I recently started a book called "Vows and Observances", a collection of writings from Mahatma Gandhi.
The body of work is about what you'd expect - do unto others, etc. - but the foreword, written by his grandson, Arun, caught my attention.
It speaks of the importance of vows in Hindu culture and recalls two examples from the Gandhi family, one humorous, the other, less so:
1. Arun, as a child, had boasted to his fasting sister he could live on nothing but bananas and milk, which, when overheard by his parents, became his vow.
2. Mohatma's mother, on the other hand, had vowed to eat only when the moon shone. This was during the Monsoons, when clouds dominated, and the whole family grew more and more concerned, keeping urgent watch on the night sky to allow her to eat.
Why that particular vow?
Really, I have no absolutely no idea, and what's more, I don't think it matters.
The keeping of the vow - the promise made to one's self - that's the crux of it and that's what sparked my imagination.
And so, in keeping with that sacred tradition, I've decided to make a vow of my own.
I could tell you, but then I'd have to kill you.*
*So yeah, it's not Ahimsa! : )**
**Ahimsa - The practice of non-injury in thought, word and deed to other living beings.