What Is the Meaning Behind the Name "Mahatma"?


Quick Answer

Mahatma, a word generally meaning "great soul," is derived from the Sanskrit terms "maha," meaning great, and "atman," meaning soul, spirit or life. This term of reverence in Hinduism is usually reserved for a Brahmin sage and is commonly associated with Mohandas Karamchand, who was called Mahatma Gandhi.

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Full Answer

Mahatma Gandhi was a spiritual and political leader in the early to mid 1900s who advocated a policy of Satyagraha, or nonviolent and noncooperative civil disobedience, to protest for Indian rights. He led the Indian National Congress and is credited with helping achieve Indian independence and the structure of its constitution. He was assassinated in 1948 by a violent Hindu radical.

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