Make a Difference – The Power of One

Mohandas Gandhi or Mahatma Gandhi 1869 to 1948

mahatma ghandiMohandas Gandhi also known as Mahatma Gandhi was born in India on October 2nd, 1869. After being educated in law at University College, London, he returned to India in 1891 to practise Law in Bombay, but with little success. Two years later, a legal firm in India hired him as a legal advisor for them in Durban, South Africa.


While there, he experienced and witnessed the injustice inflicted upon Indian immigrants living there, who were deprived of basic civil liberties and political rights. Fueled by this unfairness, Gandhi fought for the elementary rights of Indian immigrants in South Africa…Staying in South Africa for twenty (20) years, suffering imprisonment many times for his struggle.


In 1896, after being attacked and beaten by white South Africans, Gandhi was inspired and influenced to teach passive resistance and non-cooperation with the South African authorities, by the writings and teachings of: The Russian writer, Leo Tolstoy, Jesus Christ, and the American writer, Henry David Thoreau – he was especially influenced by Thoreau’s essay on Civil Disobedience.


However, because Gandhi felt the terms: Passive Resistance and Civil Disobedience were inappropriate for what he wanted to accomplish, he adopted the term: Satyagraha, Sanskrit for ‘Truth and Firmness’.


To make a long story short, my friend, Mahatma Gandhi was instrumental in freeing India from British rule and leading India to independence.


Years later, Martin Luther King, Jr. was also influenced by the writings, teachings and Life of: Mahatma Gandhi, Jesus Christ and Henry David Thoreau.


What Lessons can you learn from this outstanding man?


  1. Words are very Powerful – both the written and spoken word.


Words which teach principles are very powerful.


Henry David Thoreau had no idea that there would be a person who would be born years after, who would be so influenced by his essay on ‘civil disobedience’, (written years before Mahatma Gandhi was born) that he would lead a large nation to freedom and independence.


My friend, reading and listening to the right words are very important if you want to achieve anything in life.


Whose words are you presently reading and listening to? Whose words are influencing your life, right now?


Are the words you are presently allowing in your life, words which move you to do things which would build your life and others, or destroy your life and others? Are they words which would help to build your self-esteem, confidence and belief, or debilitate you mentally?


If you want to achieve great things in life – Read and Listen to the words which would encourage you to accomplish memorable exploits.


Henry David Thoreau’s words were very influential in the life of Mahatma Gandhi and others, years after he died.


How influential would your words be after you have died? Are you leaving a written record of your words – Your life?
If not, years after you die very few people would know anything about you…What you believed, your values or what you stood for: Your Life.


Don’t you know if you have a written record of your life and your beliefs, you can become ‘immortal’?


Yes, you would be physically gone, but if you have left a written record of your life behind, you would have left a perennial presence of yourself.


Loved ones, friends and people can still have access to you, whenever they need comfort, a word of advice, or when they have a trying situation and need to know what to do… They can resort to your written counsel – A Guide for themselves and others.


  1. The difference which one person was able to make nationally and internationally.


The purpose which Mahatma pursued was one which didn’t involve him alone, but a whole nation.


Does your life involve others?


When you make decisions, do you make decisions with others in mind (Your parents, friends, neighbors, coworkers etc.)? Or are the decisions you make only centered on you?


If that is the case, chances are, you are making selfish decisions – Decisions which only satisfies what you want.


Now I know there are times in life when you may have to make decisions which may go against the norm, but if that be the case make sure it is a decision which promotes good not bad. Make sure they are decisions which would heal not hurt, help not take advantage of, build not destroy, encourage not discourage…

3. Mahatma Gandhi ordered and lived his life by beliefs and philosophies, which he passed on to others through his teachings. He passed on legacies of: Peace, Justice, Love, Truth, Equality for all, Unity and more.


What is a Legacy?

A Legacy is something which someone leaves behind for another or others. It could be something material or something like teachings or philosophies.

  • What beliefs and philosophies are you living your life by?
  • What beliefs and philosophies are you teaching others?


Are they philosophies of peace, love, truth, honor, etc.? Are these the legacies you are leaving or hoping to leave behind for others to adopt and follow?

My friend, I encourage you to leave behind: Life-building philosophies and a material inheritance, as well.

You can do this by leaving behind for others: The physical things you have acquired, the steps you have taken to fulfill the dreams you’ve accomplished, and the philosophies (ideas, thinking, values, way of life, beliefs) which had governed your life.

Let your life make a positive difference in the lives of others in your home, community, nation and the world.


Things to do:


  1. Write down in a book at least five (5) values which govern your life, e.g. “I believe in living an honest life.”

Things to think about:

If your beliefs can be passed on from one generation to another, as it did with Mahatma Ghandi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Nelson Mandela and many others – What beliefs do you want to pass on to the generations to come?

Questions to answer:

1. When was Mahatma Gandhi born?

2. Whose writings inspired and influenced Gandhi’s struggle for equality?

3. What is a Legacy?

4. Name four (4) significant books you have read, which is not included in the school curriculum – Books which moved you emotionally and mentally.


6. Mastering Excellence