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 Gandhi - Idealism

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The Philosopher

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PostSubject: Gandhi - Idealism   Fri Nov 21, 2008 11:38 pm

The virtue of an ideal consists in its boundlessness. But although religious ideals must thus from their very nature remain unattainable by imperfect human beings, although by virtue of their boundlessness they may seem ever to recede farther and farther away from us, the nearer we go to them, still they are closer to us than our very hands and feet because we are more certain of their reality and truth than even our own physical being. This faith in one’s ideals constitutes true life, in fact, it is man’s all in all.

The goal ever recedes from us. The greater the progress the greater the recognition of our unworthiness. Satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment. Full effort is full victory.

We need not be afraid of ideals or of reducing them to practice to the uttermost.

I was in the midst of a population which would not kill wild animals that daily destroy their crops. Before the Sardar threw the whole of his tremendous influence into the campaign of the destruction of rats and fleas, the people of the Borsad Taluka had knot destroyed a single rat or flea. (These were plague stricken—N.K.B.). But they could not resist the Sardar to whom they owed much, and Dr. Bhaskar Patel was allowed to carry on wholesale destruction of rats and fleas. I was in daily touch with what was going on in Borsad.

The Sardar had invited me naturally to endorse what had been done. For the work had still to continue, though henceforth with the people’s own unaided effort. Therefore, in order to emphasize my endorsement, I redeclared in the clearest possible terms my implicit belief in ahimsa, i. e. sacredness and kinship of all life.

But why this contradiction between belief and action? Contradiction is undoubtedly there. Life is an aspiration. Its mission is to strive after perfection which is self-realization. The ideal must not be lowered because of our weaknesses or imperfections. I am painfully conscious of both in me. The silent cry goes out to Truth to help me to remove these weaknesses and imperfections of mine. I own my fear of snakes, scorpions, lions, tigers, plague stricken rats and fleas, even as I must own fear of evil-looking robbers and murderers. I know that I ought not to fear any of them. But this is no intellectual feat. It is a feat of the heart. It needs more than a heart of oak to shed all fear except the fear of God. I could not in my weakness ask the people of Borsad not to Kill deadly rats and fleas. But I knew that it was a concession to human weakness.

Nevertheless there is that difference between a belief in ahimsa and a belief in himsa which there is between north and south, life and death. One who hooks his fortunes to ahimsa, the law of love, daily lessens the circle of destruction and to that extent promotes life and love; he who swears by himsa, the law of hate, daily widens the circle of destruction and to that extent promotes death and hate. Though, before the people of Borsad, I endorsed the destruction of rats and fleas, my own kith and kin, I preached to them without adulteration the grand doctrine of the eternal Law of Love of all Life. Though I may fail to carry it out to the full in this life, my faith in it shall abide. Every failure brings me nearer the realization.


"He who fights monsters should see to it that in the process, he does not become a monster. And when you look into the abyss, the abyss also looks into you." - Nietzche
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PostSubject: Re: Gandhi - Idealism   Sat Dec 06, 2008 5:15 am

As I said in an earlier post I am not too familiar with Ghandi's work.
It is amazing to see the constant battle he has with himself.
He doesn't pretend to have all the answers.

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PostSubject: Re: Gandhi - Idealism   Tue Jan 20, 2009 8:57 am

I find myself having ideals similar to Ghandi's at times... I totally respect what he has done and am totally confused to why the world doesn't see life the same way he does.

People look at ideals with such disdain and disbelief. I don't know what is wrong about believing in a world without war, I don't know what is wrong with the belief of a world where people know how to love...
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