Gandhi was greatly influenced by Leo Tolstoy, through his book ‘The Kingdom of God is Within You’ and his essay on ‘Christianity and Patriotism’.
He learned from Tolstoy the following principles:
- The good of the individual is contained in the welfare of all.
- All have same right of earning their livelihood from their work.
- That a life of labour is the life worth living.
- The love as law of life and non-violence as the basis of social change.
- The idea of simplicity of life and purity of purpose.
- The rejection of state authority and colonialism.
Gandhi also adopted the practice of celibacy and brahamcharya from Tolstoy, though he had some controversial aspects in his sexual history.
He also established a cooperative colony called Tolstoy Farm near Johannesburg, where he trained his followers in the principles of Satyagraha.
He also corresponded with Tolstoy and sought his advice on various issues. Gandhi regarded Tolstoy as his spiritual mentor and a source of inspiration for his non-violent movement.
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