Back before Gandhi became Gandhi

Back before Gandhi became Gandhi, he was a young man in England studying law. Doing so required financial support from a dozen relatives. It wasn’t his plan so much as theirs; they hoped he would one day secure a high paying government job and support the family.

He was expected to adopt British customs in order to advance his career. So he rented a drawing room to entertain guests. He had his clothes sent out to be laundered. He often ate out just to socialize.

But all this made Gandhi uncomfortable. Could this new lifestyle be so civilized while devouring the income of so many back home?

So he gave it all up. He gave up the convenience of riding the bus and walked to work instead. He ate simple meals at home: oatmeal for breakfast, boiled spinach for dinner, no seasoning, no salt. He cut his own hair and looked ridiculous. People teased him and asked if rats had been at his head.

And you might think he was miserable. On the contrary, it filled him with joy, he said, to harmonize his outer world with his inner life.