Gandhi’s Granddaughter Ela Gandhi:
Gandhiji at Mariannhill Monastery

Posted by on Nov 12, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

Satyagraha Tour of South Africa Plans to Visit Mariannhill Monastery

Gandhi’s Granddaughter Ela Gandhi, in her own words and voice, describes the affect the time Gandhiji spent at Mariannhill Monastery in South Africa had in transforming his life.

Ela Gandhi Mariannhill Monastery South AfricaVideo transcribed for the hearing impaired:
The inspiration of Mariannhill Monastery

When he visited the Mariannhill Monastery he saw the monks, the nuns, the people who came there to learn all working together in their fields. What impressed him that everybody was doing all of the work whether it was cleaning of the yard, or cleaning of the toilets, or working in the farm, everybody got together and worked so there was no inequality in who was supposed to do the tasks.

Today what we see is that the poorer people, the less educated people, are the ones who are given the tasks of sweeping the streets, of cleaning the toilets, of doing all of those tasks that are not very pleasant, and so you see a hierarchy of tasks and they get paid the least and yet those are tasks that are important for our survival. If they are not there one day, we cannot live, because somebody has to clean up, somebody has to do these things, maintaining our surroundings. And so we are so dependent on them yet we do not value them. We do not value those tasks, and Gandhiji when he saw this, he was impressed that everybody was doing the tasks without any qualms about it we all take turns to do things.

Then he was also impressed with the fact that there was no kind of authoritative relationship between the monks, the nuns, the men and the women or the different races, because they were black people, they were white people and everybody ate the same food, they sat on the same table, they wore the same kind of clothes, so there was no differentiation in terms of race, sex, color or anything like that and that was like an island in a racist country like South Africa. And so he was very impressed with that, that total equality in terms of race. And then he also felt that hand work, working with your hands was very important. In that monastery they taught carpentry, they taught leather work, they taught needle work, and all kinds of things that people can do with their hands which makes them self sufficient.

Mariannhill Monastery is a place that gandhi and his grand daughter ela both love.Because those are the needs, you need food, you need clothing, you need your shoes and all those things and they make them all at Mariannhill Monastery. So you become self-sufficient, and you’re not dependent on the cities, or any other people to make those things for you. He was very impressed with that. Now being a young lawyer, appreciating at that time, you know his own status as a lawyer, as a learned person, and he you know he liked good clothes and everything, when he saw this, it immediately inspired him to change his own life and that’s when the transformation of Gandhi took place Gandhiji.

If you see him, you know his photographs, and his dressing, it was during that period you know between 1895 that he visited this monastery and you know beginning to think about how do I change my life, what do I do. And then him getting this piece of land, which was his first ashram in South Africa and there he discounted all the luxuries of living in the city, of wearing expensive, designer clothes, and he began to wear simple clothes, eat what you grow on the farm. 

My grandfather was ahead of his time and his message I think is an eternal message for people because there’s no kind of limitation in terms of of time. His message of love, of compassion, of truth, of honesty, of living a simple life and not accumulating, not being a consumerist, is an eternal message. Because its only when people begin to realize, that accumulation of too much of wealth is actually causing many of the problems of the world today that you know things will begin to change.

I believe that a lot of the problems the economic problems in particular and even environmental problems arise because of people’s greed. They are people who want to make more and more money and because they want to make more and more money and there is no satisfaction even after they’ve made a lot money. They are prepared to trample everything in the world. They do not care about the environment, they do not care about people, they do not care about animals, or about the future generation.

What kind of a world are we going to leave for the next generation?

So what my grandfather said is absolutely important for the survival of this earth.

Total time is 6:37 minutes

lynnea2 The BoardLynnea Bylund is managing director of Gandhi Legacy Tours, Director of Gandhi Worldwide Education Institute, founder of Catalyst House and has nearly three decades of experience in administration, marketing and business development. She was a nationally recognized spokeswoman for the emerging alternative video and information delivery industries. She has a degree in holistic health-nutrition from the legendary and controversial health educator and activist Dr. Kurt Donsbach, she is the founder of two not-for-profit small business-based wireless trade associations and has lobbied on Capitol Hill and at the FCC where she has spoken out strongly against the cable TV monopoly, illegal spectrum warehousing and ill-conceived congressional schemes to auction our nation’s precious airwaves to the highest bidder.

Ms. Bylund is a founder and former CEO of a Washington DC telecommunications consulting and management company with holdings in several operating and developmental wireless communications systems and companies. In 1995 Lynnea became the first female in the world to be awarded a Broadband PCS operating permit – she was one of only 18 winners, along with Sprint, AT&T, and Verizon in the biggest cash auction in world history, raising a whopping $7.7 billion. Lynnea also spear-headed the successful effort to launch the first cable TV network in the South Pacific islands.

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