Monday, August 15, 2011

Gandhi on Fasting

A few nights ago I started reading my copy of Gandhi's so called autobiography again. I bought my copy in Delhi and over the last four years it has not migrated too far from my bedside stand at number 11.

I am an admirer of Gandhi despite some pointed reservations about his politics (particularly his position on Dalits).  

It is hard to ignore the selfless struggle that Gandhi defined.  These words of his capture his ardent selflessness: "The only virtue I want to claim is truth and non-violence. I lay no claim to superhuman powers. I want none."

Nonetheless, being that it is Ramadan -the month of fasting for Muslims- the following excerpt got me to thinking. And maybe it will do so for you too:
"A mind consciously unclean cannot be cleansed by fasting. Modifications in diet have no effect on it. The concupiscence of the mind cannot be rooted out except by intense self-examination, surrender to God and, lastly, grace. But there is an intimate connection between the mind and the body, and the carnal mind always lusts for delicacies and luxuries. To obviate this tendency dietetic restrictions and fasting would appear to be to be necessary." (M.K Gandhi: The Story of my Experiments with Truth)

See an excellent collection of pictures from Gandhi's life here.


Picture Credit

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