Monday, 10 September 2007

Ghandi, Satya Graha and a Changing World

Thought for the Day – Wednesday 3rd October 2006
BBC Radio Scotland
Amanullah De Sondy


Ghandi’s Birthday was celebrated in a settlement in Johannesburg two days ago. It was a time to reflect and ponder the way of a man whose method inspired many to realise humanity’s shared values. Ghandi’s teachings are still taught throughout the world, especially his concept of Satya Graha – passive resistance. In an interview, his great- grand daughter Kirti Menon, answered a question she is often asked. What would Ghandi do if he lived in South Africa today? He would be a sad man, she said, thinking about how to tackle things like HIV, poverty and violence.

This led me to think about how religious leaders of the past might act in our modern world? What would Muhammad say to violence being used as a path to God? What would Jesus say to the closing of doors to our neighbours, especially those from foreign lands? What would Sidhartha Gautama say to those who have no time to meditate and contemplate the finer things in life because of our hectic lifestyle? At the heart of these questions is the way in which the teachings of the religious leaders are implemented in our daily lives. What core values could we extract from their lives that are sorely needed for humanity today? Then again, the question is not just what would these religious leaders do, but what would you do for humanity? The people and places may change but the obstacles to peace have not.

One of the ways that Muslims are remembering the teachings of their prophet, Muhammad, is through fasting during Ramadhan. An exciting time when Muslims throughout the world are united in hunger to reflect on how they will strengthen their spiritual relationship with God and also how they will follow the practices of the Prophet during the other 11 months.

Not an easy task, but in the words of Ghandi himself, ‘We must be the change we wish to see.’

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