Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi.
I have my own reservations and informed opinions about him. Definitely a major turnaround in the Indian war of Independence was brought about by him and on the same hand he was also responsible for some of the gravest blunders and cases of prejudiced selections. And well, I personally do not expect any living human on this earth to have made NO mistake at all. Definitely would have. M K Gandhi is no exception and must not be treated as one. But yes, to his credit are some of the most noble principles and acts that India will treasure for a very very long time – Principles like non-violence, satyagraha, cleanliness, reaching out to the poor, modest life and facing challenges upfront amongst many other virtues. Also, one amongst the many instruments we have from is the one I am going to talk here about.
The GANDHIJI’S TALISMAN
It reads as follows,
“I will give you a talisman. Whenever you are in doubt, or when the self becomes too much with you, apply the following test. Recall the face of the poorest and the weakest man [woman] whom you may have seen, and ask yourself, if the step you contemplate is going to be of any use to him [her]. Will he [she] gain anything by it? Will it restore him [her] to a control over his [her] own life and destiny? In other words, will it lead to swaraj [freedom] for the hungry and spiritually starving millions? Then you will find your doubts and your self melt away.”
People who have studied in CBSE or state boards might have seen this on the backside of the front cover or on the first page of their NCERT text books. Only if we could have had read it that often.
Gandhiji’s Talisman is based on the assumption of Human’s need and not greed. So if you believe in giving preference to the greed factor, I am afraid you might want to just stop reading here. For the one’s who believe it is necessary to stay within our needs, it’s rarely of any use to you as you have already possibly understood the talisman yourself and must be applying into life. This write-up will be of utmost fruitfulness to people like me, who are partially greedy in some sectors and content with the need in most of others. We want to enjoy and also be responsible with our consumption. We all will see how this talisman helps.
As easy and simple the talisman itself is, I would still go ahead and provide examples which will help us understand what he truly meant and the applications that this mantra can have on our daily lives. I have been following this since 2012 and I hope you all will find a way to implement it too.
Take an instance of the food in your plates. I have been using a mess since 2010 and it’s been 9 years since I am having mess food. What hurts most in mess food is the huge amount of food waste that happens. Because there is a complete buffet of dishes, people usually takes little of each, eat things which they like(even take a repeat) and leave the others in the plate and dump it in the common bin. Now this is one case where this talisman holds great relevance and once you realise this, I bet you will not even leave that last grain of rice in the plate.
Let’s suppose you have 3 spoons of rice and a large spoon dal left. Half a chapati and a few slices of cucumber. Now, maybe you don’t find the food amusing enough. Just thing of this, ” Recall the face of the poorest and the weakest man [woman] whom you may have seen …. will it lead to swaraj [freedom] for the hungry and spiritually starving millions ” ? If the answer to this question is yes, I believe you will yourself realize you shouldn’t waste it next time onward. 🙂
Take another instance, Superficial Consumerism, a disease so rampant that all major global disorders your name are somehow related to this. Have 8 sets of clothes? Need another one? Really and badly need that new dress on the aisle?
Now, if you have read the Talisman twice till now, you will ask these questions to yourself – are my older clothes which are in order useful to someone? Would that last person mentioned in the talisman really go ahead and buy the next set? Maybe you can actually afford and possibly have it because you really like it. So go ahead and keep the set of clothes you really need and donate the others to people who might really need them.
For you deciding your needs is a choice, while for some, meeting their needs is a desperate struggle that begins with the time eyes open and shuts with the eyes at night. Your extra can be someone’s only resource. Be generous. Either save or share.
You might be adorned with the pleasure and luxury of enough prosperity of buying things, of expenditure on your will. Use that to fulfill other’s needs and not your own greeds.
I felt the need of sharing this because I have in the past few months, discussed about this talisman and to my surprise, somehow, not most of them knew about it. It was shocking because literally every textbook started with the preamble and a talisman. Maybe our system was so ignorant that we missed on the more important things.
What Gandhiji would have then thought would be the source of inspiration for complete independence has now become the only way we could save the world. I would request everyone to share Gandhiji’s Talisman with your friends and close ones. Follow it. Read it multiple times. Paste a poster of it, along with your Beetles or the Psychedelic posters, along the Rocky Balboa and the Leonardo’s Quotes in your room. Give this quote it’s due place.
We are at a stage where we need to apply this everywhere. To the consumption of water, property, food, clothing, resources, services, luxury items, basic utilties, everything under the sun. Cities are running out of water, oceans are full of plastics, rivers are full of sewage and minds are full of consumerist advertisements. Some how somewhere this has to stop. Let’s try this talisman once. I am sure it holds it’s relevance today more than ever.
Do give a feedback and share this write-up with your friends.
Always Ranting, Rantzaada.
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi.