Learning From Gandhiji’s Experiments

nāsti buddhir-ayuktasya na chāyuktasya bhāvanā
na chābhāvayataḥ śhāntir aśhāntasya kutaḥ sukham// 2,66

But an undisciplined person, who has not controlled the mind and senses, can neither have a resolute intellect nor steady contemplation on God. For one who never unites the mind with God there is no peace; and how can one who lacks peace be happy?

We might have heard this adage “You can do anything you set your mind to” but he observed this with all his heart, his entire life.

He pretty much experimented on everything before he imbibed anything into his life: food, diet, religion, morals, principles, God, ideals, celibacy- you name it.

But one aspect of his life was much frowned upon, his experiments with celibacy. 70 years have passed since he left his body yet the most talked about or published work today is this grey side of his life.

Is it really grey? All our lives are lived in this grey, isn’t it? Although we don’t want to admit it to ourselves or others but that is the truth. But I think he cared less of what others thought of him or his experiments.

It looked like he wanted to prove it to himself that he had that self-restraint necessary to control his body and mind. Although he realized the body-mind connect well.

śhaknotīhaiva yaḥ soḍhuṁ prāk śharīra-vimokṣhaṇāt
kāma-krodhodbhavaṁ vegaṁ sa yuktaḥ sa sukhī naraḥ//5, 23

Those persons are yogis, who before giving up the body are able to WITHSTAND the forces of desire and anger; and they alone are happy

What do I admire about him?

  • He cared less about any titles that were bestowed upon him
  • He rejoiced when he overcame his weaknesses. He worked on himself.
  • He penned down most of his thoughts, wild or otherwise.
  • His book revealed an ordinary person with vices, who was bent upon converting them into virtues.
  • He stood as a role model for many, for his ideologies went through severe grilling.
  • He was not a Conformist. love, love that 🙂

What I failed to understand is this? (from his book and other works on him)

  • That why suppress an urge; restraint is fine and that too should come comfortably with understanding. (for example, it only becomes easy to handle a teenager when you have the knowledge of how it is to be one, right? With that knowledge you could take control )
  • Why was he bent upon making the body work against its mechanism?
    When we think of tamarind, our mouth salivate. It is a natural phenomena with all body fluids.
Image result for when we think about tamarind your mouth salivates

When we think of tamarind, our mouth salivate. It is a natural phenomena with all body fluids.
  • In attempts to suppress, he unknowingly gave it more room and energy. Overthinking can make them surface more often than not.( for example ‘don’t think about a pink elephant’ phenomena)
  • Why didn’t the idea “You are not the body but the Spirit” relieve him of his anguish. That every thought instills peace in a layman person as me. Maybe that is because I am playing it safe without taking any risks. Possible possible 😁
Now Your mind is focused only on this Pink Elephant
Now You can only think about this Pink Elephant

Bhagavad Gita on Ironic Rebound

Indriyāṇāṁ hi charatāṁ yan mano ’nuvidhīyate
tadasya harati prajñāṁ vāyur nāvam ivāmbhasi//2, 67

Just as a strong wind sweeps a boat off its chartered course on the water, even one of the senses on which the mind focuses can lead the intellect astray.

However, like any other Indian, I am in complete awe of this man who let his heart lead his life. Who showed us how difficult yet necessary it is to restrain our worldly senses. Who successfully implemented concepts like ‘Ahimsa’ in utter chaotic situations. He was and is a leader that are rare to come by.