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Gandhi the Man: The Story of His Transformation, 3rd Edition Paperback – August 15, 1997

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Editorial Reviews


"Gandhi the Man is a compelling and relevant account of the man many consider to be the most important figure of our age. It is perhaps the most accessible work on Gandhi that has yet been published." -- Argus-Courier

"It comes closer to giving some sense of how Gandhi saw his life than any other account I have read. . . . Gandhi mastered his own life took charge of his mind and his body. As a result he knew no fear, only great and undifferentiated love for the rest of creation. And so he was able to powerfully affect that creation." -- Bill McKibben, New York Post

"The illustrations are stunning, the biography vivid. Easwaran places Gandhi within a spiritual as well as historic context." -- Brain/Mind Bulletin

From the Publisher

In 1893, Mohandas Gandhi left India for South Africa at the age of 23 a man whose past was full of failure. Ten years later, called a saint even by those who opposed him, he grew to become the acknowledged leader of 400 million Indians in their struggle for independence. How did it happen? As a young man, Eknath Easwaran visited Gandhi not to observe his political style, he states, but, "because I wanted to know the secret of his power." It is this secret that Easwaran reveals to his readers. 192 pages

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Nilgiri Press; 3rd edition (August 15, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0915132966
  • ISBN-13: 978-0915132966
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 7 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #734,785 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Eknath Easwaran (1910-1999) is respected around the world as one of the twentieth century's great spiritual teachers and an authentic guide to timeless wisdom. Although he did not travel or seek large audiences, his books on meditation, spiritual living, and the classics of world mysticism have been translated into twenty-six languages. More than 1.5 million copies of Easwaran's books are in print.

His book Meditation, now titled Passage Meditation, has sold over 200,000 copies since it was first published in 1978. His Classics of Indian Spirituality - translations of The Bhagavad Gita, The Dhammapada, and The Upanishads - have been warmly praised by Huston Smith, author of The World's Religions, and all three books are bestsellers in their field.

A gifted teacher who lived for many years in the West, Easwaran lived what he taught, giving him enduring appeal as a teacher and author of deep insight and warmth.

Easwaran's mission was to extend to everyone the spiritual disciplines that had brought such rich benefits to his own life. For forty years he devoted his life to teaching the practical essentials of the spiritual life as found in every religion. He taught a universal message that although the body is mortal, within every creature there is a spark of divinity that can never die. And he taught and lived a method that any man or woman can use to reach that inborn divinity and draw on it for love and wisdom in everyday life.

Whenever asked what religion he followed, Easwaran would reply that he belonged to all religions. His teachings reached people in every faith. He often quoted the words of Mahatma Gandhi, who influenced him deeply: "I have not the shadow of a doubt that every man or woman can achieve what I have, if he or she would make the same effort and cultivate the same hope and faith."

Eknath Easwaran (1910-1999) was born into an ancient matrilineal family in Kerala state, South India. There he grew up under the close guidance of his mother's mother, whom he honored throughout his life as his spiritual teacher. From her he learned the traditional wisdom of India's ancient scriptures. An unlettered village woman, she taught him through her daily life, which was permeated by her continuous awareness of God, that spiritual practice is something to be lived out each day in the midst of family and community.

Growing up in British India, Easwaran first learned English in his village high school, where the doors were opened to the treasure-house of English literature. At sixteen, he left his village to attend a nearby Catholic college. There his passionate love of English literature intensified and he acquired a deep appreciation of the Christian tradition.

Later, contact with the YMCA and close friendships within the Muslim and Christian communities enriched his sense of the universality of spiritual truths. Easwaran often recalled with pride that he grew up in "Gandhi's India" - the historic years when Mahatma Gandhi was leading the Indian people to freedom from British rule through nonviolence. As a young man, Easwaran met Gandhi and the experience of sitting near him at his evening prayer meetings left a lasting impression. The lesson he learned from Gandhi was the power of the individual: the immense resources that emerge into life when a seemingly ordinary person transforms himself completely.

After graduate work at the University of Nagpur in Central India, where he took first-class degrees in literature and in law, Easwaran entered the teaching profession, eventually returning to Nagpur to become a full professor and head of the department of English. By this time he had acquired a reputation as a writer and speaker, contributing regularly to the Times of India and giving talks on English literature for All-India Radio.

At this juncture, he would recall, "All my success turned to ashes." The death of his grandmother in the same year as Gandhi's assassination prompted him to turn inward.

Following Gandhi's inspiration, he became deeply absorbed in the Bhagavad Gita, India's best-known scripture. Meditation on passages from the Gita and other world scriptures quickly developed into the method of meditation that today is associated with his name.

Eknath Easwaran was Professor of English Literature at the University of Nagpur when he came to the United States on the Fulbright exchange program in 1959. Soon he was giving talks on India's spiritual tradition throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. At one such talk he met his future wife, Christine, with whom he established the organization that became the vehicle for his life's work. The mission of the Blue Mountain Center of Meditation, founded in 1961, is to change lives and build a better world by publishing Sri Eknath Easwaran's timeless words, preserving his legacy, and teaching his Eight Point Program of passage meditation.

After a return to India, Easwaran came back to California in 1965. He lived in the San Francisco Bay Area the rest of his life, dedicating himself to the responsive American audiences that began flowing into his classes in the turbulent Berkeley of the late 1960s, when meditation was suddenly "in the air." His quiet yet impassioned voice reached many hundreds of students in those turbulent years.

