and Buddha's Path to Enlightenment
by Raghavan Iyer
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Students of Professor Raghavan Iyer - and there are many thousands scattered around the world - will need no further explanation regarding his HERMES essays on Mahatma Gandhi's thought and life other than noting that all of those remarkable essays are gathered together here in one place for the first time, along with his HERMES essays on Buddha and the Path to Enlightenment. As far we understand his intent, these articles were never meant to be an exhaustive explication of the thought of Gandhi, in the way in which it is treated in his revolutionary work, The Moral and Political Thought of Mahatma Gandhi (MPTMG). Rather, the articles were meant to clarify the central concepts and ideals in Gandhi's thought and to deepen the understanding of students of Gandhi and the wider public about those concepts, which are the titles of the core articles in this work: Truth and Non-Violence, Gandhian Socialism; Non-Violent Resistance and Social Transformation: Satyagraha, Swaraj and Sarvodaya; Gandhian Trusteeship in Theory and Practice; Buddhi Yoga and Svadharma; Civilization, Politics and Religion; Sat and Sattva; Truth; Love; and The Seven Deadly Sins.
As the quotation near the front of this book makes clear, Mahatma Gandhi conducted a good deal of his adult life - his "experiments with truth" - very much in the tradition and the manner of Gautama Buddha. Gandhi took the foundation of Buddha's revelation - his First Noble Truth, that life is fraught with pain and suffering, from birth to death - and turned it inward in a unique and deeply creative manner. In his article, The Gandhian Bridge Between Heaven and Earth (in HERMES, January 1988) Prof. Iyer makes clear what should be an obvious connection to the student of Gandhi's life and thought, but is - remarkably - hardly noticed by many chroniclers of Gandhi. Even to the diligent student of Gandhi, this connection is difficult to grasp, as it is frequently understood only in an external sense. One can readily grasp that life brings suffering to every incarnated being, but it requires a profound revolution in consciousness to understand the necessity to actively choose suffering as a means of self-purification and the means by which an "enemy" might be purged of enmity, opposition, and violence.
Sri Raghavan Iyer earned first-class honors in Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Oxford University, a doctorate in Philosophy, and then was selected to be an Oxford Don in philosophy and politics. He lectured throughout Europe and also in Africa, and his extensive writings have been published by Oxford University Press and Concord Grove Press.
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