Three months before he was assassinated in 1947, Gandhi gave his grandson a list of seven social sins:
Wealth without Work
Pleasure without Conscience
Knowledge without Character
Commerce without Morality
Science without Humanity
Religion without Sacrifice
Politics without Principle
The list was originally published in 1925 in Gandhi’s newspaper, YOUNG INDIA, and although it is often attributed to him, apparently Gandhi had heard about it from a friend – it came from a sermon delivered a few months earlier at Westminster Abbey by Frederick Lewis Donaldson. Whatever its first origins, it remains a fine guideline for our times.
In 1946, when he was 12, Arun Gandhi had been sent from South Africa by his parents to live with his famous grandfather in India. He spent only 18 months with him but what he learned in that time became his own life’s work. He has followed in his grandfather’s footsteps teaching how we can create just and non-violent societies around the world.
Although I have a number of books both by and about Gandhi, I have especially appreciated a magazine I found at a Barnes and Noble bookstore – The Official Collector’s Edition, published in 2017 by Topix Media Lab. It is an inclusive story of the Mahatma’s life with several articles and many photographs. In “Arun with a View,” Arun is quoted as saying,
“’When we bring up our children, because we bring them up in this materialistic lifestyle, we tell them right from the time they are young that they have to be ambitious and get to the top and to just think about themselves.’” *
The article (with no named author) goes on to say,
“Although a man of modest nature, Arun’s ambitions are no less than a complete reshaping of modern society into a community based on love and respect, rather than (as Arun sees it) the current obsession with acquiring wealth and power.”
Arun Gandhi has added an eighth sin to the list – Rights without Responsibility, a sin that I find has special relevance today. When we claim rights thinking only about ourselves and our ambitions are driven by our need to “get to the top”, we can do harm.
In his own on-line biography Arun Gandhi told of being beaten when he was a child in South Africa by whites because he was too “black” and by blacks because he was too “white.” His response was to fight back. Then his grandfather taught him to understand nonviolence through understanding violence. He quoted his grandfather,
“If we know how much passive violence we perpetrate against one another we will understand why there is so much physical violence plaguing societies and the world.”
That’s where the list of social sins comes in – those eight positives can become destructive “passive violence” when they aren’t balanced by the eight socially beneficial values and actions. The Topix magazine article goes on to quote Arun Gandhi about what true nonviolence is,
“When grandfather stood up, he refused to use any kind of violence – physical or verbal or emotional. … (T)he fine line dividing a movement based on nonviolence from one filled with anger boils down to respect. Respect for the differences others have while embracing the common humanity everyone shares, whether oppressor or the oppressed.”
Arun went on to say that we need to teach our children to go beyond tolerating diversity and to respect it. I think, instead, that our “children”, the next generation, are teaching us.
And what does this have to do with WINN? The lesson over and over again is that when we become aware at higher states of consciousness or we have psi experiences, we know that we all are one and we choose to avoid the sins on this list.
(You might like to look back at an earlier WINN post (The After-life States of Consciousness, published on December 15, 2017) about the changes in values of people who have a Near Death Experience.)
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THE OFFICIAL COLLECTOR’S EDITION: GANDHI, His Life, Lessons & Legacy Today,
Special #1, published in 2017 by Topix Media Lab.
* “Arun with a View” is on pages 54 to 61.
Also see – http://www.arungandhi.net