Mahatma Gandhi's 28 Pillars of Life: Pillar 1

1) Bapu's Triumphant life (Stage 1 - 1869 - 1919) 2 Oct 1869 : Born in Sudamapuri (Porbandar) as Shri Karamchand Gandhi’s son. 1883 : At the age of thirteen married Kasturba Gandhi, six months older than him. 1885 : Father’s death at the age of 63. 1886 : Passed the Matriculation examination from the Kathiawar High School and joined the Shamaldas College of Bhavnagar. 4 Sep 1888 : Went to England to study law, amidst opposition from fellow members of his caste. 12 June1891 : Passed the Bar-at-law examination, returned to India. April 1893 : Travelled to South Africa for some litigation work for a Muslim merchant family of Porbandar. 1893-95 : The dislike towards Indians living in South Africa. Observation ,self humiliation and insult. Interest in the problems of the Indians. No sense of revenge - peacefulness. The beginning of practice in Natal. 22 June 1894 : Establishment of the Indian Congress in Natal. June,1896 -Return to India. 28 Nov 1896 : A telegraphic message calling to return to Natal, returned there for the second time with wife and two children. 1896-98 : Assault by the Europeans in Natal. Brickbats and stone- throwing. No ill-will or sense of revenge.

1899 : The setting up of a committee for the service to those injured in the Boer war. Nov 1901 : Journey back homeward. 1902 : Going round the country-journey by the third class compartment in railway. 1Jan 1903 : Again a call from South Africa, returned to Pretoria. April 1904 : The beginning of regular practice in the Transvaal High Court. The setting up of the British Indian Association there. 1904 : Accepted the editorial work of the ‘Indian Opinion’ published in English, Tamil, Gujarati and Hindi. 1906 : At the age of 37, making a resolve to observe celibacy for the rest of he’s life. Kasturba’s full support to the resolve of her Pujya (Revered) husband. 1907 : The beginning of the Satyagrah (clinging upon truth) movement against the Indian tourist law. (British) 10 Jan 1908 : Two months’ imprisonment for the first time as a brave Satyagrahi. 15 Oct 1908 : Again two months’ imprisonment for the ‘crime’ of Satyagraha. 1910 : The setting up of the Tolstoy Ashram ( a sort of spiritual colony) for the satyagrahis. The arrangement of religious activities, service to man, education, etc. there. March 1913 : The ladies too, taking part in the Satyagrah for the first time following his thinking .Kasturba arrested with other ladies. 5 Nov 1913 : March for Satyagraha.

Nov - Dec 1913 : Arrested many times in connection with the Satyagraha march and at last unconditional release. 1914 : Fourteen days’ fast as atonement for the moral lapses committed by Satyagrahis. In December, returned to India due to pleurisy. 1915 : Awarded Kaisar-E-Hind medal by Lord Harding as a New Year gift. 18 Feb 1915 : For the first time, met the world-renowned poet Rabindranath Tagore, addressed Gandhiji as ‘Mahatma’ in a letter. 4 Feb 1916 : Mahatmaji performed the opening ceremony of the Kashi Vidyalay. In this year, he joined the Lucknow Congress and met Pandit Nehru for the first time. 17 June 1917 : The setting up of the Sabarmati Ashram. 11 April 1919 : While coming to Delhi to oppose the Rowlatt Act, arrested in Palval. 18 April 1919 : Stopped Satyagraha. 8 Oct 1919 : The beginning of ‘Young India’ and ‘Navjivan’ in the form of monthlies under his guidance

Pillar 2:
2) Bapu's Triumphant life (Stage 2 1920 - 1948) 1-8-1920 : The giving up of the Kaisar-E-Hind medal. Nov 1920 : Establishment of the Gujarat Vidyapith at his auspicious hands. 16 Aug 1921 : Giving up the shirt and cap and decided to put on only the ‘Langoti’ ( A piece of simple cloth as an under garment up to the knee)

