“In my life, henceforth, I will not utter falsehood”

Mahatma Gandhi’s life was an open book for Indians and for the entire world. India’s iconic Freedom Fighter Statesman, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born in Porbandar, Gujarath on October 2nd, 1869. Nearly a century and a half after his birth, the Mahatma is still remembered fondly all over the world for his exemplary life, dedicated to Truth. What Bhagawan had spoken of Gandhiji, exhorting His young students to take a leaf out of the Mahatma’s book…to become ideals…Remembering Mahatma Gandhi on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti…

In His childhood, Gandhi used to be full of fear. There was a maid in his home called Rambha. Gandhi disclosed to her how he was always afraid. Rambha told him “Child, always recite the Name of Rama. By chanting Rama’s Name, your fear will go away.” From that time Gandhi was always chanting the Name of Rama. The habit of reciting Rama’s Name, which began in his boyhood, continued right up to the moment of his passing. Nor was that all. By adhering to the chanting of Rama’s Name, Gandhi was able to achieve his aim of winning the country’s freedom by non-violent means. For such a life of purity and virtue, his parents were primarily responsible.

Gandhi earned the appellation of “Mahatma” because of the sacred “Kokila Vratha” observed by his mother. Gandhi’s mother used to observe everyday a vow known as “Kokila Vratha”. As soon as she completed the ritual, she would wait for the call of the Kokila (the Indian cuckoo) before her breakfast. However, on one day, she waited for a long time, without taking food, for the call of the cuckoo. Noticing this, the young Gandhi went out of the house, imitating the cooing of the cuckoo and then told his mother, “Now that the cuckoo has made its call, please mother, take your food.” Unable to contain her grief, the mother slapped Gandhi on his cheeks and wailed. “What sin have I committed that such a liar should be born to me! What a great sinner I am to have begotten such a wicket liar as a son, Oh Lord!” She was shedding tears as she spoke. Deeply moved by his mother’s words, Gandhi made a promise to her, “In my life, henceforth, I will not utter falsehood.”

Gandhi was teaching the aspect of Ahimsa (non-violence) to people in many ways. The meaning of Ahimsa is that either in thought, word or deed, you should not cause harm to anybody. Gandhi took a vow that till the end of his life, he will follow this. But on one occasion, when he saw a cow suffering from pain, he could not bear it and he advised the doctor to give an injection and end the life of the cow. Thus, in order to help the suffering individual, we may sometimes have to harm him. The only way in which one can take the path of Ahimsa is to recognize the oneness of the Atma that is present in all living beings and regard them all as equal.

When Mahatma Gandhi wanted to go abroad to England for higher studies, his mother did not like it. Gandhi understood his mother’s fears about his maintaining sobriety and purity of conduct. So he made promises that he would not drink, would not smoke, and have no contacts with women. He kept up all three promises and returned with his principles of morality preserved intact.

II Samastha Lokah Sukhino Bhavantu II