Eknath Easwaran's Commentary
We should be able to make all sorts of graceful concessions on things that do not matter in life and yet stand unshakable on essentials.
To do this, we have to be detached from our opinions. I’m not recommending that we be wishy-washy, or lack strength in our convictions, but that we cultivate the forbearance not to force our opinions on others. When we have strength of conviction we will not get rattled when people question or contradict us. Mahatma Gandhi, for example, was not in favor of tea or coffee, but he would make a cup of tea for his wife each morning just the way she liked it. This is bending gracefully on nonessentials.
When it came to essentials, however, Gandhi was unshakable. His dedication to nonviolence was so absolute that he would abruptly call off a successful nationwide program of noncooperation with the British if he heard any reports of violence committed by his countrymen, even those who did not acknowledge him as their leader.