Cannot the Kingdom of Salvation take me home?

swimmerguy's picture

So I spent a good portion of today on a trail in a nearby gulch, sitting, and writing, trying to crystallize the spirit of Gandhi onto paper so I could put it on FB.

I kinda failed, here's what I have so far, but I need more:
When I despair, I remember that all through history the ways of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants, and murderers, and for a time they can seem invincible, but in the end they always fall. Think of it--always.
-Mohandas K. Gandhi

Never was that more true than for Gandhi himself, through his lifelong struggle for the rights of the Indian people.

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was often known later in his life as Mahatma, meaning "Great Spirit", a name he disliked, and that often pained him.
The name he liked more was Bapu, meaning "Father".
And he was father.
He was father of a nation, but more importantly, he was father of an idea:
the idea that the only differences that separate people are in our hearts, which is where our battles should remain as well.

The power for this poor man, who made his own clothes, to shake the world, came from his relentless optimism and belief in the general goodness of humankind.
Even after spending years in prison under British authority, he believed his enemies were good at heart, and all India needed to do was show the British their injustice through non-violent non-cooperation and protest, and the British would be defeated by their own shame.

He embodied his beliefs in his philosophy of Satyagraha, meaning "truth-force", or "devotion to the truth".
One of his unshakable principles was that the ends never justify the means, which fueled his abhorrence for violence.
After spending 5 years in India working towards getting popular support and protest against British colonization of India, he began to gain traction through the popular Non-Cooperation Movement of 1920-1922.
However, though the protests involved millions, as soon as one of the protests turned violent, killing 22 British-Indian policemen, he began a hunger strike to halt the protests, wondering if India was ready for non-violent protest.

“I do believe that, where there is only a choice between cowardice and violence, I would advise violence....I would rather have India resort to arms in order to defend her honour than that she should, in a cowardly manner, become or remain a helpless witness to her own dishonour....But I believe that nonviolence is infinitely superior to violence, forgiveness is more manly than punishment."

I have some great ideas for how to end it, but I need a middle piece too, I think.

I just... want this to be a good one.
Part of the problem with writing essays and opinions on so many subjects is I forget what subjects I've written about.
But I do try really hard not to write about the same thing twice.

Which makes this more important, Gandhi's my hero, and I don't want to write a shitty essay on him.

It's just, yes, he believed the means are everything, yes, he believed in non-violence, yes, he believe in unity among all religions and nationalities.
But how do you tie those together succinctly?
Gandhi resonated with me, through what I've read about him, through the movie Gandhi, and I know he can with other people to if I do well enough in getting the very essence of Satyagraha down on paper.

Maybe it's impossible, he was a very complex man with a complex philosophy, and maybe there's no way to tie it together without writing a book.
I just feel that there's something in Gandhi and Satyagraha that resonates in everyone, but what, exactly, is it?

Would it be best to demonstrate through a quick biography?
Or continuing as I have on his principles and how they impacted his life, without going in chronological order or mentioning too many specific events?
What order should it go, then?



jeff's picture


So, the whole point of this is for Facebook, not a class or something?

I will warn you that a lot of people will bring up stuff on Facebook to discredit Gandhi, similar to how you can't go through one Columbus Day anymore without someone bringing up recycled, nonsense opinions. Stuff about Nazis, and medicine, you can find it easy enough, I'm sure. So, if you care, mighr want to diffuse some of the snark by addressing those points? Or not. But that is likely to happen. I know it does in some of my circles when someone shares a Gandhi quote.

If this is something you are writing for yourself, about why he is important to you, and your hero, then make that the focus. WHY does this resonate with you? HOW did you learn about and begin to appreciate his impact? WHAT do you do to take his teaching and apply them to your life? WHEN is this most challenging to you? This lets you pepper personal anecdote with historical background for detail, and not only do people learn about Gandhi, but you as well. You're already informing the subtext, so it's not a major shift to just make you part of the text.

Unless, of course, this is also for some class project.

But people are more intrigued to learn about people they know, which would be you in this case, rather than read a short biography on Gandhi and his beliefs. So, learning how you are integrating his practice into your own life, and how that changes and affects you, not only shares his concepts, it makes them tangible and specific.

Of course, I make myself part of everything I write, hehe. Just a thought...

Hey, Sexy Lady! Oppan Gangnam Style...

anarchist's picture

I prefer Tenzin Gyatso.

He doesn't believe in magical invisible giants who live in the sky.

And yes, that is ignorant ad hominem nonsense that shouldn't be taken seriously.

Bosemaster42's picture

I think the main thing,

that resonates with people who have researched or studied his teachings was his un-failing devotion to do what's right. He didn't just talk a good game,he lived his life according to what he believed in and suffered the consequences of his actions to prove his point, all in a non-violent manner. He was a very rare character, unlikely to be duplicated in our time. He was the definition of a self-less person, who understood the complexities of human nature.
Ditto, as to Jeff's suggestion for injecting how his teachings have affected you/ motivated you and why. It does depend on the target audience.