Arun Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, often has told a story about a lifelong lesson he learned as a child at his grandfather’s knee. It’s a lesson valuable for anyone who’d like to help create a better world.
“I learned some very profound things about nonviolence through a three-inch pencil,” Arun said. “I came back from school one day thinking I needed a better pencil. Assuming grandfather would give me a new pencil, I threw the one I had away.”
Realizing the opportunity, Mahatma Gandhi seized the moment. He peppered his grandson with questions: “How did the pencil become so small?” “Why did you throw it away?” “Where did you throw it?” And so on. Finally, Mahatma Gandhi sent Arun out to find the pencil. The fact that it was now dark outside did not deter him. He gave his grandson a flashlight.
“I learned two important things that day,” Arun said. “That the use of much of the world’s resources are a violence against nature and that when we over consume we commit violence against humanity. Grandfather said ‘we have to be the change we want to see in the world,’ meaning we have to see how we are violent and change that.”
“Today,” Arun said, “many of us think of non-violence as the non-use of physical force. We think that the world is at peace if it is not at war. We think that we are non-violent because we do not go out and fight. We are violent in ways that we don’t even think that we are being violent.”
Photo: Gandhi writing in August 1941. Source: Wikimedia Commons.
This post belongs to the gold portion of the singing wilderness spiritual map.