Over Dec and as the year changed, I finished this book on none other than the great Bapuji, and ignored largely everything else. It was nice, the book and the ignoring. It was a good read and lulled me to calm and some collectiveness as the year 2006 gave way to 2007.
Louis Fischer was a journalist during Gandhi’s time and it was a refreshing and rich account of his life. There was the usual thoughts, writings and everyday going ons of Gandhi as well as the political intrigue that was so part of the scene as India wrestled, through civil disobedience, from the British. I found the book refreshing because the writer seemed to have an intimate knowledge of the man. Well, he was a journalist at the time and also visited Gandhi many times and was a guest at his ashram.
Throughout the book there were nice perspectives into certain facets or actions of Gandhi’s life, clearly intelligent insights by the author who wasn’t afraid to articulate his thoughts and feelings about the man. For one of these perspectives, I used it to kick start the year. Gandhi used to “turn the searchlight inward” throught fast and prayer, especially during times that were hardest for him to comprehend- the senseless riots and killings. There was one account described in the book about a boy being torn into half by adults… I think about that often and cringe.
And so I tried that out. A 9 day fast of liquids (coffee, milo, milk) from the time I wake up to 6pm. I am midway but already gained clarity about something that has been perplexing for me both mentally and emotionally and which needed a clear decision. Intead of thinking about it, I let the fast go on and somehow last night it became clear… and suddenly as I spoke to Jen by the breezy moonlit beach whilst the kids played in the sand, the air became sweet again (is that the fragrance of heaven?) and peace abided…
“yeah!” as a friend said as I told him about the sweet air.
now I have a tiny glimpse of an easy method used by the great man. And so hopefully, I will follow Madre Teresa, and try to do small things with great love.