Gandhi and his wife, Kasturba, were married as children, at 13 years old, in an arranged marriage. In many ways they grew up together, and as Gandhi grew in his understanding of nonviolence, he steadily became a better partner for his wife.
One time when Kasturba was very ill, it was put to her that she should refrain from eating salt and pulses ( staple grains in the traditional Indian diet, such as dal and chickpeas) for an entire year. She looked pained by the suggestion and was at first unwilling to go along with it, sick though as she was. She told him that even he could not do something as severe as that! Ever-growing in his fondness toward her while at the same time, developing his understanding of nonviolence, Gandhi took up the challenge: if she would not give them up for the sake of her health, then he would give them up as a vow, out of pure affection for her. It touched her heart. Together, they began their mutual salt and pulse-fast. Gandhi knew that this would strengthen the bond between them, and he documents this experience as a key moment when he realized that his love for his wife was growing.
If you could renounce something to help influence someone you love to make a healthier choice, what would it be? Give it a try!
The Metta Center for Nonviolence, PO Box 98, Petaluma, California 94953 707-774-6299 firstname.lastname@example.org