10 March 1922 : Arrested for writing three ‘treason articles’ in ‘Young India’. 19 March 1922 : Imprisoned for six years, autobiography in Gujarati during period of imprisonment. Dec 1923 : Setting up of the ‘Hindustan Seva Dal’ (The Indian Service Corps). 5 Feb 1924 : Unconditional release from jail due to bad health. 18 Sep 1924: Began 21 days’ fast as an atonement of the Kaunhat religious strife. Dec 1924: For the first time as the President of the Congress in the Belgaum session. 12 March 1930 : Historical Dandi Kuch March (Salt March). 3 April 1930: Breach of the Government rule by producing salt at Dandi. 5 May 1930: Arrested at night. Irwin declaration. 25 Jan 1931: Gandhiji and 30 other leaders released. 1931: Gandhi - Irwin pact. 26 Aug 1931: Travelled to England to take part in conference. 4 Jan 1932: Restarted Satyagraha Movement, Institutions banned, Gandhiji arrested. 20 Sep 1932: Beginning of historical fast-unto-death in the Yeravda prison against the declaration of separate franchise for the depressed. 8 April 1933: 21 days’ fast for self—purification. Release from prison the same day.

25 April 1933 : The successful end of fasting in ‘Parnakuti’. 20 Jan 1948 : A bomb-throwing in the prayer meeting but no damage. 30 Jan 1948 : Pilgrimage to the infinite.

Pillar 3:
3. Vaishnavajana (Man of God ) Gandhiji’s favourite Bhajan - A devotional song written by Narsi Mehta, a great saint-poet of Gujarat. The Man of God is he, Who feels others’ plight, Who is altruist but not proud, Who bows to all the world, Who does not indulge in criticizing others, Who keeps speech, sexual desires and mind in control, Blessed is the mother who gives birth to such a man. The man of God is he, In whose eyes all are equal, Who renounces lust, To whom any lady (other than wife) is mother On whose tongue there is no lie, Who does not touch others’ wealth, To whom lust of wealth does not appeal, In whose mind there is total renunciation, Who is identified with Ram Nam, (Utterance of the wold Ram) In whose body all the places of pilgrimage are contained, Who is free from greed and cunningness, Who has avoided sexual desires and anger, He is the man, says Narsi Mehta, whose ‘Darshan’ (Holy sight) brings off salvation of his seventy one generations

Pillar 4 to 9:
4. Truth is God God has many names but if we find one, it is ‘Satya’ or truth - Truth is God. The knowledge that keeps us away from Truth is in vain. Let us respect other religions just as we respect our own. Only tolerance is not enough. The true bliss does not come from outside, it comes from within. 5. Asteya (Not to Steal ) Asteya means not to steal. That a thief knows truth and observes religion of love is impossible. To take a thing which is not necessary from it's possessor-even with his permission is a theft. One who observes ‘asteya’ has to be very humble, thoughtful and alert and has to live very simply. 6. Brahmacharya (Celibacy ) If a man dedicated to truth craves for any other thing, he becomes corrupted. Celibacy means the search for truth and the action related to it. The suppression of lust itself is celibacy. So far, we have seen no example of anyone who has achieved truth through indulgence in luxuries. 7. The Hidden Force So many people of the world still say that the structure of the world is not based on the power of weapon, structure of the world is based not on the power of the weapon, but on truth, compassion or the force of soul. Even despite the great wars and battles the world has survived. This is a great historical proof of this reality. It means there is some force other than a war which stands as a support. 8. One People (One Nationalism) The nation which wants to utilize the self-rule cannot hate its leaders and elders. Only the people of mature intelligence can enjoy the self-rule, not the shallow-minded or the hasty. 9. Humility and Service Where is a moment of rest for the sea? The same thing applies to us. When we mix into the sea of divinity, the rest goes, even the necessity to rest is forgotten. That is the real rest. So divinity expects from us a service to every living being and all sacrifice from our side .Having retired in every way, we have neither a day nor Friday or Sunday for that

matter. One who has sacrificed all has experienced this.

