Gandhi, let's adopt him as an American

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By Mike Ghouse

Today is Gandhi’s birthday, and it is time to reflect on the hatred and love he receives from Indians. A majority of the Indians and the world revere him while the Hindutva* outfit curses him. India is a ruptured nation at this time and its social structure is collapsing and political stability has become questionable in the short run.

May God guide the RSS organization to renounce its extremist ideology and stop hating Christians, Dalits, and Muslims. May the same God bless Modi with common sense to repent his sins and restore security, peace, and harmony to every Indian. 

Shamefully, the current Indian political leaders reject Mahatma Gandhi and revere the guy who killed him. The entire world adores him, but for the Hindutva guys (Hindutva is a militant political group like the Nazis, ISIS, and KKK – they cannot be called Hindus in any fashion). Maybe we should adopt Gandhi as an American until India returns on track and follows his path of harmony, coexistence, and respect for the oppressed. 

I sincerely wish and pray that the Hindutva guys shed their insecurities and hatred for Christians, Dalits, and Muslims and learn to live in harmony with fellow Indians. 

Modi and his minions bow to Gandhi as a cover but hate him intensely. I know several men from the Hindutva who curse and hate Gandhi like anything, and one of them shares Gandhi’s birthday. I was taken back a few times.  

Mahatma Gandhi has impacted my life profoundly. He was a messenger of peace; his language nourished reconciliation, and his actions encouraged coexistence. Whether it is the conflict between Hindus or Muslims or with the British Raj, his words mitigated conflicts and directed one’s thoughts and actions towards solutions. Throughout the year, I reflect on his work, and most certainly, on his birthday and death anniversary, I write a note about him as my tribute to the great soul, the Mahatma.

Mahatma Gandhi could have led the life of luxury, he was a lawyer educated in England and worked for a big firm and had all the resources available to him, yet he chose to lead a simple life. He realized early on that none of the wealth goes with you; it is merely your duty to do good. Think about it; indeed, it is the good we do that brings relief, salvation, mukti, Moksha, nijaat, and nirvana to our self.

In Hinduism, there is an aspiration for one to be free, and the purpose of life is four-fold, to achieve Dharma, Artha, Kama, and Moksha. Dharma means living righteously and act morally and ethically throughout one’s life. Artha means honest work to live a good life, and the Kama is about fulfilling desire and passion in one’s life. Finally, it is Moksha – freedom from the cycle of life, and to me, it means living freely with least tensions and least conflicts – that is what paradise is all about. Indeed, this is the essence of all religions.  

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The first step in embracing humanity was to strip one’s ego and become a simple human where the masses can relate. He chose the simplest form of clothing and earned the friendship of the Indians at large. Didn’t all the spiritual masters live a simple life?

This aspect of “relating” with people and his compelling ideas became a source of inspiration to Martin Luther King, Jr., Nelson Mandela, and several other great souls who successfully brought a change through the peace to the world.

He was one of the most powerful leaders we have had in the last two centuries. He did not want anything for himself, nor did he want to control anything. All he wanted to do was create a society of mutual respect and coexistence. Everyone always wonders how did he get to make people listen to his message of non-violence? The answer is simple; People were fully conscious of his unselfishness; he gained nothing from what he does. Instead, they gained from his effort. Indeed, those who are un-selfish have invincible moral strength.

Nothing frightens them or cowers them. You will find the same commitment and moral strength in Moses, Jesus, Krishna, Rama, Buddha, Zoroaster, Mahavira, Confucius, Nanak, Baha’u’llah, Mother Teresa, and so many other great souls. Muhammad is my other mentor who had all the power on the earth during his lifetime but lived a simple life, and told his daughter that she ain’t going to get a free pass to God; she has to earn it by doing good deeds, i.e., doing things for other’s good. Every one of the above teacher’s strengths lies in a straightforward thing: Their sense of justice was solid as a rock; they were unselfish.

Mahatma Gandhi’s non-Violence movement is a model that will last for centuries to come. Every great teacher listed above has taught the same message over and over again. The idea is that there is a balance of energy in every human; doing bad things deflates that energy, and doing good things recoups it.  

The tyrant is blessed with the same energy but is not aware of it, and we have to help him realize it after enduring the suffering. Fighting out may bear the result in the short run, but the fighting and the avenging continue in the long run. Whereas the non-violence method of achieving the objective is sustainable, justice ultimately brings lasting peace, and non-violence sustains it; violence disturbs the balance.

I have a special connection with the Mahatma; I have met him twice in my dreams. The first time was way back in 1971 when the Mahatma, the Vice-Chancellor of Bangalore University, Dr. Narsimaiah, and I talked over a meal. Gandhi patted on my back and told me that I have a lot of work to do. Then again, in 2005, I saw him smiling at me, encouraging me to continue with Pluralism’s work.

This day, my message is to watch what you say; does it aggravate the ongoing dialogue and cause the opposing parties to dig in? Or does it propel people to work towards solutions? You can apply this formula at your work, home, or any situation and see the difference. Be a winner by making the others a winner too.

Mahatma Gandhi probably would have endorsed my view that, if we can learn to accept and respect God’s uniqueness to each one of seven billion of us, then conflicts fade and solutions emerge. That is the mission of the Center for Pluralism. 

Today, October 2nd is Mahatma’s birthday. May this day make our leaders think and believe that there is a greater joy in creating peace. Ask yourselves every day – do my words and action bring solutions? There is immeasurable joy in doing good, good for others with nothing to gain. Try it; you will start enjoying life.

If you have a few spare minutes, watch this video:

Mike Ghouse is the founder and President of the Center for Pluralism, all about him is at