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The Quest for the Royal Road: Gandhiji's Ideals: A Question

Published: 06.02.2016

Gandhiji's birthday is being celebrated all over the country. It is a natural thing to do. How would people forget his birthday so soon? People do not forget celebrating his birth anniversary, but it is sad and tragic that they are gradually forgetting the characteristic features that marked his life.

There is nothing surprising if people forget Bhagwan Mahavira and Buddha, because a very long time has passed since they lived. But it is indeed astonishing that Gandhiji should be forgotten in such a short time.

Although a large number of people wearing white caps and khadi dress would be found even now, but those who understand the characteristic features of Gandhiji's life cannot be counted even on finger-tips. One feels anguish at heart to witness such a terrible situation. But it is not sufficient to express one's anguish. It does not solve the problem. One would need to make sacrifices to solve the problem.

Every person should have confidence in himself and feel that he is capable of doing everything. Gandhiji had a tremendous confidence in himself. Because of his self- confidence he made a dependent nation independent.

I had no direct contact with Gandhiji, because he had passed away before I entered the public field. But I have identified myself with his ideas all along.

Gandhiji always emphasised that a person's present should always be bright. Then the future would be automatically bright. The person who muddles up his present would never be able to make his future bright. That is what I too keep saying. The person who wastes away his present can never keep himself secure.

Only the person who lives according to the dictates of non-violent instincts can evaluate the present. Non-violence is the greatest art of life. Non-violence is a religion and religion is non-violence. Both are mutually related. They cannot exist separately.

Today, people have distorted the pure form of non-violence by thinking about it in terms of preserving and taking life of the living creatures. In fact, as far as non-violence is concerned, the question is not whether the creatures live or die. The importance is of the person's lofty feelings. The person can be non-violent to the extent that he has lofty feelings.

Non-violence is the religion of the self. Under no circumstances can it be separate from the soul. The person whose life is governed by the following seven formulae is, in fact, a non-violent person. Now it is up to every person to judge himself and find out by which feeling his life is governed.

  1. Peace or anger?
  2. Humility or arrogance?
  3. Contentment or aspiration?
  4. Straightness or conceit?
  5. Lack of insistence or obduracy?
  6. Harmony or dissension?
  7. Bravery or weakness?

Bravery is non-violence. A non-violent person has the capacity to face conflicts. Only he who can remain competent in the midst of conflicts can pursue the great path of non­violence. It has been said in the agamas: "The brave walk on the great path."[1]

Looking at the present state of the nation it seems that after Gandhiji's death no capable person has appeared who could guide the nation. That is why the situation in the country is becoming all the more a matter of concern.

'Today, neither the citizens nor the political leaders are bothered about the improvement of the nation. All are anxious to amass riches for themselves. So long as there is no adherence to duty on both sides the problem of the nation would not be solved.

A citizen devoted to duty would not be able to hear any mean talk about his country and he would never think anything against the interests of his country. You would realise this will by an incident cited below.

There was a famous city called Rajgriha in Magadhadesha. Its fame had spread far and wide. One day, some merchants came to that city to sell jewels and blankets. They wandered through the city the whole day, but no one came forward to buy their jewels and blankets. Disappointed, they started returning to their own city. All of them had the same comment to make: "How do we know that the people living in this city are so miserly? How would these people keep up the dignity of their city?"

Bhadra heard that comment. She immediately called those merchants to her house and asked them why they were going back disappointed. On learning the reason, she bought all the blankets, each worth a lakh and twenty-five thousand rupees. Then she said, "Why did you bring only sixteen blankets? You should have brought atleast thirty-two, so that I could have given one to each of my daughters-in-law. Now I shall have to give only half to each one of them. Right in front of those merchants, she gave half blankets to each of her thirty-two daughters-in-law. The merchants were flabbergasted. They had to admit that a woman was able to maintain the dignity of her city.

Is there anyone today who would come forward like this to preserve the dignity of their country? There are two purposes for preserving the dignity of the nation-devotion to duty and awareness.

In 1947, Gandhiji was touring Bihar. At that time, he had a small pencil. Manu noticed that pencil and tucked it away somewhere and kept a new pencil in its place. Gandhiji returned from somewhere at about 12.30 at night. He woke up Manu and asked, "Where is my pencil?" Manu said, "I have kept it somewhere." "Bring it right now." Manu got up and started searching the pencil. It was already a quarter past one. She could not find the pencil. Gandhiji said, "Go to sleep now. Give it to me in the morning."

In the morning at three, everyone gathered for the prayer. Gandhiji again reminded Many about the pencil. Manu searched again and finally found the pencil. When she brought it to Gandhiji he said, "I do not need it now. Keep it somewhere." Manu was furious but said nothing. She kept the pencil carefully in some place. Two weeks passed. One day again Gandhiji woke up Manu at midnight and asked her to get the pencil. Manu brought to him that same tiny bit of pencil. Gandhiji said, "You have passed my examination. Now I am confident that you can be given the charge of everything."

The person who is particular about small things is great. Such persons are not only alert themselves, they inspire others also to be alert. The purpose of believing in Gandhiji is served only when those who believe in him also apply his ideas and actions in their own lives.


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Title: The Quest for the Royal Road
Acharya Tulsi
Publisher: Adarsh Sahitya Sangh
Edition: 2013
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Page glossary
Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Agamas
  2. Anger
  3. Bhadra
  4. Bhagwan Mahavira
  5. Bihar
  6. Buddha
  7. Conceit
  8. Gandhiji
  9. Lakh
  10. Mahavira
  11. Manu
  12. Non-violence
  13. Soul
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