[This post is a continuation of July 15]
Gandhi’s personal physician during the last nine years of his life, Sushila Nayar, had a scientific mind and an open heart that lead her to some great insights on Gandhi’s influence on herself and others. In the scene in Delhi, described in the post from July 15, Fred Blum, who was interviewing her, wanted to know if she, like the driver, was afraid when she saw Gandhi go into the angry crowd. Her answer was an overwhelming “No . . . strangely enough, there was no fear in me for the simple reason Bapu was there. I felt so protected, I felt so safe.” Such a statement should give us pause: Gandhi, one person, weighing under 100 lbs, and unarmed, made her feel absolutely protected and safe. Could it be that we also have this capacity in ourselves? To make others feel secure, even in very tense and potentially violent situations? If Gandhi left us any legacy, would this not be of its most important gifts?
In Search for a Nonviolent Future, Michael Nagler quotes Sue Severen, who while working in Nicaragua as an unarmed protection office with Peace Brigades International, had a similar sense of security, sans Gandhi. In her words, “I was very afraid — until I actually got down there. Once I was there, I was not afraid. I felt like I was in the hands of God–not that I would not get killed, but that I was doing what I was supposed to do.” Imagine the implications, for ourselves and for widening our institutional approach to security!
Reflect on a time when the tools and practice of nonviolence made you feel secure.
The Metta Center for Nonviolence, PO Box 98, Petaluma, California 94953 707-774-6299 firstname.lastname@example.org