Gandhi spoke to me

The sun had not awakened. Nor had the blast of civilization buzzed. Nor had birds echoed their salutations. The chilly gust flowing through the bright green leaves exchanged Ahmedabad’s heat, and proved that time continued its way. In a small hut fixed above a pond with quiet water, only interrupted by the occasional small green native fruits that decayed from the adjacent trees, I sat. I did not decide to wake up at 5:30 a.m. but something that I still do not understand made the decision for me. I woke up from my bed near the window, went to the bathroom next door, and bathed with our blue bucket, the fresh water cooling me. I did not feel very conscious about what I was doing. A force seemed to be moving me. Everyone else slumbered.  I left the bathroom, and went back to my bed where I saw a small green-cover book atop my backpack. The book was called “Sarvodaya,” the Hindi word for “the welfare of all.” It had a picture of Gandhi working on a spinning wheel, the Charkha. With that book on my left hand, I left the room, and headed to the place I would have a great meeting.

The small concrete 50-meter-wide pond had two huts, one on each side. I sat on the farthest from the Environmental Sanitation Institute rooms. There, the stillness from the nature surrounding me met the peace of my inner world.

I opened my book, and started learning about Gandhi’s principles for the first time. As I started reading the sun arouse in the sky quietly and slowly.

Gandhiji told me that the “means are after all everything.” My surprise about that saying was filled with curiosity. Maybe, it was while reading it that I really woke up. I thought that this was a very different thought from the self-guided world in which we live focused primarily and ceaselessly in the results, in the ends, not the means. However, Gandhi explained to me that “the means may be likened to a seed, the end to a tree; and there is just the same inviolable connection between the means and the end as there is between the seed and the tree.” I closed the book. I stopped looking at Gandhi’s words, and started observing something. A magnificent fructified emerald tree that lay to the right side of the hut I sat, and grew over the concrete pond. One of the fruits decayed onto the pond, puff, the sound was made. I kept looking at that fruit. Small, yellowish, with the shape of a peanut, that little fruit was filled with tiny seeds, each able to blossom into a tree bigger than the one before my eyes.

Gandhi revealed to me during this moment that, just like that small fruit, each small action can have a huge result. Gandhi enlightened me, for example, that the few hours I spent in Kurla teaching kids with my Teach for India fellow could, and will, turn into big shiny trees one day. Maybe, some people will never believe that each little action has a huge impact, but I will. And I will continue doing little by little because Gandhi spoke to me; he watered a powerful seed in my heart.

I opened my book again and continued reading while nature surrounding me continued its mysterious, yet magical ways.