Gandhi’s Concept of Swaraj

Transmogrification

“To revolutionize the world, start by revolutionizing yourself.” Gandhi was a man who stood up for nonviolence, self-rule (independence), and the truth, but before he could impose these justifications on his fellow Indians, he had to practice it, understand it, and live by it. A man who is not changed can in no way change others. The first step Gandhi took towards achieving his goals was to separate himself from the British culture; he changed his way of thinking, also the way he dressed. He totally embraced his ancestral lifestyle and became the change he wanted to see.

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From Home Rule to Total Freedom

Due to Gandhi’s academic background in South Africa, it became vividly clear that the British colonials only dominate colonies for their own benefits, and not necessarily for the benefits of those they rule. Using the Master-Slave Dialectic, Gandhi realized that the masters were also indirectly dependent on the Indians, even though it was not apparent to both the British Colonials and the Indians (who were informally regarded as slaves). At this point in time, Gandhi introduced the concept “Swaraj,” to nonviolently fight against injustice and the unscrupulous exploitation of man power. With time, Gandhi discovered that fighting against the colonial masters was not enough to solve the problem, he then moved away from the idea of “home rule” and decided to gain absolute freedom for India.

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Thinking Global

“My method is conversion, not coercion… my ambition is much higher than independence. Through the deliverance of India, I seek to deliver the so-called weaker races of the earth from the crushing heels of Western exploitation” (Gandhi). From this rooted statement, we can extract two important things. Firstly, Gandhi used nonviolence as a means of converting the enemy. He understood that violence could have some beneficial adjustments, but its impact will only be temporary, and inefficient. Violence will only kindle the hatred of the enemy, but on the other hand, nonviolence will always overcome, by de-escalating the enemy’s hatred. Secondly, Gandhi’s actions might have seemed restricted to his local jurisdiction, but his intent was global. It is now obvious that Gandhi’s concept of Swaraj was not just limited to Indians alone, since they were not the only colony dominated by British colonials.

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Swaraj and Religion

The concept of Swaraj can also be understood from a religious perspective, but this only must do with one’s personal mindset and belief system. “Gandhi held that… Swaraj is synonymous with Moksha or salvation” (Sonnleitner). “A truly moral person thus becomes one who not only gains a sense of self-respect (via tactical nonviolence) but also learns to respect the self or soul in him- or herself and others, requiring that nonviolence be accepted as a religious discipline” (Sonnleitner). Moksha could also mean subjecting the desires of the flesh/body to meet the desires of the spirit/soul. From a profound point of view, this concept of Moksha might be the most important and difficult aspect of Swaraj. The law of science says, ‘for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction,’ this can also be applied to us humans reacting to one another. Normally, the Indians could have avenged the unfair rule of the British, but this will be against the law of Moksha, which made them endure pain without complaint and retaliation. This level of Swaraj will also establish an atmosphere of respect, orderliness and self-control, it might take time for such to be established, but the certainty of the outcome is most likely to be positive.

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Moksha and Purna Swaraj

Gandhi also introduced a rule of Indians by Indians, which is formally called Purna Swaraj, which can also be referred to as political independence. This level of Swaraj has little impact compared to Moksha Swaraj, but it is still part of what makes independence what it is today. “Gandhi believed that not to have achieved this low level of self-rule tends to produce in a population a subconscious (if not conscious) feeling of low self-worth, cultural inferiority…even if the rule was benevolent, the danger of breeding a complacent or slave mentality would remain” (Sonnleitner). In other words, if the Indians remained under the dominance of the British rule, they will still be regarded as slaves, irrespective of what they enjoy. If Gandhi had not introduced the concept Purna Swaraj, the Indians will be unable to live up to their personal dreams, because whatsoever they do will firstly benefit the British, while the remnants comes back to them. This level will also open doors for Indians to elect their own representatives (district rulers), while making sure that there is mutual help amongst neighbors and villagers. “On its third level of meaning, Gandhi conceived Swaraj as Hind Swaraj, ‘the rule of all people, the rule justice,’ which consists of the sovereignty of the people based on pure moral authority” (Sonnleitner).

