Volume XXXXVII - Autumn Issue - 2013
The Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Foundation The Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Foundation, Incorporated, was founded in the United States of America in 1959 by Swami Premananda of India. The purpose of the Foundation is to disseminate the philosophy, ideal, life, service and teachings of Mahatma Gandhi. The Foundation is a legally independent, nonprofit cultural and educational organization.
Gandhi Memorial Center
Dedicated to the life and teachings of Mahatma Gandhi, the Gandhi Memorial Center seeks to offer a broad representation of authors from many cultures and times, as well as displays, recordings, lectures and demonstrations of cultural and educational value. The Library of the Gandhi Memorial Center is open on Fridays and Saturdays from 10am to 4pm (except during July and August).
For the expansion of its ideals and activities the Foundation will gratefully receive donations of funds and contributions of books, publications and memorabilia pertaining to Mahatma Gandhi and his associates. Please make checks payable to the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Foundation, Inc. or contribute online at our website: www.gandhimemorialcenter.org/contribute The Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Foundation is a 501c(3) tax-exempt non-profit organization. The staff of the Foundation and Gandhi Center are dedicated workers who serve without any remuneration throughout the year. Your contribution is an offering towards the services and activities of the Gandhi Center. Your contribution is tax deductible. Gandhi Memorial Center 4748 Western Avenue Bethesda, MD 20816 301-320-6871 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.gandhimemorialcenter.org Facebook.com/GandhiMemorialCenterUSA
ÂŠ 2013 Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Foundation, Incorporated. Printed in the United States of America
Table of Content Photo of Gandhi wearing Khadi.............................................front cover Gandhi on Humility and Truth............................................................2-3 Recent Events...................................................................................4-5 Student Visits....................................................................................6-9 Noble Thoughts..............................................................................10-11 Osher Lifelong Learning Institute...................................................12-15 Book Review from Gandhi Center Library.....................................16-17 Photo of Gandhiji at Prayer Meeting.....................................back cover
“I would like to say to the diligent reader of my writings and to others who are interested in them that I am not at all concerned with appearing to be consistent. In my search after Truth I have discarded many ideas and learnt many new things. Old as I am in age, I have no feeling that I have ceased to grow inwardly or that my growth will stop at the dissolution of the flesh. What I am concerned with is my readiness to obey the call of Truth, my God, from moment to moment, and therefore, when anybody finds any inconsistency between any two writings of mine, if he has still faith in my sanity, he would do well to choose the later of the two on the same subject.” M.K. Gandhi, Harijian. 29-4-’33
Gandhi on Humility and Truth If we shatter the chains of egotism, and melt into the ocean of humanity, we share its dignity. To feel that we are something is to set up a barrier between God and ourselves; to cease feeling that we are something is to become one with God. A drop in the ocean partakes of the greatness of its parent, although, it is unconscious of it. But it is dried up, as soon as it enters upon an existence independent of the ocean. We do not exagerate,when we say that life on earth is a mere bubble. A life of service must be one of humility. He who would sacrifice his life for others has hardly time to reserve for himself a place in the sun. Inertia must not be mistaken for humility. True humility means most strenuous and constant endeavor entirely directed towards the service of humanity. God is continuously in action without resting for a single moment. If we would serve Him or become one with Him, our activity must be as unwearied as His. There may be momentary rest in store for the drop in the ocean, which knows no rest. The same is the case with ourselves. As soon as we become one with the ocean in the shape of God, there is no more rest for us, nor indeed do we need rest any longer. Our very sleep is action. For we sleep with the thought of God in our hearts. This restlessness constitutes true rest. This never-ceasing agitation holds the key to peace ineffable. This supreme state of total surrender is difficult to describe, but not beyond the bounds of human experience. It has been attained by many dedicated souls, and may be attained by ourselves as well. This is the goal which we of the Satyagraha Ashram have set before ourselves; all our observances and activities are calculated to assist us in reaching it. We shall reach it some day all unawares if we have truth in us. I deal with Truth first of all, as the Satyagraha Ashram owes its very existence to the pursuit and the attempted practice of Truth. The word Satya (Truth) is derived from Sat, which means â€˜beingâ€™. Nothing is or exists in reality except Truth. That is why Sat or Truth is perhaps the most important name of God. In fact it is more correct to say that Truth is God, than to say that God is Truth. Where there is Truth, there also is knowledge which is true. Where there is no Truth, there can be no true knowledge. That is why the word Chit or knowledge is associated with the name of God. And where there 2
