#847 You and Gandhi

Making History

In our last +1, we talked about some stat-busting luminaries including Stephen Jay Gould and the creator of Dilbert.

Today I want to talk about another guy who refused to believe the “impossible” was actually “impossible.”

You might have heard of him.

His name was Gandhi.

In Gandhi the Man, Eknath Easwaran tells us about Gandhi’s quest to free India from history’s greatest Empire ever. Without any violence.

Here’s the quick story: “‘Select your purpose,’ Gandhi challenged, ‘selfless, without any thought of personal pleasure or personal profit, and then use selfless means to attain your goal. Do not resort to violence even if it seems at first to promise success; it can only contradict your purpose. Use the means of love and respect even if the result seems far off or uncertain. Then throw yourself heart and soul into the campaign, counting no price too high for working for the welfare of those around you, and every reverse, every defeat, will send you deeper into your own personal resource. Violence can never bring an end to violence; all it can do is provoke more violence. But if we can adhere to complete nonviolence in thought, word, and deed, India’s freedom is assured.’

The historian J.B. Kripalani, who became one of Gandhi’s closest co-workers, has said that the first time he heard Gandhi talk this way he was so shocked that he went up to him and told him point-blank: ‘Mr. Gandhi, you may know all about the Bible or the Bhagavad Gita, but you know nothing at all about history. Never has a nation been able to free itself without violence.’

Gandhi smiled. ‘You know nothing about history,’ he corrected gently. ‘The first thing you have to learn about history is that because something has not taken place in the past, that does not mean it cannot take place in the future.’”

Free India from the domination of the British Empire? THE most powerful empire in history? Without violence?

The historian says that’s not possible.

The Mahatma teaches the historian history’s first rule. Just because something hasn’t taken place in the past doesn’t mean it can’t happen in the future.

That’s Today’s +1.

What do YOU want to do with this one precious life of yours?

As Gandhi would say: “Select your purpose … selfless, without any thought of personal pleasure or personal profit, and then use selfless means to attain your goal.

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