In the company of a friend, little Mohan and his elder brother fell victim to meat-eating. Actually, Mohan did not want to eat meat for the sake of taste or fondness. But, he wanted to be physically strong by eating meat in order to expel the British from our country and to be free.
He was from a staunch Vaishnava family. He ate the meat but, it seemed to him the whole night as if a live goat were bleating inside him. Still this experiment went on for about a year. But not more than half a dozen meat-feasts took place.
Whenever he had this feast, dinner at home was out of question and he had to lie to his mother, “I have no appetite today.” This lying to his mother was gnawing at his heart. Deceiving and lying to father and mother seemed to him even worse than not eating meat. He thought that when they are no more and I have found my freedom, I will then eat meat openly. But until that moment arrives I will abstain from it. This decision he communicated to his friend and thus got rid of meat-eating.
In another incident, a relative and Mohan became fond of smoking. So they started collecting stumps of cigarettes and enjoyed emitting clouds of smoke from their mouths. The stumps, however, were not always available, and also they could not emit much smoke either. So they began to steal coppers from servant’s pocket money in order to buy the Bidi (Indian cigarettes).
Somehow they managed for a few weeks on these stolen coppers. In the meantime, they heard that the stalks of a certain plant were porous and could be smoked like cigarettes. So they tried that also for smoking. But they were far from being satisfied with all these. It became unbearable for them that they should be unable to do anything without the elders’ permission. At last, in sheer disgust, they decided to commit suicide! They heard that Dhatura seeds were an effective poison. So, they went to the temple, had a darshan (glimpse) of the God, and then looked for a lonely corner. But courage failed them. The idea of suicide was finally dismissed. They went to the temple to compose themselves and then returned back home.
Mohan’s devotion towards his father and his insistence that he should not deceive his father saved him from the evil of theft. His meat-eating brother had run into a debt of about twenty-five rupees. How to pay this debt became really a question for them. His brother had on his arm an armlet of solid gold. So, a bit of gold was clipped out of it and the debt was cleared.
But this then became more than Mohan could actually bear and he resolved never to steal again. But this was not sufficient. He made up his mind to confess his guilt to his father. But he did not dare to speak to him. Not that he was afraid of his father beating him. But he was afraid of the pain that he should cause him. But he felt that there could not be a cleansing without a clean confession. He wrote a note in which, not only did he confess his guilt, but also asked for adequate punishment for it. He pleaded his father not to punish himself for his offence. In the same note Mohan also pledged never to steal in future.
He was trembling as he handed over the note to his father. He read it through and the pearl-drops from his eyes trickled down his cheeks, wetting the paper. For a moment he closed his eyes and then he tore away the note. He had sat up to read it. He again lay down.
Mohan also cried. In older years, he wrote, “Those pearl-drops of love pierced me, cleansed my heart, and washed my sin away. Only he who has experienced such love can know what it is... This was for me, an object-lesson in Ahimsa... I know that my confession made my father feel absolutely safe about me and increased his affection for me beyond measure.”