is true knowledge, there is always bliss (Ananda). There sorrow has no place. And even as Truth is eternal, so is the bliss derived from it. Hence we know God as Sat-Chit-Ananda, One who combines in Himself Truth, Knowledge and Bliss. Devotion to this Truth is the sole justification for our existence. All our activities should be centered in Truth. Truth should be the very breath of our life. When once this stage in the pilgrimâ€™s progress is reached, all other rules of correct living will come without effort, and obedience to them will be instinctive. But without Truth it is impossible to observe any principles or rules in life. Generally speaking, observance of the law of Truth is understood merely to mean that we must speak the truth. But we in the ashram should understand the word Satya or Truth in a much wider sense. There should be Truth in thought, Truth in speech, and Truth in action. To the man who has realized this Truth in its fullness, nothing else remains to be known, because all knowledge is necessarily included in it. What is not included in it is not Truth, and so not true knowledge; and there can be no inward peace without true knowledge. If we once learn how to apply this never-failing test of Truth, we will at once be able to find out what is worth doing, what is worth seeing, what is worth reading. But how is one to realize this Truth, which may be likened to the philosopherâ€™s stone or the cow of plenty? By single-minded devotion (abhyasa) and indifference to all other interests in life (vairagya) - replies the Bhagavad Gita. In spite, however, of such devotion, what may appear as truth to one person will often appear as untruth to another person. But that need not worry the seeker. Where there is honest effort, it will be realized that what appear to be different truths are like the countless and apparently different leaves of the same tree. Does not God Himself appear to different individuals in different aspects? Yet we know that He is one. But Truth is the right designation of God. Hence there is nothing wrong in every man following Truth according to his lights. Indeed it is his duty to do so. Then if there is a mistake on the part of any one so following Truth, it will be automatically set right. There can be no place in it for even a trace of self-interest. In such selfless search for Truth nobody can lose his bearings for long. Directly, he takes to the wrong path he stumbles, and is thus redirected to the right path. How beautiful it would be, if all of us, young and old, men and women, devoted ourselves wholly to Truth in all that we might do in our waking hours, whether working, eating, drinking or playing, till dissolution of the body makes us one with Truth? God as Truth has been for me a treasure beyond price; may He be so to every one of us. (From Yeravda Mandir by M.K. Gandhi) 3
Recent Events at the Gandhi Center: Exhibitions Ambassador Nirupama Rao And Dr. Manmohan Singh Kumar of the World Bank inaugurated the exhibit: The Sikhs: A Heritage of Valour and Devotion
The Gandhi Memorial Center in collaboration with the Indian Council for Cultural Relations and the Embassy of India presented a photo exhibition on Sikh Heritage of India by Sondeep Shankar May 18, 2013.
Photographic and Sculptural Exhibition: â€œTwo Artists; One Idealâ€? Titi Chauhan & Navinchanra Lallubhai Patel, Artists from Gujarat, India. 4
Recent Events at the Gandhi Center: Concerts
Top: Shrinivas Joshi, son of Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, performed on June 8, 2013 at the Gandhi Memorial Center, with Prashant Pandav (tabla) and Avinash Dighe (harmonium). Middle: Praveen Sheolikar on (violin) and Supreet Deshpande (tabla) on April 5, 2013. Bottom: Shafaatulah Khan (sitar) with Rishi Mehrotra (tabla) and Pandit Ramesh Mishra (sarangi) on April 28, 2013. 5
Students visit the Gandhi Center
Students of Cesar Chavez Public Charter School for Public Policy of Washington, DC visit the Gandhi Memorial Center on June 12, 2013.
Children of Washington, DC Apple Tree Institute visited on May 9, 2013.
American University Washington Semester Peace and Conflict Resolution program students (from Norway, South Korea, Colombia and the U.S.) and Prof. Eleftherios Michael visited on February 1, 2013. 6
Students from American University Professor Blake Bennett’s Public Health class learn about Gandhi and India in preparation for a semester of study in Manipal, India on June 15, 2013.
Students from Yorktown High School in Arlington, Virginia had the opportunity to engage in activities and presentations on Indian culture and Gandhi on Friday, March 15, 2013.
On Wednesday, March 27, 2013, Professor Akbar Ahmed’s Honors Colloquium class from American University: “American Identity: The Challenge of Islam” visited the Gandhi Center to explore themes of Gandhi’s life in connection with their study of Islamic and American Identity. The students engaged in discussion based on the study of Gandhi. 7
More student visitors...
Sixth graders from Sheridan School of Washington, DC visited the Gandhi Center on Friday, February 22, 2013 as part of their study of Gandhi and Indian culture. The students had an opportunity to learn more about Gandhi’s ashram experiments and his life message. The students also learned the art form, culture, tradition, philosophy and mathematical aspects of “Kolam” designs of South India with Shanthi Chandra-Sekar. Before leaving, the students enjoyed a performance of Odissi Indian classical dance by Jayantee Paine-Ganguly. Their program ended with active engagement in learning mudras (story-telling hand gestures) and rhythmic foot patterns.
Children from the Latin American Bilingual Montessori School of Washington, DC and the Kerala Cultural Society of Virginia at the opening of a children’s art exhibition at the Gandhi Memorial Center on Saturday, June 1, 2013. The children enjoyed viewing the exhibition, learning about Mahatma Gandhi and designing traditional Indian kolams. 8
Eighth graders from Journeys School of the Teton Science Schools of Jackson Hole, Wyoming visited the Gandhi Memorial Center on Thursday, March 14, 2013. At the conclusion of their 6-day visit to Washington, DC focused on the curricular theme of â€œConflict and Cooperationâ€?, the students had an opportunity to learn and reflect on how Mahatma Gandhiâ€™s experiments with Truth connect with their own lives. This school is a Pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade independent school engaging college-bound students with an innovative and challenging curriculum that cultivates lifelong learning. The program consists of four critical pillars that act together to empower students to change the world. The students accept academic challenges and ask hard questions in a balanced, open-minded, and reflective manner.
On December 7 and 14, 2012, Washington DC Latin American Bilingual Montessori Pre - K and Kindergarten students visit Gandhi Center. 9
NOBLE THOUGHTS “Being absorbed in the love of God perform thine action, and ever remembering that both success and failure are ultimately good be thou undisturbed. Inner calmness is Yoga...Work with wisdom is Yoga.” Srimad Bhagavad Gita, translated by Swami Premananda “It does not matter what your work is on the earth. What does matter is that you do your work with all your heart and with all your strength and with all your mind.” White Eagle “The Masters render effortless service. They do the work and then relax, Neither expecting nor forcing any result. Therefore, their influence is eternal.” Lao Zi, Dao De Jing “I will describe to you the provisions requisite for the voyage to eternal life. In the first place the friend who will assist you is God; but to attain His friendship you must walk in His ways and place in Him the firmest reliance. The provisions must be faith and hope and the remembrance of your good works.” S.A.Kapadia, The Teachings of Zoroaster “His manifestations fill up the world for everyone to see, but only those who have faith notice them...To those who have faith, He offers the opportunity to become one with Him.” The Buddha
“What gives faith its movement towards God, makes it vital and infectious, and carries people away, is love.” Adrienne Von Speyr, Meditations on the Gospels of St. John “Let us have love and more love; a love that melts all opposition, a love that conquers all foes, a love that sweeps away all barriers, a love that aboundeth in charity, a large-heartedness, tolerance, forgiveness and noble striving, a love that triumphs over all obstacles.” Abdul Baha, Sufi “When the light of understanding dawns in the soul...her eyes are opened and her vision of God becomes clear...She enjoys the bliss of being alone with God, devoting herself entirely to him, loving him, and trusting him completely. Every action she performs is for his sake.” Bakhya Ibn Pakuda, Spanish rabbi “There is an intensity of love, as there is an intensity of knowledge, to which works seem something outward and distracting. But works are only thus outward and distracting when we have not found oneness of will and consciousness with the Supreme. When once that is found, works become the very power of knowledge and the very outpouring of love.” Sri Aurobindo “It is my inmost conviction that Islam is amal, yakeen, muhabat (work, faith and love).” Badshah Khan
Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the Gandhi Center
The Gandhi Memorial Center continues to annually offer a couse for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) of American University on â€œIndia: Culture, Traditions and Gandhiâ€?. This Spring 2013 participants were introduced to the life and thought of Mahatma Gandhi with Carrie Trybulec, the origin and evolution of Indian languages with Dr. Moazzam Siddiqi; sacred symbols of Hinduism with Srimati Kamala, the Mythos of the Mahabharata with Meena Nayak, and the Indian textile tradition with Namrata Dalela. Each week a new topic was presented and the group began to explore the depth and breath of Indian culture and tradition. Other subjects included: Arts and Crafts of India with Shanthi Chandrasekar; Indian Classical Music with Samia Mahbub Ahmad, Debu Nayak, and Rashad Ullah; Food Traditions of India; Tribal customs of Maharasthra by Aditee Padsalgikar; and music of Rabindranath Tagore with Sudeshna Basu, Jeff Bauer, and Fred Dixon.
