Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

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Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (2 October 186930 January 1948), commonly known as Mahatma Gandhi (Sanskrit: महात्मा mahātmā — "Great Soul") and in India as Bapu (Gujarati: બાપુ bāpu—"Father"), was an advocate and pioneer of nonviolent social protest. He led the struggle for India's independence from British colonial rule.


Sourced

One of the objects of a newspaper is to understand popular feeling and to give expression to it; another is to arouse among the people certain desirable sentiments; and the third is fearlessly to expose popular defects.
  • Why, of all places in Johannesburg, the Indian location should be chosen for dumping down all kaffirs of the town, passes my comprehension. Of course, under my suggestion, the Town Council must withdraw the Kaffirs from the Location. About this mixing of the Kaffirs with the Indians I must confess I feel most strongly. I think it is very unfair to the Indian population, and it is an undue tax on even the proverbial patience of my countrymen.
    • Letter to Dr. Porter, Medical Officer of Health for Johannesburg (15 February 1905); later published in The Indian Opinion.
  • In this instance of the fire-arms, the Asiatic has been most improperly bracketed with the natives. The British Indian does not need any such restrictions as are imposed by the Bill on the natives regarding the carrying of fire-arms. The prominent race can remain so by preventing the native from arming himself. Is there a slightest vestige of justification for so preventing the British Indian?
    • Comments on a court case in The Indian Opinion (25 March 1905)
  • You say that the magistrate's decision is unsatisfactory because it would enable a person, however unclean, to travel by a tram, and that even the Kaffirs would be able to do so. But the magistrate's decision is quite different. The Court declared that the Kaffirs have no legal right to travel by tram. And according to tram regulations, those in an unclean dress or in a drunken state are prohibited from boarding a tram. Thanks to the Court's decision, only clean Indians or coloured people other than Kaffirs, can now travel in the trams.
    • Comments on a court case in The Indian Opinion (2 June 1906)
  • Victory attained by violence is tantamount to a defeat, for it is momentary.
    • Satyagraha Leaflet No. 13 ( 3 May 1919)
  • I came in contact with every known Indian anarchist in London. Their bravery impressed me, but I felt that their zeal was misguided. I felt that violence was no remedy for India's ills, and that her civilisation required the use of a different and higher weapon for self-protection.
    • "A Word of Explanation" on his work Hind Swaraj (1908) in Young India (January 1921)
  • If India adopted the doctrine of love as an active part of her religion and introduced it in her politics. Swaraj would descent upon India from heaven. But I am painfully aware that that event is far off as yet.
    • "A Word of Explanation" in Young India (January 1921)
  • I have even seen the writings suggesting that I am playing a deep game, that I am using the present turmoil to foist my fads on India, and am making religious experiments at India's expense. I can only answer that Satyagraha is made of sterner stuff. There is nothing reserved and nothing secret in it.
    • "A Word of Explanation" in Young India (January 1921)
  • If one has no affection for a person or a system, one should feel free to give the fullest expression to his disaffection so long as he does not contemplate, promote, or incite violence.
    • Statement during his trial for "exciting disaffection toward His Majesty's Government as established by law in India" (18 March 1922)
  • Nonviolence is the first article of my faith. It is also the last article of my creed.
    • Opening words of his defense speech at his trial Young India (23 March 1922)
  • I wanted to know the best of the life of one (Muhammad) who holds today an undisputed sway over the hearts of millions of mankind. I became more than ever convinced that it was not the sword that won a place for Islam in those days in the scheme of life. It was the rigid simplicity, the utter self-effacement of the Prophet the scrupulous regard for pledges, his intense devotion to his friends and followers, his intrepidity, his fearlessness, his absolute trust in God and in his own mission. These and not the sword carried everything before them and surmounted every obstacle.
  • Seven social sins: politics without principles, wealth without work, pleasure without conscience, knowledge without character, commerce without morality, science without humanity, and worship without sacrifice.
    • A list closing an article in Young India (22 October 1925); Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi Vol. 33 (PDF) p. 135
    • Variant: The seven blunders that human society commits and cause all the violence: wealth without work, pleasure without conscience, knowledge without character, commerce without morality, science without humanity, worship without sacrifice, and politics without principles.
    • A [1]written list given to his departing grandson Arun (October 1947), as told by Arun Gandhi. Some alternative or erroneous translations exist that use intros "There are seven sins in the world:", "Seven Blunders of the world:", "The things that will destroy us are", and items "politics without principle", "education without character", or "business without morality".
  • The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.
