Gandhi: His philosophical and religious thought and some cross references

Term Paper, 2006

17 Pages, Grade: A

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1. Key Concepts of Gandhi’s Philosophical and Religious Thought

2. The Religious Quest
Leo Tolstoy, Jesus and The Qu’ran
Rajchandra, the Gita and Gandhi’s Wife Kasturba
Ahimsa or Love

3. The Way To God and Some Cross References
Gandhi, Socrates and The Love of Wisdom
Gandhi and Aristotle’s Virtue Ethic
Gandhi and Kant On Moral Religion
Gandhi and Kierkegaard On Limitations Of Intellect and Believe
Have Childlike Faith

4. Inspiring Struggle For Freedom

5. Instead Of A Conclusion Some More Quotes

6. Literature

Gandhi: His Philosophical and Religious Thought and Some Cross References

By Michael Leicht, PhD

1. Key Concepts of Gandhi’s Philosophical and Religious Thought

Satya: The pivotal and defining element of Gandhism - simply truth. And truth is the most important name of god. God is truth and truth is god.

Satyagraha: Holding fast to the truth with all the powers of the spirit. Thus force of truth, force of love or force of soul (non-violence). Name of the Indian independence movement

Ahimsa: Non-violence. Ahimsa has to be understood not only in the negative sense of non-violence, but also positively as a renunciation of the self and an indulgence in “kind actions” towards all beings – a nobleness of the heart. The only means for the realisation of Truth is Ahimsa.

Civil disobedience: It must be civil that means totally non-violent. Love instead of violence. But not to use violence in fighting for the great cause does not mean, that you should participate in anything you believe is evil. Non-cooperation with the forces of evil is the right way.

Brahmacarya: Chastity and more general the ascetic way of life of Gandhi. It meant for him to learn to love, rather than lust. For Gandhi brahmacharya meant control of the senses in thought, word and deed. But concerning his asceticism, where non-attachment plays also a role (like in Buddhism) I am asking my self, if not Buddha was closer to the appropriate amount – finding a middle way between asceticism and hedonism?

Swaraj: Independence. This means in Gandhi’s conception nothing less than the realisation of the kingdom of god inside us and on this earth.

Identification with everything that lives is impossible without self-purification. So long as man does not of his own free will put himself last among his fellow creatures, there is no salvation for him. Ahimsa is the farthest limit of humility.

My life is my message.

He also discovered that once the truth is on the march nothing could stop it. The truth is far more powerful than any weapon of mass destruction. The most important battle to fight is in overcoming one’s demons, fears and insecurities. It lives within us, that little voice that tells us what to do, but also guides the universe.

In applying these principles, Gandhi did not balk from taking them to their most logical extremes. In 1940, when invasion of the British Isles by the armed forces of Nazi Germany looked imminent, Gandhi offered the following advice to the British people:

“I would like you to lay down the arms you have as being useless for saving you or humanity. You will invite Herr Hitler and Signor Mussolini to take what they want of the countries you call your possessions… If these gentlemen choose to occupy your homes, your will vacate them. If they do not give you free passage out, you will allow yourselves, man, woman and child, to be slaughtered, but you will refuse to owe allegiance to them!” But whether such a strategy would have worked also for the Jewish, I have my doubts. Gandhi thought that also in the case of the Jewish Holocaust, they should have been ready for self-sacrifice. “The Jews should have offered themselves to the butcher’s knife. They should have thrown themselves into the sea from cliffs.” To love the murderer is one of the maxims of non-violence. Being full of sympathy, forgiveness and piety for all living beings. But the final consequence of such actions would have been, that Hitler would have reached his goal – the extermination of the Jews. The only hope would have been here Hitler having regrets afterwards.

“As soon as we lose the moral basis, we cease to be religious. There is no such thing as religion over-riding morality. Man, for instance, cannot be untruthful, cruel or incontinent and claim to have God on his side.” Moral is the last face of god.

(Britannica, 1994, Shrimad, 2006, Wikipedia, 2006 and from a collection of Gandhi citations, whose website address unfortunately got lost).

2. The Religious Quest

Leo Tolstoy, Jesus and The Qu’ran

Gandhi’s religious quest dated back to his childhood, the influence of his mother and of his home at Porbandar, Gujarat (early encounter with jainism and ahimsa). But it received a great impetus after his arrival in South Africa. His Quaker friends in Pretoria failed to convert him to Christianity. But they quickened his appetite for religious studies. He was fascinated by Tolstoy’s writings on Christianity. But he also read the Qu’ran in translation, and delved into Hindu scriptures and philosophy. The study of comparative religion, talks with scholars, and his own reading of theological works brought him to the conclusion that all religions were true and yet every one of them was imperfect because they were “interpreted with poor intellects, sometimes with poor hearts, and more often misinterpreted.”

Rajchandra, a brilliant young philosopher who became Gandhi’s guru and spiritual mentor, convinced him of the subtlety and profundity of Hinduism, the religion of his birth. And it was the Bhagavadgita, which Gandhi had first read in London, that became his ‘spiritual dictionary’ and exercised probably the greatest single influence on his life. Two Sanskrit words in the Gita particularly fascinated him. One was aparigraha (nonpossesion), which implied that man had to jettison the material goods that cramped the life of the spirit and to shake off the bonds of money and property. The other concept was samabhava (equability), which enjoined him to remain unruffled by pain or pleasure, victory or defeat, and to work without hope of success or fear of failure. In Europe we had similar developments with the Stoics and the mendicant orders of the middle ages.

Gandhi felt an irresistible attraction to a life of simplicity, manual labour, and austerity. In 1904, after reading John Ruskin’s ‘Unto This Last’, a critique of capitalism, he set up a farm at Phoenix near Durban where he and his friends could literally live by the sweat of their brow. Six years later another colony grew up under Gandhi’s fostering care near Johannesburg. It was named Tolstoy Farm after the Russian writer and moralist, whom Gandhi admired and corresponded with. For example, he was “overwhelmed” by the book ‘The Kingdom of God is Within You’ by Leo Tolstoy. The title of the book is taken from Luke 17:21. Tolstoy speaks of the principle of non resistance when confronted by violence, as thought by Jesus: “But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also” (Matthew 5:39). Replacing the Law of Force with the Law of Love. The ‘Philosophy of Non-violence’ is, quite simply, the ‘Philosophy of Love’. And Faith is the fountain of love. Gandhi was deeply influenced by the Christian teaching of non resistance, once stating that if Christianity practised the Sermon on the Mount, he would indeed be a Christian. Gandhi felt that one should be aware of worshipping the symbols and idols of the religion and not its teachings, such as worshipping the crucifix whilst ignoring its significance as a symbol for self-sacrifice, for example.

Rajchandra, The Gita and Gandhi’s Wife Kasturba

Rajchandra described the nature of religion as follows: Religion is the spiritual quality of the soul. By religion we are able to know the duty of man. By it we are able to know our relations (or kinship) with other living beings. As a disciple of Sankara he believed that Brahma is the only reality, all else called the world and its differences are unreal or mixtures of truth and falsehood. Atma or Self alone is to liberate itself. All students of comparative religion will testify to what is said about religion here. No religious scripture advises people to tell a lie or to practice falsehood. Nor does any religion advise violence.

“I believe in the equality of all religions. Yes, I am also a Christian, a Muslim, a Buddhist and a Jew.” Gandhi believed that at the core of every religion was Truth (Satya), Love/Nonviolence (Ahimsa) and the Golden Rule. But sometimes the Western element in Gandhi’s ideology has been exaggerated. His doctrine of nonviolence can be found in many Hindu sources, although his beliefs were much strengthened by the later writings of Leo Tolstoy. His political technique of passive resistance, satyagraha, also has Indian precedents, although in this he was influenced by Western writers such as the American Henry David Thoreau (Britannica, 2006, Shrimad, 2006, Wikipedia, 2006).

The development of Mahatma Gandhi’s spiritual mind is exactly on the lines through which every great seeker of spiritual realisation has passed: the Doctrine of God, the Moral and Spiritual Virtues, the Pilgrimage, the Dark Night of the Soul and the Intimations of Self-realisation. By the Dark Night of the Soul is meant, when after every effort spent in the cause of realisation a man finds himself helpless and hopeless. There is such a stage almost in the case of every spiritual aspirant.

Beyond his impersonal conception of the Godhead, Gandhi also developed the identification of God with such notions as Truth, Love, Conscience, Goodness, Fearlessness, Light and Life. The inner voice, about which Gandhi has spoken many times is also identified by him with God. God is all these and yet beyond these. Of His Eternal Law we can only know as through a glass darkly, and yet even a faint glimpse of Him is enough to inspire one with joy, hope and faith. Beyond this conception of Law is the conception of the mysterious power that prevades the entire universe. “I feel it, though I am not able to see it.” Gandhi tells us that non-violence is not a simple affair. In fact, it is the crown of all virtues! “But before I preach this kind of non-violence, he says, I must be free from all passions (->brahmacarya). I must be wholly incapable of sins. God could be found only through love.” Worship or prayer, therefore, is not to be performed with the lips, but with the heart. But he was also a prayer. “The meaning of prayer is that I want to invoke that divinity in me. I believe in faith in things where reason has no place, for example, the existence of God.” Devotion to God heightens the power of his service to his fellowmen (Gandhi, 1999, Ranade, 2003).

A combination of scrupulosity and service were at the root of Gandhi’s mission. He conceived human’s obligations almost exclusively in terms of ahimsa (non-violence) and karma-yoga (selfless action). Gandhi’s political activities were mere by-product of his intense religious faith and experience. Moksha – for Gandhi, the aim of moksha is freedom of egoistic desires, particularly from the bondage of the flesh. His entire life-work was motivated by the ideal of liberation from egoistic desires.

Gandhi was strongly influenced by the Gita. But he had many difficulties to reconcile his absolute opposition to violence with Krishna’s explicit command to Arjuna: “Throw off your terror, and fight.” (Gita, 3:30). (Arjuna receiving Krishna’s revelation concerning dharma while facing an enemy army consisting kinship.) Now Gandhi developed his own, not uncontested view. The fight Krishna speaks of is aspiritual fight. The central teaching of the Gita is anasakti or selfless action. Ahimsa or non-violence is included in anasakti.

Gandhi’s life was indeed full of tragedies, and it was a sure sign of his greatness that he transformed these tragedies into ‘external’ events. The ability to remain calm and generous in the midst of suffering is precisely what Arjuna learned from Krishna. As both the Gita and Gandhi taught, truly selfless action removes the pain of tragedy – or makes all tragedy external – by removing the ego (involvement in the fruits of action). The extent of Gandhi’s capacity for selfless action, and his ability to inspire it in others have made him a great statesman.

Gandhi’s method of satyagraha was closer to self-sacrifice than to political coercion. So he emphasised that he was taught his first lesson in satyagraha by his wife Kasturba: “ I learned the lesson of non-violence (satyagraha) from my wife. I tried to bend her to my will. Her determined resistance to my will on the one hand, and her quiet submission to the suffering and my stupidity involved on the other, ultimately made me ashamed of myself and cured me of my stupidity in thinking that I was born to rule over her; and in the end she became my teacher in non-violence. And what I did in South Africa was but an extension of the rule of satyagraha she unwittingly practised in her own person.” (OU, 1998)

Ahimsa or Love

“Since we regard the thieves as our kith and kin, they must be made to realise the kinship. And so we must take pains to devise ways and means of winning them over. This is the path of ahimsa. It may entail continuous suffering and the cultivating of endless patience. Given these two conditions, the thief is bound in the end to turn away from his evil ways. Thus step by step we learn how to make friends with all the world. We realise the greatness of God – of Truth. Our peace of mind increases in spite of suffering. We become braver and more enterprising. We understand more clearly the difference between what is everlasting and what is not. We learn how to distinguish between what is our duty and what is not. Our pride melts away and we become humble. Our worldly attachments diminish, and the evil within us diminishes from day to day. If we look at it from the standpoint of ahimsa (non-violence), we find that the fulfilment of ahimsa is impossible without utter selflessness. Ahimsa means Universal Love. Ahimsa is the means, truth is the end.

Civilisation, in the real sense of the term, consists not in the multiplication, but in the deliberate and voluntary reduction of wants. This alone promotes real happiness and contentment, and increases the capacity for service.” (Beckerlegge, 2001).

Contrary to this Gandhi-view about a reversed civilisational process, in which fewer and fewer wants are satisfied, stands the development of the Western world in the 20th century. Earlier in time duty and obedience have been important. But with the development of a new societal model (technological possibilities, political regimes and normative theories) and subsequent economic growth material abundance has become such, that the material base for new values was laid. Democracy and emancipation have become stronger since citizens have become better educated and have more free time. And the world has become more peaceful. Of course, there is also a strong idealist component in post-war development. But material progress remains one of the main reasons for new emancipatory values and self-enhancement. Today’s society has become characterised by a drive to liberate from compulsion and suppression (emancipation of authorities, equal treatment, equality, democracy, participation, autonomy of the individual, etc.), to lead to enjoyment of life (hedonism: wellness, adventure, realisation of emotional longings, etc.) and self-realisation (individualism). But it is in the category of self-realisation were the love-principle counts most. Therefore the prediction that the Western societal model will allow in the long run for more love together with more material amenities leading in total to more happiness. Gandhi with his strict anti-industrialism couldn’t anticipate such a development. (Or do you want to give up your internet-access?)

3. The Way to God and Some Cross References

According to the Bhagavad Gita there are three main paths to God-realisation. Jnana, which is about intuitive discrimination of the real amid the changing unrealities of the phenomenal world. Bhakti, or self-surrender in utter love to the highest. And Karma or selfless work, service without personal attachment to its fruits leading to moksha. Gandhi was a karma-yogi. And in being such he became a supreme representative of what God-possession has come to mean in the otherwise godless 20th century. This is an age of action. Wrong action is killing us, and right action alone will save us. And right action is selfless action – choosing a right goal and working tirelessly toward it with right means, and then not clinging personally to the results.

Shall we use the endowment of vital energy we have been given for experiences that give pleasure, of which sex is paramount for almost all people, or shall we use that same endowment for what we consider higher ends? What we often forget to include in the equation is the fact that higher ends bring higher satisfactions – even if they are not as vividly present to us at the moment. Shall we use it to get to God?

We are caught in a struggle between two ways of life. St. Augustine, in ‘Citiy of God’, had called them two cities growing respectively out of two human loves – the love of self, or the love of the larger whole that Augustine called God. Right now the city of man, the culture of self-love and greed, seems out of control. Call it what you will, Gandhi’s way to God is the way to that other city of love and justice (Nagler in: Gandhi, 1999). Comparing what we have said in the last paragraph of the last chapter above about the Western societal model and the appeal in these three paragraphs, for idealism, I would suggest that these two views are not totally contradictory. Whereas the paragraph about the development of the Western societal model wants to give the big picture, I would suggest, that these first paragraphs – somehow summarising Gandhi’s idealism - give a strong impetus for individual human development and its goals. This might lead in the in the long run to a new and larger spiritualisation of life in general.

NB In the following are all Gandhi quotes from the book ‘The Way to God’ (1999) unless otherwise indicated. It was edited by M.S. Deshpande and first published in India in 1971 under the title ‘Pathway to God’.

“I do dimly perceive that whilst everything around me is ever changing and ever dying, there is underlying all that change a living power that is changeless, that holds all together, that creates, dissolves and recreates. The truth is that God is the force. He is the essence of life. He is pure, undefiled consciousness. God is an unseen power residing within us.

Is this power benevolent or malevolent? I see it as purely benevolent. For I can see that in the midst of death, life persists; in the midst of untruth, truth persists; in the midst of darkness light persists. Hence, I gather that God is life, truth, light. He is love. He is the supreme good. I do feel that there is orderliness in the universe, that there is an unalterable law governing everything and every being that lives and moves.

Our existence as embodied beings is purely momentary. But if we shatter the chains of egoism, and melt into the ocean of humanity, we share its dignity. A drop in the ocean partakes of the greatness of its parent, although it is unconscious of it.

But if one gives way to fear, even truth will have to be suppressed. The golden rule is to act fearlessly upon what one believes to be right. The danger is that when we are surrounded by falsehood on all sides, we might be caught in it and begin to deceive ourselves.

Love and truth are faces of the same coin, and the only thing worth living for. A person cannot be true if he does not love all God’s creatures. Without truth there is no love. True love is boundless like the ocean and, swelling within one, spreads itself out and, crossing all boundaries and frontiers, envelops the whole world. Even as there is a cohesive force in blind matter, so must there be in all things animate, and the name for that cohesive force among animate beings is love. It is my firm belief that it is love that sustains the earth. There only is life where there is love.

Man’s ultimate aim is the realisation of God, and all his activities – social, political, religious – have to be guided by the ultimate aim of the vision of God. The immediate service of human beings becomes a necessary part of the endeavour, simply because the only way to find God is to see him in his creation and be one with it. I know, that I can not find him apart from humanity.[1]Make human humane. Ideal of serving, man is serving god (Ramakrishna/ Vivekananda). A life of service must be one of humility. Our prayer is a heart-search. The life is one continuous prayer or act of worship. A living immovable faith is all that is required for reaching the full spiritual height attainable by human beings. We must ever fail to perceive him through the senses, because he is beyond them. Seeing God face to face is to feel that he is enthroned in our hearts, even as a child feels a mother’s affection without needing any demonstration.”

Gandhi, Socrates and The Love of Wisdom

Socrates seems to have often said that his wisdom was limited to an awareness of his own ignorance. The one thing Socrates consistently claimed to have knowledge of was "the art of love" which he connected with the concept of "the love of wisdom", i.e., philosophy. He never actually claimed to be wise, only to understand the path that a lover of wisdom must take in pursuing it. Socrates disavowed any claim to knowledge, but insisted that he was singularly devoted to the task of gaining knowledge. This approach to truth, aiming for it, but knowing that man does never find absolute truth, has become the master approach in philosophy (i.e. ‘love of wisdom’ in contrast e.g. to ‘theosophy’, ‘knowledge about God’.)

Gandhi repeatedly admits that he does not possess truth but has made the attainment of Truth the defining goal of his life. Gandhi knew his own limitations. “I want to see God face to face. God, I know, is Truth. For me the only certain means of knowing God is non-violence – ahimsa – love.” (OU, 1998).

For Gandhi truth is of supreme importance. It is an inner guiding voice – conscience as a voice of God. A view Socrates already expressed, and which holds also true in Christianity. But which is totally opposed to Krishnamurti’s “Truth is a pathless land”. Knowledge does not let you unmoved. An old wisdom of the enlightenment age, which goes back to Socrates. “Who knows what is right, will be doing what is right.” Socrates believed that wrongdoing was a consequence of ignorance, that those who did wrong knew no better.

Gandhi and Aristotle’s Virtue Ethic

Gandhi: “ Man’s estate is one of probation. He is ever prey to temptation. It is inherent in man, imperfect though he is, ceaselessly to strive after perfection. Character is based on virtuous action, and virtuous action is grounded on truth.”

Aristotle: Man strives by nature for the good. That is the way to happiness. Happiness derives from excellence of our potentialities. When we realise our powers, we come to enjoy who we are. When we love the exercise of our characteristic human abilities most of all, we are true lovers of self. Moreover, we are morally virtuous. We enjoy ourselves and our life. But there is no reason to think we won’t also take pleasure from the exercise of others characteristic human powers. Such a man is likely to develop friendly feelings with others. For if a man were always anxious that he should act justly, temperately and in general were always to try to secure for himself the honourable course, no one will call blame such a man. The absence of true self-love (not the bad self-love Aristotle condemns: wealth, bodily pleasures, etc.) is on the other hand associated with non-virtuous conditions. Vicious people are self-haters, are full of regret, and can’t form stable friendships. A virtuous character is one who has managed to overcome the weakness of the will.

