– Sergiu Al-George (1922-1981) –
In Mahatma Gandhi’s day, let us meditate – since meditation is a kind of prayer – on his work. In western world he is considered mainly as political activist, the soul of the movement for National Independence. However true might be this appreciation, it can not provide enough reasons for our full participation at this memorial ceremony. Such historical reasons would lead at the most to a formal participation, to a polite gesture even from the part of a man who loves India.
There are yet deeper reasons which support our real and full participation in this memorial ceremony. India is loved beyond his borders for the sake of his spiritual values, and Gandhi succeeded in his historical mission – the greatest one ever achieved by a son of India – as a spiritual reformer. He was more than a historical personality, he was a saint and a prophet. As such, Mahatma Gandhi’s work, as himself oftenly pointed out, is aiming at a revolution in the world of thought, a revolution to be developed along centuries. India’s political independence is but one of the of the effects of the revolution he set in motion, but it still concerns the future of India, as well as that of the rest of the world.
Like every great Indian thinker Mahatma Gandhi started from the evidence of suffering (duḥkha) and pragmatically tried to overcome it and to reach the salvation (mokṣa). Duḥkha and mokṣa are the two faces of the human condition, and the link between them concerned Indian philosophy from its very beginning. The treatment of these problems conceived rather in an abstract way in Upaniṣads and Buddhism, became more and more comprehensive to the extent to which philosophies were faced with new and more complex life conditions. Mahatma Gandhi realized more than every other Indian thinker that the way of self-purification amount to alleviate the suffering of others. Thus, spiritual experience gets a social content, as several relations becomes more complex in the context of technical civilization. In our world of turmoil and crisis, when mankind is faced not only with the problem of suffering, but with that of his survival, Mahatma Gandhi’s message, stressing the purity of the means, becomes a life solution, the need to resort to satyagraha and ahiṃsa becomes obvious to everybody. They are the unquestionable key-factors of our historical moment.