I listened to Arun Ghandi (a grandson of Mahatma) speak at Lane Community College on Feb. 21st. He spoke about how violent our society is, in the sports, the movies, and the rest of the media. He doesn't understand American's obsession with guns. He gave us a glimpse into how he was taught about non violence.
He was a bit mischievous when young so his parents sent him to live with his grandfather for a couple of years. Mahatma asked him to keep track of all of the times each day when he was violent physically and verbally. He soon found that it was easy to refrain from physical acts of violence, and those were few, but that verbal acts of violence were much more common and harder to quell.
At home his parents didn't discipline him physically. If the children did something wrong they figured that was because they had done something wrong in raising and teaching the child so the parents would do some penance whenever the child misbehaved. When the child learned that the parents were fasting (or whatever) because of what they had done they felt much remorse and tried to behave so the parents wouldn't suffer.
Arun told the story of when he was older and could drive the car. His father was going into town for a meeting and Arun asked to go along. At that time a trip to town was a big deal. Since he was going to be free in town, his mother asked him to do some shopping and his father asked him to take the car to the garage and have it serviced. He dropped his father off at his meeting and his father said he would be done at 5:00 and said he would be waiting to be picked up then. Arun did allof his shopping, dropped off the car to be serviced and had time to see a movie, but he got so engrossed in the John Wayne movie that he didn't realize how late it had grown. He got out at 5:30. He quickly picked up the car and met his father at 6:00 - an hour late.
When he arrived his father asked why he was late. Arun was ashamed that he had lost track of time in the movies and so he lied and said the car hadn't been ready. Unfortunately his father had called up the garage and found out the car was done but Arun hadn't picked it up yet. His father said that he must have done something wrong if his son felt that he had to lie to him, so he said that he wouldn't drive home in the car, he would walk the 18 miles home. Arun had to drive the car all the way home, crawling along at 2 mph while his father walked, and after that Arun swore to himself that he would never lie again.
Arun told another story about a king that asked his wise man the secret to peace. The wise man said their was a holy man out in the country who could help the king but he was so old that he couldn't come to court. The king would have to go see the holy man. So the king traveled far out to the country and visited the holy man. He asked him the secret of peace, and when he did the holy man without saying anything left and went into another room. He came back and gave the king a single grain of wheat. This is the secret of peace he said.
The king was ashamed to admit that he didn't know what the holy man meant so didn't ask any questions. He returned back to his castle and put the single grain in a little golden box. He asked his wise man what the grain of wheat meant.
The wise man said that if the king kept the grain in the box it would eventually rot away and be useless. But if he took it out into the garden and planted it, it would grow up and the adult plant would have seeds that he could plant and soon he would have a whole field of wheat. He could then take the many seeds and give them to his subjects, they could do the same and soon the entire nation would be prosperous and at peace.
Arun said that he didn't expect to change everyone's minds, but that he was happy spreading his stories of peace and nonviolence around the world, and if a few people out of every hundred or so bore fruit he would be satisfied.
Arun said that his grandfather Mahatma Gandhi, believed that love, respect, understanding and compassion are the four pillars on which all religions stand. He said his grandfather made a respectful study of all religions and determined that the goals of all religions are the same. The goal is to get to the mountain top, but there are many different paths to get there. Every religion has a small part of the truth, and each religion thinks that they have the whole truth, but none of them do. The path you take is not important, but the journey is.
Mahatma Ghandi believed that the way to form a new social order was Political and economic decentralization, to prevent massive concentrations of power in the hands of too few. The minimization of competition and exploitation, and instead, the encouragement of cooperation. Production on the basis of need rather than greed, Recognition of the dignity of labor, The practice of extensive self-reliance by individuals, villages, regions and the nation. Absence of oppression on the basis of race, caste, class, language, gender or religion, and a deep respect for mother nature, necessitating an economic system based upon the preservation rather than destruction of the natural environment.