When Gandhi had traveled to Britain he eventually came upon a vegetarian restaraunt which was selling literature. There he bought British philosopher Henry Salt`s books which were on vegetarianism and animal rights. Mr. Salt`s words had a strong impact on Gandhi and they strengthened his belief that vegetarianism was the right choice to live one`s life by -- a moral choice. Gandhi had a strong respect for Mr. Salt and was delighted when he had the opportunity to meet him.
A poem by Henry Salt:
Mr Facing Both ways
When the Huntsman claims praise for the killing of foxes,
Which else would bring ruin to farmer and land,
Yet kindly imports them, preserves them, assorts them,
There's a dicrepance I fain understand.
When the Butcher makes boast of the killing of cattle,
That would multiply fast and the world over-run,
Yet so carefully breeds them, rears, fattens and feeds them -
Here also, methinks, a fine cobweb is spun.
Hark you, then, whose profession or pastime is killing!
To dispel your benignant illusions I'm loth;
But be one or the other, my double faced brother,
Be slayer or saviour - you cannot be both.
Salt clearly sees the hypocracy of man and his long for peace and a hope that he will be delivered from tyranny by a saviour. He questions, how can man expect a saviour when he himself cannot even choose to be one when he has the power to act as one but fails to do so.
Perhaps that is why Gandhi could save India from continued domination by Britain -- He could choose to be a saviour to those weaker without prejudice. I am glad he chose that restaraunt and found Mr. Salt`s books.