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Breaking Someone’s Sugar Habit – Gandhi’s Story

Category: Very Short Stories

Gandhi
Photo Courtesy of angstdei

Be The Change You Want To See In This World – Mahatma Gandhi

During 1930’s, a young boy had become obsessed with eating sugar. His mother was very upset with this. But no matter how much she scolded him and tried to break his habit, he continued to satisfy his sweet tooth. Totally frustrated, she decided to take her son to see his idol – Mahatma Gandhi; perhaps her son would listen to him.

She walked miles, for hours under scorching sun to finally reach Gandhi’s ashram. There, she shared with Gandhi her predicament. –
“Bapu, my son eats too much sugar. It is not good for his health. Would you please advise him to stop eating it?”

Gandhi listened to the woman carefully, thought for a while and replied,
“Please come back after two weeks. I will talk to your son.”

The woman looked perplexed and wondered why had he not asked the boy to stop eating sugar right away. She took the boy by the hand and went home.

Two weeks later they revisited Gandhi. Gandhi looked directly at the boy and said,
“Boy, you should stop eating sugar. It is not good for your health.”

The boy nodded and promised he would not continue this habit any longer. The boy’s mother was puzzled. She turned to Gandhi and asked,
“Bapu, Why didn’t you tell him that two weeks ago when I brought him here to see you?”

Gandhi smiled,
“Mother, two weeks ago I was eating a lot of sugar myself.”

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Reader's Comments

  1. Tabs | August 14th, 2008 at 3:09 pm

    That is a good one, read it laughed, then thought, one should really check themselves before they pass judgment or give advise. Thanks

    -Tabs

    Reply to this comment
  2. Cath Lawson | August 14th, 2008 at 4:34 pm

    Hi Avani – I love that Gandhi quote and this story made me laugh. Yet so many people give out advice that actually conflicts with what they do themselves, don’t they?

    Reply to this comment
  3. John Rocheleau - Zen-Moments | August 14th, 2008 at 8:07 pm

    A short but SWEET story about integrity. I love it.

    Be the change!

    John

    John Rocheleau – Zen-Moments’s last blog post..3 Reasons and 7 Ways to Live in Creative Joy

    Reply to this comment
  4. Evelyn Lim | August 14th, 2008 at 10:26 pm

    What a lovely story!! You sure have a way of digging up stories of the past to share them. It’s nice to be reminded of these timeless classics. I may have heard this story before, but I laughed when I read it again here! Thanks!!

    Evelyn Lim’s last blog post..How To Build Intuitive Awareness For Inspired Actions

    Reply to this comment
  5. Shilpan | successsoul.com | August 14th, 2008 at 11:34 pm

    Avani – Gandhi is an inspiration to me all my life. I’ve read about his life extensively. I really enjoyed this story of utmost honesty and integrity of a man I consider my idol.

    Shilpan

    Shilpan | successsoul.com’s last blog post..Mark Twain’s Thoughts on 3 Topics You’d Rather Not Discuss

    Reply to this comment
  6. Vered | August 15th, 2008 at 1:08 am

    So, this is the opposite of “do as I say, not as I do”. :)

    A fabulous story with an important message!

    Reply to this comment
  7. Robin | August 15th, 2008 at 8:45 am

    That’s good Avani!

    I think the tricky part for most people is identifying when they are wanting someone else to stop doing something – when they themselves are doing it. For example, not reaching their potential, or having self-sabotaging behaviour.

    Robin’s last blog post..Letting Creativity Just Slip In

    Reply to this comment
  8. Jennifer | August 15th, 2008 at 1:26 pm

    Funny!! That will make your think! I love that quote.

    Jennifer’s last blog post..Change Your Life – One Thought at a Time – Part 1

    Reply to this comment
  9. Glen Allsopp | August 15th, 2008 at 3:02 pm

    haha I didn’t expect that ending.

    Thanks for sharing it Avani :)

    Glen Allsopp’s last blog post..What Message would you Leave before you Die?

    Reply to this comment
  10. Marelisa | August 15th, 2008 at 3:34 pm

    I loved it Avani, I hadn’t heard it before. I guess it’s like saying that you should sweep your own doorstep before commenting on the cleanliness of other people’s doorsteps.

    Marelisa’s last blog post..Slow Down – 32 Ways to Start Now

    Reply to this comment
  11. Karn Patel | August 15th, 2008 at 4:15 pm

    I have heard this story, but told with slight variations. My father always told stories like this.

    Karn Patel’s last blog post..How to Increase Your Intelligence

    Reply to this comment
  12. Urban Panther | August 15th, 2008 at 4:37 pm

    Oh, good one. I didn’t see that punchline coming. And so many messages. A) being receptive to change based on someone else’s desire for change and b) only give out advice if your own yard doesn’t need cleaning up.

