Happy 2008! I have always admired Mohandas K. Gandhi, but that admiration and respect has been deepening as I decided to start this year by reading a book called “Words of Gandhi”.
Just one of many quotes I have already enjoyed (that capture simple, yet profound thoughts) is this:
“I do not believe…that an individual may gain…while those around him suffer. I believe in advaita*, I believe in the essential unity of man and for that matter, of all that lives. Therefore, I believe if one man gains spirituality, the whole world gains with him and if one man falls then the whole world falls with him to that extent.”
*(advaita…is one of the two branches of Vedanta…holds that Brahman, the Self, is ultimate reality, and that the world has come into being from Brahman and is wholly dependent on it)
When I asked my Hindu friend last night what she thought about this quote and more about what it might mean, she told me that she wasn’t so sure about Hindu philosophy, but that she strongly agreed with the idea that we are all connected, that – because we are all connected – when one succeeds we all succeed, and that when one fails we all fail to that same extent.
I’ve thought about that a lot over the last few years – and about what is it that makes some people jealous of another’s success, feeling like it is somehow their own failure?
This is just my idea, but perhaps because we focus way too much on what we are getting (and what we have) than who we are becoming (and what we give), and in that way are deceived in our understanding what true success is?
I like the concept that we are all connected – and that when one succeeds, all humanity succeeds to that same extent. But what does it mean to really “succeed”? Any ideas?
Perhaps that is material for a blog entry on a different day…