Mahatma Gandhi

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In the western world the word truth connotes something static and immutable. We see truth as something, that once possessed, will always be valid. But there is a tendency in Eastern philosophy to see truth as something illusive, as something that can only be approximated by a lifetime of philosophical experimentation. The man known as Mohandas Gandhi was this spirit of truth incarnate. But care must be taken not to deify Gandhi, his life was a ceaseless struggle towards deeper understanding, and his many accomplishments belie his humble origins. To see the man beneath the legend we must return to his humble origin and trace the ascension of his ideals, and find the wellspring of his strength. By understanding how he discovered his values it will be clear that the actions he took were the only option for a man with a powerful moral conscience.

In his autobiography The Story of My Experiments with Truth, Gandhi recalls his earliest recollections of religion. As a child he was taught very little of religion, and recalls his initial distaste for the Vaishnava faith. It wasn?t until his father became ill that Gandhi found something in religion that suited him. While his father was bedridden a man would come and recite the Ramayana, and young Gandhi listened intently. Gandhi later said, ?Today I regard the Ramayana of Tulasidas as the greatest book in all devotional literature.? (Experiments 48) Being at his father?s bedside also forged a lifelong tolerance for other religions. On most days the house was guest to one of his father?s friends, among them Jain monks and Zoroastrians. Watching his father treat other religions with respect and sincere interest gave Gandhi the ability to question his own beliefs, which would serve him la...

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...pedia.org/wiki/Civil_Disobedience_%28Thoreau%29>

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