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Eknath Easwaran on 'Gandhi, The Man'


Gandhi being weighted during the 21 days' fast 
for Hindu-Muslim Unity,  Delhi, September 1924


On this holy day, my eyes strayed to a book that I have owned for a few years but hadn't read properly. Eknath Easwaran has profiled Mahatma Gandhi beautifully in his book "Gandhi, The Man". A Geeta blog is the perfect venue to review a book written by a noted teacher of the Geeta about that colossus of the 20th century, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi.

Shri Easwaranji was an accomplished spiritual teacher based in California, and has written a three volume set "Bhagavad Gita for Daily Living". Shri Easwaranji approaches Gandhiji's story as a story of transformation, not focusing on his political accomplishments but on how Gandhiji transformed the struggle for India's freedom by changing himself and his approach to life and to the world. Aptly, the subtitle of Shri Easwaran's book is "The Story of His Transformation".

As quoted by Shri Easwaranji, Mahatma Gandhi described the Geeta thus:

To me, the Gita became an infallible guide of conduct. It became my dictionary of daily reference. Just as I turned to the English dictionary for the meanings of English words that I did not understand, I turned to this dictionary of conduct for a ready solution of all my troubles and trials. Words like 'aparigraha' (non-possession) and 'samabhava' (equability) gripped me. How to cultivate and preserve that equability was the question. How was one to treat alike insulting, insolent and corrupt officials, co-workers of yesterday raising meaningless objections, and men who had always been good to me? How was one to divest oneself of all possessions?... Was I to give up all and follow Him? Straight came the answer: I could not follow Him unless I gave up all I had.

"My study of English law came to my help... I understood the Gita teaching of non-possession to mean those who desired salvation should act like the trustee who, though having control over great possessions, regards not an iota of them as his own."

In this blog, I have discussed and talked about Guruji Swami Tejomayanandaji's declaration that "Our idea of change has to change". To me, this book on Gandhi is a perfect example of how Gandhiji redefined change by starting with transforming himself. 

In this context, I came across this beautiful video by Crossfire files which features several heavyweights in its production, lyrics by Gandhiji himself, music set by Ilaiyaraja, sung by Pundit Bhimsen Joshi & Pandit Ajoy Chakraborty, and finally a narration by Amitabh Bachchan. The video is nice in syrupy way, don't be surprised if you find yourself teary-eyed at the end.



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