Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of the Indian Nation, time and again offered his heart's gratitude to his closest friend, Rajchandbhai Mehta. Why? Because it was from this dearest friend, who was a devout Jaina, that Gandhi absorbed the principle of ahimsa which was to mould and shape his entire political life.
Once Gandhi wrote to his mentor-friend and asked, "If a snake is about to bite me, should I allow myself to be bitten or should I kill it?"
Rajchandbhai wrote back, "If the person lacks the development of a noble character, one may advise him to kill the snake, but we should wish that neither you nor I will even dream of being such a person."
Gandhi learnt this valuable lesson. Years later, he wrote, "The votary of non-violence has to cultivate the capacity for sacrifice of the highest type in order to be free from fear. He recks not if he should lose his land, his wealth, his life. He who has not overcome all fear cannot practise non-violence to perfection."
Ahimsa does not mean that one will not strike someone or fight with someone. Gandhi's non-violence was the vision of universal and transcendental Light in humanity. This is the vision that he had, that he embodied and that he wanted to reveal.
Mahatma Gandhi's physical frame was very frail and weak, but this physical frame embodied inner light in abundant measure. That is why he became India's unparalleled and supreme leader.