Last night Jeff and I attended a special program at the downtown library (yes Lindsey, where you work) featuring Arun Gandhi as the featured speaker. We saw a poster for it a few weeks ago when we went to lunch at Himalayan Kitchen mmmmmmmmmmmmm ...
At the outset of his lecture, he told everyone "I was just approached by a journalist the other day who informed me that the Mormons had baptized my grandfather [Mohandas Gandhi] and asked me how I felt about it. Naturally, the small audience laughed and the air got visibly tense. What he said next surprised me.
"During my grandfather's life, he took great pride in being affiliated with all religions of the world. When people would ask him what religious denomination he belonged to, he would respond, "All of them! I am Hindu, I am Muslim, I am Jewish, I am Christian, etc." So I can see my grandfather up there in heaven, receiving the news that he had just been baptized a member of the LDS Church, and exclaiming "Now I am a Mormon too!""
Rather than being offended, annoyed, or angry, he said "I consider it an honor that they would want my grandfather to be a part of them."
Throughout the remainder of his lecture, there was an immense awe and respect he got from the audience. He talked about nonviolence & reminded everyone that violence is not always physical, but is more often passive. When our actions, words, or behaviors hurt anyone (including ourselves) we are practicing passive violence. Passive violence (anger) is the main fuel for physical violence. They were wonderful, and thought provoking ideas.
My favorite story he told, however, was about his father disciplining him through penance rather than punishment. Arun was about 16-years old at the time, and had their family car for the whole day to get it serviced. At 5PM he was to meet his father and drive him home. Instead, he chose to spend the afternoon at a double feature movie at the theater. When he arrived 1 hour late to pick up his father, he lied about why he was late. His father, knowing it was a lie, said "I am shamed that I have not taught you to be brave enough to tell the truth, that you feel you would rather lie than face me." And then insisted he (the father) walk the 18 miles back home in order to meditate on the issue. He didn't punish Arun, but took the responsibility on himself as a father. Wow! Arun Gandhi said that experience was so powerful that he truly has never lied since that day.
Obviously, that kind of life aspiration is not entirely realistic, and he admitted that it all must be balanced within your own life.
Afterward, I went to the audio/visual department and checked out 7 classical CD's (Chamber Music) and Jeff checked out 4 DVD's (mostly Africa documentaries). Then we went home and watched "The Help," while eating salads [not popcorn], while it was winterwonderlanding outside. Life is good!! :)