Having in mind that Gandhi often speaks about his wish for self-realisation to reach moksha, but for which self-less actions are important, I think, we can see strong parallels between the thinking of Aristotle and Gandhi. But we must carefully distinguish between virtuous, honourable self-love and non-virtuous, vicious self-love in the case of Aristotle. And in the case of Gandhi understand under self-realisation not hedonistic individualism, but self-less action. But what is common to both, is that there remains an element of individual motivation to do good for others: Gandhi – the wish to reach moksha and thus being able to leave the cage of his body. And Aristotle – being proud of doing virtuous actions, doing good can make you pleasure.

Gandhi and Kant On Moral Religion

Gandhi: “The essence of religion is morality (Beckerlegge, 2001). God looks at our acts. And any breach of his law brings with it not its vindictive, but its purifying, compelling punishment. God’s existence can not be proved. God is. If he is not felt, so much the worse for us. The absence of feeling is a disease. There are subjects where reason can not take us far and we have to accept things on faith. Faith, then, does not contradict reason, but transcends it. Faith is a kind of sixth sense which works in cases which are without the purview of reason. Faith only begins where reason stops.”

Kant: Moral religion means that our duties are Gods’ commandments. Kant adheres to ethics based on reason. But this reason based rules are just God’s commandments in disguise. And his research into the limits of reason should make space for believe.

Gandhi and Kierkegaard On Limitations of Intellect and Believe

Gandhi: “Intellect takes us along, in the battle of life, to a certain extent, but at the crucial moment fails us. Faith transcends reason. It is when the horizon is the darkest and our human reason is beaten down to the ground, that faith shines the brightest and comes to our rescue.”

Kierkegaard: Life goes against every try to interpret it securely. Irrationality is finally the ultimate truth. But irrationality does not stand for occultism and chaos. To the contrary there is a way, passing by the dark sides, which ultimately leads to illumination of existence, to ethics and religion and finally to God. Important at this moment is a ‘leap of faith’. It is about a commitment to an objective uncertainty. God is totally other than man. Between God and man there exists a gulf that faith alone can bridge. Religious truth is incapable of objective proof and can be appropriated only by an act of will.

Have Childlike Faith

Gandhi: “I would have brushed aside all rational explanations, and begin with a simple childlike faith in God. If I exist, God exists. Not faith which merely appeals to the intelligence, but a faith which is indelibly inscribed on the heart.”

Besides Jesus’ saying: “Become like the children!” there is modern religious psychology which recommends to gain a second naivety. In an apparent absurd world adults should try to gain confidence again by becoming naïve once more. But to be precise - in a slightly different way than children. Therefore ‘second naivety’ (James W. Fowler). And Ken Wilber stresses that we should prevent to feel again pre-personal. Instead we should try to find a new way of transpersonal thinking.

To summarise the 5 previous short chapters in which we have compared Gandhi with Socrates, Aristotle, Kant, Kierkegaard and others the question remains how far Gandhi’s ideas have been genuine by himself, of Indian origin, or are influences from the West? - “I do not claim to have originated any new principle or doctrine. Truth and non-violence are as old as the hills (Beckerlegge, 2001). I am not a visionary. I claim to be a practical idealist.”

4. Inspiring Struggle For Freedom

Gandhi required his followers to take four vows: truth, ahimsa or love, brahmacharya or chastity, non-possession or poverty. These four requirements are also the components of the method of satyagraha as Gandhi conceived and practised it in his campaigns for political, social and moral reform (OU, 1998).

