Many people believe that spiritualism is not for this world, that it is not a practical tool to bring about societal transformation. But that's a misconception.
Mahatma Gandhi was a deeply spiritual person. He used to read the Bhagwad Geeta every day. He went district by district, state by state, and conducted big satsangs, which unified everyone in the spirit of oneness in the country, and that collective energy helped us secure our freedom. At the same time, he had the sense of sacrifice. ‘I want nothing for myself but I want it for my people’. We need to rekindle this spirit of sacrifice again in society and in business.
When we were growing up, we often heard many inspirational stories about Mahatma Gandhi. One incident was when Mahatma Gandhi was travelling in a train to Darjeeling. When the train was moving up the hill, somewhere, the engine got disconnected from the coaches. The engine moved ahead and the coaches started sliding backward. So while there was panic all around, Mahatma Gandhi was dictating letters calmly. The person who was taking the dictation said, “Bapu, we may not be alive. We are in-between life and death.” Do you know what Mahatma Gandhi said then? He said, ‘If we die, we die. But if we are saved, we would have wasted so much time? Come on, take dictation.’ He would not waste a moment of his life.
There is another story I would like to share with you. Once someone said, ‘Bapu, your dhoti is torn.’ Mahatma Gandhi went into the bathroom and adjusted his garments a little bit, and then asked, ‘See now, and tell me where it is torn? There is a lot of it left to get torn.’ His idea was not to waste resources; not to be a consumerist by nature.
In the time of Mahatma Gandhi, great pride was attached to nonviolence. But today, pride is associated with violence. It is time now, that we reverse this. Pride should be placed in non-violence and in peace. We need to take a fresh look at the state of affairs in the world. The people have to awaken and become more aware of nation building.
Today, we need to raise a wave of spirituality, like Mahatma Gandhi did. What does spirituality mean? Sitting somewhere for a while and doing kirtan? No. Spirituality (Adhyatma) means the feeling of oneness with everyone. We need to move from greed to generosity, service and a sense of belongingness in the community. We need to tread the path of nonviolence, service and love. The voice of non-violence has to be heard loud and clear. If we are able to inspire more and more people to see life with this magnanimous outlook, who can take responsibility for others' emotional well-being, our society has a realistic chance of becoming more peaceful and harmonious.