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NEW BOOKS PUBLISHED > SARVODAYA : A Gandhian Vision for the Kingdom of God
Sarvodaya (Welfare for all) :A Gandhian Vision for the Kingdom of God: Written by Dr. Paul Vellarackal
Published by : Oriental Institute of Religious Studies, India.
Pages : 207
Price - Rs. 170/-

About the Book:
Sarvodaya and spiritual leaders do speak and work from the heart. They have a direct link with the people and deal with them at the grassroots levels. This has been the case of both, Christ and Gandhi.
The message of the book is: Service to human kind is service to god. Gandhi’s and Christ’s work showed the concern and compassion are a spiritual teacher which must exhibit towards humanity. They showed “self-realization” is possible if there is complete self-surrender, dedication and determination they exhorted that: people must live like an incense stick which burns for spreading fragrance.
Their wisdom is for all times and all seasons. Modern civilization had denuded morality of its vital internal dimension and ignored the quality of the soul. In fact, spirituality is the knowledge of the spiritual self. The spirit is to build character and to enable one to work towards a knowledge of god and self-realization.
The sarvodaya philosophy is the worship of all the three aspects of reality. That is Satyam (Truth), Shivam (Well Being), and Sundaram (beautiful): Philosophy of spirituality is not idle entity to be attained in a passive state of meditation; instead it is dynamic and consists in ever fighting with the inner evils of our souls.
The gospel of both the leaders has been to win: 1. Hatred by love, 2. Violence with self-sacrifice, and 3. Brute force against soul force. The world love is very significant. Mankind must love each other or be ready to perish. The strength of the love is dependent on forgiveness.
These two principles have been extremely well elaborated, discussed and critically examined from the lives and works of both the universal leaders. Loving kindness will be of value only when it will truly take root in the heart as a permanent condition of being. It cannot be limited to certain days, while bristling with hostility the rest of the year. It will only serve our complacent self-regard. It is throughout the practice of loving – kindness alone that we can share in our friends’ joys and sorrows, such a sharing is crucial in a world that has been agitated by suspiciousness, jealously and resentment. While we lust after commodities that guarantee us material comfort, we do not value that rare thing friendship. It is a tragedy that, today while humanity stands poised to enter the moon and the heavens; no one feels the need to knock at the door of his neighbour’s heart. Both the Leaders replaced power with service, hate who love, revenge with forgiveness, and judgment with mercy. They conquered hatred of people by serving them.
If we follow these values in true spirits, there will be no “haves and have not’s”. The gulf between the two will not only be bridged, but succeed in eliminating poverty from the world.
We must know that the forgiveness is the treasure of the conscience, the source of peace. The nectar of forgiveness nurtures many fruits; gratitude, humility and solidarity. The Sanskrit word for forgiveness is Kshama, may be traced back to the elements Ksha and ma, which indicates a knot and a negation respectively. Kshama thus suggested that we must refrain from tying our minds in knots of resentment. Forgiveness is a sign of courage and fortitude; it is not to be confused with the resignation or cowardice.
The contribution of the scholar on Jesus’ vision of kingdom of god this worldly and other worldly is profound. Gandhian vision of the kingdom of god is rooted in the realm of the absolute. Gandhi shared the gospel of teaching of the kingdom so far as Jesus’ mission concentrates on the liberation of humanity on Earth. This common ground of both the stalwarts is the basic thrust of the volume.
The author has very aptly delivered the Gandhian method of Satyagraha to change the heart of opponent. We must remember Gandhi termed Jesus Christ as the “prince of satyagrahis”.
Gandhi’s aim was to bring about change in the existing situation and to establish, the kingdom of God or the Ram-Rajya. This has to be planned through the realization of his vision of sarvodaya. The questions often asked are; how can the kingdom of god as visualized by Jesus be attained in a country like India? And what should be the real mission of Indian Christians? Gandhi’s suggestions were unique with characteristic clarity and directness: First, I (Gandhi) would suggest that all of you Christian missionaries and all, must begin to live more like Jesus Christ. Second, practice your religion without adulteration of it or toning down. Third, emphasize love and make it your working force, for love is central in Christianity. Fourth, study the non- Christian religions more sympathetically to find good that is within them in order to have a more sympathetic approach to people.
The author has rightly emphasized that it is relevant to explore honestly and study the Gandhian vision of sarvodaya and its impact in realizing the kingdom of God in India. His vision of sarvodaya is routed on the ideology of Gram Swaraj which is based on self-sufficient and self-reliant basic communities.
The scholar deserves to be complimented for a rigorously very well documented research. It has beautifully spelled out the spiritual facets of the kingdom of god on Earth.
He has given a very exhaustive bibliography which will be found extremely useful for further study and research. However, researchers will miss the index.
The light tone in which it is written will make the book very readable. The younger generation will find the book laudable and useful.
The emphasis of the book is that man should make the almighty the pivot of his life. The lesson we can deduce from the volume is that true love wants freedom and joy from detachment. The more detached we are, the more loving we become. Christ, Gandhi and Buddha were detached, yet very loving.
Review by K D Gangrade, Ex. Vice-Chairman of Gandhi Smriti and Darshan, New Delhi