The Gandhi Mandates
On September 11, 1906, in Johannesburg, South Africa, Gandhi led 3,000 fellow Indians in a public vow to work against the forces of fascist racism and a new 'law' to require registration and fingerprinting of all 'nonwhite' people. Gandhi promised he would die rather than comply with the tyranny of Apartheid. That set the stage with strategy and successful tactics that led Nelson Mandela to prison, then to victory as his country's first black president.
For another 42 years after the birth of his Satyagraha campaign, Mahatma Gandhi lived on to refine his strategy and tactics with holistic thinking, deep spirituality, and compassionate action. Inspired by Gandhi, the common people used his methods to defeat the British Empire.
By 1948, Indians restored their freedom, civil rights, and political sovereignty. If they had followed all of Gandhi's advice and used his strategy from then on, India would have had the world's greenest culture and the most successful economy, and the world might be green today.
It helps to remember that Gandhi was inspired by Henry David Thoreau's example and his writing, On Civil Disobedience, in active protest against the Spanish American War and compulsory conscription of American youth into the military. We should also recall that both Thoreau and Gandhi were inspired by the examples and teachings of Jainism and Buddhism, especially the Lotus Sutra. Its humanistic ideals and pragmatic spirituality empower Gandhi's satyagraha, sarvodaya, and swadeshi with a well proven solution to our global crisis.
If we employ Gandhi's strategy and methods, they will work now, as well as ever. If we start using Gandhi's solution now, then we will free ourselves of the worst consequences of rule by ecocidal maniacs, tyrants, terrorists, and greedy fools.
The following updates of Gandhi's directives are called mandates because they must have enough force to defeat the empire of corporate greed. The movement to end corporate sponsored ecocide faces weapons far more powerful than guns, cannons, rockets and nuclear bombs. We must overcome big money and the legion of psychospiritual weapons within — deliberate ignorance, delusion, denial, apathy, depression, greed, ruthless ambition, hostility, resentment, hate, blind rage, vindictiveness, spiteful jealousy, selfish envy, vanity, arrogance, false pride, normalized hubris, cowardice, addictions, bad habits and negative tendencies. Since getting ourselves to give up even a single bad habit or stupid belief usually seems the hardest thing ever, ending the war against nature, life and the environment — like ending any war — requires total and constant commitment.
Success requires fearless action and the persistence of all green officials, good people, parents and children; also the right strategy, tactics, methods, and self-discipline. To keep the campaign on track, we need Gandhi's three prerequisites, the most basic elements of a healthy culture...
A. Satyagraha: Literally meaning "the power of truth," satyagraha is the heart of Gandhi's threefold initiative to establish cultural health and sustainable peace on Earth. Satyagraha means realizing, expressing and fulfilling our highest values and greatest potentials.
B. Sarvodaya: As important as the power of truth is sarvodaya, our commitment to seeing and serving all as equals, with sincere appreciation and respect.
C. Swadeshi: Economic self-determination and local self-reliance are necessary for freedom from exploitation, subversion and chronic corruption.
Pandemic corruption is unsustainable. A healthy democracy is impossible without those three pillars of sustainable success. Gandhi's understanding of the world, life, nature, and karma, the generative interdependence of all beings and things led to further refinement. The Mahatma would surely approve modern updates of his strategy for creating a healthy culture in a sustainably green, peaceful world:
1. People in positions of power, whether political, economic, religious, civic, or administrative power, must sustain a holistic view of life and peace. Act to ensure that life enhancing governance and peace and creative problem solving are appreciated, mandated and adopted, globally. Enable all citizens and officials to understand and support the essential necessity of sustainably healthy civilization.
2. We cannot expect government to change the world. We, the people, must change, inspiring and nurturing a unanimous sense of biospheric responsibility, by example. For a sustainable culture, create a climate of true respect, compassion, wisdom, love, caring, giving and sharing.
3. Foster an evolutionary culture for youth, sustaining respect, fairness, and nonviolence. Support renunciation of hate and rejection of injustice by consistently showing disapproval of corrupt celebrities, war toys, violent games, destructive behavior, and negative influences.
4. Sustain compassionate responsiveness and appreciation. Honor, promote, and support positive contributions to the community of life and, while learning to reduce our wants, plan for the needs of all generations present and yet to come.
5. Foster biospheric consciousness, a larger sense of identity, free of racism, ageism, sexism, gender bias, addictions and other negative social programs, for recovery from normative insanity and systemic violence. Begin really loving life, nature, our planet, all other species and people.
6. Respond to the needs of the community of life, laying the foundation of a sustainable society and a healthy environment. Meet your own needs while enhancing the ability of future generations to meet theirs. As opportunities for the young and needy are created or enhanced, eradicate rule by fear, greed, deliberate under-employment and aggressive impoverishment.
It seems fitting that 911 is now recognized as an emergency call for help in life threatening crises. Gandhi's Satyagraha was a major inspiration for Dr. Martin Luther King's ultimately successful mission. The Civil Rights movement, the peace movement, the movement to end testing and use of nuclear weapons, the campaign to save the oceans, and many successful missions to end tyranny and the abuse of power and of the environment are supporting examples.
Gandhi was probably asked more than once if he believed a sustainably peaceful nation is really possible. He said yes, using King Ashoka's 37 year reign of peaceful prosperity as an example. Gandhi knew that peace can now be more sustainable than it was in Ashoka's empire, 2400 years ago.
True nobility and heroic action foster sustainable self esteem, basic joy, and ultimate success for the best possible future. We need to do our best to ensure a beautiful future for our children and the following six generations, at least. To do that we need to act courageously, demand responsible action of elected officials, hold them accountable, and teach by example. Demanding less of ourselves, our governments, and our schools, while corruption and apathy destroy the biosphere, can only accelerate and intensify global disasters.