Pillar 10 to 14:
10. Knowledge One who fills his brain with meaningless things is an illegal possessor. The thoughts that keep us aloof from God or takes us away from Him are an unwanted possession and so it is worth being given up. Today, we store up so many things in the name of knowledge. That is not knowledge but ignorance, and instead of being advantageous, it is harmful. 11. Sarva Dharma Samabhaav If we believe in all religions, there is no need to treat any religion as high or low. Where, then, is the need of more religions? Soul is one but human bodies are uncountable. The root of religions is one, just as the root of a tree, but the leaves are uncountable 12. Know your Self Nothing is possible without toiling or penance. How is self-realisation possible? The thing gained out of fear lasts so long as there is fear before. One who is clean from inside cannot be unclean from outside. 13. Abolishment of Untouchability The custom of untouchability is not a religion but obscurantism. If the soul is one and God is one, no one is untouchable. To shun the difference between man and man itself is equal to leaving the sense of touchable and untouchable. The difference of caste has done a great harm to the Hindu religion. The sense of high and low underlying there is fatal to the religion. The action without any expectation of fruits is a source of strength because the action without any expectation is devotion to God. The work coming out from a pure heart is never fruitless. The man who cannot control himself, can never control others in a real sense. From moment to moment I feel that ‘Maun’ (silence) is the best speech. If you want to speak, speak as little as possible. If one word is enough, do not use two. Mankind is tested in society itself, not on the top of the Himalayan Mountains. 14. God's Place To be the law-observing people, truly means that we are a people having an urge for truth

but the training to follow the laws that we do not like is a disdain to manhood, against the religion and a limit of slavery. The man who knows his human element and is afraid of God has no fear from others. One who has lost the element of self has lost everything. Listen to the speech of saints, read Shastas (religious scriptures), be learned-but if you do not give a place to God in your heart, you have done nothing. The matter of surprise is that a Vaidya dies(A physician practicing the Ayurvedic System of Medicines), a doctor dies and even then we roam after them but we forget Ram (God) who never dies, lives for ever and is an unflinched Vaidya.

Pillar 15 to 20:
15. Charkha and Non-Violence I want Non-violenceerved by millions of people. That is in the Charkha (a spinning wheel). The Charkha has in it ethics, economics and non-violence. When I have a ‘Darshan’ (holy view) of non-violence, I see nothing but a Charkha before me. My Ram dances in hand-spun-woven cotton. The Charkha is a symbol of non-violence, and ultimately non-violence triumphs. I got all-power from the Charkha. As the law of the animal life is violence, so is the law of the life human is non-violence. Love is the basic condition of non-violence, and pure, selfless love is not possible without the spotless purity of mind and body. 16. Humility O,Namra Shiromani, abiding in the cottage of the poor. Thou Helpest us in finding thee at all the places in this country watered by the Ganges, Brahmaputra and the Yamuna rives. Givest us the strength to receive, a free and frank heart, the strength and eagerness to the people of Hindustan to be one.

O Lord ! When man becomes all humble and comes to thy shelter ,thou helpest, gives us strength so that we may not be separated from those whom we want to serve, being their servants and friends, makes us very idols of humility and worth giving self-sacrifice and virtuous, so that we may know this country more and love her more. 17. Our Duties towards civilization Duties and observing what is moral means to control one’s mind and organs. By doing this we know ourselves. This is improvement of civilization. What is against this is worsening or uncivilization (barbarism). If there is no harmony between means and end, it is a big error. To worship a demon and expect a divine fruit, it is impossible. You may call this (divine) strength the strength of love, soul or truth. This strength is everlasting. Unity is the panacea of all diseases. Do as much as possible manually. The real happiness and peace lies in manual works. 18. Untruth - The path of destruction Even a little untruth destroys a man, just as a drop of poison does to milk. The sea is a mass of drops. In the same way we can be a sea of friendship by being friendly to all, and if all in this world live in friendship, the form and the shape of the world will change. One who thinks of only the unhappy, will never think of himself. Where is that much time for him? It is God’s promise --" I am today, I was yesterday and I will be tomorrow. I am omnipresent. I dwell in all." Even having known this we go away from God. We seek the shelter of what is transient and imperfect and become unhappy. What is more surprising than this ? 19. Enjoy by giving up This is an eternal promise (truth).

We have to change our imagination (actually ‘illusion’). The family, wealth and body remain the same and misery does not come at all. That is why the Upanishadkar (the author of the Upanishad-highly valuable philosophical volume of Hinduism’) has said enjoy by living. The meaning is that we can easily triumph over fear, achieve peace and have a ‘darshan’ of Satyanarayan (Truth-that is God). 20. Shunyataa ( Vacuity ) If the sense of complete blankness comes, we become perfect. The meaning of vacuity is to mix and be one with Paramatma (the Soul Supreme) and not to be aloof. A drop of sea enjoys the importance of sea but it has no knowing of it. As soon as it thinks of being separate from the sea and begins to believe it to be something, it will perish.

