The night before last I saw the movie Ghandi. Where did his faith in his truth come from? I would guess that from his faith in peace came his determination, and he became a warrior for peace, and he inspired terrorists to become peaceful. This simple soul caused the downfall of the English Empire in India. He had predicted it years before, and had been laughed at by the very people who later gave India back to its own people.
I often wonder how such good people, devoted to peace, like Christ, Ghandi etc. wind up being murdered. Of course, they must have a different view and understanding of it than I do.
Then this morning our good friend C.M. Yogi in Nepal sent me the following article. For some reason,. Yogi-ji and the schoolchildren there have not been able to access Heaven's website, so I include this article here. It is beautiful:
A Celebration of Mahatma Gandhi’s anniversary……
Many gathered at the Shanti Sewa ashram in Kathmandu, Nepal, for a special program to mark the life and message of Mahatma Gandhi- apostle of peace. This landmark Satsanga was fittingly organized by the InterFaith Council. The date-Oct 2nd 07- has only recently been announced by the UN council as INTERNATIONAL DAY OF NON-VIOLENCE- a date now established as an annual monument to the message of the Mahatma….
The proceedings started as always with a bhajan or two- it always amazes me how such a rich and transporting sound can be made with Hindu style rhythm and melody, a tambourine and a few other simple instruments- perhaps its more to do with the distinctive Bhakti- devotion- inherent in the pulse of Hinduism and shining in the faces and voices that raise to the cyclical beat of the Bhajan- in any case, it never fails to move me.
And yet, true to Gandhi’s universal message, this meeting was anything but exclusively
Hindu, with constant references and respect shown for all the major religions, the lighting of lamps by representatives of different faiths, as well as prayers and songs of and for Krishna, Jesus and Buddha, and of course Ram and Sita…- a joyous celebration of the essence of all the religions, and a testament to Gandhi’s teaching: ‘Truth is the trunk and the different religions are the branches of the trunk- all lead to God’.
Though much of the talk given by Chintamani yogi ji was in Nepali (and therefore beyond my understanding) I still was able to pick out the key words and wisdom central to the Mahatma’s life: Ahimsa- nonviolence (I particularly love the Mahatma’s famous quip: “follow ‘an eye for an eye’ and we will only go and make the whole world blind”), God is Truth, God is Love. We are all equally Children of God. These are the spiritual truths taught, but more importantly lived by Gandhi ji: “My life is my message”.
His integrity was able to stir even the deadened world of politics, leading ultimately to the freedom of India, and yet he was the humblest and most ordinary of men. But through indomitable commitment to the principles of peace, his life reached such a caliber that it lead Albert Einstein to remark: “Future generations will scarce believe that such a man in flesh and blood ever walked upon the earth”.
These, along with much more, were the messages of this moving Satsanga, delivered by Chintamani ji with his enigmatic and lively manner- so much so that he frequently burst into lovely songs mid sentence!! The event saw various speakers and singers of a variety of faiths offering their contributions. All were eagerly and equally received by a congregation that included guests from many organizations, among them women of ‘Gandhi’s ashram’- women who have come from difficult and underprivileged backgrounds and who we felt graced to have with us.
The occasion was especially blessed by the presence of a world renowned singer and Buddhist monk- Aani Cchoing Dolma- and she amazed all with exquisite recitals of spiritual songs dear to Gandhi. Her voice is phenomenal- able to achieve subtleties so rarified the notes go straight to the heart, and the silent pauses seem pregnant with pranic energy. She sang several Hindu songs, but also wanted to show a ‘gesture of respect to the church’ by singing ‘amazing grace’ in perfect gospel style.
The remarkable event ended with joyous dancing, singing and Prasad- the Hindu version of light refreshments!!!
(Written by Damian Woods- a volunteer teacher at Hindu Vidyapeeth schools in Nepal, lead by principal Chintamani Yogi ji- the host speaker of the Gandhi program) Please feel free to email: damianjlwoods [at] yahoo [dot] co [dot] uk or visit www.hvpuk.org.uk to find out more about the beautiful work of Hindu Vidyapeeth in Nepal.)