Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi or ' Mahatma Gandhi ' is known and remembered
as the supreme leader of the Indian freedom struggle, his main aim in
life was always the attainment of truth . He was always a philosopher
and his philosophy was always practical and down-to- earth . He did not
believe in empty metaphysical argument or merely building complex structures
of idea but always tried to implement his idea in everyday practice.
Gandhi equates salvation
('Moksha', as he calls it) with self-realisation. He equates self-realisation
with the realisation of God . And he equates God with truth . Thus , he
gives his unique interpretation of Advaita Vedanta.
defines God as truth . By ' truth ' he does not mean subjective or relative
truth , but the absolute truth , ' the Eternal principle ' , that is God.
As he says , " I worship God as truth only .I have not yet found him but
I am trying seeking after him and daily the conviction is growing upon
me that he alone is real and all else is unreal ".(The story of my experiment
with Truth P.4)
on, Gandhi went one step further to say ' Truth is God ' . Thus
for him truth was the sovereign principle of morality and it was also
the absolute truth , the eternal principle . Truth is , therefore , both
the definition of the most central moral dimension and the very essence
of the Absolute . And by saying ' Truth is God ' , he affirms that God
is to be found whenever there is truth-in-action. Therefore Truth or God
meant the genuine morality of action here and now .
this is so, the end does not justify the means . The means must be equally
noble and pure . Thus his religion is not about mythologies , theologies
and rituals , but about the moral action of the individual . ' Truth is
God ' means that God is essentially to be found in the truthful , moral
act performed here and now.
The doctrine of Ahimsa , non-violence was always at the very center
of Gandhi's thought and work . He always believed in non-violence and
lived by it. There was an obvious relationship between the doctrine of
truth and non-violence :Satya and Ahimsa. As Gandhi says , I made the
early discovery that if I was to reach God as truth and truth alone I
could not do so except
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through a perfect vision of truth can only follow a complete realisation
of Ahimsa .To see the universal and all- pervading spirit of truth face
to face one must be able to love the meanest of creation as oneself Ahimsa
is the farthest limit of humility (My experiment with truth , p.401-2).
For Gandhi , Truth and Ahimsa are so intertwined that it is practically
impossible to disentangle and separate them . As he puts it , Ahimsa is
the means and Truth is the end . Thus, Ahimsa becomes our supreme duty
and Truth becomes God . " Truth exists , it alone exists. It is the only
God and there is but one way of realising ".
(Collected works . vol 44, p . 59).
Ahimsa is the fundamental means by which Truth can be realised
, that is , Moksha can be achieved . Ahimsa includes
non-violence in thought , feeling and action and also
means total humility , love , compassion and service .
idea of Satyagraha is the logical culmination of the ideals
of Truth and non-violence.Gandhi used Satyagraha - passive
resistance- as a strategy very successfully during the freedom
struggle and in fact , it remains the most important aspect
of the Gandhian thought .The novelty of this concept was
the re-interpretation of both , the political action and
the political aim in religious terms.
political thought is obviously influenced by his religious
ideas and therefore truth and non-violence are the important
aspects . He also gives equal importance to the means with
which to achieve the end. For him , the end does not justify
the means .
a political thinker he was obviously an anarchist. He saw
both , property and the state , as statement of violence
. He believed that as people realize themselves and as
they became natural , they will start regulating themselves
. In such a case , there will be no need for any extent,
regulatory mechanism and then state will wither away.
ideal society envisaged by Gandhi would be a class-less
and state society , where every village will be a self
- sufficient unit . There will be no cities , and no heavy
industry and there will be no need for the police and
the counts and pressers. Political power will be completely
de-centralized and voluntary co-operation will characterize
economic , political and social relations.
in Gandhi , the saint and the politician go in hands ,
proclaiming the power of truth , non-violence , love and