Pillar 21 to 23:
21. Sthitapragna (1) (This means One who keeps his mind stable under any situation, one who does not flinch, This is the one who is calm and composed in any event. One of the most valuable conceptspreached by Lord Krishna to Arjun, His disciple, in the Bhagavad Geeta). O Lord, how to know a sthitapragna in Samaadhi (the culmination point of meditation where one forgets oneself in search of the supreme knowledge) ? How does an intellectually stable muni (a rishi) speak, live and move? (A question from Arjun). "One who gives up all lust and lives within, one whose soul is satisfied, is a Sthitapragna. One who has no anguish or agony in heart, who has no craving for happiness, who has no attachment anywhere, who is the same in joy or sorrow, who has no hatred is a man of stable intellect." (Answer from Lord Krishna).

22. Sthitapragna (2) When the body is unfed, lusts disappear, and still it (body) tends to them( lusts). Only when the supreme is felt, can one avoid lusts totally. When the mind pampers organs, there is an attachment. An attachment brings physical indulgence. The indulgence causes anger, from anger comes bluntness of intellect. The intellectual bluntness causes the loss of memory. And when the memory is lost, intellect is gone. The destruction of intellect is the root of a total destruction. The organs free from attachment and hatred control lusts and one who controls one’s physical desires is a man having a stable soul. Such a person achieves a divine pleasure. The waters which are filled everyday, which are constant, enter the sea. The one in whom all the desires melt achieves peace, and not the one who is lusty and lewd. 23. Secrets of Satyagraha The secret of Satyagraha is giving up the fruits of actions. The meaning of giving up fruits is not that one who gives up fruits does not get any. The giving up means the want of attachment really speaking, one who gives up gets thousandfold. One who looks at the result only gets deflected many times. Generally, it is believed that religion and wealth go ill together. The author of the Geeta has removed this illusion. He has made no distinction between the salvation and the mundane practices. On the contrary, he has interwoven the mundane affairs and religion.

Pillar 24 to 28:
24. Birth and Death So far as there is no integrity between the body, mind and soul, no work is done properly. This earth belongs to God. A prayer to God is the food of soul. When we are separate from our root, we die. The separation of soul from body is not death.

Giving the whole will bring the whole. Keeping the whole, the whole will be lost. One who wants to serve God does not want a slavery of anyone. Birth and death are, perhaps, the two sides of the same coin. Looking at one side, there is death and looking at the other one, there is birth. So why sorrow and why joy ? 25. Physical Labour For one who wants to follow non-violence, to worship truth, to make celibacy natural, physical labor is a panacea. Those whose bodies are able to work and who have become understanding should do their own work worth doing themselves. One should not take others service without any reason i.e. exploitation 26. Ahimsa (Non-violence) For one who wants to follow non-violence, to worship truth to make celibacy natural, physical labor is a panacea. Those whose bodies are able to work and who have become understanding should do their own work worth doing themselves. One should not take others? service without any reason. Abhaya ( Fearlessness ) No other asset is gained without fearlessness. The path of God is that of the brave. A fearless person does not take to a sword. The sword is not a sign of the brave, it is a sign of timidness. The extent of fearlessness increases by resolve, constant effort and a faith in soul. 27. Raam Naam When God Himself says that He exists in all, with whom should we keep Vengeance? To save ourselves from the corrupted thought there is only one, never-failing, panacea, and that is Ram Naam, not from the throat but from the heart.

The rule over oneself by oneself is Swarajya (selfrule) and this Swarajya is in our hands. Religion is not separate from life. Life itself is religion. The life without religion is not human life, it is an animal life 28. Ashram Prayer - Raghupati Raghava Raghupati Raghava Rajaram Patit Pavan Sitaram The truth is hidden under a golden plaque. Remove it to have a glimpse of it. This whole world belongs to God. Enjoy by giving up. Do not crave for other's wealth. I have no desire of a kingdom, nor do I want heaven or salvation My only desire is to sacrifice myself for removing the miseries of the depressed. Let us observe these eleven vows with humility but firmness; Non-Violence ,Truth, Not to steal, celibacy, Non-hoarding, Physical labour, Equality, Want to taste, Fearlessness, Equality to all religions and the use of the things of one's own origin.

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