Chapter 2 & 3/Synopsis: – “An Autobiography: The Story Of My Experiments With Truth” By Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (Mahatma Gandhi)

Chapter 2 & 3/Synopsis:  – “An Autobiography: The Story Of My Experiments With Truth” By Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (Mahatma Gandhi) 

CHAPTER 2 – CHILDHOOD 

  1. I was put into a primary school at the age of 7. There is hardly anything to note about studies. I was a mediocre student.
  2. I was very shy and avoided all company. I ran back and forth from home to school, least anyone stop me and talk to me.
  3. I recall an incident when a teacher tried to prompt me with the pin of his boot, to copy from my neighbor in a spelling examination, but without effect. I thought teachers were there to supervise against copying. I could never learn the art of `copying’.
  4. Two incidents at the time deeply clung to my memory, and in some way, influenced the course of my future thought. One, was a book from my father’s library that fell into my hands: “Shravana Pitrubhakti” and two, a play called “Harishchandra” which I had watched.
  5. What is it that stops all of us from being dedicated like Shravana & truthful like Harishchandra – is a question that I have often asked myself. 

CHAPTER 3 – CHILD MARRIAGE 

  1. I shall have to swallow much shame in the course of this narrative. I was married at 13.
  2. There is no moral argument in support of marriage at such a preposterously early age.
  3. It appears I was betrothed (engaged) thrice without my knowledge. 2 chosen girls had died in turn; to the 3rd I was married.
  4. It was decided to conduct marriages of myself, my brother and a cousin at the same time. It was to be a triple wedding.
  5. Hindu marriages are no simple matter. Parents of brides & bridegrooms inflict ruin upon themselves in the course of such marriage.
  6. Months are spent in wasting time, wasting substance; deciding ornaments, clothes and budgets.
  7. Women whether they have a voice or not, sing themselves hoarse; sometimes till they fall ill; and disturb the peace of neighbours.
  8. Neighbours in turn quietly put up with turmoil, bustle, dirt, filth – because they know that a time will come when they will be soon behaving this way.
  9. I don’t think marriage meant anything to me except good clothes, drum beatings, rich dinners and a strange girl to play with.
  10. Carnal desire came later, but I propose to draw the curtains over my shame as these events have little to do with the central idea of my writing.
  11. My father arrived for my marriage with severe injuries and bandages all over, as his coach from Rajkot to Porbandar had toppled over.
  12. I forgot the grief of my father’s injuries in the childish amusement of my own wedding.
  13. Looking back, this is a lesson that I have learnt, and a lesson I often teach to 13 year olds today…
  14. …Devotion to parents and commitment to duty – is often impaired by passions that flesh is heir to.
  15. …There comes a time in everyone’s life when passion of the flesh, and pleasure of the body threaten to blind us to the obvious pain of our parents, and of our near & dear ones.
  16. …And if such an occasion does come to pass, we will always look back upon it in shame.
  17. My father put on a brave front in spite of his severe injuries. Everything looked so right, so proper, so pleasing.
  18. Looking back at that day, I never ever imagined I would criticize my father today for my marriage; or regret having married at an age when the mind is malleable to any suggestion.
  19. My brother’s wife coached me on my behavior for the first night; I don’t know who coached my wife. But no coaching is really necessary in such matters. The impressions of the former birth are potent enough to make all coaching superfluous.
  20. We were of the same age, and I took no time in assuming the authority of a husband.

 CHAPTER 4 – PLAYING THE HUSBAND

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Chapter 2/Synopsis: – “An Autobiography: The Story Of My Experiments With Truth” By Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (Mahatma Gandhi)

Chapter 2/Synopsis:  – “An Autobiography: The Story Of My Experiments With Truth” By Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (Mahatma Gandhi)

