It happens that sometimes life throws a challenge to us. We follow our set time table, have our usual set daily routine to include time for work, studies, fun, play and prayer. Everything seems hunky dory. And then out of the blue a life-changing incident occurs — an accident, the sudden demise of someone close to us, an unexpected failure. Our usual road is blocked. There are other roads to follow and it depends on us which road we choose.
On 7 June 1893, a young Indian lawyer, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (later known as the Mahatma) was forcibly evicted from a whites only carriage on a train in South Africa. Till then he was a regular brown sahib. But this eviction was a watershed moment in his life. He began to lead protests against segregation via a passive resistance movement called Satyagraha which is born of truth and love and non-violence. The father of our nation went on to galvanize an entire country to shed the oppressive shackles of colonialism through non-violent methods. He was the inspiration for other leaders like Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King. If the Mahatma had chosen to just grumble about injustice and not act after that fateful day in South Africa, the entire history of our nation may have been different.
Ignatius of Loyola was a Spanish nobleman. He is remembered as the founder of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) and for his book on spiritual exercises for he felt that just as a person exercises his body, he is also in need of spiritual nourishment. The Jesuits have made tremendous strides in the field of education. Ignatius’ first choice of profession was to become a soldier. The Battle of Pamplona in May 1521 was the pivotal point in his life when a cannonball shattered his right leg. He had to undergo a series of operations and as he lay recuperating in the castle, he kept reading and reflecting on the religious books that were his sole reading matter. He could have spent his life in self-pity, but these books changed his entire perspective on life.