On Gandhi’s Birthday

MEXICO CITY, MEXICO – Feb 13, 2021: A monument dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi, leader of the Indian nationalist movement, in Bosque de Chapultepec park, Mexico City

Dear friends,

For Gandhi’s birthday celebration today (Sat.) a group of us from the ashram (it doesn’t just mean “community”!) watched the first part of Attenborough’s Gandhi.  The film never fails to amaze me.  A perfect marriage of the incredible inspiration of the man, Gandhi, with a rare filmmaking genius who caught that inspiration full on.  

There are, to be sure, a few little errors in the film, like saying ‘ashram’ only means ‘community.’  Since I live in an ashram I found that irksome, until I realized that it’s part of a deliberate policy Attenborough must have followed not to present Gandhi’s spirituality, which is a huge omission, to be sure, but probably a wise one for the time as it would have confused and alienated many viewers and opened an excuse for the most common way to dismiss Gandhi that I’ve heard countless times over the years: “I could never do that.”  “He wasn’t human.”  In fact, of course, one of his firmest declarations was:

“I have not the shadow of a doubt that any man or woman can do

what I have done. . .”

if, he went on to say, they cultivate the same determination and faith.  Tall order, yes, but not impossible, surely.

Since Gandhi is so precious to me I wanted the film to be absolutely correct in every detail; but when I made a bit of a film myself (see thirdharmony.org) I realized that if he (Attenborough) had followed my advice the film would have been some kind of flop instead of an award-winning classic that has opened the eyes of millions!

So best wishes to all of you on this auspicious day.  And to make it more auspicious, go ahead and watch Gandhi when you have a chance.  We at Metta have in mind to arrange some kind of virtual screening and maybe conversation soon, so as they say, ‘watch this space.’

Warm regards,

Michael

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