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By Margaret Chatterjee, John Hick

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Man had before him a model of equilibrium in nature itself, an idea found also in the astronomy of the ancient Greeks. Gandhi's Religious Thought and Indian Traditions 19 Dharma stood for an ideal of society which should be noncompetitive, each man doing his proper work. The idea, moreover, focusses on duties not on rights. If this sounds out of date to modern ears it must also be noted that the defence of dharma involved the righting of injustices, the restoring of the balance which men in their ignorance or out of selfish passions had disturbed.

For him sacrifice means bread labour, which we came across earlier. To be detached from the fruits of action is not to abandon them. Simply because the contemplated action may go awry and unintended consequences follow, we need to be constantly on the alert. His conduct of successive satyagraha campaigns gives ample illustration of this. In human life the quest of perfection is an endless process. Not only Gandhi but everyone else would agree. The discussion of what perfection involves (going beyond the three guJ)as and reaching the state of a gu1}atzta) leads him to a curious line of reasoning to the effect that for us Krishna is not an exemplar: 43 If we believe Krishna to be God, we must impute to him omniscience and omnipotence.

36 We have to see the man as he is. I have so far stressed Gandhi's 'Hinduness', and we shall return to this. But it is also very necessary to be aware of the Jain elements in his mental make-up. These were pronounced enough for even Bal Gangadhar Tilak to have taken it for granted at one time that Gandhi was a Jain rather than a Hindu. Only the limitations imposed by the size this book has to conform to constrain me to mention very briefly and sketchily what these elements were. Jain influences in the Gujarat of Gandhi's time were very strong indeed.

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