1 June 2012
Gandhi’s Philosophy of Non-Violence
First there was hostility, blood, vandalism, looting, pillaging, and then there was Gandhi. Mahatma Gandhi was one of the most influential people in history and fittingly has a place in the pantheon of the visionaries who changed the world. His philosophies of ahimsa and satyagraha, meaning non violence and non violent resistance respectively as a form of civil resistance and disobedience is one of the most prominent and most renowned for its massive implementations throught history. This essay’s aim is to describe the basic principles of ahimsa (non-violence) as it was introduced by Gandhi and bring to light one very important aspect of his teachings, the fact that violence is not only its obvious and apparent physical form, but can also be economic, ethical, political, psychological and educational and the only way for these to be eradicated is through peaceful manifestations. Gandhi’s philosophy of non-violence (ahimsa) and non-violent action (satyagraha) is constituted by a number of fundamental principles. Thomas Berton, having dedicated his life being drawn into a dialogue between Eastern and Western religions and viewpoints, has made a lot of research on the matter. In his book entitled “Gandhi on Non Violence: A Selection from the Writings of Mahatma Gandhi” he insightfully states that “Ahimsa (non violence) is for Gandhi the basic law of our being” (23). Based on this notion, Berton argues that non violence is one of the most valuable beliefs when it comes to public action, because it matches up to man’s instinctive craving for peace, justice, freedom etc. (23). The main principles of Gandhian non violence are respect for other people, understanding, acceptance of the differences of others, appreciating and celebrating diversity, truth and truthfulness, dealing with untruth wherever one finds it, and soaking up pain and agony from any altercation with untruth....