Thursday, January 31, 2008

Gandhi after 60 years - His Triumph changed the World Forever

The Saint of non-violence lives as a conscience in the hearts of men

Gandhi,Jesus & Christianity

Gandhi like Jesus remains a conscience in the hearts of men

January 30, 2008 was the 60th.anniversary of the death of one of the greatest personalities of recent times; Mahatma Ghandi.It is only proper for us to pay tribute this great man who is undeniably a saint of non-violence. He lived and sacrificed his life in defending that virtuous policy of non-violence.

This is what he had to say about Jesus:

“Jesus was the most active resister known perhaps to history. His was nonviolence par excellence.”

As Christians, who claim to be the followers of Jesus, very often we do not emulate Christ in real life. It may be timely for us to reflect on our lives to see how Christ-like we are in daily living.

This is what Gandhi had to say about Christians:

“It is a first class human tragedy that people of the earth who claim to believe in the message of Jesus, whom they describe as the Prince of Peace; show little of that belief in actual practice.”

Though Gandhi’s views were influenced by his bitter experiences with the racist policies and hegemony of the powerful Christian British Empire at that time, his observations are nevertheless true to this day. He continued,

“Do not flatter yourselves with the belief that a mere recital of that celebrated verse in St. John makes a man a Christian. If I had to face only the Sermon on the Mount and my own interpretation of it, I should not hesitate to say, ‘O yes, I am a Christian.”

Today many of us have the misguided notion that to be a good Christians we must have a thorough knowledge of the bible. We spend a lot of time and energy to muster the bible. What about those who cannot read and write? What about those who are physically or mentally handicapped? Can’t they be good followers of Christ? It is how much you know the bible but rather how well you want to live the way Jesus wants us to.

Gandhi,a devout Hindu, appeared to have understood Jesus much more than many of us.He live a life more like Christ than may of us Christians. Lord Mountbatten, the last British Viceroy of India said Gandhi would go down in history as 'on par with Buddha and Jesus Christ', I cannot agree less with that statement and I even go a step further to say that the Mahatma was a modern version of Jesus.

Gandhi believed in the universality of God, “The Allah of Islam is the same as the God of Christians and the Ishwar of Hindus.”

This concept of the universality of God is something which is badly needed in today’s world where violence in the name of the Almighty name is so rampant. It is also something we as Christians can learn from him; despite belonging to different faiths we are in fact all children of one God.

We are so intent in fighting one another to claim superiority over our adversaries, man against man, race against race, religion against religion and nation against nation. We resort to all the resources at our disposal; powerful arms, violence and war, to achieve victory over our enemies. We justify the use of violence to protect our perceived rights.

But to the great man of non-violence “Victory attained by violence is tantamount to a defeat, for it is momentary.”

That philosophy he proved right when he single-handedly defeated the all powerful British colonialist, not by power and might but peace and love. Doesn’t his action resemble those of Jesus, whose love, humility, non-retaliation and forgiveness, brought him victory over the powerful Roman Empire?

Many of us today find it difficult to believe how a small, timid and frail looking man like Gandhi could dare to challenge the mighty British Empire. Just after sixty years we are finding it difficult to believe how Gandhi could have brought down the British Empire. As Albert Einstein, another great man and genius said 'Generations to come will scarcely believe that such a one as this ever in flesh and blood walked upon this earth.

Mahatma Gandhi may have left this world but his memories remain very much with us, alive and relevant .Like Jesus he did not possess power, position or wealth. His simplicity, integrity and a heart for fellow men, including the enemies had touched many and he will remain a conscience in the hearts of men for generations to come.

Dr.Chris Anthony

No comments: