Yesterday was the anniversary of the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi, who was killed in 1948 shortly after India received it’s independence and was divided into both India and Pakistan. A week, or so ago, we received a note from Bindi, a Manav Sadhna volunteer, asking us if we would like to join Manav Sadhna volunteers who would be fasting all day in commeration of this date. Some suggestions for the day included:
— We all can fast in a way that makes sense and suits us. For instance eat one time or take only fruit or milk. Many of us at MS will be drinking water only.
— You can do prayer followed with meditation.
— Look around you, find the most sad or troubled person and do some thing nice for that person. Small gift, lunch, dinner or a caring/comforting coversation
— Anything that seems fitting to commerate this man of non-violence.
Some of us at Be the Cause took part in this fast, our recent travel to India has made us newly christened members of the Manav Sadhna family. In fact, Manav Sadhna has such open arms, anyone who wishes to be can be part of their family. During our recent trip we lived for some days at the Gandhi Ashram. This afforded us the opportunity to experience firsthand the place where Gandhi lived and formulated his “experiments with truth”and his non-violence (ahimsa) resistant movement. We were able to wander the short distance from our doorstep over to the Gandhi museum and to hissmall, sparsley furnished house. facing the Sabarmati riverfront,where he and his wife once lived. We were gifted with the opportunity to absorb more about his life and philosphies firsthand. We practiced yoga and meditated, where he once practiced also, and were fortunate to see his principles still being practiced in all the inspiring volunteers and projects of Manav Sadhna. In all the children who they take care of, and in turn take care of them. All this brought me closer to this humble man and his spirit.
Of all the buildings at the Gandhi Ahsram my favorite is the one building that is now the headquarters of Manav Sadhna. On one interior wall there is sculpted in relief a beautiful tree with a strong, sturdy trunk from which many branches reach upwards to the sky. This tree’s branches are covered with sparkling colored glass jewels, looking like fruit dangling from its beautiful branches. Underneath the tree are pillows on which the founders of Manav Sadhna sit, discuss and make decisions. On the other interior walls of the building are thoughtful quotes from Gandhi which I found worth pondering., such as:
“I do not want my house to be walled in on all sides and my windows to be stuffed. I want the cultures of all lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible. But I refuse to be blown off my feet by any.”
Although Gandhi is no longer here, his messages of love, compassion, peace and forgiveness, still remain at the Ashram and now are blown around the world from his open abode. The gift he left for all is in the practice of taking his spirit, his wisdom forward in our daily lives and into all our cultures.