When Gandhi Introduced America’s Civil Rights Leaders to Nonviolence
In 1935, a delegation of American civil rights leaders including Howard Thurman met with Mohandas Gandhi at his ashram in India. He talked with them about nonviolence and his doctrine of satyagraha, or “soul force.”
I have had my doubts about Gandhi for some time. I will highlight now one disagreement, that I just became aware of; I don’t know whether it sheds light on the others. One may question whether or not India is really any better off now, for independence; whether South Africa is better off for majority rule; and whether the American civil rights movement of the 1960s actually accomplished anything. Many contemporary thinkers hold that it did not.
Nonviolence (Hindi: Ahimsa) is a doctrine available in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. First, “available” doesn’t mean “universal,” as witness the carnage that visited India’s independence and partition and the inter-religious violence that persists in India today. Second, as a Jain, Gandhi took the doctrine to extremes. Jains take many things to extremes. One can read in his Wikipedia article about Gandhi’s radical exertions pertinent celibacy.
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From Satyagraha – Wikipedia:
What Is includes evil.
In the physical world, darkness is the absence of light. In the spiritual world, darkness is the presence of malice. It’s substantial. It can be felt. It’s a spiritual — material.
In the United States, we have just witnessed an outstanding example: Donald Trump’s “Big Lie” about a “stolen” 2020 Presidential election. He repeated it over and over; and, I understand, continues to repeat it today. People believed him; lots of people. There was lots of anger, lots of furor, and the attempted coup d’état on January 6.
These things were real. These were actual events. They are part of What Is.
In the latest podcast, I set forth that God, being infintely infinite, is or must be All. In being commanded to love God with all one’s heart, one is commanded to love All. This may be the highest state of mystical experience. It doesn’t come without a price.
All includes many things that are difficult to love. The recent abuses by our now-ex-President are only one example. Expansion of one’s capacity to love, to include loving even the evils that one abhors — takes work.
Related: Forgiving the cosmos
Related: Podcast – Loving All