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62. Bapu, For All
On the night this incident happened, it was pitch dark outside. A ‘Ramayan Path’ (recitation of the Ramayan) was going on after the prayer and then we lingered around talking about various things. Having finished the programme, Devdas went out. As soon as he stepped out, he heard the hissing of a snake. He turned back and told me, “Something is lurking outside. Please bring the lamp.” I went there with Maganlal Gandhi. Maneuvering cautiously in the dark we saw the trail of a snake. Tracking down the trail we found a big snake hiding behind the water tank near the house. We used to keep a stick with a silken noose for catching the snakes. We caught the snake with that noose and dragged it out. It would spring up erecting its hood, again and again. We were trying to suppress it with sticks. We were feeling the jerks. At that instant Bapu came there and saw the snake. He exclaimed, “Oh! It’s such a beautiful creature! Don’t pull the noose very hard. It will hurt the creature.” Then he asked us to put it down. We thought, why was he asking us to put it down instead of releasing it in the jungle. But we put it down. Bapu said, “Loosen the noose a bit and be careful not to strangle it.”
We loosened the noose so much so that it could easily escape if it wished to. Could anyone imagine what Bapu would do next? He bent down and caressed that eight feet long snake and exclaimed what a beautiful creature it was!  What emotions did he have about that venomous reptile? He was caressing the snake affectionately as if he was caressing a child. He caressed it not once but thrice! The reckless creature calmed down with his affectionate touch. The snake seemed to forget its stinging instinct. He lay there motionless. After a while Bapu got up. He said, “Both of you lift it up carefully and leave it far enough.” It seemed as if the violent reptile did not want to be free from that amazing touch. We carried it up and left it near the spring. It crawled away calmly.