Gandhi on Vow

  • According to Gandhiji, “A vow means unflinching determination, it helps us against temptation. Determination is worth nothing if it bends before discomfort.”
  • Just as non-violence can be observed only by a strong person, not by a coward, vows are also a sign of strength, not weakness.
  • He believed that man’s mental and spiritual well-being cannot be ignored. In Gandhi’s lifestyle, interconnectedness of the body, mind, and spirit were well maintained

The Eleven Vows that encapsulates Gandhian thought and philosophy:

  1. Truth,
  2. Ahimsa-Non-Violence,
  3. Brahmacharya-Chastity,
  4. Control of the Palate,
  5. NonStealing,
  6. Non-Possession,
  7. Fearlessness,
  8. Removal of Untouchability,
  9. Bread Labour,
  10. Tolerance-Equality of Religions, and
  11. Swadeshi.

Gandhi on Non-Possession:

  • “It is theft for me to eat any fruit that I do not need, or to take it in a larger quantity than is necessary. We are not always aware of our real needs, and most of us multiply our wants, and thus unconsciously make thieves of ourselves.”
  • Non-Possession is a principle applicable to thoughts as well:
    • “Why should a man fill his brain with useless knowledge? Habit of acquiring what is not needed becomes a burden on the mind and also in the environment.”

Some of the examples of Gandhi’s minimalist living:

Instruction to followers

  1. He insisted all the Ashramites spin 160 threads on a daily basis.
  2. In his Ashram, no servants or labourers were hired for housework.
  3. He requested all the young and adults to take turns cleaning toilets.

Incidents as examples for essay:

  1. Once at the river bank, Gandhiji filled up his lota – a small metal pot, with water. His close associate standing nearby asked him, “Bapu, why only this much?” Gandhiji replied, “This river does not belong to me alone.” While using things, they can be food, clothes, water, furniture, etc., one should use only what is required. That leads to simplification of one’s life.
  2. During one of his speeches on vegetarianism in England, he said that “A man was not born a carnivorous animal, but born to live on the fruits and herbs that the earth grows”.
  3. According to Gandhi, “There should be no wastage and no overeating either. He said that his stomach was not a garbage bin. That extra food not required by the body would not get digested”.

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