Whenever I ever feel confused about the situation around me, I often think of the people who are my role models. Among them, Mahatma Gandhi is one of my prime role models, though I have a long way to go before I become even a percentage of how spiritually powerful he was.
He recommended eleven vows for all of us and of course, followed it himself. These are something we all need to be aware of and perhaps take a step in that direction.
These steps are :-
Ahimsa (non violence)
This is not just physical violence but violence of all kinds. We should attempt not to shout back at the next person who abuses us. Our words and actions are potent tools that can cause immense agony or create and spread love. When we refuse to allow violence to reside in us, even in thought, our soul shall indeed bloom, unfettered by negativity.
We should try telling the truth next time we even refuse an invitation, are too busy to call somebody, or need to remain absent from office. The results will surprise us and eventually, life will get simpler and uncomplicated.
We all know corruption is the bane of society now and this has happened not just because of one person but the entire society,
Next time we are tempted to slip into the train without a ticket, we must stop yourself.
Remember that traveling without a valid ticket, not paying taxes, making claims on false bills, are as morally incorrect as picking someone’s pocket.
Brahmacharya is one of the most misunderstood terms. It is not celibacy as it is generally understood. He who revels in Brahman is the Sanskrit etymology of this term and naturally such a person is in full control of his senses. The choice of whether we make our senses our masters or slaves entirely depends on us.
Today, the market is constantly offering new products and gizmos. Do we, however, need any of this? Truly, multiplication of wants is one of the malaises of the times we live in and this principle is more relevant than ever to retain our sanity, if nothing else.
Shareera Shrama (physical labor)
The contribution of physical labor in keeping the ego under check and fostering humility has been emphasized by many masters, over the years. Even if the nature of our job is not oriented in this direction, we could take up an activity that involves physical exertion and is productive; for instance, cultivating a kitchen garden, volunteering at a local charity, cooking up a community meal.
Aswada (control of the palate)
Let us eat to nourish our body, not to please our tongue. This will pay off rich dividends in making us calmer, fitter, healthier and happier.
Sarvatra Bhaya Varjana (fearlessness)
We must be truthful and fearless in expressing our opinion. This will do wonders for our self-esteem and the ultimate victory will be yours.
Sarva Dharma Samanatva (respect for all faiths)
We must take a stand on religious conflict without looking the other way, whether or not it is your faith that is being attacked.
This is actually not just faith but all kinds of disrespect and intolerance. This is best said through a poem that reminds us of the atrocities committed not so long ago
“First they came …” is a famous statement and provocative poem attributed to pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984) about the cowardice of German intellectuals following the Nazis’ rise to power and the subsequent purging of their chosen targets, group after group.
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
Swadeshi (use locally made goods)
Let us try and encourage local produce… In many cases, this would be a better option too.
Sparsha Bhavana (shun untouchability)
Let us shun biases of any kind – whether it is against another caste, creed, nationality, region, economic background, religion, race or against people with certain preferences (gays, lesbians), ailments (AIDS, leprosy) or professions (bar dancers, sex workers).
This principle really means breaking of all barriers between one living being and another; and with this, we will in effect be taking an important step towards the perception of an interconnected, interdependent world.