Mohandas Karamchand “Mahatma” Gandhi is known worldwide for his nonviolent fight to attain India's independence from colonial rule. Lesser known are his utopian residential experiments conducted at the intentional living communities, or ashrams, that he founded in South Africa and India during his lifetime. Residents at these ashrams engaged in small-scale experiments with the ideals and methods for living a just life that Gandhi would then apply to larger-scale social, religious, and political problems. This article focuses on the communal observances and experiments undertaken by Gandhi along with his co-residents to illuminate the evolution and enactment of Gandhi's concept of sarvodaya, “universal well-being.” It argues that voluntary self-control, which at times bled into self-sacrifice, was central to Gandhi's philosophy of sarvodaya and his utopian vision for individual and communal flourishing. It also argues that Gandhi's intentional communities were the necessary conditions for his experiments with and articulation of that philosophy.

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