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. The man he turned out to be, was a result of constant introspection and clarity that emerged from the process. 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.” And what a change he was!
Preserving the self
Gandhi firmly believed he was in control of his emotions. Even during most disturbing occasions when an argument went awry with his supporters, or his friends, he would quietly retreat and revisit the discussion after having thought through. 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. He didn’t approve of those who wanted to avenge any injustice or crime. “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. Even a stranger is capable of telling a fellow passenger how to lead a life that the former may have never known. But, 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. “God has given me no control over the following moment. I am concerned about taking care of the present” was his opinion.
Never say Never
He was well aware of the possibilities and limitations of human beings. He was magnanimous about all the people who came to him confessing their errors. 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” he would say when asked if the challenges didn’t bog him down.
Keep away the evil
Look for best qualities in people and grow with every person you meet. Taking stock of someone’s lacunae will only make you poorer. 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.
(Text courtesy: Preetam Kaushik, Business Insider)