 CHAPTER 2 – BIRTH & PARENTAGE 

  1. The Gandhis belong to the Vaishnav sect of Hinduism, and the Bania caste; referred to in Gujarati as “Vaishnav Vania” (vaania) – a sect & caste predominantly recognized for their monetary abilities.
  2. For 3 generations, my forefathers were Prime Ministers of the Kaathiawad States of Gujarat.
  3. Ota (Uttamchand) Gandhi, my grandfather, was a man of principle. When forced to leave Porbandar & seek refuge in Junagadh, he saluted the Nawab there with his left hand; my right hand is already pledged to Porbandar, he said.
  4. Ota Gandhi married a 2nd time after the death of his 1st wife; he had 4 sons by his 1st wife & 2 by his 2nd; never ever did I feel that they were not sons of the same mother.
  5. Kaba (Karamchand) Gandhi, son no.5, was my father. Kaba Gandhi married 4 times in succession, having lost one wife after another to death. His last wife, Putlibai, bore him 1 daughter & 3 sons. I was the youngest.
  6. My father loved his clan; was truthful, brave, courageous and to some extent given to carnal pleasures.
  7. My father had no education, save experience; of religious training he had very little; he never had any ambition to accumulate any riches and left us very little property.
  8. The outstanding impression on my memory of my mother, is her saintliness & her deep religiousness.
  9. Of these parents, I was born at Porbandar on 2nd October 1869.
  10. I recollect having been put to school; I recollect nothing else except having got through multiplication tables with difficulty; I recollect having called our teacher all kinds of names in the company of other boys.
  11. The fact that I recollect nothing else shows that my intellect was sluggish, and my memory raw.

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END OF CHAPTER 2

CHAPTER 3 – CHILDHOOD

Chapter 1/Synopsis: – “An Autobiography: The Story Of My Experiments With Truth” By Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (Mahatma Gandhi)

Chapter 1/Synopsis:  – “An Autobiography: The Story Of My Experiments With Truth” By Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (Mahatma Gandhi)

For a long time now, I have been wanting to read Mahatma Gandhi’s autobiography titled – My Experiments With Truth. But never could I find an unedited version. The unedited version of the Mahatma’s book contains some of his life experiences that were considered irreligious and immoral; I was curious to know what were those experiments that he said brought him closer to truth.

The version of the book I have in my hand now is also an edited version, though I don’t know to what extent yet – as I haven’t yet begun the book. But from the few pages I have scanned, Mahatma Gandhi’s life is worth a glimpse – his thoughts, his upbringing, his conditioning, his perspectives, what made him, what broke him – in the end, it is what made him a leader; it is what brought about a revolution. Edited or unedited – this is my pick of what I like as I read through the chapters.

CHAPTER 1 – INTRODUCTION 

  1. Scarcely had I started on my autobiography, a series of events culminated in my imprisonment at Yeravada.
  2. Swami Anand of Navajivan Publications insisted that I should write for his magazine, something every week. Then why not my autobiography – I asked?
  3. A god-fearing friend had his doubts: What has set you on this adventure? Writing an autobiography is a peculiar practice of the West.
  4. …Suppose you reject tomorrow the things you hold as principles today? Suppose you revise your plans of today in future?
  5. …Is it not likely that men who will conduct themselves according to your written and spoken word will be misled?
  6. This argument had some effect on me. I did not want to attempt a real autobiography; simply the story of my numerous experiments with truth.
  7. Even if my philosophies of today changed in the tomorrow, my experiments with truth would remain the same.
  8. My experiments in the political field are much known; but they hold not much importance to me; they have won me the title of Mahatma, hence even less; the title has deeply pained me.
  9. I would like to narrate my experiments in the spiritual field which are known only to myself, and from which I have derived power to work in the political field.
  10. What I want to achieve; what I have been pining and striving for 30 years – is to see God face-to-face. I live and move in pursuit of this goal.
  11. My experiments have not been conducted in the closet, but in the open, and I do not think this detracts from their spiritual value.
  12. There are some things that are known only to oneself & one’s Maker. These are clearly incommunicable. The experiments I am about to relate are not such.
  13. There can be no finality or infallibility about conclusions; one must keep an open mind about them; but so long as my acts satisfy my reason and my heart, I firmly adhere to my conclusions.
  14. Truth is not merely truthfulness of word or thought; but acting upon the truth of our own beliefs and conceptions.
  15. I am prepared to sacrifice my life in pursuit of this quest; even my Himlayan blunders seem trivial because I have kept strictly to this path.
  16. The seeker of truth should be humbler than dust; so humble that even dust can crush him.

 M.K. Gandhi, 26th November 192-, Sabarmati Ashram, Ahmedabad

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END OF CHAPTER 1

CHAPTER 2 – BIRTH & PARENTAGE

Lies: Are The Virus Of This World – A Philosophy By Kiran Shriyan

Lies: Are The Virus Of This World – A Philosophy By Kiran Shriyan

Kiran & I go back many long years. We connect on a very high octave of the mental plane. Junior to me by a decade odd years, I find Kiran to be an old soul in a young body. With a reasonably ok formal education added to deeply overwhelming world experiences, Kiran exhibits an inner knowledge that is far beyond what he may have learnt in this lifetime.

A dancer par excellence, a keen connoisseur of music & fine arts, a writer, a poet, a shrewd businessman, a movie maker, a life-coach, a man with a photographic memory, a man who believes he can change the world & my dearest friend – that’s Kiran Shriyan for you. In fact, Kiran believes anyone can change the world – IF they believe in it.

My conversations with Kiran are always spaced out; but whenever they do happen, a new life philosophy enfolds, and it touches me in some way.

It usually happens that whenever I talk to Kiran, there is no `refresh’ button that is pressed. We pick up our conversations from the exact point where we would have last left off, even if that was a year back. For eg. he might ask: “so what happened to that?” and I will know what he is referring to; or I may ask: “so are your plans falling in place?” and he will know which plan exactly I am referring to.

The last time I spoke to him few odd weeks back, I asked him: “how is it we seem to know the context of what we are talking even if we don’t elaborate it?” The answer to this set off the philosophy. The narrative is in 1st person because it is easier to write that way; but the thoughts and philosophy in this write are credits to Kiran.

Trust & Fear; Truth & Lies

When we are more or less tuned in to someone, we can often make out the context in which they are speaking or asking, without any elaboration. But often, we refuse to acknowledge it; we demand/request an overt explanation from the person we’re talking to, because we are afraid that we may make a mistake and disclose something else.

So what we are experiencing is more of fear & less of trust with the person we are talking to. Trust brings fearlessness; fear brings lies. Lies are born from fear. Hypothetically, if this world was totally rid of fear, then there would be no lies.

Trust comes from a belief that nothing can challenge my free will & I alone am in control of my life & destiny. Fear comes from a belief that any and everyone can shatter my peaceful existence on this earth. Trust comes from courage, fear from lack of it.

Kiran then took me back to a discussion about the Vedic times. He says, that often in his life-coaching sessions, he quotes from the Vedas, and people often ask him: But aren’t our epics a mere imagination of few writers? Aren’t our epics merely stories that became bestsellers? How do we know that what is written in the Vedas is truth, and not a mere figment of someone’s imagination? And the following is what he answers in reply:-

Truth is what our Holy Scriptures are all about

Our Vedas are approximately 10’000 years old. They go back to the time when our world self-destroyed & re-created itself. This moment is documented not just in Hinduism but in Holy Scriptures of all religions. There is much Biblical evidence in Genesis 1:1 & 1:2 that reveals, that a catastrophe occurred in the world that destroyed everything, and the world then recreated itself.

10’000 years – is a truncated, edited calculation. The Vedas go back to a multitude of destructions & recreations of the universe; we are merely referring to the last one here.

So, roughly 10’000 years back – no Lies existed in the world. Whatever was there, whatever was spoken was the Truth – and hence it was referred to as Word of God. God is merely a synonym for `Truth’, ultimate Truth. Men who stood up for Truth and propagated it were called Men-of-God. So 10’000 years back, around the time our Scriptures were written – if our Holy Texts proclaimed something, documented something with evidence; then we have to believe it – because there were no Lies then.

So when & how did Lies seep in?

Kiran believes that we are all part of a giant computer program engineered by God for His entertainment.

(A modern day parlance of our very own Bhagavad Gita of Lord Krishna, where Krishna explains to Arjun that we are all merely part of a Great Illusion (Maya), that He created, and that which He destroys at will. In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna urges Arjuna to stand up for Truth at all times. he also tells Arjuna “I am where Truth is”.)

Like any computer program, however flawlessly designed, Kiran believes that a virus always manages to seep in. So is the case with this super program that we are all part of. The virus in our super program is Lies. The virus seeped in sometime after Satya-Yug; and periodically anti-virus programs in the form of men-of-God were loaded into our system to weed out the virus of Lies. Many times we succeeded, many times we failed. And as we proceeded to different eras, we carried the virus of Lies with us – progressively more dangerous, and progressively corrupting more files in our sytem.

As we stand here today, in our present world – this virus of Lies threatens a total system crash. We are perhaps in the very last leg where we can control this virus. If we fail to do so, what we may leave behind for our children is another Doomsday, and our entire program will have to be reset and reloaded. That would be sad, because we would lose all the data in our super computer that we have so meticulously saved for future generations.

Look at the world around us…

Look at the world around us, says Kiran. Look at everything that is going wrong in this world today – declining societal values, poverty, destitution, corruption, hunger, relationship issue, anything  – and get to the root of it – you will find that the situation arose from a bunch of Lies infused by somebody. Remove Lies, and you will have the solution to practically every problem in the world. Even the disturbances in your mind and body arise, because your system is unable synchronize your Truth and your Lies, within.

All of us have a choice – do we wish to align ourselves with the Anti-virus programmers of this world & give our best shot to weeding our super program of its virus? Or do we wish to align ourselves with Virus-mongers of this world mercilessly hacking away the system till it crashes? – Your choice, your decision.

If we go with the former, then we need to start with ourselves; we need to start from within. What are my Truths? What are my Lies? It begins there.

Plurality Of Hindu Gods – Why? How Do We Make A Choice Of That 1 Favorite Deity Which Hinduism Terms “Ishta Dev” (Chosen One/God)?

My mom called me yesterday on Dhanteras (11/11/2012) to shower her usual blessings; while she was at it, she wanted me to do something.

Mom wanted me to form a practice of saying the Gopal Sahasranaam (1000 names of Krishna) everyday; starting yesterday.

One of my firmest childhood pillars in life has been religion & spirituality; a gift from my Mom who took great pains to imbibe it in us.

One of my recurrent questions to Mom over the years was – why are there so many Hindu Gods & Goddesses, if God is one?

Another one of my recurrent questions – Which God do we choose from our Hindu pantheon of 1000 odd Gods & Goddesses?

Plurality of Hindu Gods – Why? How do we make a choice of that 1 favorite deity which Hinduism terms “Ishta Dev” (chosen one)?

Mom said we can only believe in a Higher Force, if we believe that, that Higher Force understands & accepts us for who we are.

For that, it’s important to have synchronicity of temperament between Gods & followers. I cannot believe in a sagely God, if I have violence within.

Hinduism offers Gods & Goddesses of all forms, sizes and temperament; we choose what appeals to us; once we do, we follow with blind faith.

In the end, every God & Goddess in the Hindu pantheon is about Good over Evil; so whichever route we take, we reach the same destination.

Also, in Hinduism; whether you are Good or Bad, Divine or Evil, the religion won’t alienate you form God-Force. Pick your favorite God & He’ll tide you through your demons.

Coming back to my mom’s advice to read the Gopal-Sahasranaam everyday; it surprised me for a reason.

From childhood, I have had an unshakeable preference for the form and rituals of Hindu Goddess Mahakaali – fierce, fearful, feared, angry, dark, rustic, uncontained energy.

I just went with my heart and picked my choice amongst Gods; from then on, mom ensured that every available information & literature was passed onto me.

I have had the most divine and most mysterious supernatural experiences during the course of my worship of Mahakaali.

From clairvoyance to clairaudience to premonitions to visions to dreams – you name it, I have had them all.

I asked my mom yesterday, what prompted her to make a choice for me. Mom said – because you have changed; there’s a lot of peace & patience in you now; there’s acceptance & empathy; you now need a different God.

I guess that’s what Hinduism is all about – choices & free will; a thousand roads, same destination; you can take the dangerous mountain route; you can traverse via valleys and cliffs; you can take the deep sea voyage; you can bike it down country roads; or take the simple garden route to God Almighty. Choose your travel according to your personality – but travel you must; that’s what is important. Any road you take, as long as you a take a step closer towards God-Force, your are on the right path.

So did I start Gopal-Sahasranaam as advised by my mom? Certainly. Saying No to mom is never an option; not because of compulsion or respect, but by free will & choice.

While in conversation with a friend on 13th Oct sometime, I gained a strange insight, a strange enlightenment that came to me in pictures – a recapitulation of sorts that kept running in front of my eyes. It took a great deal of control not to show that I was in a midst of mild vision of sorts.

A series of questions, and answers which fell into place like magical clockwork – and each time, in a way I cannot explain, Lord Krishna held centre-stage.

No, there was no physical manifestation, neither any pictoral projection; it was more like a reel of images & sequence of events past that played in the mind – but in perfect harmony, like a well-edited movie with no missing links.

I was taken for bit of a ride, though. What I thought was a free-wheeling cruise was a pre-orchestrated safari (engineered by human intelligence, aided by divine intervention). But it didn’t matter. It’s the same ride I would have wished for.

So, I think my mom has telepathy. Or better still – I think all moms do. Mothers & children – the only unbreakable bond on this earth.