Mahatma Gandhi Community Forum

"Non-violence implies as complete self-purification as is humanly possible." - "The Greatest Force," Harijan, 12 Oct. 1935 (from The Essential Writings of Mahatma Gandhi edited by Raghavan Iyer)

 I struggle with Gandhi's often puritanical approach to non-violence.  I want to be a better person.  I want to eliminate violence from my life.  I believe in prayer and spiritual growth, but I am not seeking moksha, spiritual release from the cycle of death and reincarnation.  I do not have Gandhi's understanding of what happens after death.  I'm not sure what happens after death.  And I certainly don't want the success or failure of non-violence in the world even slightly dependent on how close to perfection I come.  I am, and I'm afraid I will always be, far, far from perfection.

I believe in a God that can redeem the mistakes I make and the awful tragedies that happen in the world.  Karma, actions and deeds that shape past, present and future events, is not a part of what I believe.

I don't want to be purified.  I'm happy being a muddled human being, fumbling my way through life, trusting that God will take my humble offerings and do something miraculous.  I trust God will do this, because I have seen God do this in the past, and not just in my life, but in the lives of friends and relatives and strangers.

This is not an excuse for laziness or lack of effort or not working on personal growth or any other failure to do whatever it is in my power to do that can help change the world, but I trust that the feebleness of my efforts will not keep God from taking them and multiplying them a thousand fold or ten thousand fold.

I may be wrong.  I will certainly keep asking God to help me overcome my defects of character, my greed, my sloth, my lust, my gluttony, etc., and perhaps God will work miracles in me.   I don't believe that God needs my help, I think God wants my help and that's why God created me as I am, foibles and all.

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Comment by Balamurali Balaji on March 24, 2011 at 5:23

Your words are truly reflecting the Athmic feelings and exploring what an humble human being can do this in the world with all his limitations and resistive forces around him in the society, environment, and of course some times with the government policies too.

Lord Krishna in his Gita said us to do our duty with no expectations on the outcome of our actions. Each one of us go empty after a days long action, speeches and fight against the evil etc. etc. and we are left with what Lord Krishna had told the human kind.

If we gotta believe at the behest of God, we become religious; at the command of our own Athma, we become service oriented.

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