    Urban Panther’s last blog post..The beginning of the end

    Reply to this comment
  13. Ananya | August 15th, 2008 at 7:00 pm

    Enlightening and seemingly simple….

    Reply to this comment
  14. Luciano Passuello | August 15th, 2008 at 7:07 pm

    Avani,

    I love how this post talks about integrity without mentioning it once.
    What a powerful way to convey a message a story is!

    Where did you read this story? I’m curious to know more! :)
    Thanks for this inspiring story!

    Luciano Passuello’s last blog post..Brainwriting is Brainstorming on Steroids

    Reply to this comment
  15. Lance | August 15th, 2008 at 10:34 pm

    Avani –

    The quote at the start goes along with this story perfectly. We have to be the change before we can ask others to change. How often do we not do that? At first blush, this seems like a funny story. But the deeper meaning is there – once we see it.

    Lance’s last blog post..Maintenance, Do You Do It?

    Reply to this comment
  16. Avani-Mehta | August 16th, 2008 at 1:18 pm

    @Luciano: My husband shared this story with me. He heard it in a Anthony Robbins interview he was listening to.

    Reply to this comment
  17. Davina | August 16th, 2008 at 2:06 pm

    I didn’t see this punchline coming either! Now, that is definitely illustrating the phrase “Walk your talk.”

    Davina’s last blog post..I Dreamt I Died

    Reply to this comment
  18. Ricardo Bueno | August 17th, 2008 at 1:54 am

    @Avani: interesting that you should mention Anthony Robbins… I’ve been listening to quite a few of his videos lately.

    The story you hi-lighted was not only funny but it emphasized a very important point! Tabs & Cath captured that well in their comments 😛

    Ricardo Bueno’s last blog post..What’s Stopping You?

    Reply to this comment
    • Shane | April 6th, 2010 at 6:51 pm

      Hello. I’d like to hear Tony Robbins tell this story do you happen to know what CD, video it was on? Thank you!

      Reply to this comment
  19. Barbara Swafford | August 17th, 2008 at 4:45 am

    Hi Avani,

    That was a great story. I’m still laughing. :)

    Reply to this comment
  20. Sandeep Sharma | August 19th, 2008 at 12:12 am

    I heard this story before but this time I realized what a GREAT personality Gandhi ji was.

    Reply to this comment
  21. Bill Kanapaux | August 19th, 2008 at 9:42 am

    That’s a funny one. Imagine how many fewer blog posts there would be if bloggers behaved like Ghandi.

    Bill Kanapaux’s last blog post..Altered states 1: Your world on the brink

    Reply to this comment
  22. Rachel | August 21st, 2008 at 3:17 pm

    Wonderful story. I must say I have a sweet tooth myself. I need to cut it out. :)

    Rachel’s last blog post..Losing Weight and Nursing

    Reply to this comment
  23. gobal | August 28th, 2008 at 11:47 pm

    Cool Story, I am truly amazed… We need to keep in mind of this before we advise others.. That’s Y we call him MAHATMA (The Great Soul)

    Reply to this comment
  24. Juan | August 30th, 2008 at 12:46 pm

    Very nice, correct yourself, then correct others, i need to follow this myself.

    Reply to this comment
  25. Chris Cade | Spiritual Stories and Parables | September 4th, 2008 at 10:50 pm

    I’ve always really enjoyed this story – it really gets to the heart of the matter in a simple, practical, and concise manner. I have a much shorter version on my website that I originally read in Passionate Presence by Catherine Ingram.

    Reply to this comment
  26. Ahmet Boz | September 21st, 2008 at 3:39 pm

    Hi,

    i do not know if this story really happened or not, and we can say it doesn’t matter much real or not, but i would like to inform anyway. This story is in fact a true story but main actor is not Gandhi.

    in muslim religion this is a long told story. and main actor is Al-Imam al-A’zam lived 699-767.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abu_Hanifa_an-Nu%E2%80%98man

    And here is the same story in Turkish:

    http://www.haznevi.net/icerikoku.aspx?KID=5653&BID=65

    Reply to this comment
  27. Paapu | September 25th, 2008 at 12:34 am

    laughed after reading it, but its true we should think twice before passing any comment over others..
    nice post.

    Reply to this comment
  28. ru4real? | November 24th, 2008 at 8:16 am

    What a great story! The Bible teaches a very similar truth …

    “How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:4-5 NIV)

    ru4real?´s last blog post..7 Super Helpful Bible Study Tools

    Reply to this comment
  29. Aaron | December 10th, 2008 at 3:18 am

    I loved this, wonderful story about integrity.

    Aaron´s last blog post..Moral Values – Truth

    Reply to this comment
  30. AJ Kumar | January 22nd, 2009 at 11:33 pm

    haha…great story. Practice what you preach :)

    AJ Kumar´s last blog post..Courage. Do You Have it or Do You Want it?

