Let’s read this extract ….
The other theft was committed when I was fifteen. In this case I stole a bit of gold out of my brother’s armlet. This brother had run into a debt of about twenty-five rupees. He had on his arm an armlet of solid gold. It was not difficult to clip a bit out of it.
Well, it was done, and the debt cleared. But this became more than I could bear. I resolved never to steal again. I also made up my mind to confess it to my father. But I did not dare to speak. Not that I was afraid of my father beating me. No. I do not recall his ever having beaten any of us. I was afraid of the pain that I should cause him. But I felt that the risk should be taken; that there could not be a cleansing without a confession.
I decided at last to write out the confession, to submit to my father, and ask for his forgiveness. I wrote it on a slip of paper and handed it to him myself. In this, not only did I confess my guilt, but I asked adequate punishment for it, and closed with a request to him not to punish himself for my offence. I also pledged myself never to steal in future.
I was trembling as I handed the confession to my father. He was then confined to bed. His bed was a plain wooden plank. I handed him the note and sat opposite the plank.
He read it through, and tears trickled down his cheeks, wetting the paper. For a moment he closed his eyes in thought and then tore up the note. He had sat up to read it. He lay down again. I also cried. I could see my father’s agony. If I were a painter I could draw a picture of the whole scene today. It is still so vivid in my mind.
Those tears of love cleansed my heart, and washed my sin away. Then I could read in it nothing more than a father’s love; but today, I know that it was pure Ahimsa. When there is such Ahimsa, it changes everything it touches. There is no limit to its power.
This kind of sublime forgiveness was not natural to my father. I had thought that he would be angry, say hard things, and strike his forehead. But he was so wonderfully peaceful, and I believe this was due to my clean confession. A clean confession, combined with a promise never to commit the sin again, is the purest type of repentance. I know that my confession made my father feel absolutely safe about me, and increased his affection for me beyond measure.
– Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi
(an adaptation from ‘My Experiments with Truth’)
We wish all our readers, Happy Gandhi Jayanti!
Courtesy: English Secondary Course