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Gandhi's Principles Of Simple Living Essay

2116 words - 9 pages

Gandhi: A Man of Principle

George C. Wallace, the United States Secretary of State when Mohandas K. Gandhi was assassinated, said that Gandhi “had become a spokesman for the conscience of all mankind-a man who made humility and simple truth more powerful than empires” (Gandhi, np). Gandhi is well known for his leadership in the liberation of India from Britain, but his main goal and message transcends beyond the acts he did, into everyday living. Gandhi promoted simple living, non-violence, and forgiveness as a way to unite all people peacefully. These principles helped him to liberate his people and to teach them a lesson that all can learn.

Much of Gandhi’s philosophy is ...view middle of the document...

Simple living to Gandhi meant wanting less and sharing more. The Hindu faith he grew up with called him to free himself from possessions and passions as a way to God (Gandhi, np). While living in England to study law, Gandhi read many religious books. There he fully began to grasp the meaning of the Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad Gita, and found a personal reason to simplify his life. He was called to achieve Moksha, the setting free of one’s soul. In order to do this, he must refrain from using possessions as a means of happiness. This often included giving up sex, as it was a hindrance to his drive in life. Gandhi was celibate for over four decades. He strived for a more simple life in order to have more time for community service. He gave back all compensation, including gifts that were given to him. His goal in living simply was to know his own heart and to reach the hearts of others (Leigh, np). Gandhi would never let another person serve him, not even a servant; he always served them (Gandhi, np).

Gandhi taught that happiness does not come with things, but with work and pride in what you do. Knowing this, it was necessary for local skills to be revived in their community (Gandhi, np). Under British rule, Indian principles of simple living had been reduced. The Indians could be found adopting habits of the West such as expensive clothing and tea. They even ate meat, despite it being often against their religion (The Higher Taste, 28). In order for the country to gain independence from Britain, Gandhi realized that they must be independent economically. Gandhi walked the country, offering spinning wheels to people as an alternative to purchasing British goods (“Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi”, 203).

Part of Gandhi’s goal in living simply was to unite people as equals. There were two kinds of slavery in India, as Gandhi claimed, the women and the Untouchables, the members of the exterior castes. He strived to end both (Gandhi, np). He saw women as people of great courage and intuition. He greatly believed in the concept that “all men are brothers” and added that women are their sisters. He believed that they deserved education just as men did, and that men and women complimented each other, not by domination and submission (Leigh, np). He walked from town to town, meeting many of the Untouchables to see what they needed (Logue, 15). Gandhi felt, that in order for India to be united as one country, all must understand the place of those in most need, and of the common man. He was often found “doing menial chores for unpaid borders of exterior castes” (“Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi”, 202). He always rode third class on the trains and when asked why he replied, “because there is no fourth class” (Leigh, np). His dress too, was that of the common people, showing that all are equal. He often proclaimed that each man’s labor is as important as another (Gandhi, np).

The uniting of all people included...

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