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“There are things I am willing to die for, but there are none that I would be willing to kill for. »

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, called the Mahatma (Great Soul)

(October 2, 1869 - January 30, 1948) was undoubtedly one of the most important spiritual guides of modern India. He was one of the pioneers of NON VIOLENCE bringing India to independence. With his actions he has inspired many civil rights defense movements and great personalities such as Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela and Aung San Suu Kyi.

Born on October 2, 1869 in Portbandar in India, after studying at the universities of Ahmrdabad and London and having graduated in law, he briefly practiced lawyers in Bombay. In 1893 he went to South Africa with the position of legal consultant for an Indian company: he remained there for twenty-one years. Here it clashes with a terrible reality, in which thousands of Indian immigrants are victims of racial segregation. N /. The outrage over racial discrimination suffered by his countrymen (and by himself) by the British authorities pushes him to political struggle. The Mahatma has been fighting for the recognition of the rights of its compatriots and since 1906 has launched, at mass level, its method of struggle based on nonviolent resistance, also called Satyagraha: a form of radical non-collaboration with the British government, conceived as means of mass pressure. Gandhi comes to social and political equality through peaceful rebellions and marches. In the end, the South African government implemented important reforms in favor of Indian workers: elimination of part of the old discriminatory laws, recognition of new immigrants of equal rights and validity of religious marriages. In 1915 Gandhi returns to India where there has been a stirring of rebellion against the arrogance of British rule for some time, in particular for the new

of British rule, in particular for the new agrarian legislation, which provided for the seizure of the land to the peasants in case of scarce or missed harvest, and for the crisis of the craftsmanship. Become the leader of the Congress Party, a party fighting for liberation from British colonialism. Often imprisoned in subsequent years, the Great Soul responds to arrests with long hunger strikes. On August 15, 1947, India gained independence. On January 30, 1948, Gandhi was killed by a Hindu fanatic during a prayer meeting.

Gandhi studied the Bhagavad Gita a lot, marking his personality very deeply, especially through the idea that desire is a source of suffering and agitation for the spirit: "Hinduism as I know fully satisfies my soul, completely fills my person ... When doubts obsess me, when disappointments fix me in the eyes and when I don't see any ray of sunshine on the Horizon, I go back to the Bhagavad Gita and look for a verse that gives me comfort; and immediately I begin to smile amid the overwhelming pain.

My life has been full of tragedies and if they have not left any visible and indelible effect on me, I owe this to the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita. »

From that moment on, he would develop an interest in religion which would not be limited to Hinduism, but would extend to Buddhism, Islam and Christianity, of which he would consider above all the phrase taken from the teaching of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount: "If one hits your cheek right, you also offer him the left "[Matthew 5,391 In August 1935 the yogi Paramahansa Yogananda visited Gandhi in the Maganvadi Ashram of Wardha. On the occasion of this meeting Gandhi asked Yogananda to receive initiation into Kriya Yoga. Gandhi, Mahadev Desai, Pingali Venkayya and other satyagrahis received spiritual initiation from Yogananda on that occasion. Yogananda wrote: The breadth of views and the drive for research of the Mahatma had deeply affected me. In spiritual research he is like a child, and reveals that pure receptivity that Jesus appreciated in children, because this is the kingdom of heaven

Gandhi led an extremely simple life, always giving an example of utmost humility and respect for all, starting from the pariahs. These were (are) a large part of the Indian population who lived on the margins of society, amid general contempt but whom Gandhi indicated as sons of Hari, taking up the evangelical concept that saw the last on earth the first in the kingdom of God. From many Gandhi was seen as a hermit, since he led a life similar to the monastic one, dedicated to philosophical thought and above all to putting it into practice. Indeed, Gandhian thought saw the body as absolutely secondary to the true source of a man's strength, the soul, and preached that only a detachment from material needs could lead to the path of truth, towards God: "Whoever does not control his senses is like those who sail on a ship without a rudder and who are therefore destined to break into a thousand pieces as soon as they meet the first rock. "Gandhi reserving one day a week to silence, because he knew what the talk broke her inner peace. At the age of thirty-seven, for a period of three and a half years, Gandhi refused to read newspapers saying that the tumultuous state of world affairs caused him even more confusion. The silence served him to concentrate to purify the soul and make himself at peace.

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