What Makes Gandhi A Mahatma?
Sadhguru looks at Mahatma Gandhi's life, and explains how a normal human being was transformed into something superhuman. This happened because his limited identities broke and instead, he identified with the larger process that was happening around him.
Sadhguru: What you can do and what you cannot do, nobody else can decide for you, nor can you decide, because when we say ‘what you can’ we’re talking about a capability. Capabilities are never stagnant; capabilities can be constantly enhanced, isn’t it? So, there’s really no limit as to what one can do, it’s…because capabilities can be constantly enhanced. It’s better to look at it in terms of ‘am I holding myself back for concerns other than what I want?’
Many human beings, you have seen people whom you, who are historically known as great beings; this is all that happened to them. They were living with a limited identification. Suddenly for some reason, some event broke their identities and suddenly they identified with a larger process that was happening around and they did things that they themselves could not imagine. For example Mahatma Gandhi, a very limited man, He could not make a living. He got qualified as a lawyer. I remember what he wrote when he… when he went out to fight his first case in the court in India he says, ‘I stood up to argue my case and my heart sank into my boots.’ This…this was his expression, and of course he lost the case. Then he decided this law is not for him. He must seek some other profession because he doesn’t have the courage to stand up and speak in a court room. Does that sound like Mahatma Gandhi? The man just moved millions of people. Just one incident, suddenly his old identities broke.
He went to South Africa to make a living and he was doing okay as a lawyer. And one day he bought a first class ticket in a train and got in and he traveled some distance. In the next station somewhere, another…a white South African got in. And he didn’t like a brown skin man sitting in a first class, so he called the ticket collector. Ticket collector said, ‘Get out!’ Mahatma Gandhi said, ‘I have a first class ticket.’ He said, ‘It doesn’t matter, just get out.’ He said, ‘No, I have a first class ticket. Why should I get out?’ So they threw him out of the train. His luggage and everything they just threw him out and he fell on the platform and he just sat there for hours. ‘Why did this happen to me? I bought a first class ticket. Why am I thrown out of a train?’ Suddenly he identified himself with a larger predicament of the people. Till then his survival, his law, his making money was all important. Suddenly he identified with a much larger problem that existed and he became a colossus - just broke that little identification and moved into a much larger identity.
Probably there is never been another man on this planet who moved as many people as Mahatma Gandhi moved, with such simple ways. I don’t call him a spiritual person, but socially, politically absolutely relevant for that day. Never before another conquering force on the planet has been made to vacate the land where they had taken roots, without firing bullets at them or killing them or anything like this. Never before such a thing has happened. People who have conquered the land, have conquered at a certain price, they won’t go easy. They won’t go easy, but it was made to look as if they went easy. It didn’t happen easy, but without fighting, without bloodshed, because the man could move people into that kind of action - but a kind of passive action.
See, shooting at the soldiers who’re carrying guns is one thing. Throwing bombs at them is another thing, but just going there, standing on the street and willing to be beaten down on the heads; with cracked skulls you fall down. One line of people fall down, the next line of people come and give their skulls to be broken again, is a completely different kind of strength. It’s not easy. It takes a very deep inner strength for a person to do that. Dying in fighting is different. You are also fighting; somebody else also is fighting with you. You get killed; that’s a different thing. Without fighting just going and getting killed is a very different thing; and that’s what he managed to do. And all that happened to him was from his small identity of himself and his family and wanting to make a living, his identity just exploded, identifying with a larger problem of the people that was there at that time. So, don’t put a limit on yourself as to what you can do and what you cannot do. You do everything that you can do, what does not happen is what you could not do, isn’t it? What did not happen is what you could not do, isn’t it? But you did everything possible, everything that you can imagine, still some things didn’t happen. Those are things you cannot do.