Spiritual journeys of the Mahatma - The Hindu

During Gandhi’s stay in Pretoria, he read about 80 books on religion. He came under the influence of Christianity and took Bible classes, but did not embrace it. [1]

Gandhi underwent a gradual change, reducing his wants and expenses. He began to do his own laundry and clean out his own chamber pot, often his guests’ as well. Despite his busy practice as a lawyer and the demands of his public work, he volunteered  for two hours a day at a charitable hospital. He read books on nursing and midwifery, serving as a midwife when his fourth son was born. [2]

In his autobiography he wrote, “…when a leper came to my door, I had not the heart to dismiss him with a meal. So I offered him shelter, dressed his wounds, and began to look after him.” [3] Elsewhere he said, “The hands that serve are holier than the lips that pray.” [4]

Although Gandhi was a devout Hindu, to him all religions had equal status. He often said he was as much a Muslim, Christian, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain and Parsee as he was a Hindu.

The aspects of his character mentioned above sound a lot like they were inspired by Jesus. And they might very well have been.  He thought Jesus was  one of the greatest teachers humanity ever had.

Though Gandhi stayed in South Africa specifically to resist injustice, he harboured no hatred towards his opponents and was, in fact, ready to help if they were in distress. It was this combination of resisting wrong, yet retaining the capacity to love, that baffled his enemies and drew their admiration.

I wonder if Gandhi read these words from Jesus in Luke 6:27-28? “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.”

Can we remember this when we fight against the injustices around us? Can we treat those who hurt us with an attitude of love? When we see all that Gandhi has done with his calm and humble manner, we should be inspired to treat our own conflicts likewise.

Gandhi, the quiet leader of few words, showed how much respect such an attitude could bring. And he showed the tremendous amount that could be accomplished.

[1] https://www.sahistory.org.za/people/mohandas-karamchand-gandhi

[2] https://www.sahistory.org.za/people/mohandas-karamchand-gandhi

[3] Gandhi, M. K. (1927) An Autobiography: The Story of My Experiments with Truth, Navjivan Publishing House, , Ahmedabad, p. 212

[4] Gandhi, M. K. (1927) An Autobiography: The Story of My Experiments with Truth, Navjivan Publishing House, , Ahmedabad, p. 266

This has been Part 29 of the series, A Life Worth Living. Read Part 30 – Overcoming Injustice with Love