Mahatma Gandhi was one of the most influential political leaders of his time. During his life Gandhi lead a life based on the Hindu faith, yet he encouraged all paths to God. Gandhi is honoured as the ‘father’ of India. He studied to become a lawyer at university and attempted to be a practice lawyer in India. His practice there was unsuccessful, however he joined an Indian firm in South Africa where he began to inspire change.
When Gandhi reached his mid-twenties, his experiences with discrimination against Indian people in South Africa marked a turning point in his life. He helped to lead a civil rights movement among Indian people in South Africa, leading them in peaceful protests. His stance on non-violence was that everyone, even those in government, law enforcement and the military should hold to a principle of non-violence. His radical view of self-rule, peace and non-resistance is honoured all over the world on October 2nd, annually as the International Day of Non-violence.
Mahatma Gandhi was a practicing Hindu. He felt that all religions were valid and equal, however, he also felt that Hinduism was the most satisfying religion for him. He believed that everyone had a path that was right for him or her, and he refused to convert to any other religion, although some had tried to persuade him.
Brahmacharya is related to spiritual and practical purity, and his vegetarianism helped him stand firm in his belief and practice of complete self-control. Brahmacharya was a path towards self-realization for Gandhi. He practiced, and tested, celibacy following his father’s death so that he could learn to love and control his lustful urges. He was about 36 years old, and still married when he took this vow.