Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was a ‘Mahatma’ not just for us Indians, but for the rest of the world too.
To a majority of Indian youth, Gandhi ji may have seemed relevant only in the last century. Many might think that his principles worked in a different era.
However, what we may not realise is that moving away from the principles of honesty, non-violence and truthfulness will make the world a difficult place to live in.
On his birth anniversary, I would like to share 8 lessons from his life that are still as relevant as they were in the last century.
- ‘Satyamev Jayate’ or ‘Truth always triumphs’
Of all the things, truthfulness was most important for Gandhi ji. He not only preached the truth, but also practiced it.
When Gandhi ji was young, he once lied to his father and regretted the decision. He felt guilty for concealing the truth.
Later, when he apologized and confessed the truth, his father acknowledged his courage to speak the truth.
By following this simple thought from Gandhi ji, you can see a huge difference in the way people perceive and treat you.
His autobiography ‘My experiments with Truth’ mentions several experiments that Gandhi ji did throughout his life and career, and saw how his truthfulness helped and bailed him out in difficult times.
- An eye for an eye will make the whole world blind
This thought has moved several people around the world, and continues to be the guiding force to uphold non-violence.
Today, we suffer from anger fits and other frailties. It is a cause for a number of social problems like bullying, abuse and road rage leading to multiple crimes, which are followed by years of regret for individuals as well as the entire society.
We fail to realise that anger and hatred can never help achieve anything. Their outcomes have always been negative.
- Forgiveness is nobility
Forgiveness is a trait of the strong, not the weak.
Gandhi ji always taught people to forgive those who commit wrong and speak harshly.
Young Indians can learn how to start forgiving people who do wrong and misbehave with you.
- Eat simple food in the right quantity
Gandhi ji was a great proponent of simple food and discipline.
He experimented with food to find out how eating in small quantities would give him enough energy.
Today, a lot of problems that youth face are associated with not eating right or eating at odd hours and also eating unhealthy food.
A simple, but nutritious meal in the morning would give a good start to your day.
- Cleanliness is next to godliness
There is more to the ‘Swachh Bharat’ idea than just keeping your surroundings clean.
Thanks to our busy lifestyles, personal hygiene is often compromised.
Gandhi ji maintained utmost cleanliness around him and inspired others too.
By investing in hygiene, you not only save yourself from illness, but also a lot of energy and resources spent in recovering from it.
- Be the change you want to see in the world
You can never force your teachings on others, unless you follow what you preach.
Gandhi ji led by example; he was the change that he wanted to see in others.
He was calm, and was almost always the first to forgive.
He never lied, and non-violence was his weapon.
When he spoke, people sat up and heard him because they knew he followed what he preached.
Perseverance is another trait young Indians could learn. Gandhi ji was absolutely firm in his decisions and actions.
He never gave up unless he achieved what he had committed.
Young people sometimes suffer because of their undecided interests and lack of determination.
During India’s freedom movement, Gandhi ji’s satyagraha proved how perseverance and hard work can give excellent results.
Gandhi ji taught us that if you are unable to achieve success in a short time, do not get distracted by other options or avenues.
Staying focused, and not giving up is the key.
- The mind is stronger than the body.
Youngsters need to realise that physical endurance is important, but mental strength is crucial.
It was his mental strength that saw him through many problems and ultimately got independence for India.
The Britishers bowed down to his mental strength and left India. It is the mind that is needed to be super strong.
While honesty and truthfulness were universally accepted winning traits even before Gandhi ji existed, it was him who lived and showed how these principles can be abided by in everyday life.
He serves as an inspiring example for us to learn to emerge stronger and achieve success.
Source: My experiments with truth, thehindu.com, Forbes India
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