Monday, November 24, 2014

Lessons to Learn from the Life of Mahatma Gandhi

Here are a few key lessons Gandhi left behind in the most significant life he led, for his country, his people and rest of the world.

Humanity and faith
Gandhi said: "Have faith in humanity. Humanity is like an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the whole ocean does not become dirty". His faith in the basic 'goodness' of people remained undeterred throughout his life, which remained largely in the midst of followers and opponents.

Be the change
While Gandhi turned an unlikely leader of something as massive as a freedom movement, it didn't happen overnight. He remained open to both sides of any argument and faced everything with a smile. No matter what the challenge was, his goal of 'Indian independence' remained clear. Like he said, "Be the change you want to see in the world." 

Preserving the self
Gandhi firmly believed he was in control of his emotions. His friends vouched for this quality of his. He ensured the goal was in sight. And that ego wouldn't rule the roost. He often said: "no one can hurt me without my permission".

He had imbibed the best of Indian philosophy. Non-violence was his strongest weapon, and so was forgiveness. He told the world often that forgiving was the quality of the strong, and not the weak. "An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind" he said and liberated his fellow men from anger.

Practice what you preach
Advice is more easily available land or air today. Gandhi firmly believed actions speak louder than words. He remained in control of both his actions and words. "An ounce of practice is worth a thousand words" is what he lived by.

Now is all that you have
An English adage says 'cross the bridge when it comes'. Gandhi lived by the essence of 'today' and not what fate would befall on him tomorrow. With the goal clearly before him, he would often look at what could be done now, than later.

Never say Never
He was well aware of the possibilities and limitations of human beings. He said once "It is unwise to be too sure of one's own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err."

Stay on; don't give up
Challenges often encouraged him to go that extra mile, put in that extra effort and reach further clarity on how things were to be executed for the goal to be reached. Self-doubt often made him stronger and he came back renewed, rejuvenated and with bigger dreams than before for the country. "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win".

Keep away the evil
Look for best qualities in people and grow with every person you meet. Gandhi was aware that he wasn't faultless himself. "I will not probe into the faults of others. I only look for goodness in them" he reiterated often.

Coherence in thought and action
Happiness is where there is no conflict within self about what is preached and followed. There are no different rules for self and the world. Happiness is when your thoughts, actions and words align - this was something that he firmly believed in all his life.

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