Fellowship of Reconciliation (blog)
In Tune with the Infinite
On 12 March 1930, Mahatma Gandhi began a 26-day, 200- mile march to the sea with some 80 members of his Satyagraha Ashram located near Ahmedabad. This was his first large scale campaign within
When Gandhi returned to
Secondly, the British administration in
Thirdly, the one major Indian national political movement, the Indian National Congress, founded in 1885 by the English Theosophist, A.O. Hume, former high administrator who died in 1915 just as Gandhi returned, was made up of elite, educated Indians such as its later president, Motilal Nehru, father of Jawaharlal Nehru, but with little impact among the Indian masses.
At the ashram, Gandhi steadily Hinduized his public persona and his manner of life. He quoted from Hindu religious-political reformers such as the founder of the Arya Samaj, Dayanand Saraswati (1824-1883) and the Bengali reformer Vivekananda (1863-1902) who was one of the first Indian religious leaders to go to the
It is from his Satyagraha Ashram that Gandhi at 61 years of age set out for the Salt March, early morning of 12 March after a long evening prayer meeting at which some 2,000 people participated. Gandhi closed by saying to his band of 79 marchers, “I have faith in our cause and the purity of our weapons… God bless you all and keep off all obstacles from the path in the struggle that begins tomorrow. Let this be our prayer.”
Gandhi had been for some months before March thinking about what issue he could select around which to organize a campaign of nonviolence that would have national significance, would be meaningful to many Indians and send a strong signal to the British administrators that their rule would no longer be tolerated. The decision-making body of the Congress Party with which Gandhi had an on-again-off-again relationship called the “Working Group” had met for a week over New Year’s Day, 1930. Gandhi drew up a grab bag of 11 demands around which he thought that Congress could organize nonviolent campaigns. The first was the total prohibition of making and drinking alcohol and the eleventh was that Indians should be able to buy fire arms, there being a total prohibition on the sale of fire arms. Among the 11 demands was the abolition of the Salt Tax. The Working Group thought that the non-payment of taxes could be done without violence but had no idea as to how to carry this out in a dramatic way. Gandhi returned to his ashram and kept largely to himself in meditation. Then, as Gandhi later wrote, the answer came to him “like a flash.”
The importance of intuition – of ideas that come as a flash once the form has been created in another dimension – came to Gandhi largely through the writings of the American New Thought writer Ralph Waldo Trine (1866-1958). His parents were from
Kathryn Tidrich has written an interesting new biography of Mahatma Gandhi
It is from Trine’s writings that Gandhi received the term “soul power or soul force “ – the term Gandhi used as a translation into English of his Indian term satyagraha. Satyagraha is more often translated today by the term nonviolence, but there was already in use in India the term ahimsa— a meaning non and hinsa, violence. Gandhi wanted another term that was more active, and he took from Trine the term soul force.
As Kathryn Tidrich notes “All Trine’s books contained the same message
Gandhi seems to have remained interested in Trine. He read his My Philosophy and My Religion (1921) in Yeravda jail in 1923, and in 1933, as he recovered from his 21-day fast for self-purification, he observed that the fast had sprung from “a yearning of the soul to merge in the divine essence. How far I have succeeded, how far I am in tune with the Infinite, I do not know.” That was drawn from the title of Trine’s best known book, In Tune With the Infinite or Fullness of Peace, Power, and Plenty (New York
For Trine, thought was the way that a person came into tune with the Infinite
Each is building his own world. We both build from within and we attract from without. Thought is the force with which we build, for thoughts are forces. Like builds like and like attracts like. In the degree that thought is spiritualized does it become more subtle and powerful in its workings. This spiritualizing is in accordance with law and is within the power of all.
Everything is first worked out in the unseen before it is manifested in the seen, in the ideal before it is realized in the real, in the spiritual before it shows forth in the material. The realm of the unseen is the realm of cause. The realm of the seen is the realm of effect. The nature of effect is always determined and conditioned by the nature of its cause.
The great central fact in human life is coming into a conscious vital realization of our oneness with this infinite Life, and the opening of ourselves fully to this divine inflow. In just the degree that we come into a conscious realization of our oneness with the Infinite Life, and open ourselves to this divine inflow, do we actualize in ourselves the qualities and powers of the Infinite Life, do we make ourselves channels through which the Infinite Intelligence and Power can work. In just the degree in which you realize your oneness with the Infinite Spirit, you will exchange disease for ease, inharmony for harmony, suffering and pain for abounding health and strength.
For Gandhi, the Salt Tax, because unjust and touching especially the poor, had already been abolished within what Trine called “the realm of cause.” Gandhi had the intuition to see that salt was then freely available for all who would take it from the sea of life (either the actual sea or from rock salt on land). Into the realm of effect one had to walk to manifest this change, and so the march to the Dandi beach on the
Rene Wadlow, a member of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, is representative to the U.N., Geneva, of the Association of World Citizens. He lives in
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"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs