Rashmi writes about self, mental health and love. When she is not overthinking, you can find her discussing philosophy with her pup Sonu.
On Aug.15, 2022, India celebrated its 75th Independence Day.
What better time to honor the Father of Our Nation, than the month that changed the history of the country?
Mahatma Gandhi was one of the primary leaders who spearheaded India’s freedom struggle and he taught and embodied non-violence.
Gandhi's teachings have inspired many leaders like Dr. Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Steve Biko, and Aung San Suu Kyi.
I have read Gandhi in school in history classes and quoted him in presentations.
Yet it took almost a decade to make an effort to understand the precious life lessons of his message. His words stand the test of time. Here are my favourite quotes for you:
“My Life is My Message”
This was Gandhi’s answer when a reporter asked him “What is your message to the world.”
This question will serve as a north star to see that our actions, our aspirations are aligned with the message we want to leave behind.
Do our actions align with the message of kindness we want our kids to learn from us?
Do our actions align with the message of patriotism we want to leave behind?
It’s our call.
If nothing, do we keep up the promises to ourselves- The first person in the world we need to be truthful?
Then we are sending the right message to ourselves and the world.
“If I had no sense of humor, I would long ago have committed suicide.”
One of the biggest gift nature has given us is the ability to laugh.
Sometimes laughing at ourselves, gives us the energy to start from scratch. It makes us human.
Finding humour in incredible situations has kept us going. It takes a certain intelligence to bring humour that brightens lives of people around us.
A perspective change is sometimes the key.
And a sense of humour is our best friend.
“You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is like an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.”
The news, the wars, the injustice to women, the deceit, the hypocrisy, and the fact that a lot of things are unfair to make us lose faith in the world.
But that is just one side of the coin.
There are millions around us bringing their best to the world through their efforts every single day.
Some people support us through traumas, there are the farmers who bring food to us, there are children who teach us forgiveness, the dogs in your street that wait till you are home, and the technology and brains behind it that saves lives.
Love is powerful and the only solution to the darkness in the world.
And choosing to bet on humanity is the best choice we have today.
“To believe in something, and not to live it, is dishonest.”
Life is worth fighting for. Our values and voice matter.
Our calling out injustice makes all the difference.
Making time to teach a child makes a difference. Whatever is your burning passion, a cause that you resonate with - give yourself permission to live it.
It serves nobody, not you especially, to stay in the shadows because you are scared of failure, judgement and ending up a fool.
These are just the hurdles you cross to reach the next level as a human being. Consider them the fire that transforms you.
It‘s also your responsibility to give to people around you.
The worst way to live is becoming the person who was too scared to take one risk.
“ Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.”
Life is short, life can also be long - we have no idea. But the clock is ticking.
In the billions of people on this planet, except for our loved ones we are insignificant unless we are celebrities, millionaires, or someone of great importance.
Our birth, the lifespan we live and death are a mere microsecond in the big picture of history and might seem trivial in the universe.
Does that mean we stop doing anything and wait to die?
On the contrary, we could focus on bringing value, giving our 200% because we never know who is watching us.
It may be our daughters, our best friends, or our neighbors.
We never know whom we are inspiring.
Let’s give it our all to the smallest of things we do.
It makes a difference.
That is our brand of magic we leave behind.
“You can chain me, you can torture me, you can even destroy this body, but you will never imprison my mind.”
Gandhi believed in the triumph of the human spirit, one no tyrant or horrific tortures can take away from anyone. I also find this moving idea beautifully said by another hero of mine Victor Frankl:
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
― Viktor E. Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning
“To my mind, the life of a lamb is no less precious than that of a human being.”
We owe it to the earth to do our best to leave the planet a better place for all of us and our fellow inhabitants. Period.
“The Future Depends on what you do today.”
Our past, present, and future is interconnected. A lot of things are out of our control but being aware of this is freeing.
We cannot control the results of our actions.
Despite all this, by doing our duty each day, by showing up for ourselves , we ensure that the near future is shaping the way we want it to be.
And whatever life throws at us, by doing the right thing we should be able to rewrite the narrative.
In the chaotic world we are now, going back to our values, having a check-in with what exactly we are fighting for would help us align with our authentic selves.
I leave you with Gandhi’s actual words on change instead of the misquoted “ Be the change you wish to see in the world”:
“We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change.
As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. This is the divine mystery supreme. A wonderful thing it is and the source of our happiness. We need not wait to see what others do.”