Dr. Geeta Radhakrishna Menon
Mahatma Gandhi 14 - A Touching Scene - Poem by Dr. Geeta Radhakrishna Menon
The young Mohandas also records at the age of fifteen,
A thieving act when he stole a bit of gold,
From his brother's armlet!
Though Mohandas plucked out only a small piece
From the armlet made of solid gold,
It was still a theft;
To pay off the debt of twenty five rupees
That the same brother had incurred.
The debt was cleared with the money,
But this act weighed down the conscience heavily.
Guilt gripped Mohandas,
Until he decided to confess it to his father!
He would never dare to speak to his father,
Though he was not afraid of his father reprimanding him
No, his father had never beaten any of his children.
Yet, the thought that was unbearable was
The pain that should cause his father
On hearing of his son's act!
Mohandas decided that a risk had to be taken
For he had to spill the beans in order to feel clean!
A firm decision taken,
Mohandas wrote the confession on a slip of paper
And handed to his father with trembling hands!
In the note he not only confessed his guilt,
But also asked for adequate punishment;
With a request that
His father should not punish himself
For the son's offence!
In the letter Mohandas begged forgiveness
And pledged never to steal again!
The ailing father was
Lying on the bed
Made of a wooden plank!
Mohandas handed him the paper
And then, sat quietly opposite the plank!
Karamchand Gandhi sat up
To read the letter.
As he read his son's confession,
Tears trickled down his cheeks,
Wetting the paper!
When he finished reading the letter
He closed his eyes for a while
Then tore up the paper
And once again lay down in his bed.
As Mohandas watched
His father cry
He could not hold back his tears
He too cried with his father.
As he could feel
His father's agony!
"If I were a painter,
I could draw a picture of the whole scene today.
It is still so vivid in my mind.
Those tears of love cleansed my heart, and washed my sin away.
Only he who has experienced such love can know what it is.
This sort of forgiveness was not natural to my father.
I had thought he would be angry, say hard things,
And strike his forehead.
But he was so wonderfully peaceful,
And I believe this was due to my clean confession.
A clean confession,
Combined with a promise never to commit the sin again,
When offered before the one who has the right to receive it,
Is the purest type of repentance.
I know that my confession
Made my father feel absolutely safe about me,
And increased greatly his affection for me! "
Poet's Notes about The Poem
Repentance is the highest form of atonement.
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