Growing up with a devout mother and the Jain traditions of the region, young Mohandas Gandhi absorbed early the influences that would play an important role in his adult life.
These included compassion for sentient beings, vegetarianism, fasting for self-purification, and mutual tolerance among individuals of different creeds.
The Indian classics, especially the stories of Shravana and Maharaja Harishchandra, had a great impact on Gandhi in his childhood.
Gandhi, admits that it left an indelible impression on his mind. He writes: "It haunted me and I must have acted Harishchandra to myself times without number."
Gandhi's early self-identification with Truth and Love as supreme values is traceable to these epic characters.
In May 1883, the 13-year old Mohandas was married to 14-year old Kasturbai Makhanji (her first name was usually shortened to "Kasturba", and affectionately to "Ba") in an arranged child marriage, according to the custom of the region.
Recalling the day of their marriage he once said, "As we didn't know much about marriage, for us it meant only wearing new clothes, eating sweets and playing with relatives."
However, as was also the custom of the region, the adolescent bride was to spend much time at her parents' house, and away from her husband.
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