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My purpose, Mahatma Gandhi writes of this book, is to describe experiments in the science of Satyagraha, not to say how good I am. Satyagraha, Gandhis nonviolent protest movement, came to stand, like its creator, as a moral principle and a rallying cry; the principle was truth and the cry freedom. The life of Gandhi has given fire and fiber to freedom fighters. Yet Gandhi writes: Often the title [Mahatma, Great Soul] has deeply pained me. . . . But I should certainly like to narrate my experiments in the spiritual field which are known only to myself, and from which I have derived such power as I possess for working in the political field. Who was Gandhi?, the time is proper to listen to Gandhi himself — in his own words, his own confessions, his autobiography.


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I should probably wait till I actually finished the book to write a review. But I feel like writting now because Ive got something to say now. I tentaivley picked up this book and that is how I am making my way through the pages. Ive only just begun, Gandhi is about thirteen. But I find myself angry at him. I cant get through a page without watching his struggle with a thought, idea or truth. His life, from the very early stages, reveals his struggle towards ahimsa,non-violence, and brahmacharya, conduct that leads one to God. His life is lived pursuing God and he illustrates that it is the hardest way to live. Im angry because to persue God is hard, and I havent been doing anything hard. Im angry because I dont feel like doing anything hard, and this will always be hard. And Im mad because to persue God changes everything else in your life. So, at page 37 Im mad and only a little wistful.

مشاهده لینک اصلی
Should have read this book long ago...............having read so much about the Mahatama. Absolutely remarkable and inspiring. Experiments with truth, truthfully narrated. Clearly demonstrates the power of mental and physical discipline and public confession.

مشاهده لینک اصلی
The complexity of Mahatma Gandhi as a person astounds me. An autobiography gives the reader a chance to see really deeply into the ideas and suppositions that create the self. When we think of a person we often think of a character, like that in a story. Sometimes authors write characters that are consistent in their actions. These type of characters often have a certain personality type or ethical vantage point from which they view the world and their actions are constant and understandable within that framework. Other authors write characters that are complex and show multidimensional personalities and depth in the different decisions they make throughout a work.

I think that how these characters are viewed depends strongly on the reader. Does the reader believe that people are as they are deep down? Or does the reader believe that people can change? If the reader believes that a person possesses a genuine core that is unchangeable then a complex characters actions will be labeled as @not fitting with the personality type@ or untrue to the nature of that character. On the other hand if the reader believes that people genuinely change then they can accept even strong opposing actions and behavior throughout a work. People who see the world in this way will often view the first type as @predictable or flat@ and people who view the world through the eyes of the first type will question the believability of a character with too many facets, or with widely juxtaposed responses to similar situations.

When we look at Gandhis life through his own eyes we see the absolute complexity of him as a person despite his desire for consistency and his search for what he calls @truth@. We watch a man who begins his life as a British educated lawyer and still carries with him an ego despite his constant debasement of it and we see him metamorphose into the epitome of stoicism and Buddhist acceptance through the various courses that his life takes. We watch him genuinely change as he strives for meaning and understanding of self. We watch him inconsistently make actions such as supporting the combatants in World War 1 after previously speaking strongly about approaching issues through a path of non violence. We watch him wrestle with his vegan beliefs as his wife battles against death and the doctor prescribes milk as the answer. We watch him become deified and hated by various populations. We watch him go from supporting the rule of the white British to then actively fighting against racism not only between the light and dark but also between different caste systems.

It seems then to me that Gandhi will either be seen as a man who constantly strove for his @true self@ and who was fighting against his baser nature to find that deeper person within. Or he will be seen as being the one who through his own choices and actions created the self and lived a life of complexity through his strivings and through his seeking against striving until the end.

The autobiography is told from the vantage point of an ultimate truth that he is consistently seeking. A truth that he believes transcends self and transcends religion but we are not told if he feels that he has found this in the end.

Its impossible to read without feeling that he had hit upon something very strongly throughout his life and that it grew with him as each of his lifes choices further shaped him as a person. Though whether that person already lived within him or whether that person was of his own creating it can not be known. Thinking of his assassination and jailings and his hardships when he gave so much to humanity is beyond heartbreaking. May you rest in peace Gandhi traveler you inspire us all both through your journey and path. May you have found your truth.

مشاهده لینک اصلی
I had trouble deciding whether to give this four stars or five. This book poses major problems for a contemporary western audience. It frequently alludes to another volume (Satyagraha in South Africa) which I have been unable to procure as a necessary companion volume. The final part (of five) assumes a more thorough knowledge of the birth of India as an independent nation and the events and persons that were involved in it than I possess. It becomes clear in this section that Gandhi was writing for the benefit of the people in his own day, and so assumes that they are already intimately acquainted with things that were distant and obscure to me.

However, Im going to let my admiration for Gandhi and my appreciation for what has been accomplished in this work override my sense of its shortcomings. This is a wonderful book, detailing as it does the progression of a man from a youth of uncertainty and insecurity to a maturity of discipline, rigor and tremendous emotional strength. Whether one agrees with Gandhis views is beside the point when considering the power and accomplishment of self-creation that is Gandhis life. An honest autobiography by such a person is a treasure of literature.

As I mentioned before, the work is divided into five parts, each of which presents a remarkably contained statement of a stage on Gandhis way, especially given the rather loose chronological treatment. To wit, the first part deals with Gandhis personal origins and weaknesses. The second with the formative experiences that would define his social and political worldview. The third finds him defining himself as a part of this society, injecting discipline and rigor into a life that becomes centered on his duty. In the fourth, Gandhi is a leader in the struggles of South African Indians and is actively changing the social and political orders which he has embraced so thoroughly. Part five details his attempts to generalize the lessons of the South Africa experience in India.

The first four sections are quick and engaging reads (though the fourth was frustrating given the lack of the aforementioned companion volume). However, the fifth section was hard going. This was due in part to my lack of contextual familiarity, but I think the section also suffers from an uncertainty in how the story ends, as if Gandhi felt that Part 5 was being written prematurely because the fruits of the struggle had not been realized. Many of his attempts at Satyagraha in India are unsuccessful or unsatisfying to him, and theres an underlying uncertainty of how the masses can be taught to be @firm in truth@ without sacrificing non-violence. As such, part five adheres closely to the subtitle of the book: these could almost be the lab notes of a social experimenter.

However, all complaints that I might level are dwarfed by the pleasure and satisfaction I have in getting to know Gandhi better through his autobiography. He was a great man, and this work is a wonderfully candid account of what a great man works on, struggles with and thinks about.

مشاهده لینک اصلی
Gandhis autobiography is one of those books that you just have to read, a story of developing oneself and raising the conscience of a people. The Mahatma (Great Soul, name apparently first used in relation with Gandhi by the great Indian poet Tagore) presents with a great deal of detail his life and development of beliefs such as vegetarianism (then fruitarianism), simplicity, brahmacharya (abstinence), non-violence, and pursuit of truth; there are also slight mentions of swaraj (right of self governance) and the related Indian uprisings. On the negative side, the autobiography is very difficult to read---the writing is long, often boring, with a curious structure, full of incomplete and/or incomprehensible references to Gandhis previous writings, argumentative, and sometimes plain contradictory (to previous chapters). Moreover, for this reader the presentation managed to abscond most of the message, and in particular its political aspect. Overall, a must read but dont expect an easy read.

مشاهده لینک اصلی
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