Samia Mahbub Ahmad, Debu Nayak and Rashad Ullah present and perform Indian Classical Music for OLLI participants.
Shanthi Chandrasekar presents the arts and crafts of India
OLLI members hear Sudeshna Basu sing music of Tagore. 13
More OLLI Experiences...
Aditee Padsalgikar presents the tribes of Maharashtra.
Srimati Kamala speaks to the OLLI Members on sacred symbols.
Shanthi Chandraskear prepares dosas for OLLI members. 14
Members of OLLI met at the Gandhi Center for 10 weeks of presentations from March through May 2013. All of the members of Osher Lifelong Learning Institute participating in the Gandhi Center course on India: Culture, Traditions and Gandhi enjoyed delightful presentations, discussions, demonstrations... and food sampling. The course is enjoyed by members and presenters alike.
Namrata Dalela offers a cooking demonstration. 15
Book Review from Gandhi Center Library
Badshah Khan - A Man to Match His Mountains This is an astonishing tale that stands testament to the power of faith and love to overcome seemingly insurmountable odds. The author, Eknath Easwaran, masterfully weaves together an account of the interdependent fates of India seeking to gain freedom from British rule, Mahatma Gandhi and the Nationalists, and Abdul Ghaffar Khan, the leader of the Pathans, a group of proud Muslims with a heritage that glamorized the “eye-for-aneye” philosophy. Fact can be stranger than fiction, for who would believe that a Pathan would have a profound religious experience, join forces with Gandhi, and inspire his people to forsake their ethos of bloody vengeance in a nonviolent rebellion against the mightiest empire in the world? The essential thing to clarify about Gandhi’s message - which this book helps to do - is that his non-violence is by no means passive, negative or self-defeating. Gandhi himself said, “It is better to be violent, if there is violence in our hearts, than to put on the cloak of nonviolence to cover impotence.” True to his spirit, Gandhi advocated an active resistance to tyranny - yet his resistance was intelligent and principled; He was unwilling to resort to the same obscene and “primitive” methods of those he was opposing. Instead of perpetuating the ignorance and insanity of war through a prolonged series of reactions, Gandhi utilized an approach that was proactive and righteous. Guided by that approach, the Pathans not only ended up out-civilizing the British, but won their freedom without resorting to hypocrisy or brutality. Gandhi’s message is not weak or passive - it’s practical and potent. Khan and the Pathans, along with India, prove that anyone who wishes to practice Gandhi’s nonviolence must have immense fortitude. 16
This book also helps to reveal the heart of the Islamic faith, demonstrating how its basic tenets are one with those of all true religions. These tenets, “Amal, Yakeen, and Muhabat” (Work, Faith, and Love) are universal. The fourth chapter begins with an inscription that reads: “The Holy Prophet Mohammed came into this world and taught us: ‘That man is a Muslim who never hurts anyone by word or deed, but who works for the benefit and happiness of God’s creatures. Belief in God is to love one’s fellowmen.” Both Gandhi and Khan had a faith that was based on principles; they put their intellect in the service of those principles rather than vice-versa. As a result, despite being of different creeds, Gandhi and Khan were able to unify for the sake of achieving an ideal that was sane and progressive. Access to knowledge and wisdom is one of mankind’s most sacred gifts. There’s a kind of knowledge that substantiates that which we intuitively feel we have always known, but at times have difficulty remembering or adequately expressing. Examples that personify this reality, like Gandhi, Khan and the Pathans, remind us of the more fundamental and ineffable truths of our being - the experience of which is joyful and inspiring. Having access to a veritable storehouse of wisdom such as the Gandhi Memorial Center Library, filled with the insights of numerous luminaries, is undoubtedly a blessed privilege. All who care to avail themselves of this precious resource are welcome. Badshah Khan - A Man to Match His Mountains Author: Eknath Eswaran Nilgiri Press, February 1985 Book Review by Chris Thompson Thoughts from Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan: My religion is truth, love and service to God and humanity. Every religion that has come into the world has brought the message of love and brotherhood. There is nothing surprising in a Muslim or a Pathan like me subscribing to the creed of nonviolence. It is not a new creed. It was followed fourteen hundred years ago by the Prophet all the time he was in Mecca. It is my inmost conviction, that Islam is amal, yakeen, muhabat” – selfless service, faith, and love.
“Prayer is not an asking. It is a longing of the Soul.” Mahatma Gandhi 18