Education and the Intimate European Contacts

Academically, Gandhi was an average student. His college days were far from pleasant (he dropped out once during the first term and reenrolled in the second). Since his childhood ambition to become a doctor' was considered unlawful' for his caste, his father persuaded him to study law instead. We can speculate that he compensated throughout his life by attempting to cure' humanity metaphorically from every possible 'disease.' In May 1883, the 13-year-old Mohandas was married to his 14-year-old neighbor Kasturbai Makhanji in a strict custom-bound child marriage.

On 4 September 1888, Gandhi set out for London, England, to study law and complete his apprenticeship as a barrister at University College, London. Before the voyage, however, he had to swear to his mother, that he would remain faithful to his religious upbringing and abstain from taking meat, alcohol, and sex. However, in England, he dressed in the style of a Victorian dandy, took up dancing and briefly experimented in creative arts. He adopted 'English' customs -learning Latin and the violin and taking a short trip to Paris.

He finally abandoned these customs, and found solace, and a public platform, in vegetarianism. Gandhi believed that a vegetarian diet would satisfy the requirements of the body and serve an economic purpose by being cost-effective: he thus regarded it not only as a spiritual practice but also as a practical one. He wrote The Moral Basis of Vegetarianism as well as several papers. In his Autobiography, Gandhi noted that vegetarianism was the beginning of his oath to Brahmacarya chastity or celibacy or sexual abstinence: to achieve Brahmacarya, one should first learn to overpower gastronomic desires. Strangely, at times he indulged in faddish dietetic experiments that sometimes came near to killing him.

Some members of the Vegetarian Society were also members of the Theosophical Society. This Society established in 1875, was dedicated to the study of Buddhist, Christian, and Hindu scriptures. They encouraged Gandhi to join them in reading the Bhagavad Gita, both in translation as well as in the original; it is here he first read Edwin Arnold's translation of the Bhagavad Gita that left a permanent impression upon him. Above all, from reading Tolstoy and Ruskin, with their commitment to pacifism and an ethical life, Gandhi began to formulate his own critique of the materialist West. At the same time, he found a way to come to terms with his own heritage. Repudiating the association of feminine' qualities with weakness, he began to construct a new courage' in which nonviolence, and passive resistance, were transformed into strength. He would be strong, he proclaimed, as a woman was strong. In fact, he advocated if nonviolence is the law of our being the future is with woman.

As a young law student in England, he looked into the teachings of Christianity: "The Sermon on the Mount, which went straight to my heart. I compared it with the Gita. The verses But I say unto you that you resent not evil, but whosoever shall smite thee on the right cheek, turn to him the other also' ... delighted me beyond measure. ... My young mind tried to unify the teachings of the Gita, the Light of Asia, and the Sermon on the Mount. That renunciation was the highest form of religion appealed to me greatly."

Gandhi returned to India in 1891 as a Barrister of the Inner Temple only to learn that his mother had died while he was in London, his family concealing the truth from him. An anguished Gandhi received solace from his spiritual teacher Raychandbhai, a highly successful pearl dealer who nevertheless managed to remain completely detached from his activities. Gandhi learned from him the basic lesson that life itself is equivalent to pure meditation: there is no abstract entity such as the inner being - the body and the mind operate in terms of one's Karma, comparable to Bhagavad Gita's - 'activity in inactivity and inactivity in activity.' The childhood values embedded in bhakti (devotion) merged with the doctrine of Karma (selfless deeds) following the dicta of the Bhagavad Gita. The process of the amalgamation of Bhakti and Karma that began in England reached its culmination at this point.

Understanding And Treating Autism

Understanding And Treating Autism

Whenever a doctor informs the parents that their child is suffering with Autism, the first & foremost question that is thrown over him is - How did it happen? How did my child get this disease? Well, there is no definite answer to what are the exact causes of Autism.

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