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My purpose, Mahatma Gandhi writes of this book, is to describe experiments in the science of Satyagraha, not to say how good I am. Satyagraha, Gandhis nonviolent protest movement, came to stand, like its creator, as a moral principle and a rallying cry; the principle was truth and the cry freedom. The life of Gandhi has given fire and fiber to freedom fighters. Yet Gandhi writes: Often the title [Mahatma, Great Soul] has deeply pained me. . . . But I should certainly like to narrate my experiments in the spiritual field which are known only to myself, and from which I have derived such power as I possess for working in the political field. Who was Gandhi?, the time is proper to listen to Gandhi himself — in his own words, his own confessions, his autobiography.


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fundamentally changed my view of the world...


Oft In My Thought


Ah, how often I have sought in my days,

To emulate the great leaders, and be gently led,

By their virtuous actions and well-laid plans.

How often I charted the best courses to take

To reach those heights of thought and action;

And thought evermore of what best will portray

Their everlasting influence on this humble self,

That will make this world to be as they always saw,

In their lofty wishes and their fanciful dreams.


But all those thoughts, alas, they too crumble and dry,

And serve no more the masters that send them forth,

Who are now but ashes or just food to now dead worms,

And so are their thoughts but food to a few blind men.

And this world that lets the best of it die,

And leaves not even a soul or a smile behind,

For what I should try, what lasting effect,

When in showing the virtues, I forget them more?


How to pass that time of the night,

When all too familiar shame shows its head:

Have you forgotten all your virtues,

It asks with the malevolent sweet smiles,

The dead might banish sins and conquer great heights,

But will the living learn, it sneers and slips away.


To what profit we move, to what end we sing,

Praises of these men, and put their faces in public places?

The most good, most fair and most just of men;

They no longer walk this realm, what omen there?

And when the young can no longer dare imagine

That their footsteps once hallowed these very ruins…

مشاهده لینک اصلی
Gandhi has no energy whatsoever. I think the main problem with him writing his own autobiography is his complete lack of ego. He is too modest. He is too accommodating. And he is too good.

Wonderful characteristics for sure; they clearly served him well in his role as a civil rights leader, though they make him rather ill-equipped to write his own story. There is absolutely no passion within his writing, no fire, no strength and certainly no sense of long term goals or aspirations within the first few hundred pages. He begins with telling the tale of his youth, a rather non-descript and ordinary upbringing. It’s mundane, full of far too much monotony and everyday trifles to warrant any remark.

It’s almost like he is detached from his own experiences. Gandhi the leader, Gandhi the man who has inspired thousands, did not come across in much of the writing here. He is narrating his life retrospectively, from a position of success and influence, yet this Gandhi does not appear in the pages. There is no sense of an older, wiser, Gandhi looking at the actions of his youth and appraising or criticising his own actions. He does not evaluate the past, but tells it a bland impersonal manner with little emotion. All in all, I found it extremely hard to connect with on any level.

To compare this to the compelling, convincing and rather extraordinary Autobiography of Malcolm X, Gandhi’s words are unengaging. There is no rhetoric or argument to any actual effect. Certainly, he speaks of following a pure and truthful life, though after reading his words I was never convinced with the reasons he puts forth. The merits of such a life speak for themselves, but Gandhi did not convey it here. There’s also no sense of the human struggle, of a man trying to overcome his own daemons and become a better person. There is a certain lack of emotion within the entire work. It feels cold.

It is, of course, worth mentioning that I greatly admire Gandhi. His approach to life was benevolent and inspiring. Humanity has a lot to learn from him; he was an exemplifier of human values we all ought to strive for. Yet, for all his leadership skills, he couldn’t write for shit.

مشاهده لینک اصلی
This was a fascinating read. Gandhis writing is oddly simple, even almast naive in places. He faithfully records small personal struggles, giving them the same wieght as major political battles. Gandhis zeal and idealism comes across powerfully, as does his lifelong concern with self-discipline and purity (bramacharya).

I was especially interested in his evolving understanding of satyagraha and his increasingly strict vegetarianism. His ascetism increased in direct proportion to his growing political power.

The autobiography ends in 1920, right around the time Gandhi became an international figure. The major historical events leading up to Independence are outside the scope of the book, but its fascinating to watch Gandhi become Gandhi during the first half of his life.

Like all autobiographies, this one leaves out much helpful background information about people, places, and evets, so I frequently put down the book to Googgle. Next I would love to read a third person biography to fill in some more of the gaps.

مشاهده لینک اصلی
Excuse the ramblings of a mind coping to understand...this really is a book review...of sorts.

Yesterday, a man in Oslo set off a bomb that killed seven people then went to a kids camp and killed eighty four young people. The world is sickened. Why do these things happen? Details are still coming out. At first I heard an Islamic militant group had claimed responsibility. Now it seems that the killer may be an extreme anti-islamic; a christian fundamentalist. What is clear is that somehow he was able to justify his actions because human life was less valuable to him than his ideals.

Societies sometimes justify violence (war, torture, capital punishment...) by saying they are protecting certain ideals. When violence is justified on such large levels, it can not be too surprising when an individual finds ways to justify violence as well. It could be a single man in Oslo. It could be a million men who beat their wives and children.

Violence is violence. In its most extreme and violent manifestations, we can plainly see that it is senseless, but in its more commonplace variations it can be tolerated or ignored. It seems that to many of us there is some line between acceptable and unacceptable violence and maybe this is part of the problem; we can compartmentalize and label the violence we do not like as the work of the evil or insane.

Back in university I read this book by Gandhi. Those who think that they cannot defend or promote ideals without the use of violence are either ignorant or (more likely) lazy, because the non-violent path is much, much harder to walk than the violent one. Violence is easy. Revenge is natural. But Gandhi was able to lead an entire nation to freedom without bombing police stations. The writing of Gandhi is all about the individual having dignity and independence - that self respect comes from respecting others. Gandhis writing is a roadmap to a better world. I think that those who have not read Gandhi have an overly simplified vision of the man; that he was simply a pacifist or an unrealistic dreamer. I know thats what I used to think. But he was primarily concerned with erasing social injustice; non-violence was simply the best means to his ends. The best and most difficult.

It is time for us to reject @by any means necessary@ and revenge seeking and punishing and all the eye-for-an-eye bullshit. All this generally condoned social violence just seeps into individuals where it collects as pure hate.


مشاهده لینک اصلی
After seeing the movie biopic, I knew I needed to find out more about Gandhi so I picked this up. Dont let the width of the book fool you, it isnt a thousand pages like it appears. The translation of the book is actually pretty good and it reads easily. For the most part, Gandhi spends time talking about the little details in his life before he became famous. That is sort of the opposite of what you would expect in an autobiography, but as he says, his life was well known by then. This may lead some people to feel like the book is meandering. I can understand this feeling, but I think his sincerity and honesty outweighs that. While this book does not talk a lot about his theories on non-violence or his time in South Africa (I believe there is a separate book for that), it is impossible not to walk away from reading this book and feel inspired. Gandhis humility has changed my outlook on many things and his passion for finding lifes truths is infectious. If youre a vegetarian or vegan, youll appreciate his details and struggles about this as well. Ultimately, I think this book can make you a better person if you have an interest in Gandhis life and philosophies and approach with an open mind and persist through the small amount of less relevant information.

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