Socio-political Roots and Consequences of Gandhi’s View of God and God’s Relationship with Truth
: Connection of philosophers’ views and philosophical schools with the social and philosophical conditions of the time
Ali Naqi Baqershahi
(دانشگاه بين¬المللي امام خميني (ره) قزوين )
The present paper investigates the socio-political roots and consequences of Gandhi’s view of God and God’s relationship with truth. His idea of God and truth is rooted in Vedanta School of philosophy, Vaishnavism, and his studies of Islam and Christianity. Based on Vedanta philosophy, truth is discussed at two levels of nirguna (a truth without attributes or station of essence) and saguna (a truth with attributes or the station of names and attributes). In Vaishnavism, reference is made to Vishnu, who is one of the Vedic deities, as a personal God and the preserver of the world. Because of his philosophical interest in Vedanta and his family belief in Vaishnavism, Gandhi believed in both impersonal (Vedantic) God and personal (Vishnu) God. At the beginning of developing his philosophical thoughts, for several reasons, he concluded that God is the same as the truth for he believed that one can only refer to God as the truth. In his view, truth is not an attribute of God and is, rather, the same as God. In Indian philosophical texts, the term satya is used to refer to the truth. The root of this word is /sat/ (is) meaning that God is the same as the truth and being. Later Gandhi decided that, instead of saying, “God is the truth”, he should say, “the truth is God”. In his view there is a subtle difference between these two statements. Gandhi states that the only way through which one can attain the truth is ahimsā (non-violence) and, in order to clarify this term, he refers to the concept of satyagrah (holding to the truth), which, he believes, is the technique of using ahimsā. This mainly focuses on the great influence of Gandhi’s approach to God and the truth over the quality of his socio-political campaigns against British colonists.
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