Monday, April 13, 2009

The Way to God: M.K. Gandhi

First published as The Pathway to God, the book was later republished under the new title, The Way to God in 1999. Both books are essentially the same text, and their author remains Mahatma K. Gandhi. It is a small book outlining M.K. Gandhi's undying faith. As a Hindu, the author organizes the text into four sections: Intellectual Foundations, Moral Discipline, Spiritual Practice and Spiritual Experience.

In the Gandhi mind, Hinduism is a philosophy since it is neither a highly organized religion nor a way of life. It is based on faith and allows an individual the freedom to define his way to God. While admiring elements of Christianity, Gandhi preferred Hinduism, because it allows a form of universal worship, incorporating prayer and forms of worship from other major faith groups. Mahatma Gandhi sincerely believed in the Oneness of God. The names and images for the Oneness may be different, but as Judaism expresses it, Adonai Echad! God is One. The man, the karma yogi, Gandhi, was action incarnate. He was a man of God which few would fail to recognize.

Intellectual Freedom

On God:
* God is One; there is no second.
* God is omnipresent, omnipotent, and omniscient
* God is a mysterious power.
* Goodness is God. God made man in his own image.
* God is Truth, Love, Life, Light.
* God's Law is eternal.
* God's mercy is infinite.
He allows us freedom.
God is the hardest of taskmasters.
* God has many names.
* God is incarnate. He has no absolute form. He dwells within all living things.

The Soul:
* Divine spark
we may not be God, but we are of God as a drop of water is of the ocean.

* Man is the image of God.
* Life is a mere bubble.
If we shatter the chains of egotism,we share in the life of
in its dignity.

* Life and death
treasure suffering and death, appreciate their cleansing and purifying
* Freedom of Choice.
Man has reason, discrimination, free will. Man is the maker of his
Man is no beast or brute in that he may choose the manner in which he
uses his
* Man's Primary Duty.
The prime duty of every person is to look carefully
within himself as he is, and spare no pains to improve himself. Realize the wickedness of injustice, vanity and the like; do his best to combat them.

The World
* The world is one body.
God has so ordered the world that no one can keep his

goodness or his badness exclusively to himself.
* Universe:
A family of nations. We are taught to regard the
whole of humanity as one
indivisible, undivided family.
* The problem of Evil.
If there is good [in the world], there must be evil.God is long suffering
and patient.
* Pair of opposite forces.
The distinction between good and evil is not unimportant.

* God's hand behind good and evil.
God is at the bottom of bothgood and evil. God is
symbolically speaking, light.
* Blessings of calamity.
Every calamity brings a sensible man downon his knees. He sins.

He cries out to God for his help.

Moral Discipline

* What is truth?
There is
so much untruth delivered into the world.Truth is within ourselves.
Every wrongdoer knows that he is wrong, deep down. Truth and
righteousness must
forever remain the law in God's world.
* Act fearlessly.
We are surrounded by so much falsehood. Act fearlessly
upon what
one believes is right.
* The pursuit of truth.
The pursuit if truth is true
bhakti, the way of love.


* Truth and love.
Truth and love are faces of the same coin.Without truththere is no love.
True love is boundless like an ocean.
* Love unites.
* Love is life.
There is only life where there is love. Hatred ever kills.Love never dies.
What is obtained by hatred proves a burden; it increasesitself. What is obtained by love is retained for all time.
* The law of love.
Love governs the world.

* The religion of hisma, violence.
Man as an animal is violent.Progress towards
Ahisma, nonviolence.


* Restraint should be voluntary.
Choose self-restraint. A man who chooses self-indulgence will
be a
bond slave to his passions.
* Control of the palate.
One should eat to keep the body going.

* Conquest of lust.
The conquest of lust is the highest endeavorof a man or woman's
existence. Soul-force comes only through God's grace.Grace does not come upon a man
who is a slave to lust.

* Sublimation of Vitality.
Vitality is dissipated by evil thoughts.

* Restraint versus Suppression.
Body and mind must unite. It is harmfulto let one or
the other go astray. Always aim at complete harmonyof thought, word and deed.

Selfless Service

* Self-less service is a source of joy.
Learn to use the body not for slavery, not for evil.
Use the body for the purpose of service so long as it exists. Such an attitude brings real happiness and joy.
* Self realization.
The way to God is to see him in creation, in others,in service, in love.

* Salvation.
Strive for the Kingdom of Heaven. Service leads to salvation.

Spiritual Practice

* Dis-belief is a disease.
It is fashionable to dismiss God. A man without faith [in God] is like
a drop of water out of the ocean.
* Testimony of Saints.
True faith is the approbation of the reasoned experience.
Belief in prophets
is not
idle superstition.

* Faith and reason.
Faith begins where reason stops.

* Child-like faith.
Have the faith of a child, innocent and simple.

* How to acquire faith.
Faith comes slowly. It is not
acquired by force or reason.Prayer, experience, meditation, reading, singing all aid inthe development of faith.


* The nature of prayer.
Prayer for the divine mind is unchangeable.

* Source of peace and light.
Men struggle with dark and light. Prayer is the means of
bringing orderliness, repose and peace into our daily lives.
* He who hungers for the awakening of the divine, must fall back on prayer.
* Patience is necessary for success.
* Begin and close the day with prayer.


* The virtue of silence.
The "divine radio" is always playing if we take a moment to listen to it...

* Silence facilitates co-union with God.
* True meditation.
Close all eyes and ears except to the object of one's devotion.

* The power of the name. Rama, God , is strength to the weak.
Repetition of his name
brings strength.


* Self surrender brings joy.
God is an exacting master. He is a jealous Lord.
I have been a willing slave to this master for more than a half century.
* God moves and protects all.
To see the face of God, we must learn, each oneof us,
to stand alone. God is our infallible guide, our help.
* Dedicate all to God.

Spiritual Experience

* The Blessed feeling of God's power.
I believe it is possible for every human being to
reach that inexplicable state of bliss. See God face to face. If I did not feel the presence of God within me, I would be a raving maniac.
* Vision of God.
We cannot see God with our eyes alone. God is spirit, visible to the eye of faith.

* All that glitters is not gold. I know this.
* The ideal sage.
The yogi who can be called such, who is truly religious, moral, whose mind is not tainted with hatred or selfishness, who leads a pure life, who lives disinterested service, that man is truly wealthy, great or happy. The Yogi, therefore is, one who reflects on all the attributes of life, who keeps the vision of the sun, undisturbed, whose mind is serene, so that
thunder rocks him to sleep--that man is realized a yogi.

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