This assertion was the bassnote in the symphony of Gandhi’s life. Gandhi said that he learned this from the Bhagavadgita, which says, “Yours is the action, not the result.” Gandhi repeatedly said that he would not have been able to do what he did if he had not focused on the quality of his actions and left the results to God.
In focusing only on his present moment actions and their quality, Gandhi freed himself from anxiety and wasted energy. Maybe that’s why he was able to sleep only 2-4 hours a night. This strategy led him to be so relaxed that when a British newspaper reporter asked him, “Mr. Gandhi, don’t you ever take a vacation?” he replied, “I am always on vacation.”
In what ways do we cooperate with evil? This is the hard question Gandhi would have us ask ourselves. As much as we lend our efforts to good causes, we must also look at how our lifestyle choices, spending, and other choices may co-operate with or tolerate the intolerable.
This is a tough one. If my nation, Canada, or perhaps any nation in the world, is judged this way, it is a mixed bag at best. On the one hand we have laws against animal cruelty, societies to protect cats and dogs, standards for slaughterhouses and dairy farms, and even dog spas.
On the other hand, we kill millions of animals a day for food and conditions on dairy, meat, and fur farms around the world are consistently shown to be horrific and violating to animals on numerous levels. As if that weren’t enough, a direct result of our industrial capitalist economies is the extinction of dozens of species of animals every day. What can we do to stop co-operating with these evils?
Gandhi said this one when a reporter asked him what his message was. The point of the quote is not to ponder how Gandhi’s life was his message, of course, but to ponder how your own life is your message.