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Ethical Dimensions of Gandhi

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    Mohan Chanda Karam Chand Gandhi popularly known as Mahatma Gandhi all over the world. He was also called as the father of nation by one of the greatest revolutionaries of the world Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. Mahatma Gandhi has been considered as the embodiment of simplicity & openness. Gandhi’s philosophical inheritance is from the spirit of of renunciation actions of Bhagawat Gita and his practical doctrines are based on the inspirations from three great thinkers of the world- Tolstoy, Ruskin and Thoron. Tolstoy had great influence over his life and shaped his personality.

    Before going or peeping into the Gandhian Philosophy, we have to understand Leo Tolstoy. Leo Tolstoy used his life like a peasant. He gave up his wealth and took up the life of poverty. He earned his needs by his own labour. Tolstoy believed that- – In this world men should not accumulate wealth. – No matter now much evil a person does to us , we should always do good to him. This, according to Tolstay, has been the commandment and law of god. – No one should take part in fighting. – It is sinful to wield political power, as is leads to many of the evils in the world.

    Man is born to do his duty to the creator, he should, therefore pay more attentions to his duties than his rights. – Agriculture is the true occupation of man. It is therefore, contrary to divine law to establish large cities, to employ hundreds of thousands of minding factories so that a few can wallow in riches by exploiting the helplessness and poverty of many. Mahatma Gandhi followed most of the principles of Leo Tolstoy in his life. His life has been message. Things that Gandhi is known for, have great relevance to the human world.

    Gandhi’s Satyagraha, his fasting & hunger strike, his simplicity, his collective resistance, his movement on the call of conscience, his experiencing truth, his simple living, his self labouring, his commitment of the divine, his duty orientation, his complete sincerity, are examples before the human world. Ahimsa or non-injury of Gandhi has been one of the most formidable and powerful instrument of human action. His philosophical belief predominated his empirical actions. Gandhi believed in the experiencing of the tenets of religion and philosophy.

    His attitude to work has been that of renounced work. Gandhian Attitude to a Businessman Gandhi believed that a Vanik or Trader must have certain superior attributes like- A true Vanik should never speak untruth. A true Vanik should never give short measures. A true Vanik should honour his father’s word. A true Vanik should return principal with interest. Good sense is the Vanik’s measure and king’s measure his credit. MAHATMA GANDHI’S DEFINITION OF CUSTOMER • A customer is not an outsider to our business. He is a definite part of it. A customer is not an interruption of our work. He is the purpose of it. • A customer is doing us a favour by letting serve us. We are not doing him any favour. • A customer is not a cold static; he is flesh and blood human being with feeling and emotions like our own.

    • A customer is not someone to argue or match wits with. He deserves a courteous and attentive treatment. • A customer is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. • A customer brings us his wants. It is our job to handle them properly and profitably – both to him and us. A customer makes it possible to pay our salary, whether we are a driver, plant or office employee, salesman or a manager. • A customer is most important person in our business. The Make of a Personality: Moksha Through Non Attachment Gandhi’s belief in personalities has a special feature. He does not believe in the types of personalities aggrandized by greed and desire. Gandhi thinks that the root of all human problems lie in the desire and greed that the personalities are known for. Desire and greed arises out of the intrinsic attachments.

    Gandhi thinks that liberation is possible only when the person free from attachments. Attachment creates all problems for human existence. Gandhi wants business to run by people with self control. Non-attachment could be achieved through a practice of self control that Gandhi advocated through a continuous practice in his own life. Self control gives a grace to the atman and the graceful Atman leads towards Moksha also. Gandhi Suggests that the first step towards moksha is freedom from attachment. A mind attached to a single object helps getting a Self Control or ‘ Vairagya ‘ helps getting Moksha for everyone.

