There is an immeasurable joy in doing good to fellow beings with no gains to be had. Try it; you will start enjoying the life.
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 simply 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 own self.
In Hinduism, there is a great aspiration for one – to become Brahma, simply meaning to become a part of the whole and not have barriers between you and the other. It is a formula for building cohesive conflict-less society. A similar call is made by all religious teachings including Islam and Christianity.
Mahatma Gandhi is one of the five humans on the planet who has impacted my life profoundly. He was a messenger of peace; his language nourished reconciliation, and his actions encouraged co-existence. 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 on his death anniversary, I write a note about him as my tribute to the great soul, the Mahatma.
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 or lead any one. All he wanted to do was create a society of mutual respect and co-existence. Everyone always wonders how did he get to make people listen to his message of non-violence? The answer is simple; People knew, he gained nothing from what he does, but instead they gained from his effort. Indeed, those who are un-selfish have invincible moral strength.
Nothing frightens them or cows them down. 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 life time but lived a simple life, and told his own 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 strength lie in one simple thing: Their sense of justice was strong as a mountain and they were absolutely un-selfish.
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. You may have experienced the elated feeling of having a great day, when you helped someone in dire need.
I have a special connection with the Mahatma, and am making this disclosure for the 3rd time in public. I have met the Mahatma twice in my dreams; first time was way back in 1971 when the Mahatma, the Vice Chancellor of Bangalore University Dr. Narsimaiah and I were talking over a meal and he gave a pat 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 the work of Pluralism.
My message on this day is watch what you say; does it aggravate the ongoing dialogue and cause the opposing parties 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 the God given uniqueness to each one of seven billion of us, then conflicts fade and solutions emerge. That is the mission of the foundation 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 an immeasurable joy in doing good, good for others with nothing to gain. Try it; you will start enjoying the life.