“Without devotion, action and knowledge are cold and dry and may even become shackles.” ~ Gandhi, Message of the Gita, p. 261933
The Bhagavad Gita, the “spiritual reference book” for Gandhi, and millions of others, presents and is even built on the three classic paths to self-realization: bhakti yoga, the way of devotion; karma yoga, selfless, desireless action; and jñāna yoga, discriminating wisdom. It presents them not as separate categories but as interwoven strands that constantly imply one another. Gandhi occupies almost a unique position in the pantheon of the God-realized women and men of India in that he “went all the way” with the path of selfless action, said to be extremely difficult in this age. Sure enough, he emphasized here that without love, or devotion, action and knowledge can be misused (as we are seeing today to our cost). He did say, after all, that all his activities arise from his “insatiable love of mankind” and are directed to the sole purpose of realizing God.
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Our 2016 Daily Metta continues with Gandhi on weekdays. On weekends, we share videos that complement Michael Nagler’s award-winning book, The Search for a Nonviolent Future: A Promise of Peace for Ourselves, Our Families, and Our World. To help readers engage with the book more deeply, the Metta Center offers a free PDF study guide.
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