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10 Things You Didn’t Know About Gandhi

Revered the world over for his nonviolent philosophy of passive resistance, Mahatma Karamchand Gandhi is considered the father of the Indian independence movement.

He dedicated his life to peacefully protesting injustices. He spread this concept, called satyagraha, to people around the world.  Many civil rights leaders, including Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela, have used Gandhi’s concept of non-violent protest as a model for their own struggles.

Still highly regarded today, 65 years after his passing, Gandhi’s legacy is closely followed.   And amidst all the material revolving around Gandhi’s life, we are willing to bet some of these fascinating facts about him will be news to you:

1. Mahatma wasn’t his name: Mohandas, was. Many people incorrectly believe that Mahatma was Gandhi’s given name. However it is merely an honorific, said to have been bestowed upon him by the Bengali poet and philosopher, Rabindranath Tagore. From the Sanskrit words maha (meaning “great”) and atma (meaning “soul”) it seems to have been a well-chosen title for the man. However, in his autobiography Gandhi notes that he never valued the title, and was often pained by it.

2.  His U.S. debut was funny. While in England in 1931, Gandhi made his first radio broadcast for the United States. The first thing the people of the United States heard the Mahatma say was, “Do I have to speak into this thing?” To add to the humor, Gandhi spoke English with an Irish accent, for one of his first teachers was an Irishman.

3. He was a teen groom.  In May of 1883, at the age of 13, Gandhi was married to 14-year-old Kasturba Makhanji in an arranged marriage, according to the custom of the region. Kasturba had four sons with Gandhi and supported his endeavors until her death in 1944.

4.  Gandhi was extremely punctual. One of his very few possessions was a dollar watch. Just before he was assassinated, on January 30, 1948, Gandhi was upset because he was ten minutes late getting to a regular prayer meeting.

5. He dabbled in book agenting.  Non-violent activist, vegetarian advocate, father of India, great leader? Yes. But, book agent? Indeed. In 1894 while working in South Africa, Gandhi indicated his growing interest in Esoteric Christianity by becoming an agent for promoting the Esoteric Christian Union’s literature.

6.  He was a lawyer, but what a lawyer! He said, “I realized the true function of a lawyer was to unite parties riven asunder.” Thus, he spent his twenty years in practice “bringing about private compromises of hundreds of cases. I lost nothing thereby—not even money, certainly not my soul.”

7. He had a set of false teeth.  (And only put them in for eating).

8. He never won the Nobel Peace Prize.  The man perhaps more associated with peace than any other human being was never awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. He was nominated five times between 1937 and 1948, yet he made the short list only in 1937 and 1947. Gandhi was nominated in 1948 but was assassinated before nominations closed. The omission has been publicly regretted by later members of the Nobel Committee.  However,  In 1999, Gandhi was declared the runner-up for Time magazine’s ‘Person of the Century’ title (which eventually went to Albert Einstein.)

9. Gandhi never set foot on a plane.  He also never partook in cinema (the movies) and only used radio for his platform. He strived to be as simplistic as possible.  (Can you imagine our public figures of today not utilizing all of our mediums?!)

10. Gandhi was very (painfully) shy. 
When Gandhi was growing up, few people would’ve predicted he’d one day attract millions of followers, be considered the father of his nation and even appear in Apple’s “Think Different” advertising campaign in the late 1990s. In fact, as a boy, Gandhi was a middling student and extremely shy. He even described running home from school so he wouldn’t have to talk to anybody.

Facts like these remind us that our revered leaders are very much like us, and on a spiritual path as simply another human.

“In a gentle way, you can shake the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi 

If you enjoyed this article, you will also like: “MLK: How Well Do You Know the Greatest Spiritual Leader of Our Time?

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Top 25 Inspirational Quotes from Pema Chödrön

When I was a boy and I would see scary things….my mother would say to me; Look for the Helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” – Fred Rogers

This not only great advice for children, but for adults as well. If you feel yourself stuck or in need of a lift, look for the people who are out there helping – you can spiritually and energetically shift yourself to a different vibration when you align with the beauty and good that is yours to embrace. And Pema Chödrön is a helper if we’ve ever seen one.

Help yourself to a healthy dose of wisdom as we share some of Pema’s most notable insights – we’re printing this out and tacking it on the office wall:

1.  “If we learn to open our hearts, anyone, including the people who drive us crazy, can be our teacher.”

2.  “Fear is a natural reaction to moving closer to the truth.”

3.  “The most fundamental aggression to ourselves, the most fundamental harm we can do to ourselves, is to remain ignorant by not having the courage and the respect to look at ourselves honestly and gently.”

4.  “Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It’s a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.”

5.  “The most difficult times for many of us are the ones we give ourselves.”

6.  “To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest.”

7.  “Rather than letting our negativity get the better of us, we could acknowledge that right now we feel like a piece of shit and not be squeamish about taking a good look.”

8.  “We think that the point is to pass the test or to overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don’t really get solved. They come together and they fall apart.”

9.  “Only to the extent that we expose ourselves over and over to annihilation can that which is indestructible in us be found.”

10.  “You are the sky. Everything else – it’s just the weather.”

11.  “I used to have a sign pinned up on my wall that read: Only to the extent that we expose ourselves over and over to annihilation can that which is indestructible be found in us…It was all about letting go of everything.”

12.  “Do I prefer to grow up and relate to life directly, or do I choose to live and die in fear? ”

13.  “A further sign of health is that we don’t become undone by fear and trembling, but we take it as a message that it’s time to stop struggling and look directly at what’s threatening us. ”

14.  “We don’t set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people’s hearts.”

15.  “To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest. To live fully is to be always in no-man’s-land, to experience each moment as completely new and fresh. To live is to be willing to die over and over again. ”

16.  “If someone comes along and shoots an arrow into your heart, it’s fruitless to stand there and yell at the person. It would be much better to turn your attention to the fact that there’s an arrow in your heart…”

17.  “Like all explorers, we are drawn to discover what’s out there without knowing yet if we have the courage to face it.”

18.  “We can spend our whole lives escaping from the monsters of our minds.”

19.  “As long as our orientation is toward perfection or success, we will never learn about unconditional friendship with ourselves, nor will we find compassion.”

20.  “No one ever tells us to stop running away from fear…the advice we usually get is to sweeten it up, smooth it over, take a pill, or distract ourselves, but by all means make it go away.”

21.  “We are all capable of becoming fundamentalists because we get addicted to other people’s wrongness.”

22.  “The more we witness our emotional reactions and understand how they work, the easier it is to refrain.”

23.  “At the root of all the harm we cause is ignorance.”

24.  “Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know.”

25.  “Without giving up hope—that there’s somewhere better to be, that there’s someone better to be—we will never relax with where we are or who we are.”

You can support Pema and her mission at the Pema Chödrön Foundation.  Pema Chödrön is a beloved Buddhist teacher, author, nun and mother, and has inspired millions of people around the world who are touched by her example and message of practicing peace in uncertain times.

 

ARTWORK: Lynn Cornish – check out her beautiful work at:  http://www.lynncornishwatercolors.com/lynnhome.aspx

Did we miss any of your favorites?  Share your favorite Pema quote or clip below!

 

If you enjoyed this article, you will also appreciate: “Smile at Your Fear: How to be Fearless”

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Dec 19

Rumi Quotes

Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love.
It will not lead you astray.

 

-Rumi

 

Rumi was a 13th-century Persian Muslim poet, jurist, theologian, and Sufi mystic.  He was a master of magical and meaningful words.

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