    Reply to this comment
  31. Jen | August 4th, 2009 at 12:23 pm

    hello Avani, I am a new follower of your blogs! I really enjoyed this story, it made me smile! :) a lot of truth that comes through in parable scenarios! stories stick! :) blessings, Jen/Sharmila
    p.s. I also enjoyed your ‘Following My Heart’ blog; I think it takes a lot of courage to be still and not speak rather then to express anything at whim; keeping to our highest truth. Often it is after we rest up, that the best ideas and quiet revelations emerge! :) I hope that you are feeling re-aligned again since that time!
    You are welcome to stop by and check out my blogs that focus on living truthfully! 😉
    .-= Jen´s last blog ..Progressive Healing; Marshmallow & Sacred Spaces… =-.

    Reply to this comment
  32. Habib Siddiqui | January 26th, 2010 at 4:32 pm

    I am somewhat intrigued by the story you have posted about sugar and Gandhi. An exactly similar story with Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, has been well-known for at least the last 14 centuries, with authentic citations of narrators. It is possible that Gandhi, a person who had studied the life of the Prophet of Islam very thoroughly and was a great admirer, might have followed the Prophet’s example before advising the little boy.

    Reply to this comment
    • Avani Mehta | January 27th, 2010 at 3:47 pm

      Habib,

      You are the second person who told me that a similar story is quoted in Prophet Muhammad’s life as well. Whether Gandhi followed Prophet’s example … quite possible but I guess only Gandhi can answer that :)

      Reply to this comment
  33. Tirupathi rao. Ganta | August 21st, 2011 at 11:32 am

    I want to see d more of gandi’s.. Gandiji every green.. Hat’s up

    Reply to this comment

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. […] Be The Change You Want To See In This World – Mahatma Gandhi 有一天,一位母亲带着小儿子去拜见甘地,对他说:“我儿子非常喜欢吃糖,医生说这样对他不好,但没人能够阻止他。我儿子非常崇拜您,只有您能制止他这种行为。请帮帮忙。” 甘地对这位母亲说:“你们下个月再来。” “可是我们走了三天三夜才来到这里。”妈妈抗议。 甘地仍说:“你们下个月再来。” 一个月后,母子俩再度出现。“甘地先生,请告诉我儿子不要再吃太多糖了。”妈妈恳求。 甘地看着那个小男孩说:“小朋友,你不要再吃太多糖了。” 小男孩点点头。妈妈说:“谢谢甘地先生,但为什么这句话上个月不能说呢?” “因为那时我也有吃糖太多的习惯,”甘地说。 这是我今天在听哈佛《幸福课》时听到的故事。这是一个关于知行合一的好故事。 但一个疑问是甘地为什么不能在一个月前说这句话?如果一件事是好的,那么即使我自己做不到,为什么不能向别人宣传它呢?这至少可以要更多的人知道它,知道的人多了,能做到的人才会更多,难道这样不好么? 这种想法好像是有点道理。但是,如果你回忆一下自己的一些老师,特别是你最讨厌的那几个。他们讲得很多大道理都是好道理,相信你也能看出来他们并没有按他们说得去做?但是你会听进去他们讲的“道理”并实行么?我的本能的第一反应是,这些虚伪的人只是在讲”bullshit“,我根本就不会care。 在这节课里,Tal Ben-Shahar用另一个简单的实验证明了这一点。他让下面的学生按他说的去做一些动作,同时他在做示范。当他说到让学生把手放到脸颊上时,他自己将手放到了下巴上。绝大多数学生,跟着他把我放到下下巴上,而不是脸颊上。人们更注重你是怎么做的,而不是你是怎么说的。 特别是,如果你看到一个人知行并不合一,你会降低对他的评价,从而更不相信他以后所说的话。 如果你是第一次听到这个故事,相信你会很有感触,会被甘地的行为所感动。但是如果再告诉你这不一定是甘地身上的故事*,甚至这个故事本身就是编的,那么你的感动会不会打折,会不会有被欺骗的感觉,它对你的影响会不会减弱? 这就是知行合一的力量。 注* 我没能找到我这故事的最早出处。这个链接里有人在留言里提到同样故事但以他人为主角的版本。另外,即使主人公都是甘地,一些细节在不同版本里也不一致,使我觉得这个故事没有一个权威的出处,从而不是特别可信。 […]

  2. […] I am attaching the story about Gandhi that I mentioned in my last post. Go read this before reading the rest of my blog:  http://www.avani-mehta.com/2008/08/14/breaking-someones-sugar-habit-gandhis-story/ […]

  3. […] Not just standing on barricades, but also taking stand in my personal life. A little bit like the famous story about Gandhi and eating sugar. Gandhi knew that he could not ask people to do something he was not prepared todo himself. I can […]

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