    Gandhi thinks that a life based on righteousness could be made to be involved in Artha ( or material objects ) and Kama ( or desire ) can yet maintain the rigout of non- attachment to finally achieve the state of Moksha or liberation. Gandhi’s Dharma or righteousness is based on principles given in the scriptures and practices of the culture and its heritage. Dharma is what holds an individual to the state, the condition. Gandhian Moral views have been taken from the Bhagwat Gita. He was an ardent believer of the Karma Yoga of the Bhagwat Gita.

    Within the tangled world of politics and religion, Gandhi moved freely. He believed in the righteous actions and constructing a world worth of living through that. He believed that politics has to have a religious basis. Unless politics is founded on righteousness, its scope and its preview gets limited. ( Harijan 3rd March ) Action is my domain, and what I understand, according to rights, to do my duty and what comes my way. I do. All my action is actuated by my service. Action being the domain, the Gandhi used to call himself a Righteous Doer or renounced doer.

    Action was what he was destined to do but not running after the fruits thereof. He was an ardent believer in the maxim of the Baghwat Gita saying- “ Karmanyae wa adhikaraste ma phaleshu kadachanah. ( you are destined to do the work and not hanker after the fruits of it ). According to Gandhi, it is the quality of the work that brings forth the matching result. Gandhi believed in the purity of means to achieve a pure result. Gandhi Vs. Modern Civilization The basis of modern civilization has been the nurturing and cultivation of desires. Gandhi was opposed to cultivating desires.

    Modern business paradigm is based on the theme and action plans to create desire and through the cultivation of desires to possess various objects and project images, desire is given shapes accordingly. Desires of various kinds are converted into needs and finally into demands making a consumer out of human beings. With the making of the desire principle as the central theme of life , the modern man competes either individually or in collectives to fulfil his ends. The means to achieve the ends become insignificant here. Gandhi’s belief is just the opposite. He believed in the strength of renunciation of the fruits of work.

    While he discussed about the work, he used to forget and ignore the likely end results to that. Since the personal or collective desires are missing, the work that is not attributed to the doer of the work. Doer does the work as per his vision and philosophies of him as an instrument of the divine. Work that is performed by the doer is done by him as an instrument of divine. Hence the best way to perform would be to shy out the individual of the work context and finally to perform on a righteous principle, which is the divine’s way. Another important point of difference lies in the realm and imputes to responses.

    Modern civilization is constructed along the line of ruling and running the internal based on the message and guidance of the externals. Exteriorization being the phenomenon, the world drags human beings into the market place of messages. Everybody wants to declare his or her point of view vis-a-vis the interactions, incidents and occurrences. The messages thus created by the business, trade and commerce also the commercial mind are continuously drawing men way from the inner realms. Man forgets about the inner and intrinsic realms of life, loses the quality of being able to be guided by the conscience or any voice from within.

    Human choice, preference and modes of action are more determined under the influence of externals. Results and achievements are determined on the basis of the competitive status and environment not on the inner voice and calls. This makes the means an insignificant component of action. Achieve, at any cost – don’t hear the message and voice of conscience – this has been the control theme of the modern civilization. Gandhi, on the other hand maintained his faith in the divine and considered himself as a devotee or bhakta of the divine.

    Though he maintained Bhakti, he demonstrated that this practice of Bhakti ( devotion to the divine ) neither involve indecisiveness nor ineptitude in worldly matters. On the basis of unalterable conviction, one can confidently refine thoughts and indirect action. Gandhi’s bedrock was spiritual truth earned through intense urge constantly, he abided by the inner voice and through a constant set of practice ( puja, singing of hymns maintaining righteous principles in worldly interactions ) , he had won the character and charisma to experience the truth in every ction of life.

    Gandhi wanted freedom from within. People become a prey to unethical practices as a result of the lack of inner freedom. A lack of inner freedom makes people dependent upon externals and allow externals to give a shape to things in their chosen ways ethics becomes a casualty in most of the cases. Gandhi’s concept of Swaraj helps to attain inner swaraj ( freedom ) to attain a collective swaraj for the country. Strengthened by the inner voice, man then lives on the spirit of morals and ethics in individual as well as collective life.

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