George Orwell: Reflections on Gandhi
I didn’t know this essay existed. Orwell wrote about Gandhiji just after his assassination.
Eventually it comes down to the debate between Man and God. Mahatma Gandhi (MG) basically led his life like the Buddha…all life is pain and the only way to avoid pain is to move away from all temptations and people who cause pain...so while MG’s overarching cause was India’s independence, his personal beliefs played a huge role in the way we got there. He wanted to reach a stage of Nirvana, which is why his personal relationships with people were pretty much without attachment and which affected his relationships with his wife and kids adversely.
The question really is whether we want to lead lives without attachment and whether it is possible to love people and still be happy, despite the fact that people will die, or leave or hurt us during the course of our lives.
If we accept that there is just this one life and that there is no rebirth, no recycling of the soul, nothing that we have to strive for beyond this life, then being without attachments and pursing a path of penance, deriving the body of its pleasures really makes no sense at all.
The middle path that Nagarjuna espoused perhaps works. Like in quantum physics, we may be or we may not be and if the world may be or may not be then it makes sense to accept things as they are because they are and while we can strive to better our lot, if we can’t we can accept the fact that we tried and then move on.