Today's Beautiful Gem: `Why I want to live 125 years' by Mahatma Gandhi

"The idea of 125 years' life flashed across my mind while I was
speaking on the 8th August 1942, to the meeting of the AICC in
Bombay. I might have mentioned the same thing before in private
conversation. If I did, I have no recollection.

"I am a constant student of the Isha Upanishad which contains only
18 mantras. The first half of the second mantra means: `Only doing
works of service on this earth, you would wish to live 120 or 125
years.' The word in the original denoting the number is trans-
lated by the word `hundred', but I had seen just then a commentary
which took the number to mean 120 or 125. I purposely used the
highest figure at the meeting, as signifying the intense wish to
live the longest in order to fulfil my alloted work. In expressing
the wish, I only followed my old habit of wishing to act according
to the best of my belief."

Note: The above was the answer given by the Mahatma to the question
of Sailendranath Chattopadhyaya on June 12, 1945. The second sloka of
Is'opaniSad (based on Swami Prabhupada's translation) is as follows:

kurvann eveha karmaaNi
jijeeviSet s'atam samaah:
evam tvayi naanyatheto sti
na karma lipyate nare
| If one goes on doing one's duty,
| one may aspire to live for a long time;
| There is no choice to this way
| as that sort of work will not bind man
| to the law of karma.

As we all know, none can guess how long Gandhiji's drive and wish
would have spurred him to live and to continue with his work of creating
the conditions of Rama Rajya. Of course, his life came to a premature and
unfortunate end on Jan 30, 1948 by an assassin's bullet.

om s'aantih: Peace! - J. K. Mohana Rao