Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Satyagraha: The Pilgrimage of Gandhi

I am a wee-bit smitten with Gandhi and the idea of Satyagraha, because of what it has to say about the pilgrimage that is life. Note the statue of Gandhi above, with his walking stick, doing exactly what Jesus himself asked of his disciples: take very little with you on your pilgrimage: simply take a walking stick, sandals, a little bit of clothing. There is no back pack; no water bottle, no hat even.

But it is Satyagraha--truth force--that has caught my imagination. Listening and being around many Episcopalians the last few days--which is phenomenal for this Presbyterian--along with the coming of the Pope (Benedict) to the US in the next few days--which has all of NYC abuzz--I've heard the word "pilgrimage" spoken by many, and blasted on the air waves. Pilgrimage is synonymous with "travel" as in "tourist" in which people take a "pilgrimage" to a place where "pilgrimages" have taken place, and plop down at the pilgrimage site, and believe that they are on pilgrimage, when they are simply being tourists. On these sorts of pilgrimage there is no physical exertion per se, or exertion of mind or spirit, though there is a sense of titillation of the senses.

Gandhi was on a pilgrimage of truth, spreading truth non-violently in the face of a violent world. Gathering others to walk in truth with him, all on a pilgrimage of truth, he changed the world for the better.

Time to start walking the walk...yes?

Bien camino!

Pilgrim peace, Brett

2 comments:

Larry said...

I taught a college course in puppetry where we used the life of Gandhi as our text. The students were caught up in Gandhi's journey and the power of a truth force in his continuing public witness. There was so much in his story that we could only deal with his formative years in South Africa. Some of the students were about his age when he went to South Africa and began to work out his ideas. We ended the semester with a performance that was funny and poignant and inspiring and thought provoking. We, too, were quite taken by him.

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