Gandhi the Man: How One Man Changed Himself to Change the World

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Nilgiri Press, 2011 - Biography & Autobiography - 217 pages
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This is the moving story of a nonviolent hero, illustrated with more than 70 photographs, and told by a highly respected author who grew up in Gandhi's India.
Gandhi's life continues to inspire and baffle readers today. How did an unsuccessful young lawyer become the Mahatma, the "great soul" who led 400 million Indians in their struggle for independence from the British Empire? What is nonviolence, and how does it work?
Easwaran answers these questions and gives a vivid account of the turning points and choices in Gandhi's life that made him an icon of nonviolence. Easwaran witnessed at firsthand how Gandhi inspired ordinary people to turn fear into fearlessness, and anger into love. He visited Gandhi in his ashram to find out more about this human alchemy, and during the prayer meeting watched the Mahatma absorbed in meditation on the Bhagavad Gita, the scripture that was the wellspring of his spiritual power.
Quotations highlight Gandhi's teachings in his own words, and sidebar notes and a chronology, new to this updated edition, provide historical context.
This book conveys the spirit and soul of Gandhi - the only way he can be truly understood.

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(I received this book for free from LibraryThing Early Review)
There comes along, however rarely it may seem, someone so in tune with their humanity that it makes us realize the potential inherent
in our very selves, “central to our very being”, if only we would strive to realize it. Gandhi was one of these very people. So attuned with what it means to be human, what it means to live, his was a life so full of love and meaning that it, even today, so many years after its end, leaves us inspired and awed, and this book is a beautiful reflection of that life and the meaning behind it.
As beautifully written as it is illustrated, this book, while a quick and easy read, is one that leaves a deep and lasting impression. Told by someone who actually lived in what he calls “Gandhi’s India”, the author shows us Gandhi, the man, and makes us realize that the meaning Gandhi found in his own life, the meaning that drove him to become the great man whose name has been taught and honored around the world, is a meaning we can all apply to our own lives and work towards. It is something that is possible for us all.
In the forward of this book, Asha Devi is quoted, when asked what the dominant impression Gandhi made on her, as revealing the “secret” of this great man as “his great love”, and through this book we are shown that great love, the dedication Gandhi had to it, and how possible it could be for us to strive to live lives of great love as well.
By revealing to us how Gandhi the man became Gandhi the great man, by showing us where Gandhi started and allowing us to see the more “human” side of someone who seems to so many to be above our level of humanity, it shows us that we all start somewhere, and the potential within us is all the same. Gandhi is quoted, more than once, saying “I have not the shadow of a doubt that any man or woman can achieve what I have, if he or she would make the same effort and cultivate the same hope and faith”.
Indeed, the point of this book seems less about being a point by point historical account of Gandhi’s life (though it does certainly reveal his life to us and leads us to an even deeper love and appreciation of him and the life he led), and more about revealing to us the meaning he applied to it, and helping us understand that we, too, can apply this meaning to our lives, if only we were to try. It is a deeply inspirational and moving book that is as essential as the art of life it has to reveal within its pages. A must read, and a wonderful addition to any collection. I’m certainly glad to have been able to add it to mine! :)
 

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About the author (2011)

Eknath Easwaran (1910 – 1999) was born in South India and grew up in the historic years when Gandhi was leading India nonviolently to freedom from the British Empire. As a young man, Easwaran met Gandhi, and the experience left a lasting impression.

Following graduate studies, Easwaran joined the teaching profession and later became head of the department of English at the University of Nagpur.

In 1959 he came to the US with the Fulbright exchange program and in 1961 he founded the Blue Mountain Center of Meditation, which carries on his work with publications and retreats.

Easwaran’s translations of the Indian spiritual classics (The Bhagavad Gita, The Upanishads, and The Dhammapada) are all bestsellers in their field. More than 1.5 million copies of his books are in print.

Easwaran lived what he taught, giving him enduring appeal as a teacher and author of deep insight and warmth.

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