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“The Concept of Ahimsa and Satyagraha in Gandhian Philosophy and its relevance in the present day World.” Seminar Paper on: Mahatma Gandhi‟s historical accounts of Ahimsa. Session-2011 Registration No:80187512100264 Supervised by Submitted by Mrs. Nava Kumari Devi Asstt. Prof. of Philosophy LOKD College, Dhekiajuli Sonitpur, Assam Dr.Dimbeswar Phukan Associate Prof & HOD, Philosophy, Biswanath College, Sonitpur ,Assam Pin-784176, Tel (M)9435486707 E-mail: dimbeswarphukan@gmail.co m CMJ UNIVE
  1 “The Concept of Ahimsa and Satyagraha in Gandhian Philosophy andits relevance in the present day World.”  Seminar Paper on:   Mahatma Gandhi‟s historical accounts of Ahimsa . Session-2011Registration No:80187512100264CMJ UNIVERSITYSHILLONG   Submitted byMrs. Nava Kumari DeviAsstt. Prof. of PhilosophyLOKD College, Dhekiajuli Sonitpur,AssamSupervised byDr.Dimbeswar PhukanAssociate Prof & HOD, Philosophy,Biswanath College, Sonitpur ,AssamPin-784176, Tel (M)9435486707 E-mail:  2 Mahatma Gandhi‟s historical accounts of Ahimsa . Mrs. Nava Kumari DeviAsstt. Prof. of PhilosophyLOKD College, DhekiajuliSonitpur, Assam   Mahatma Gandhi was born at Porbandar on the 2 nd October 1869, India, on the westcoast of Gujarat, to a rather wealthy family of the Vaishya merchant  –  caste andVaishnava religious affiliation (worshipping Lord Vishnu). Mahatma Gandhi, theleader of non-violent independence movement in India in the early 20 th century is animportant figure in the non-violence movement. In India, Mahatma Gandhi isreve rently and lovingly named „ Bapu ‟ (Father) and is officially honored as „Father of the Nation‟ ,with his birthday on October 2 nd commemorated each year as GandhiJayanti , a national holiday. The United Nations General Assembly on June 15 th, 2007unanimously adopted a resolution declaring October 2 nd here after to be theInternational Day of Non-violence , in Gandhi‟s memory.   Mahatma Gandhi‟s life and thought was a continuing a process of evolution ,an empirical testing and correcting ashe translated his thoughts into action through his „ Experiments with Truth ‟ .It has been written in ancient Hindu scriptures that ahimsa , an ethicalvalue, must be insisted on the harmony and unity of thought, word and deed.Mahatma Gandhi‟s historical concept of   Ahimsa first of all wasinfluenced by house- maid Rambha ,his parents (Father-Karamchand Gandhi , Mother-Putlibai ),Wife  –  Kasturba and ancient Hindu tradition . Mahatma Gandhi wrote in hisautobiography „My Experiments with Truth‟   that … „„ what I failed to get there Iobtained from my nurse, an old servant of the family, whose affection for me I stillrecall. I have said before that there was in me a fear of ghosts and spirits. Rambha, forthat was her name, suggested, as a remedy for his fear, the repetition of Ramanama. I  3 had more faith in her than in her remedy, and so at a tender age I began repeatingRamanama to cure my fear of ghosts and spirits. This was of course short  –  lived, butthe good seed sown in childhood was not sown in vain. I think it is due to the seedsown by that good women Rambha that today Ramanama is an infallible remedy for me”.   Mahatma Gandhi‟ s mother Putlibai, a lady of most devouttemperament in fluenced his religious thought. „The outstanding impression‟ , saysGandhi, „my mother has left on my memory is that of saintliness. She was deeplyreligious. She would not think of taking her meals without daily prayers‟. Gandhi‟s  mother Putlibai had strong commonsense. Gandh i learnt the Indian maxim that „ there is nothing higher than truth‟ from his mother. He has also learnt that a state of harmlessness on non- violence is the highest religion and a supreme duty „Ahimsa Paramadha rma‟ from his mother. Gandhi was influenced by his father Kaba Gandhi. He says that „ his rich experience of practical affairs stood him in good stead in thesolution of the most intricate questions and in managing hundreds of men ‟. MahatmaGandhi learnt the lesson of non  –violence from his wife, „when I tried to bend her to my will. Her determined resistance to my will, on the one hand, and her quiet submissionto the suffering my stupidity involved, on the other, ultimately made me ashamed of myself and cured me of my stupidity in thinking that I was born to rule over her and, inthe end, she became my teacher in non-violence. The doctrine that was guided my lifeis not one of inaction but of the high est action.‟   Mahatma Gandhi‟s concept of  ahimsa was highly influenced by theHindu tradition. Gandhi believed in Hindu Philosophy that all life comes from oneabsolute thing. He says, “ The chief value of Hinduism lies in holding the actual belief that all life is one i.e., all life coming from one universal source, called it Allah, God or Parameshwara‟‟. Though Mahatma Gandhi loved to call himself a Hindu, he did notsubscribe to the pernicious and the cruel system of untouchability. Gandhi says thatHinduism has sinned in giving sanction to untouchability. Gandhi goes on to say thatthe Hindu practice of untouchability degraded us to the extent that we have become  4  pariahs . So, Gandhi did not believe in the caste system as it prevailed in India. Gandhidid not observe Hindu rituals. He rarely visited temples expect by way of courtesy. HisHinduism was based on the teachings of Upanishad and Gita.Mahatma Gandhi was also influenced by Vaisnava religionbecause he was brought up in a devout Vaisnavite family. Gandhi is monist whobelieved that God is one without a second just like Advaita Vedanta describe Brahmanas ekam eva advaitm. At the age of twenty years, Gandhi had studied the BhagavadGita and since then the Gita became an „infallible guide‟ and „ dictionary of daily reference‟ for him. To Gandhi, the Gita is the „Eternal Mother‟. According to him, the theme of Gita is self-realization. He says: „ self-realization and its means is the theme of  the Gita‟ . Again he affirms, „ to one who reads the spirit of the Gita, it teaches the secretof non- violence the secret of realizing the self through the physical body‟. The main teaching of the Gita is the attitude of renunciation of the fruit of action which,according to Gandhi, cannot be cultivated without Ahimsa. On this basis, Gandhi callsthe yoga of the Gita as anasakti yoga. In anasakti yoga ,it is clearly states that one whofollows the central teaching of the Gita ,he should follow the path of truth and non-violence . In Gita, such a votary is called sthitaprajna or Trigunatita , one who enjoys astate of blissfulness above all three gunas  –  Rajas, Tamas and Sattva. Gandhi adoptedthe practice of  anasakti and made it as the quality of a satyagrahi . Gandhi introducedsatyagraha through the implementation of  anasakti of Gita and of the teaching of JesusChrist. Mahatma Gandhi‟s concept of Ahimsa was also influencedby Tulasidas Ramayanana., Mahatma Gandhi studied Tulasidas Ramanaya and used to say, „ Ramayana to me is all sufficing‟. Gandhi has said,   „ Thus, though my views on  Ahimsa are a result of my study of most of the faiths of the world, they are now nolonger dependent upon the authority of these works. They are a part of my life, and if Isuddenly discovered that the religious books read by me bore a different interpretationfrom (he, one I have learnt to give them), I should still hold to the views of   Ahimsa as I
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