Non-violent Resistance - Section Second: Discipline for Satyagraha Summary & Analysis

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Section Second: Discipline for Satyagraha Summary and Analysis

The second section outlines the practice and disciplines of Satyagraha, and requires Truth, Non-violence, Chastity, and Non-Possession as the primary four. The other seven are: Fearlessness, Control of the Palate, Non-stealing, Bread-Labor, Equality of Religions, Anti-untouchability and Swadeshi.

Gandhi argues that taking vows is a sign of strength. God is the image of the vow for He never deviates from His own law. Truth is the first premise: nothing exists except the Truth and Truth is God and God is the Truth. Without Truth there is no true knowledge. Devotion to the Truth is the only justification of existence. This requires Truth in speech, thought and action. Realizing truth requires single-minded devotion and often involves self-suffering and even death, with no trace of self-interest.

Ahimsa or love is next and is hard to balance with Truth. Truth depends on faith and Truth cannot be fully realized in the mortal body. Gandhi argues that it is better to endure those who cause us to suffer for if we stop them they shall only go on to others. We must understand our kinship with thieves. Ahimsa involves causing no harm to any living thing and yet we cannot allow ourselves always to be destroyed. Ahimsa is the means to Truth.

Chastity means utter selflessness and so it rejects the selfish purpose of having children and running a household. Ahimsa cannot be achieved through marriage because it involves focused, non-universal love. Those married can behave as if they are not married and free themselves from lust. Chastity, or brahmacharya, must be observed in thought and deed, not only organs of passion but of sense as well, and the palate is included.

Finally, there is non-possession. Possession implies worry about the future but the follower of the law of Love cannot save for tomorrow and creates only what is needed for the moment. The body is included as a possession.

Next Gandhi explains "Yajna", or acts directed to the welfare of others which aims at the greatest welfare to the greatest number in the area. Yajna is required in modest amounts to even keep the world alive. Yajna sounds hard but those who devote themselves will grow in faith each day.

Satyagraha also has moral requirements. Passive resistance is key and Gandhi defends his position again. He argues that even one man can practice it. So many live non-violently; in fact, the social order is maintained by it. Gandhi then reiterates his other practices.

In later sub-sections, Gandhi emphasizes non-retaliation as key to Satyagraha. He also exhorts followers of Satyagraha to discipline. Humility is also crucial and produced by Satyagraha. Non-violence requires relying on God and this produces humility. Non-cooperation tests sincerity.

Gandhi then turns to discuss suffering in jail. Surviving jail is key to Satyagraha since suffering will come from ruling authorities. The non-cooperator must maintain non-violence in jail and submit to discipline. In prison, the Satyagrahi must act with honesty, cooperate with prison officials, obey all reasonable discipline as an example to co-prisoners, ask no favors and claim no privileges, never fail to ask what we need and do not get irritated if it is not received and to do the first five tasks to the greatest of one's ability.

Satyagraha has public prerequisites. There must be public support behind it for it to work. Non-cooperation requires the support of the people but the people must also love liberty and tolerate inconvenient state laws. Followers of Satyagraha must also be willing to suffer. Gandhi sees his political program as one of achieving real freedom from within through self-purification and self-help. Gandhi then notes that while all civil disobedience is a branch of Satyagraha, all Satyagraha is not civil disobedience but requires something more.

After several further sub-sections, Gandhi emphasizes that Satyagraha has several qualifications, for it presupposes self-discipline, self-control, self-purification and social status for the person offering it.

The Satyagrahi cannot forget the distinction between evil and evil-doer, and must love the evil-doer. Satyagrahis must harbor no anger, suffer the opponent's anger, put up with assaults from the opponent, never retaliate, submit to arrest, refuse to surrender property he is the trustee of, avoid swearing and cursing, not insult his opponent, never salute the Union Jack, and protect officials from insult or attack with one's life.

Gandhi then repeats his rules for prisoners. He adds rules for units and communal fights. He also defends acts of "full surrender." One must reject political power for Satyagraha as well. The chapter includes various other instructions for followers as well. Satyagrahis must have faith in God, believe in truth and non-violence, live a chaste life, avoid alcohol, and so on. He also specifies qualifications for peace brigades.

Next Gandhi outlines physical training for the followers of Satyagraha. Trained physiques are needed, as is great discipline. Gandhi advocates the formation of non-violent armies.

This section contains 823 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
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