Title

The ecological mandala of M. K. Gandhi

Date of Completion

January 1997

Keywords

Biology, Ecology|Political Science, General|Education, Sciences|Environmental Sciences|Education, Philosophy of

Degree

Ph.D.

Abstract

Industrialization and urbanization have brought about environmental disassociation. The works of Orr, Naess, College of the Atlantic, conservation groups, communities such as Findhorn indicate that responsible personal behavior to the earth is an evident necessity, and growing requirement. This study is a philosophical analysis of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi's ecological education. Gandhi's role in the political emancipation India was inseparable from the groundwork he laid environmentally, to light a path in creating a new India through a new human consciousness. Gandhi sought to transform his own life and mind radically along with many dimensions of the social, physical and ideational environment around him with his experiments with Truth.^ This study accepts as ecological Reality, the Truth that Gandhi claimed to be the purpose and source of his life. The study builds a literary Ecological Mandala, through the theoretical background of Gandhi's ecological education. Using inherently universal human ethics, which I have called universal Simples consisting of three groups, the framework of the Ecological Mandala is built (chapters 2 and 3). The Simples assist the observances, which I have also called the root tools, as they act upon the core of the individual. These are; fearlessness, control of the palate, tolerance, equality, non-possession and non-stealing which found its ideal in Trusteeship, bread labor and brahmacharya. The goal of these observances was Ahimsa, or Truth. Satyagraha is explained as a comprehensive methodology for ecological education which utilizes all aspects of the universal Simples. The fast is a weapon in its arsenal.^ The applications of Gandhi's ecological education are examined as seen in the eco-communities he established in South Africa, Phoenix and Tolstoy, and in the Ashrams in India (chapters 4 and 5). The eco-communities served as prototypes for the national education that Gandhi sought to implement through the constructive program (chapter 6). The role of the eco-communities, life and ecological education within them is explicated. The constructive program concentrates on the educational aspect of Gandhi's work. The study concludes with an artistic depiction of Gandhi's Ecological Mandala as suggested by the findings. ^