Gandhi understood will. He understood the vibrant vibratory power of an insuperable will dedicated to a higher purpose. Many of us might not call our own will power insuperable, but dedicating our focus in that direction strengthens will and extends our vibrational oomph.
Gandhi combined the great traditions of Western secular law and Eastern spiritual law in his practice of Soul Force. Soul Force is non-violent ceaseless persistence of a group will in a common liberating purpose—in partnership with the cosmic dynamo of organizing élan.
Gandhi inspired the peaceful liberation of India from British rule. The emotional magnetism of soul force was unstoppable. Ultimately, he was murdered for his devotion to non-violence and liberation.
His path wasn’t easy. His death was messy, tragic, iconic. His legacy—unshakeable. How did he sustain the mental focus and strength of devotion to hold to the course of destiny? Firstly, he knew that he had to be the change within himself that he desired for his beloved India. He had to align with the liberating force of the All Soul. So, in his daily life, he rested his mind in meditation and his heart upon The Bhagavad Gita.[i]
The Bhagavad Gita is one of the sacred Hindu and world scriptures. The title means “the song of god.” The Gita was Gandhi’s bible. It’s a gorgeous poem about karma yoga—the yoga of dedicated action—and union with The All Soul. It’s a Book of Wisdom, a Book of Power, a book of super power definitions and practices.
If this text were a book of power in a fantasy story, it would be the much thumbed, used and worn, scraggly little leather bound pocket book that a Glinda, Gandalf, Yoda, or Dumbledore might carry deep in a secret fold of a luminous skirt or roughspun cloak. But The Gita is not fantasy, though the powers it describes as available to the devoted heart and insuperable will are indeed fantastic.
The Gita describes the laws of yoga that liberate us from conditioned living to creative living, from ignorance to enlightenment, from mediocrity into majesty. It focusses much discussion on the relationship between karma and will.
In yoga, tapas is a synonym for will. Tapa means self-governing. B.K.S Iyengar describes tapas as a fervent, unwavering, disciplined devotion to practice.[ii] And that takes will power.
Literally, tapas means fire. Figuratively, it can mean austerity. Poetically, it’s the fire and focus of the awakened, liberating will. Tapas is the practice of dedicated attention and intention toward a desired path. In yoga, such dedication of willing practice leads to union with the divine esprit of limitless manifesting power.
Gandhi was determined in devotion and devoted to his determined path. Caring, committed, and co-operative in soul force, he didn’t budge, he wasn’t budged. He had an insuperable will.
While reading The Gita fed his soul, daily meditation focussed his mind and strengthened his will. Any meditation that trains your attention to focus on one thing is a primary practice to develop will power—our power of creative choice.
Ultimately, the insuperable will is surrender of ego, of the Me-centre. It’s a surrender into the limitless I AM—what I sometimes call the cosmic orchestrating élan of everything. It’s the paradox of giving and receiving: giving over everything gains everything.
A willing discipline leads to willing surrender. And surrender leads to liberation. Tapas, that animated joyful devotion to a particular practice, opens a path for your wild and singular destiny to blaze its way through your heart and into your life.
A practice of daily living fuelled by a deep driving desire, guided by dedicated will, and supported by action, may not always be easy. A disciplined devotion may not be easy at first; but dedicated focus brings radiant results.
If you want your wild and singular life magnetized by the liberating blaze of living flow between finitude and infinity, practice a willing devotion to disciplined attention. It leads to a willing surrender of ego unto trust—a trust in the vibrant vibratory source of everything. Then destiny is yours.
[i] Stephen Mitchell, (2000). The Bhagavad Gita. Bhagavad Gita. New York: Three Rivers Press.
[ii] Iyengar, B.K.S. (1996). Light On The Yoga Sutras Of Patanjali. London: Thorsons. p. 30-31.