Let’s think about the following facts:
Now, it is absolutely clear to us that we are standing at the crossroads of humanity, and we might end up destroying something that we have not built – the planet earth. In particular, we are facing four biggest threats: 1) climate change, 2) violence, 3) moral and cultural decline and 4) technological disruption. As of now, we have not been able to figure out and work on the solutions to these growing demons. Apparently, our focus on material development and our fragmented manner of solving problem is working against us.
They say, the best was to gain knowledge is hindsight, and as we look behind, we see a towering figure of the last century who had not only anticipated these problems but provided solutions too. That person is Mahatma Gandhi. Dalai Lama puts Gandhi’s practices in right perspective by saying, “We have a big war going on today between world peace and world war, between the force of mind and force of materialism, between democracy and totalitarianism. Many ancient Indian masters have preached ahimsa, non-violence as a philosophy. That was mere philosophical understanding. But Mahatma Gandhi, in this twentieth century, produced a very sophisticated approach because he implemented that very noble philosophy of ahimsa in modern politics, and he succeeded."
Gandhi thought, spoke, acted and lived in exactly the same way. He was a person with a comprehensive worldview, i.e., he has analyzed and contributed to all the dimensions of human life. Largely, he experimented on various aspects of building a just and sustainable society founded on the principles of truth and non-violence. Besides, his ideas have been found relevant across the globe. A systematic study of his principles and practices may provide us with the guidelines for building a prosperous, happy and peaceful world in the future.
His lectures, articles, books and life per se demonstrate pathways to embrace mindfulness, simplicity and humility, minimalism, conflict resolution, building harmony and peace, equity and equality, sustainability, tolerance and acceptance, new diet system, employability and education, integrity and work ethics, trusteeship and inclusive economics, duty-driven politics, to name a few.
In such a broader context, Gandhibharati – International Center for Applied Gandhian Studies takes on Gandhi’s principle: “Goodness must be joined with knowledge, courage and conviction.” Thus, the center is instituted on modern research methodologies (knowledge) aiming at translating them into action (courage) in order to solve problems (conviction) for a sustainable world. Of course, the center is founded on the principles of Mahatma Gandhi with a view to researching his ideas to provide solutions to the individuals and organizations, but it is not limited to him. The center envisions to include and explore other ideas developed after Gandhi, which are particularly related to peace and sustainability.
The solutions to the problems mentioned above lie in our lifestyle. A close reading of Gandhi’s life and works provide us with a systematic lifestyle that we can follow.