Always a writer, Easwaran started a small press in Berkeley to serve as the publishing branch of the Blue Mountain Center of Meditation. Nilgiri Press was named after the Nilgiris or "Blue Mountains" in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, where Easwaran had maintained a home for some years.

In thousands of talks and his many books Easwaran taught passage meditation and his eight-point program to an audience that now extends around the world. Rather than travel and attract large crowds, he chose to remain in one place and teach in small groups - a preference that was his hallmark as a teacher even in India. "I am still an educator," he liked to say. "But formerly it was education for degrees; now it is education for living." His work is being carried forward by the Blue Mountain Center of Meditation.

If you would like to find out more about Easwaran's teachings and the Center that he founded please visit us at, and read our blog

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Doug Sandlin on August 5, 2001
Format: Paperback
Gandhi is one of my key personal heroes, and I expect he will continue to be for the duration of my life. One of the primary reasons for this is that I draw such inspiration from someone who transformed his life from the mire of confusion and failure that many of us experience, to become a beacon of inspiration, accomplishment and near-flawless integrity. Gandhi's life also identifies the exact ways, means and principles surrounding how integrating and extending spiritual energy can help us in achieving any goal, no matter how daunting it may seem. I have read several books on Gandhi, including "My Experiments with Truth" -- which I recommend with the caveat that it is very laborious reading. "Gandhi the Man" on the other hand, cuts to the chase -- and helps readers to see the essence of the greatness of Gandhi, while also pointing us to the tools that will help us achieve greatness in our own lives (integration of thought, word and deed, meditation, focus on service, etc.). Highly recommended!
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Stan the Man on December 4, 2004
Format: Paperback
My church used this book as a weekly study of Gandhi's spiritual legacy. It was wonderful. It is full of penetrating quotes and delightful pictures. It's a short read and immensely inspiring. It reminds me that we all have the potential to be a Gandhi. Note that the publisher of this book has a free study guide on their site as a companion for the book. Go to [...] and then click to the page where you would buy the book. I've also found other books from this publisher to be very good.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Rebecca Brown on September 30, 2003
Format: Paperback
In October, which is his birth month, everyone who has ever been affected by the teachings of the Mahatma turns to refresh themselves about who he was & what he gave to us. Because of my parents' antipathy toward this rabble rouser, I naturally wanted to know more about him. It was the Mahatma's tenets that I learnt as a volunteer during the early anti-apartheid marches in London after Nelson Mandela was incarcerated, & which stood me in good stead in Chicago during the Civil Rights Movement.
In GANDHI THE MAN, Eknath Easwaran offers a simply read primer, with lots of photographs, into who the man was & how he came to his way of life. Definitely for those who have ever wondered about this great soul & about how to transform the quality of their lives.
A perennial Rebeccasreads recommendation. Then explore all the other offerings from Nilgiri Press & the Blue Mountain Center for Meditation.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Will Jerom on October 9, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is light reading, and succeeds in capturing some of the essential quotes of Gandhi, including his beliefs in non-violence, and his dedication to satyagraha. It is beautifully presented and rich with photos and quotes from Gandhi. Readers who are looking for a wealth of biographical details should look elsewhere - to Louis Fischer's Gandhi: His Life and Message for the World, for example. Advanced readers will also find this to be a light (but fairly accurate) summary of his book. For the new initiate, or the first-time reader, however, this book would serve as a good, short, stepping-stone to more detailed works about Gandhi.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Lion King on October 29, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Gandhi, in my opinion, is one person we must not forget to get acquaited with if we are searching for the truth about ourselves. He became known for his contributions to the independence of India through his philosophy of non-violence. There have been many books written about the historical events comprising that journey. But, as he himself had said, the more significant journey that he took was one that was internal. The real "war" he was fighting was the spiritual war inside him. This book by Eknath Easwaran is a rare book that focuses entirely on that aspect of the great man. I would highly recommend this book if one is trying to find one's way to the heart of the "great soul".
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Sweet P on May 15, 2007
Format: Paperback
This book was recommended to me by a friend who teaches English at the local college. What a great book! It's not a hefty read - but you feel you get a complete overview of the man and his life's contributions. Highly recommend this book at anyone whether they are a long time Gandhi fan, or someone who just wants to know more about this amazing world leader.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jack Bender on January 30, 2010
Format: Paperback
Gandhi was extremely shy as a youth, running home from school to avoid talking to anyone. He later became a lawyer, but found it too difficult to speak well in court. In his own words, he was a coward. His early life was characterized by mediocrity and a lack of focus. He married at age thirteen, "preposterously early." While madly in love with his wife, the early years of their marriage were conflicted, with Gandhi attempting to enforce his will on his wife. Gandhi's transformation had its beginning in the realization that his wife had patiently loved him despite his chauvinistic and overbearing ways. Gandhi had experienced the power of love and its ability to transform people and relationships.

Gandhi's dedication to unselfishly work for the good of humanity came from a galvanizing incident. He was in South Africa and had a train ticket for first class. He was told (due to the color of his skin) that it didn't matter that he had a ticket. He was to sit in third class. He refused and was removed from the train. From that moment forward, Gandhi had to learn why people inflict pain on others and how that process could be frustrated, transformed.

As the subtitle indicates, the book is about his life and "The Story of His Transformation." It contains a nice balance of biography, photos and quotes from Gandhi. I think the power of this book rests in its ability to show that human transformation is possible, desirable and unbelievably powerful. An easy, but worthy read.

--Jack H. Bender, author of Disregarded: Transforming the School and Workplace through Deep Respect and Courage
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