interpreted the Vedas and how he utilized his belief system to become a KarmaYogi!
Comment by viduur on April 1, 2009 at 5:30
I am not aware if Gandhi took inspiration from other religions, when he disapproved many activities of Christian Missionaries & superiority complex of Jews in so clear cut terms that no politician or person of his stature generally dare to do so. It is a different matter that he was deeply inspired by Jesus Christ.

His movement against untouchability was a bigger movement than the freedom movement of India. People are generally not too much aware of it, although it was also started by Gandhi immediately after his arrival from SA in 1915 and continued even after his murder in 1948 by a Brahminist, who was opposed to Gandhi's interference in Hindu religious practices. Even today followers of Savarkar, Godse and RSS paint Gandhi as a Hindu baitor becoz he dared to reform Hinduism against their wishes.

But Gandhi did not cared of these people inspite of being fully aware of the threats posed by them to his life. Gandhi was never 'careful' or 'fearful' of fanatics. He only wanted they are not able to throttle his religion i.e. Hinduism. He just ensured the liberation of Hinduism from the clutches of Brahminist so that this most ancient religion of our planet remains evolving to meet the requirement of more adavanced humanity.

He might have experimented same thing with other religions but there was no scope for it.
Comment by Morgana Washington on March 31, 2009 at 21:59
Yet remember that Bapu embraced, although selectively, elements from other religions all over the world. I think that he knew it was necessary to embrace these followers into his particular Hindu practice, which is uniquely profound. It is a beautiful practice, and I try to adhere to Bapu's spiritual principles without excluding deeply spiritual practices from other modalities. Remember that it was a fanatical Hindu who assassinated Bapu. We must be very careful of fanatics of all spiritual ways!
Comment by viduur on March 31, 2009 at 20:34
Separation of Religion & State is a must for a nation to survive. America took the lead and now almost every nation has opted for this distinction with the exception of Islamic Bloc. Islamic nations will continue to bleed to unless they succumb to the merit of having such a distinction. Actually Islam will not survive without state support, therefore Islamists oppose such kind of separation. Only God know, who will survive at the last... Will it be the Islam or these nations?

Bapu is indeed required in America. But remember Bapu was a product of Hinduism only, who in turn reformed Hinduism also. I do not know if America will have Bapu first then Hinduism or will it be vice-versa. But I am sure US will have Gandhi as well Hindu way of Life by the turn of thi century.

Hinduism is very different from other religions becoz it has not been started by any particular book or person. It is all encompassing instead of having any particular ideology.It is way of life which offers total freedom to their followers in matters of their beliefs. What is spiritualism if it is not the Hinduism? Therefore I say Hinduism is Spiritualism & Spiritualism is Hinduism.
Comment by Morgana Washington on March 31, 2009 at 19:24
I completely understand your viewpoint and agree about the problems with Christianity as it exists in the world today. Remember that there are possible hundreds or thousands of "branches" of Christianity, and that the Pope and his Catholic followers are not the only ones. The other issue in America is the separation of Religion and State. This is, I think, what your critique comes down to in a nutshell. However, even I would not part with this separation for all the tea in India! :-)) I feel it is a very important distinction, and it is one of the foundations of this country. Now, it is possible that some may view that as being the ultimate problem, but I disagree. What we DO need here though, is a dynamic and spiritual (as opposed to religious) individual with the courage and power to lead the people to success and compassion - in a word, another Bapu.
Comment by viduur on March 31, 2009 at 19:09
Namaste Washington,

I will like Americans should adopt Hindu way of life without any further delay becoz Christianity could not evolve as per the needs of time. Americans probaly need a more dynamic and evolving type religion, so that gap between materialistic development of society & spiritual development of Individuals are minimised.

Althogh Christianity was established in the name of Jesus Christ but in fact it seems to have evolved out more in Christ-anti manner than Pro-Christ. The message of Jesus Christ has more compatibility with Hinduism than with any version of Christianity. If Christianity will continue to have POPE then there is no HOPE for Christianity. The evolutrion & dynamism of any religion can be ensured by best individual persons like VivekaNanda & Gandhi etc, and not by having the office of Pope. BTW, Hinduism never had the system of any kind of Pope, therefore, many great people have the chance to contribute in its growth. Gandhi was surely the last one, who contributed a lot in shaping Hinduism to make it one of the most vibrant religion of our times.

If Indians are doing exceeding well in US then lot of credit goes to their Hindu way of life. Hindu technology of Pranayam, Yoga, Meditation can enhance creativity and potential of any individual, while the Hindu values provide lot of stability to family life.
Comment by Morgana Washington on March 31, 2009 at 18:26
Namaste Viddur:
Yes, I am afraid that I have to agree with you on that, but at least we are trying. Geithner's statement may be the only way to state the problem to the people without the people knee-jerking a response that is negative and further harmful. But yes, spirituality is the missing element in all of our failed or ailing endeavors. What do you suggest?
Comment by viduur on March 31, 2009 at 5:07
Namaste Washington,

I also will not like to agree with the remarks of Tim Geithner. It seems to be a kneejerk reaction only. Blaming Market for the ills of America is really one of the most unfortunate statement, when Market provided so much success and prominence to US in last 200 years. Had "Market" been the culprit then ancient civilisations like China & India may not have opted for it so with so much enthusiasm after dilly dallying for so long.

Market is also a manifestation of God like the Science is. Market chanelise & provide outlets to our creative energies. Just like the Religion & Science, the concept of "Market" seems to have been discovered by men, but in fact Market as well as Science has much more divine component in them than most of the manmade Religions.

Actually what is missing in America is "Spirituality". Spirituality is all encompassing, which is necessary to ensure harmonised growth of Religion, Science & Market with human genes. When a religion comes into conflict with spiritual concepts then also there is a chaos, as is happening in Islamic world today. Similarly if Science or Market are allowed to have an independent run in human socities then crisis & chaos are bound to happen.

I am sorry to say that lot of people are debating about new laws & regulations to check
the menace of terrorism & economic crisis, but without comprehending & analysing the fundamental reasons. Terrorism & Economic crisis have something in common although both of these problems are not posing any danger to the survival of humanity. What is common in between them. Both induces fear & terror in our minds. We can get rid from fear(also greed & attachemnts) thru spirituality only and then only we can devise the means & systems to tackle the problems like Terrorism & Economic crisis.

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