January 30, 1948 Gandhi, this champion of non-violence, fell victim to fanatical violence.  During his cremation, as the women wailed and the men sobbed, the fire logs crackled as if cheering him onto his final destination. Among words of condolences pouring in from world leaders, Einstein´s was the most eloquent. He opined that, generations to come will scarce believe that such a one as this walked the earth in flesh and blood.

Gandhi was hurled into politics en route to Pretoria.  A colored man riding first class in South Africa was unheard of. Consequently, the conductor lucidly ordered his black ass off the train. Forcibly ejected, in the shivering cold, he pondered his fate. More than anything, he contemplated how to alleviate the all-pervading racial discrimination suffered by non-whites. Thus, was born the Mahatma. 

Through 32 years of unremitting struggle, Gandhi fathered a free and democratic India. His most valued asset, his watch.  He had no rest-day.  Rising at 3:45 am he worked until the next day well-past midnight.  To crusade against the intolerable vivisection of his beloved India, and at age 78, he burnt the candle at both ends.

Jail was no deterrent either. Since he couldn´t be a politician, he worked on being a saint.  His prison was this temple; work, the medium to attain God. Action was the antidote to his frustrations.


Some yogis meditate, others act. Gandhi was a yogi of action: a karma yogi. As one of his biographers so elegantly summarized: He was a karma yogi, ever active, ever moving on and on toward the goal. The least he could do was to do the most he could do. He worked unceasingly.

Such was the character of The Mahatma.

Excerpted from The Eloquence of Effort.