Mahatma Gandhi: A Man Ahead of His Time

Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948), better known as "the Mahatma", was a lawyer, thinker, and political activist. He became a central figure in the Indian independence movement characterized by the defense of active nonviolence. Imprisoned on several occasions, he was considered a national hero. His life and work gave rise to the film "Gandhi" (1982), which received eight Academy Awards. 

Here are some of his best pieces of advice: 

1. The person who is not at peace with himself will be a person at war with the entire world.  

The universe reflects what you radiate, and is a mirror of your deepest self, of what you nurture within you. Your outer world is but a projection of your inner world. To reconcile with the world, you must first reconcile with yourself. Everything happens from the "inside" to the "outside", even if we think it is the other way around and we try to blame what happens to us on circumstances or others. "Life is like a mirror," said the Indian leader, "it smiles at you if you look at it smiling."

2. To lose patience is to lose the battle. 

Patience is the ultimate test of emotional endurance. It is one of the most difficult virtues to find in the processes of personal development, since to speak of patience is to speak of the future, and no one can guarantee the future in writing. To speak of the future is to speak of FAITH, of having the conviction that, if one does not lose sight of the objective and works hard, the fruit will eventually come. But no one can guarantee it in advance. And patience should not be confused with passivity. Patience is not waiting for things to happen. Patience is to act insistently in a certain direction causing things to happen.

3. Forgiveness is the courage of the brave. Only he who is strong enough to forgive knows how to love. 

Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does change the future. It is a gift you give yourself. When you do not forgive, you feed feelings of resentment, hatred, and anger that cause us great inner dissatisfaction, that eat us up inside, and produce unhappiness. Forgiveness is the most intelligent response to evil. Gandhi himself said: "An eye for an eye and the world would go blind. Don't let the sun die without your grudges having died." Forgiveness is perhaps the attitude that best exposes a person's greatness.

4. My life is my message. You must be the path you wish to see in the world. 

If you improve, the world improves. We are not what we say, we are what we do. There is nothing more inspiring than examples. There is nothing more captivating than consistency between speech and behavior. Words serve as a stimulus to start walking, but if those words are not accompanied by deeds, they produce a tremendous disappointment. It is good to listen to people, but, above all, we must observe them to see how they behave. Gandhi also pointed out, "Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony."

5. Your job is to discover your work and then give yourself to it wholeheartedly. 

Your work is not the profession you do, your work is what you put your soul into. You are not in the world by accident. You have a mission to accomplish and only you can do it, only you are the protagonist; the rest of the roles belong to other people. Only then is it possible to do an authentic service to the community and to be well with yourself. If you betray yourself and allow yourself to be seduced by more glamorous professions or by other alternatives with greater social approval, you will never be satisfied. Baltasar Gracian, a Spanish author, put it in these words, "Anyone would have succeeded had he discovered his best quality."

6. You can never know what results come from your actions, but if you do nothing, there will be no results. 

Do or die. No one can tell us the outcome of our actions. No one can guarantee the results. We must act and have faith, get moving, and trust. To want to have all the way clear in advance is to sign that nothing will be done. Theodore Roosevelt, who was president of the United States between 1901 and 1909, used to say, "Do what you can, with what you have and where you are." In short, move forward!

7. I am just an ordinary man with below-average ability. I am a practical idealist and recognize no other talent to account for what I have accomplished. I have no doubt that any man or woman can do what I have done, if they have the same patience and cultivate the same faith that I have cultivated. 

Gandhi further reflected on this idea: "People often become what they believe themselves to be. If I am convinced that I can do it, I will surely acquire the capacity to do it, though I may not have it at first." With the right attitude, with the necessary effort, with the required patience and with unshakable faith in the background, any goal is possible. Nothing, moreover, that is not available to anyone. It is not about superpowers or magic potions.

8. There is no path to peace, peace is the path. 

Peace, like happiness, is not a way station. Peace, like happiness, is here now, at this moment. Peace has to do with every daily, everyday gesture because reality is nothing other than the manifestation of the collective consciousness of humanity; the result of the sum of all our collective actions. If the world is sick, it is because we are sick. The natural state of the universe is one of harmony, and all the existing maladjustments are introduced by human beings through their behavior. But there is always hope because at any moment we can change our behavior. Gandhi specified, "We must not lose faith in humanity, which is like the ocean: it does not become dirty because some of its drops are dirty."

9. Whoever wishes to maintain a firm friendship with God must either remain alone or make the whole world his intimate friend. 

And for this, it is important to keep in mind another idea of Indian thinking that is often overlooked: "You and I are but one: I cannot hurt you without hurting myself." We are all one and all the same thing. A negative attitude toward others only brings more negativity toward one's own life, while a positive attitude toward others causes the opposite effect. Our attention creates reality. We are our attention. People are energy vibrating at different frequencies, and if that energy is positive, it translates into positive circumstances, and if it is negative, it translates into negative circumstances. To put it in a nutshell: Life does not happen to you, life responds to you.

10. Truth never harms a just cause. 

Truth has only one way, even if it hurts. Every ignored truth ends up preparing its revenge. To deceive is always bad business. When one does not follow the dictates of ethics, one rarely comes out well; sooner or later, the deception turns against us. Do not betray others or yourself. Gandhi also pointed out: "Many people, especially the ignorant, want to punish you for speaking the truth, for being right, for being you. Never apologize for being right or for being years ahead of your time. If you are right and you know it, let your reason speak. Even if you are a minority of one, the truth is still the truth."

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