–by Mahatma Gandhi (Mar 31, 2017)
“There is no antidote to calamity except forbearance. I have no doubt that the means to strengthen ourselves are the same in the country as they are in this town. But the letter you refer indicates that Phoenix is the most apt place to groom ourselves. One ought to be fearless even when it comes to sleeping on the cremation ground; but the probability is that in attempting to try it out, one can collapse with fear. Likewise, your and my India is a cremation ground. In order that we may arrange our beds there and chant Meerabai bhajan “Speak Mother, speak”, we shall to equip ourselves here; such preparation is a must. I experience an inkling in me that I shall muster courage to face death at any time in whatever form it comes. I wish this to happen to everyone of us.”
“It is good you wish to inquire about Phoenix. The primary considerations to discover the soul and spirit to help us serve the country. Once this is done, Phoenix ideology can be explained. Morals should be sound for the quest of soul and spirit. Morals consist in acquiring the qualities of fearlessness, truth, and master of the senses. It is my opinion that in cities, where human beings live in congestion, where one has much to get lured, it is difficult to cultivate morals. Hence, experienced visionaries recommend quiet and isolated places like Phoenix, where you could get unique exposures leading to the very determination for the quest for the soul and spirit.”
“Be firm and consistent in the vows you have made. You will then gain a series of victories — over self, over the World– and achieving self-liberation, will get freedom for the part of the Planet we call India too. That is the key to the gates of all victories, is our firm conviction. In the very lucidity of this old wisdom lies its severity.”
“Appraise me with all the news about your day to day life. Concentrate your interest in agriculture in such a way that the whole Phoenix emulates you and is turned into a temple of dedication. Observe maun (abstaining from talking) as far as possible.”
“Your conviction that farming is tantamount to doing a good turn to humankind and is ‘worship’ as well is right. Thinking of Universal Love (God) during eating, farming, playing, bathing or some such daily chores is not only proper but obligatory. One seeking communion with God, does not wait upon fixed timings. Yet, young people need being regulated, hence the time which is not right for farming should be spared for prayers (meditation). Our scriptures too have mentioned the dawn and dusk as meditation hours, hence the prayer meetings that we have scheduled for late evenings are proper.”
“Keep up the enthusiasm about farming –enhance it by growing orchards and planting trees. It would be graceful on your part to offer services to each of your elderly teachers.”
“Try to be self-sufficient and make articles you need yourselves: get accustomed to do without that which you cannot make. If we learn to fulfill the needs of our life by self-employment and farming, we have learnt a great deal. I too must learn, but it seems I shall die without it. I wish it is not so in you case.”
“Just think, the question doesn’t arise for any one to ask any one to leave. When Phoenix will be too feeble to sustain itself, there would be no need to consider as to who will stay and who shall be dismissed. Those who are totally committed shall survive — the question then will be, ‘Who qualifies to survive?’ We do not pay salaries but provide food. When that also is squeezed, who will stay enduring hardships, living on dry crumbs? That is the question. Even ‘Phoenix’ will not stay in Phoenix for ‘Phoenix’ is an ideology — it will be where the ideology is. All these experiments are test cases to be applied latter, if found valid, on the part of the Planet we call India. If you believe that I am endowed with a strong will, you too are! For the Universal Love has endowed us with similar “Will”. The moment you shake off doubts about the capacity of your will, habitual fear, apprehensions, indecisiveness, we shall be all alike. The difference is that I have persevered hard to cleanse myself of many set taboos; if you too endeavor to preserve with determination, you too should be able to do it.”
“Do not get upset if Phoenix, which was founded after assiduous efforts with the purpose of continuing satyagraha, gets disintegrated. Continue farming when in peace; when in turbulence, beg, labour or starve. ‘Whatever is done is never wasted’, I have firm conviction in this law which has no exception. Resume farming as soon as circumstances permit; if not, keep calm. Farming is a means and not the end. Apparently service to humanity is the end; though in close consideration salvation is the end. The means to both is farming. If the means obstruct the end, give up such means.”
–Mahatma Gandhi. Quotes from the book: The Making Of The Mahatma by Raojibhai Patel.
PS: Also celebrating César Chávez Today, here is his United Farm Workers prayer:
Free me to pray for others,
for you are present in every person.
Help me take responsibility for my own life
so that I can be free at last.
Grant me courage to serve my neighbor
for in surrender is there truly life.
Grant me honesty and patience
so that I can work with other workers.
Enlighten us with song and celebration
so that the spirit will be alive among us.
Let the spirit flourish and grow
so that we will never tire of the struggle.
Let us remember those who have died for justice
for they have given us life.
Help us love even those who hate us;
thus we can change the world.