Introduction 

Sister of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Mrs. Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit, wrote an article titled “The Best Advice I Ever Had.” Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit discusses some of the difficult and painful circumstances she faced after losing her spouse suddenly in this article. When she served as the High Commissioner for India in the UK, she wrote this for the monthly magazine ‘The Reader’s Digest.’ In this chapter, she shares the invaluable advice Mahatma Gandhi, the nation’s father, gave her.

According to Vijaya Lakshmi, most people experience a phase of distress when their faith in mankind is at rock bottom. She also went through a similar phase. Her intense sadness over her husband’s passing was soon followed by the shameful realization that, in the eyes of Indian law, she had no separate existence. She and other Indian women had fought for independence with men for many years, toiling and suffering alongside them until the goal had been reached, but women were only recognized in connection to their relationships with males.

The Best Bit Of Advice

Mrs. Pandit was a widow with two daughters but no son, therefore she was not granted the family shares. She carried resentment towards her family. Before departing for her conference in America, she visited Gandhiji, who helped her analyse the dilemma of the situation and gave her advice on how to deal with it. He stressed the significance of maintaining good relations with people. Only by forgiving one another can we maintain our peace. She remembered his words, and it eventually transformed her life. After listening to Gandhiji’s advice, she called her brother-in-law. She was gently guided into self-reflection by Gandhiji. Instead of fretting more, he urged her to show humility.

Peace Transforms Everything

The wise words of Gandhiji stayed with her. She embraced Gandhiji’s wisdom when she found herself in a tense argument at a United Nations convention. As the head of the Indian delegation to the UN when she was in New York, India voiced her dissatisfaction about how South Africa treated persons of Indian background. Her opponents exchanged insulting words and made rude comments about her. She retaliated in the same way. But she immediately recognized that the discussion had turned away from the main point. She instantly had Gandhiji’s words in mind.

She understood that the Gandhiji believed in the importance of both the methods and the goal. Mrs. Pandit stopped making personal remarks after that and instead focused on the core problem. 

Using Gandhi’s principles, Mrs. Pandit recounts another occurrence that was similar. She was in a challenging situation when the Prime Minister of Great Britain and Lady Eden arrived for dinner, which she calmly resolved. Dinner was served as anticipated when the Prime Minister and Lady Eden arrived. But because the chef was drunk, everything fell to pieces. Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit, however, skillfully managed the situation.

She was aware that debating with the drunken chef was pointless. She so made do with what she had and won the respect of the guests. Thus, it is clear that Mrs. Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit achieved professional and personal success by heeding Gandhiji’s teachings.

Both the ability to keep one’s heart free of hatred and the ability to maintain perspective are critical. Gandhiji’s words of wisdom, “No one can harm you but yourself,” are true for each and every one of us, regardless of our sphere of life.