“A man is but a product of his thoughts. What he thinks he becomes.” – Mahatma Gandhi
Situated by the bank of Sabarmati, Gandhi Ashram (also known as Sabarmati Ashram) is a place of mythological significance, a place of worship, the land of duty (Karmabhoomi) & a significant milestone in India’s Independence journey.
On 12th March 1930, approx. 17 years before India became independent, Mahatma Gandhi announced the Salt Satyagraha at this place. Along with a team of 78 members, Gandhiji left an indelible mark on the world’s history without lifting a finger.
He along with others marched ahead to cover a distance of 385 km. from Sabarmati to Dandi, on foot to protest again the British Salt Act. The Salt Satyagraha campaign turned out to be India’s one of the biggest civil disobedience movements in achieving Purna Swaraj, widely covered by worldwide media at that time. It was Gandhiji’s non-violence approach & Satyagraha principles that inspired Martin Luther King Jr. in America & Nelson Mandela in South Africa. The rest is history!
The rock-solid Foundations:
Back in School, I read this story about an Indian Sage, Rishi Dadhichi who donated his bones to Lord Indra (another mythological character/ God in Hinduism). The latter fashioned a weapon out of the sage’s bones & defeated the demons. Moral of the story – the courage to sacrifice & the will to let go of self interests for the larger cause, is invaluable.
Did I learn anything?
Yes. Lord Indra can’t keep his kingdom together. He is always getting in trouble, asking for help.
May be, asking for help is not a bad thing after all. He could get a sage’s bones. I can at least get good advice & help in worldly matters (making a mental note).
Why I am telling you all this? Because it’s believed that, that great Indian Sage, Rishi Dadhichi once lived right in this place, where Gandhiji made Sabarmati Ashram. Is that why this place turned out to be absolutely awesome? Nestled between Sabarmati river at one side, and crematorium on another, Sabarmati Ashram became home to all kinds of worldly activities that exist on the spectrum – education, spirituality lessons, animal husbandry, agriculture & discussions on India’s Independence.
The land of duty, education & spirituality:
It’s said that recitals of Shrimad Bhagwat Gita happened in mornings in the Ashram. Probably that’s why you can feel a surreal calm in the place even today. As you roam from one section to another, check out one museum after another in the Sabarmati Ashram, you begin to wonder, “Is it possible that I was a part of this story too even if in another birth or a parallel universe perhaps?”
They have preserved tons of stuff from those days which is showcased in various small museums inside the Ashram. I was walking silently, bare-footed, clicking pictures from all possible angles while my mind was busy visualising the scenes from back then.
Tour of Sabarmati Ashram
“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”
Gandhi Ashram is spread across a huge area where there are trees, flowers, neat & clean rooms & many museums. Gandhiji loved naming things and places. Hence, various sections in the Ashram are given names such as Nandini, Rustom Block & Hriday Kunj.
There’s something really magical about naming non-living things whether it’s the conference rooms at your workplace, naming your two-wheelers or four-wheelers or the sections of the iconic Sabarmati Ashram.
By the way, in the Ashram, you will also find the famous, three-monkeys-sculpture of Mahatma Gandhi depicting the idea of “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil”.
“They cannot take away our self-respect if we do not give it to them.” – Mahatma Gandhi