Gandhi Blog Series #13
Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.
In the last blog, we have discussed how Satyagraha becomes an effective socio-political struggle. The non-violent protest appealed to the goodness in the oppressor and encouraged him to see his mistake. The struggle also bid public sympathy with its moral uprightness and endurance of pain.
Nevertheless, not everyone can wield this powerful weapon. There are necessary qualities for a person who uses the method to make it effective. Gandhi explicitly mentioned that only if one observes these qualities, can he tap into the infinite power of Satyagraha.
Attributes of a Satyagrahi
The necessary traits of a Satyagrahi are
- He should respect and abide by the law
Only a law-abiding citizen has the moral right to criticize an unjust law. Gandhi believed that to point out the flaw in a system, a Satyagrahi has to respect it first. A criminal mind cannot question the prevalent evil rule.
- He should be non-violent
A Satyagrahi should not have any resentment towards the tyrant. He should distance himself from all forms of violence. Physical force, profane language, hatred, destruction of public property are not allowed.
- He should be brave
Satyagraha required great bravery. Someone who has even a tinge of fear in his being cannot resist evil. He should be ready to even give up his life if that is what it takes in the path of non-violence. Hence he has to purge his soul of all fears and feel the tranquillity before attempting the protest.
- He has to undergo self-scrutiny
Before venturing into Satyagraha, Gandhi insisted that a person should spend some days in silent meditation. He believed it will help him to find the inner strength to go through the tough process.
- He should be motivated by love
Above all, a Satyagrahi should act out of love and sympathy towards the tyrant. If hatred and resentment are his motivators, he cannot convert the wrongdoer.
Power of a Pure Soul
Non-violence is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind. It is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of man.
According to Gandhi, a Satyagrahi achieves the right insight of the situation, however evil it may be. His non-violent mind gives him clarity of the problem. Though he empathizes with the oppressed, he never brews contempt for the oppressor.
The unemotional approach and undeterred focus help him to influence the tyrant. His nonjudgemental approach allows the evildoer to see his mistake.
Satyagraha aiming at universal change
Satyagraha can rid society of all evils, political, economic and moral.
Gandhi was an optimist. He believed that people are inherently good. But sometimes they act out of ignorance, fleeting emotions and prejudices. This can sometimes cause misery to others. If someone can take the pain to make him understand his mistake, he will indeed repent.
His philosophy aimed at empathetically approaching the person responsible and appealing to the goodness in him. It takes a pure soul with a great moral force. So Gandhian philosophy demanded the oppressed be pure first, before protesting against evil.
The system thus aims at the spiritual growth of both the oppressor and the oppressed. What a great opportunity it is to uplift humanity into a new age of love if everyone abides by it.
In a world ravaged with violence, can we heed the philosophy of Gandhi and create a new age of love like the one in his dreams?
Thank you for reading. Please post your valuable opinions in the comment box below.