“’I am alone, how can I reach seven hundred thousand villages?’ This is the argument pride whispers to us. Start with the faith that if you fix yourself up in one single village and succeed, the rest will follow.” ~ Gandhi, Young India, June 17, 1926
Here Gandhi is giving the country’s idealistic students a concrete example of svadeshi, “localism.” It’s also a good example of means and ends, as it shows that if you do something right, no matter how small, its effects will spread (and conversely, if you do something in the wrong spirit, even on a large scale, it will peter out). We in the progressive world today can easily succumb to despair in the face of the enormity of the problems we face and our own (apparent) smallness. It’s good to know that this situation isn’t new, and that Gandhi had a solution for it, hard as it may be at first to believe it. Repeated experience and the ability to connect the dots to distant results is what builds up faith.
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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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