Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, the father of the nation, often proudly proclaimed that he was a Hindu – not just a Hindu, but a proud Sanatani Hindu. In soul, thoughts and deeds he was a Sanatani Hindu. He saw Sanatan Hinduism as a source of inspiration for his life. He was born a Sanatani Hindu and died a Sanatani.
Born into an orthodox, upper-caste Hindu family in Porbandar, Gujarat, he grew up in Sanatani culture and absorbed Sanatani Hindu traditions and practices, carrying these influences with him throughout his life. In his articles in Harijanhe says that Sanatan is a collection of all the pervasive, timeless and universal values of humanity, which have evolved in this land of Bharatvarsha. For him, Hinduism and Sanatan are one and the same, a synonym.
For him, Sanatan Hinduism was not a religion confined within narrow boundaries, but a philosophy that encompassed all humanity. The most interesting thing is that he has never held back or been shy about his Sanatani identity. He called his faith Sanatan Hindu Dharma. This term emphasizes the timeless and universal nature of Hinduism, describing it as an all-encompassing way of life rather than a rigid religion.
Gandhi defined Sanatan Hindu Dharma as a vast ocean that includes several streams, streams and rivers and is very wide. It is not limited like the proverbial frog in the well. For him, Sanatan is broad, all-encompassing and all-encompassing. It is not a religion in the Western sense of the word, but rather a way of life. It’s humanity. In his famous article in Harijanhe says that Sanatan Hinduism is the most tolerant religion in the world. “It sheltered early Christians who fled persecution, including the Jews known as Beni-Israel, as well as the Parsis. I am proud to belong to this Sanatan Hinduism that is inclusive and stands for tolerance.”
He wanted to reform some of Sanatan’s ills, such as untouchability and caste orthodoxy, but these reforms must be carried out from within and without abandoning Sanatan’s core values. He believed that these issues were deviations from the core values of Hinduism. He worked tirelessly to reform these practices within the Hindu community. For him, Sanatan Hinduism represents its universality, tolerance and commitment to non-violence. You must remember that Gandhi considered everyone living in India to be Sanatani Hindu, regardless of their faith.
For him, the purpose of life was to follow Dharma, Artha, Kama And Moksha. No other book or writing influenced Gandhi, shaped his character and transformed his life so deeply, profoundly and permanently as the Bhagavad Gita. Of the many books he read, the Gita most influenced, impressed and shaped him in the darkest hours of his life. He saw the Gita as his ‘eternal mother’, whom he valued even more than his earthly mother. He says he learned two important life lessons from the Gita.
Firstly, to master the skill of action and secondly, such as a sthitaprajna, to remain balanced or balanced in the face of success or failure. Testing the truth of anything means living by its precepts in real life, and realizing its ideals in the human, material plane of everyday life. With the same idea of imitating the truth, Gandhi started translating the Gita not only literally but even practically. He lived the Gita in his actions, thoughts and practices. Believing in ‘being the change you want to see in the world’, he himself put into practice the ideals of the Gita of the world. yamas And niyamas like truth, ahimsa (nonviolence), Brahmacharya (celibacy), non-possession, and others.
His daily practices and daily routine were merely an extension of the Sanatani values. Ahimsa And Satyagraha (fighting for the truth) are Sanatan’s core values.
His concept of wealth management, where the wealth earned by a person is not his personal wealth and he is merely a trustee, is directly influenced by the Sanatani concept of Dharma.
In essence, Mahatma Gandhi’s steadfast loyalty to Sanatan Hinduism was a guiding force that underpinned his commitment to the universal values of tolerance, non-violence and truth. His legacy continues to resonate, transcending religious boundaries and inspiring people around the world.
There is and cannot be a prouder and more ardent follower of Sanatan Hinduism than the Father of the Nation.
(Rajiv Tuli is an author and commentator.)
Disclaimer: These are the personal opinions of the author.