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38. Domestic Satyagraha
Now it happened that Kasturba, who was well for a brief period after her operation, fell ill again. She had not much faith in my remedies, though she did not resist them. She certainly did not ask for outside help. So when all my remedies had failed, I entreated her to give up salt and pulses. She would not agree, however much I pleaded with her, supporting myself with authorities. At last she challenged me, saying that even I could not give up these articles if I was advised to do so. I was pained and equally delighted, – delighted in that I got an opportunity to shower my love on her. I said to her : “You are mistaken. If I was ailing and the doctor advised me to give up these or any other articles, I should unhesitatingly do so. But there ! Without any medical advice, I give up salt and pulses for one year, whether you do so or not.”
She was rudely shocked and exclaimed in deep sorrow : “Pray forgive me. Knowing you, I should not have provoked you. I promise to go without these things, but for heaven's sake take back your vow. This is too hard on me.”
“It is very good for you to forego these articles. I have not the slightest doubt that you will be all the better without them. As for me, I cannot go back on a vow seriously taken. And it is sure to benefit me, for all restraint, whatever prompts it, is wholesome for men. You will therefore leave me alone. It will be a test for me, and a moral support to you in carrying out your resolve.”
So she gave me up. “You are too obstinate. You will listen to none,” she said, and sought relief in tears. I would like to count this incident as an instance of Satyagraha, and it is one of the sweetest recollections of my life.
After this Kasturba began to pick up quickly.