Forgo Pleasures and go for Sacrifice

Life in Pleasures

What a dead life we live in! A life that seeks death, a life that seeks pain, a life that seeks doom! The ages are passing by, the days are growing old, the light is getting dim. We live in the ends beginning, but yet strive for pleasure without satisfaction. Pleasure is like a virus that eats deep and deep into our mind, until nothing is left of us. Scholars define pleasure as “something that provides a source of happiness.” Hmm… Interesting, but I tell you, its just for a short period of time. For the pleasures we seek on earth are temporary, that’s why they are called earthly desires, but the sacrifice we make are eternal. The greatest sacrifice that has ever being made, was made by Jesus. He gave is life for ours, and his sacrifice wasn’t for 10 years, 100 years, or even a thousand years, it is forever/eternal. That’s the power of Sacrifice!

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By Pacesetter Abbey

 

 Pleasure is Meaningless

Solomon is mostly known for his abundance in wealth, but one thing that distinguished him from others is the wisdom he had. He knows the end result of his pleasure filled life and he was bold enough to tell the world about it.

In Ecclesiastes 2: 1-11, Solomon said…

Pleasures Are Meaningless

2 I said to myself, “Come now, I will test you with pleasure to find out what is good.” But that also proved to be meaningless. 2 “Laughter,” I said, “is madness. And what does pleasure accomplish?” 3 I tried cheering myself with wine, and embracing folly—my mind still guiding me with wisdom. I wanted to see what was good for people to do under the heavens during the few days of their lives.

4 I undertook great projects: I built houses for myself and planted vineyards. 5 I made gardens and parks and planted all kinds of fruit trees in them. 6 I made reservoirs to water groves of flourishing trees. 7 I bought male and female slaves and had other slaves who were born in my house. I also owned more herds and flocks than anyone in Jerusalem before me. 8 I amassed silver and gold for myself, and the treasure of kings and provinces. I acquired male and female singers, and a harem (wives and concubines) as well—the delights of a man’s heart. 9 I became greater by far than anyone in Jerusalem before me. In all this my wisdom stayed with me. 10 I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure.
My heart took delight in all my labor, and this was the reward for all my toil. 11 Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.”

“Chasing after the wind” he said. The way we came to the world is same way we will leave it. We came with nothing, we leave with nothing. So, why not make sacrifice, which is the only thing that lasts even after death, because one way to avoid pain (hell) after death is to sacrifice pleasure. For the moon to be seen, the sun has to leave. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak, remember what Jesus said “I have overcome the world,” and our flesh is part of these world.

So many great people have passed through this same place we call earth, kings, queens, prophets, poets, musicians, doctors, and many more, but are we really learning from their past experiences or trying to re-live the legacy and life style of the old generation? We all know where pleasures lead to, but I tell you, it takes great discipline to forgo pleasure and seek sacrifice.

“Sacrifice doesn’t come with pleasures, it comes with suffering. But at the end it begets betterment.”

— Pacesetter Abbey

What is Sacrifice?

What Exactly is Sacrifice?

Sacrifice doesn’t mean ‘death,’ as men call it, it doesn’t mean loss or pain, sacrifice means “gain.” Theoretically, sacrifice always begins with some shortcomings, but at the end of it all, the reward is far beyond the sacrifice that was made.

“Your latter end shall be greater than the beginning.”

The bible said “give and it shall be given unto you.” “Giving” is a form of sacrifice. Remember, “God gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” God sacrificing his own Son doesn’t mean the end, but the beginning of a new dawn, because Jesus rose on the third day and we as Christians arose with him. Romans 6:4 says “We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” The spiritual laws are universal, just like the natural laws are. For instance, gravity is always the same everywhere, so is “giving.”

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Picturequotes.com

An interesting thing about sacrifice is that, its not just for the benefit of ourselves, but to the benefit of others (around us and far from us). One of the reasons we exist is to help save man by using our time and knowledge (i.e sacrificing) for their good. It is the ultimate display of love at the cost of oneself. When Jesus died for our sins, he never asked for anything in return, we should also cultivate the habit of giving without expectancy. I believe that “giving more than we have, is true sacrifice.” What reward is there if you give out of abundance?

Learning to sacrifice is learning how to love. I tell you, unless a man learns how to love his neighbors, enemies, (and God), his/her time on earth will be a waste of precious time, for he/she will not be granted God’s greatest gift to man, “Eternal Life.” 1 Corinthians 13:13 says “So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” Love begets Sacrifice, and Sacrifice begets Eternity with Christ.