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The Essential Gandhi: An Anthology of His Writings on His Life, Work, and Ideas Paperback – November 12, 2002
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"Gandhi was a unique person, a great person, perhaps the greatest figure of the last nineteen hundred years. And his words have been preserved as they came from his mouth and pen."
-- Louis Fischer
From the Inside Flap
?Gandhi was inevitable. If humanity is to progress, Gandhi is inescapable. . . . We may ignore him at our own risk.? ?Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
With a new Preface drawn from the writings of Eknath Easwaran
In the annals of spirituality certain books stand out both for their historical importance and for their continued relevance. The Vintage Spiritual Classics series offers the greatest of these works in authoritative new editions, with specially commissioned essays by noted contemporary commentators. Filled with eloquence and fresh insight, encouragement and solace, Vintage Spiritual Classics are incomparable resources for all readers who seek a more substantive understanding of mankind's relation to the divine.
Top Customer Reviews
Eknath Easwaran's 18 page Preface is worth the price of the 339 page paperbound book.
It is so incredibly well organized, hits the essential notes about Gandhi the man, his spiritual and political gifts to the world.
Anytime i need a dose of inner strength and need to evoke a spirit of service in my self this very portable and handy book is the magic key
I found his autobiography (called The Story of My Experiments with Truth) worked much better for me. In this book, which is written entirely in his own words, we join Gandhi on a journey of self-discovery as he relates experiences and learning lessons which were important during his life. His mission was to seek truth, which he achieved through conducting experiments on himself and then appraising the results.
Gandhi was one who never followed the crowd. He felt they didn't know where they were going. He preferred to trust his own judgement and soul, rather than blindly following other people or their beliefs. This did not mean he rejected all commonly held beliefs but he always cross-examined them fully before finally accepting them. He urges us not to follow him, rather to seek the truth for ourselves through our own experimentations. After all seeing is believing.
He found that uncovering the truth was not always popular as many people are resistant to change, preferring instead to maintain the existing status quo either because of inertia, self-interest or misguided beliefs. However once the truth is on the march nothing can stop it. All it takes is time to achieve traction and gain momentum. As Gandhi says "The truth is far more powerful than any weapon of mass destruction".
His autobiography confirms to us that the most important battle to fight is in overcoming one's own demons, fears and insecurities. It is all too easy to blame people, governing powers or enemies for our actions and wellbeing.Read more ›
This book draws from a number of original sources, including "My Experiments with Truth", etc., and you may choose to skip these excerpts and get the full writings. The more in this case the better.
Yet please take a moment to view the back cover using amazon's remarkable "Search Inside" feature, to read the quote about Gandhi's inevitability written by our nation's greatest Christian preacher, the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr., slain for doing and preaching non-violence, including opposing profitable warmongering and warmaking that only killed and wounded his and other peoples of color. King learned much about Christianity from Gandhi, and we can do no less. Lucky if we do as well.
Again, please search the mighty amazon for all of Gandhi's orignal works and read them in their entirety,and not only these excerpts collected originally long ago. (In fact one chapter heading, not quoting Gandhi, refers to Negros, a term which fell out of use some forty years ago).
I in particular now study with gratitude his Tous les hommes sont freres, whose topics are tellingly urgent today. His Way to God is also very very helpful and consoling.
But if you need a fine introductory text, begin here if you promise not to rest here. Vintage Spiritual Classics series are a decent popular source, but not the deep river that runs nearby. It is a division of Random House here recycling and reprinting old works still in the catalogue in new wineskins.
Go to the originals! These are the leaders and voices we most sorely need today: Dr. King and Gandhi. Or just read the Reverend Father John Dear, SJ, and you'll get the idea if not the Spirit. Or better yet, get Father Dear's collection of Gandhi's writings instead, from Orbis Books' Modern Spiritual Masters series entitled, Mohandas Gandhi: Essential Writings.
Moving on from the basic format, I found this book very enlightening, and not in the way that other reviewers seem to have. I doubt very much that I'm in a position to change anyone's opinion on him, but I ask that if you buy this book, look closely at the ways in which Gandhi supports his claims. Oftentimes he makes grand statements and then leaves them in the air, unsupported. This is not in an of itself a bad thing, as sometimes the truth value of a statement is obvious to the casual observer, but then again sometimes it is not.
Gandhi was certainly a great leader, but I think it's stretching to call him a great philosopher. His ideas were not new, even if the grand-scale application of them was. He seeks truth but seems largely unconcerned with methodology, which undermines the grand statements he makes.
If you do read this book critically, it may help to keep in mind persuasive techniques, even beginner things like appealing to authority. Watch for strange analogies, as in page 168's equating atoms to people and Love to hydrogen/ionic/covalent bonds.
It probably seems a little weird to hear someone object to the methodology of someone like Gandhi, but these days we have to be aware of the methods by which the people around us seem convincing, whether we like what they're saying or not.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Got this for a class. I found it was easy to follow and decent for a required reading.Published 3 months ago by Sarah
I loved this book and the way it was composed. Not only did I learn much about Gandhi, but a lot of history I did not know about South Africa, India and Pakistan. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Shane Y.
Mahatma Gandhi on Conversions: (And why the Hindu Mahatma Gandhi is more moral and virtuous than that mythological character Jesus)
Why I am Not a Convert... Read more
Gandhi is fascinating to me. Yes, I know he is no longer alive but his story and his essence remain. Read morePublished on October 31, 2013 by Carolyn Dargevics
The Essential Gandhi edited by Louis Fischer provides the reader with a solid introduction into Gandhi's' life, work, and ideas in his own words. Read morePublished on January 14, 2013 by Michael Griswold
This is a very good book on the life of Gandhi. A good overview of his life and philosophy. The book was a bit difficult at times to follow due to the amount of excerpts in the... Read morePublished on December 29, 2012 by James Roling