gandhiji is the ultimate no-limit solider. comparisons have long been odius to me and i'm on the superlative train from here on out. let there be no confusion. in the land of infinite mangos (just coming into season) the notion of infinite 'bests' and 'ultimates' and 'mosts' admits no contradiction.
the train back from dandi cost seventy rupees (an old man gave me the money for i had none) and took five hours. the trip down to dandi cost nothing you could monetize and took twenty-six days. the friend who put me on the train said it would be 'empty' after surat. from dandi to surat there were more people standing than sitting. the well-apportioned luggage racks had three to four people each atop them, your favorite revolutionist included. after surat, and for the next five hours, the seats and luggage racks continued to be full, but the number of standing passengers dropped merely to equal the number of seated ones. the indian idea of 'empty' is thusly defined.
the no-limit soldier bathes daily in the cold water of truth. he washes his own clothes in it every night. she maintains no illusions about the immediacy of the revolution nor her own ability to enjoy its fruits. he satisfies his hunger with the salty pickles of green mangos and is so focused on his goal that the ripe orange variety never enters his mind. such was jesus of the gospels. such was huey newton of the panthers. such are the no-limit soldiers.
the limit is death. death is the limit. death is the notion that your dharma is related to this fleeting spacetime realm, and therefore is somehow worth less if unfinished. the work will always remain unfinished. gandhi with every step he took, word he spoke, and fast he engaged, understood and preached this truth. through his every action he stretched his brown body on the painted lines of past and future and offered himself to death. i think that's the only reason he lived so long.
"Here is a mantra, a short one, that I give you. You may imprint it on your hearts and let every breath of yours give expression to it. The mantra is: 'Do or Die'. We shall either free India or die in the attempt; we shall not live to see the perpetuation of our slavery. Every true Congressman or woman will join the struggle with an inflexible determination not to remain alive to see the country in bondage and slavery. Let that be your pledge. Keep jails out of your consideration.
"Let every man and woman live every moment of his or her lives hereafter in the consciousness that he or she eats or lives for acheiving freedom and will die, if need be to attain that goal. Take a pledge, with God and your own conscience as witness, that you will no longer rest till freedom is acheived and will be prepared to lay down your lives in the attempt to acheive it. He who loses his life will gain it; he who will seek to save it shall lose it. Freedom is not for the coward or the faint-hearted."
- Gandhi's address after the passage of the Quit India resolution, 8-8-42, Bombay
what's so remarkable about gandhi to me, today, is his ambition. every prophet and daughter of god understands the truth. "truth and non-violence are as old as the hills". what gandhiji did was implement the experiment of truthful, sattvic, living on as large a scale as possible, with his own body and the indian body politic as subjects. his revolution was not to be made of brainwashed soldiers, nor a cadre of the intellectual or moral vanguard. his army was to be the 400 million peasants of india, each of whom he would personally show how to live as jesus. gandhi, it seems to be, was totally unsatisfied and unimpressed with his individual efforts towards purity -- he worked tireless (and ultimately fruitlessly) towards the purity (self-realization, non-violence, etc.) of Every Man and Woman in India. that's what made the ambition of the Indian Revolution different -- unlike other post-colonial revolutions or the land-reform movements in south america, the architect of the Indian revolution was not, ultimately, after power, indepedence, self-sufficiency, material freedom, land, the end of poverty, or respect. those are all material consdierations, however noble and necessary, and gandhiji was about Total Spiritual Freedom. which, i think, is why the Indian Revolution's successes and failures were so huge and so different.
today i'll start trying to free the spirit of my journey from the chains of my handwriting. the recording device i took along with me (in lieu of a camera) somehow broke and i lost all my roadside poetry, bhajans, and interviews with enlightened swamis. it's all right, none of them were that enlightened anyhow.
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