Gandhi’s confusions and Jainism

We have a lot of posts on Gandhi here and they replace to some extent the older posts from the older Darwiniana cited at Redline blog in their excellent discussion of the question.

We have cautioned many times that Gandhi is a misleading thinker, if not confused, and his position is not really supported in the Indian religious tradition (which however is hugely complex). Gandhi was influenced by the Hindu Gita which is very strange because that work in the classic interaction of Krishna and Arjuna actually goes out of its way to demand violence from Arjuna. What was Gandhi thinking here???

The place of non-violence in the Indic tradition is complex. One of the sources of Gandhi’s thinking was the Jain tradition whose stance on non-violence was seemingly extreme. They refused violence to the degree of refusing to step on insects in ferociously logical consistency that challenged samsaric existence as such.

But we should note most crucially that this was not a political strategy but a path to enlightenment which also included fasting unto death, Non-violence was seen as a path of meditation leading to enlightenment in a staged death. Gandhi’s attempt to make this into a political tactic has nothing to do with the original here.

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