Gandhi Quiz


Responsible Actions

In the humdrum of daily life we do many things which seem trivial, innocuous and insignificant but added up they can have a major effect. I have no claims to be a preacher but in the spirit of karmayog I try to make every decision on the basis of three questions.
Is my action ethical? By this I mean is it morally correct? Is it a truthful, non-violent, unselfish act?
Is my action ecological? My action must be least harmful to mother earth. In fact it should conserve mother earth.
Is my action empowering? All the changes I bring into my life must enable me to enhance me spiritually and take me on the path to freedom.
Quoting the first verse of the Isha Upanishad:
The Lord is enshrined in the hearts of All.
The Lord is the Supreme reality.
Rejoice in Him through renunciation.
Covet nothing, All belongs to the Lord.
Thus working you can live a hundred years and attain full freedom.
The improvement we want in the world must begin with each one of us. There are many ways in which we can make a difference. From my own life I want to share with my readers the force multipliers that can make a difference. These are all actions easy to incorporate in our life.
Our very first act of morning ablutions can be a force multiplier if we use a half tank flush system in our toilets. This can save water to the tune of 15 litres in every single use. When we brush our teeth, shave or even wash our hands, by keeping the flow moderate we can save water substantially. Using only a bucket of warm water in tropical India is an act inspired by Gandhi who while bathing in the Sabarmati river decided that he had a right only over what he needed for his bath and the water downstream belonged to those who lived downstream. Similarly use of electricity sparingly and use of power saver CFL lighting are actions which are ethical and ecological. When we leave a room we can do ourselves and others an invaluable service by switching the lights and fans off. Opening and closing refrigerators as infrequently as possible is another responsible action. Use of clean fuels, car pooling and public transport when possible are also responsible actions. All these choices are empowering too since they give me the inspiration to be unselfish and look at all that is on mother earth as a shared bounty for use and enjoyment but certainly not for my indulgence.
We can use of eco-friendly products beginning with articles of personal use like tooth-pastes, soaps, belts, shoes, cosmetics free from animal products etc We have been created as intelligent beings more powerful than our animal brethren and are therefore duty bound to protect the lesser creatures on earth. Man was meant to eat fruits, vegetables, nuts and sprouts and a diet based on these foods enables me to live a healthy life causing the least damage to the environment. Awareness of the cruelty that goes in the name of the meat fish and poultry industry made me decide my food. The principles of the 3 R’s Refuse Reuse and Recycle became my mantra when it came to using plastic poly bags. Gradually I have minimized the use of poly bags. Segregation of garbage into dry and wet garbage and the conversion of wet garbage to manure was my humble contribution to the food chain. Use of local products rather than those from far off lands saves the earth by the decreased demand for fossil fuels in transferring these goods.
I have realized the inter-connections of my actions with my spiritual progress. These actions on a so called physical plane led to the thirst for more knowledge and being a man of “science”, books became my source of knowledge. Mere letters were never enough. True knowledge was to be found not from without but from within. Therefore stilling the mind is presently my priority. Yoga and meditation are my aids to realize my true nature and to reach the divine principle of existence. In the present age of violence we owe it to the world to counter the negative forces of hatred and violence with love and non-violence. We need to be non-violent in thought word and deed.
The Lord shows the path to those who search for knowledge but we all need guidance. In these choices I was helped by my teachers. My Guru in absentia is Mahatma Gandhi, whose example is constantly before my eyes. I am indebted to my Yoga teacher Guru Zubin Zarthostimanesh and to my guide in matters of nutrition Dr. Vijaya Venkat. For meditation I follow the Eight Point Programme of Sri Eknath Easwaran available on the website Besides them there have been innumerable guides. I continue relentlessly in my quest for making my actions selfless and more responsible and the illustrations above are by no means complete and exhaustive. If they were they would not urge me to take further steps on the path of knowledge. I realize fully that there is an invisible hand of the Lord who is the real doer and I am a mere instrument of change in his hand. I dedicate this action of writing this essay to the Supreme Lord. In the true spirit of karmayoga I offer my thoughts to my readers. I would like to hear from you your feedback and comments on my offering.

By Dr. Vispi Jokhi

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