Gandhi’s early life, was a series of personal struggles to decipher the truth about life’s important issues and discover the true way of living. Gandhism is thus more the spirit of Gandhi’s journey to discover the truth, than what he finally considered to be the truth. To become a Gandhian, one must undergo similar personal challenges, seek truth with all means and build one’s life around it.

Gandhi was the catalyst if not the initiator of three of the major revolutions of the 20th century: revolution against colonialism, racism, and violence. Gandhi’s deep commitment and disciplined belief in non-violent civil disobedience as a way to oppose tyranny, oppression and injustice was shared by many contemporary leaders of nations, including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. of the US, Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, Nelson Mandela and Steve Biko of South Africa, Lech Walesa of Poland and Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar (Wikipedia, 2006).

5. Instead Of A Conclusion Some More Quotes

“An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.”

“There are many causes that I am prepared to die for but no causes that I am prepared to kill for.”

“It has always been easier to destroy than to create.” (Wikipedia, 2006)

“Always aim at complete harmony of thought and word and deed. Always aim at purifying your thoughts and everything will be well. There is nothing potent than thought – deed follows word and word follows thought.”

“Keep your thoughts positive, because your thoughts become your words;

Keep your words positive, because your words become your behaviour;

Keep your behaviour positive, because your behaviours become your habits;

Keep your habits positive, because your habits become your values;

Keep your values positive, because your values become your destiny!”

“We must be the change we wish to see.”

(M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence).

“I want to identify myself with everything that lives. I want to live at peace with both friend and foe. Politics bereft of religion are a deathtrap because they kill the soul.”

“It is possible to recognise the existence of God to a certain extent through the use of reason. There is a scheme of things in the universe, an irreversible law that governs everything. In the midst of death, life continues; in the midst of untruth, truth continues to prevail; in the midst of injustice, justice endures; in the midst of darkness, light continues to exist. Whereas everything that surrounds me is subject to eternal change, at the same time an active living force exists that does not undergo alteration.

As far as I believe, there is no encounter within the beyond, as we have it in the present. When the single droplets vanish, they participate again in the majesty of the ocean where they belong. They die separately, to be reunited with the ocean.” (Hildebrandt, 1987). (This view goes back to the Mundaka-Upanishad).

6. Literature

Beckerlegge, Gwilym (ed.). 2001. The World Religions Reader.Routledge, London.

Britannica,Encyclopaedia Britannica, ‘Saints as moral examples’, CD-Rom, 1994.

Britannica,Encyclopaedia Britannica, ‘Gandhi, Mohandas Karamchand’,, 11.7.06

Gandhi, Mohandas K. 1999. The Way to God. Berkeley Hills Books, Berkeley.

Hildebrandt, Rainer. 1987. Von Gandhi bis Walesa – Gewaltfreier Kampf für Menschenrechte.Verlag Haus am Checkpoint Charlie, Berlin.

OU, 1998,Hinduism, Course in World Religions, Open University.

Ranade, R.D. 2003. Spiritual Awakening in Gandhi and other Indian Saints.Sarva Seva Sangh Prakashan, Varanasi.

Shrimad, ‘Shrimad Rajachandra and Mahatma Gandhi’,, 12.7.06

Wikipedia, ‘Mahatma Gandhi’ (d/e), ‘Gandhism’, ‘The Story of My Experiments with Truth’, ‘The Kingdom of God Is Within You’,, 10.7.06.


[1] Kant durchlief eine ähnliche Entwicklung. Auch für ihn erschöpft sich Metaphysik nicht in Erkenntnistheorie, sondern ist der Versuch die Grenzen der Erfahrung zu übersteigen. Da Kant sich aber selber auf dem Weg des theoretischen Erkennens eine feste Schranke errichtet hat, sucht er nun den Zugang zum Absoluten in einem ganz anderen Bereich, im Feld des praktischen, ethischen Handelns.

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Gandhi: His philosophical and religious thought and some cross references
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Gandhi, Indian Philosophy, Philosophy of Religion
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Dr. phil. Michael Leicht (Author), 2006, Gandhi: His philosophical and religious thought and some cross references, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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