Chastity brings firmness to the mind.
A brahmachari is one who controls his organs of sense in thought, word and deed. Ordinary brahmacharya is not so difficult as it is supposed to be. Very few realize that a brahmachari has to control not one but all the organs of sense. He is no brahmachari who thinks that mere control of animal passion is the be all and end-all of brahmacharya. No wounder if he finds it very difficult. He who attempts to control only one organ and allows all the others free play must not expect to achieve success. He might as well deliberatley descend into a well and expect to keep his body dry.
In brahmacharya as conceived by Gandhi, those who are married behave as if they were not married. Married people do well to renounce gratification outside the marital bond; theirs is a limited brahmacharya. But to look upon them as brahmacharis is to violence to that glorious term.
This vow relates not only to conduct and property, but to thoughts as well -- utter dependence on God.
Ahimas is our supreme duty. Ahimas means Universal Love. One who obeys the law of ahimsa cannot marry. Mere non-killing is not enough. The active part of Non-violence is Love. The law of Love requires equal consideration for all life from the tiniest insect to the highest man. One who follows this law must not be angry even with the perpetrator of the greatest imaginable wrong, but must love him, wish him well and serve him. Although he must thus love the wrong-doer, he must never submit to his wrong or his injustice, but must oppose it with all his might, and must patiently and without resentment suffer all the hardships to which the wrong-doer may subject him in punishment for his opposition.
To observe this principle fully is impossible for men, who kill a number of living beings large and small as they breathe or blink or till the land. We catch and hurt snakes or scorpians for fear of being bitten and leave them in some out-of-the way place if we do not kill them. Hurting them in this way may be unavoidable, but is clearly himsa as defined above.
The violence described above is easily recognised as such. But what about our being angry with one another? A teacher inflicting corporal punishment on his pupils, a mother taking her children to task, a man losing his temper in his dealings with equals, all these are guilty of violence. Violence is there where there is attachment on the one hand and dislike on the other. The subtle violence involved in injuring the feelings of other people day in and day out is possibly very much worse than cutting off someone’s head! The subtle violence inolved in daily loss of temper and the like defies all attempts at calculation.
If a thief comes, do not inflict punishment on them or call the police. We must find out and apply methods which would put a stop to thieving altogether. First of all diminish the number of ‘possessions’ so as not to tempt others. Secondly, bring about a reformation in the surrounding villages.
Whenever one is found telling a lie, effective steps should be taken to deal with the situation as symptomatic of a serious disease.
Bodily penance has a threefold influence, first over the penitent, secondly over the wrongdoer and thirdly over the congregation.