    • "Interview to the Press" in Karachi about the execution of Bhagat Singh (26 March 1926); published in Young India (2 April 1931), reprinted in Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi Online Vol. 51. Gandhi begins by making a statement on his failure "to bring about the commutation of the death sentence of Bhagat Singh and his friends." He is asked two questions. First: "Do you not think it impolitic to forgive a government which has been guilty of a thousand murders?" Gandhi replies: "I do not know a single instance where forgiveness has been found so wanting as to be impolitic." In a follow-up question, Gandhi is asked: "But no country has ever shown such forgiveness as India is showing to Britain?" Gandhi replies: "That does not affect my reply. What is true of individuals is true of nations. One cannot forgive too much. The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong."
  • An error does not become truth by reason of multiplied propagation, nor does truth become error because nobody sees it. Truth stands, even if there be no public support. It is self sustained.
    • Young India 1924-1926 (1927), p. 1285
  • I came to the conclusion long ago … that all religions were true and also that all had some error in them, and whilst I hold by my own, I should hold others as dear as Hinduism. So we can only pray, if we are Hindus, not that a Christian should become a Hindu … But our innermost prayer should be a Hindu should be a better Hindu, a Muslim a better Muslim, a Christian a better Christian.
    • Young India (19 January 1928)
  • To call woman the weaker sex is a libel; it is man's injustice to woman. If by strength is meant brute strength, then, indeed, is woman less brute than man. If by strength is meant moral power, then woman is immeasurably man's superior. Has she not greater intuition, is she not more self-sacrificing, has she not greater powers of endurance, has she not greater courage? Without her, man could not be. If nonviolence is the law of our being, the future is with woman. Who can make a more effective appeal to the heart than woman?
    • Young India (4 October 1930)
  • On all occasions of trial He has saved me. I know that the phrase 'God saved me' has a deeper meaning for me today, and still I feel that I have not yet grasped its entire meaning. Only richer experience can help me to a fuller understanding.
    But in all my trials — of a spiritual nature, as a lawyer, in conducting institutions, and in politics — I can say that God saved me. When every hope is gone, 'when helpers fail and comforts flee', I experience that help arrives somehow, from I know not where.
    • Young India (24 April 1931), p. 274
  • It is beyond my power to induce in you a belief in God. There are certain things which are self proved and certain which are not proved at all. The existence of God is like a geometrical axiom. It may be beyond our heart grasp. I shall not talk of an intellectual grasp. Intellectual attempts are more or less failures, as a rational explanation cannot give you the faith in a living God. For it is a thing beyond the grasp of reason. It transcends reason. There are numerous phenomena from which you can reason out the existence of God, but I shall not insult your intelligence by offering you a rational explanation of that type. I would have you brush aside all rational explanations and begin with a simple childlike faith in God. If I exist, God exists. With me it is a necessity of my being as it is with millions. They may not be able to talk about it, but from their life you can see that it is a part of their life. I am only asking you to restore the belief that has been undermined. In order to do so, you have to unlearn a lot of literature that dazzles your intelligenqe and throws you off your feet. Start with the faith which is also a token of humility and an admission that we know nothing, that we are less than atoms in this universe. We are less than atoms, I say, because the atom obeys the law of its being, whereas we in the insolence of our ignorance deny the law of nature. But I have no argument to address to those who have no faith.
  • England has got successful competitors in America, Japan, France, Germany. It has competitors in the handful of mills in India, and as there has been an awakening in India, even so there will be an awakening in South Africa with its vastly richer resources — natural , mineral and human. The mighty English look quite pigmies before the mighty races of Africa. They are noble savages after all, you will say. They are certainly noble, but no savages and in the course of a few years the Western nations may cease to find in Africa a dumping ground for their wares.
    • Statement at Oxford (24 October 1931)
  • It is impossible for me to reconcile myself to the idea of conversion after the style that goes on in India and elsewhere today. It is an error which is perhaps the greatest impediment to the world’s progress toward peace … Why should a Christian want to convert a Hindu to Christianity? Why should he not be satisfied if the Hindu is a good or godly man?
    • Harijan (30 January 1937)
  • If there ever could be a justifiable war in the name of and for humanity, a war against Germany, to prevent the wanton persecution of a whole race, would be completely justified. But I do not believe in any war. A discussion of the pros and cons of such a war is therefore outside my horizon or province.
  • The cry for the national home for the Jews does not make much appeal to me. The sanction for it is sought in the Bible and the tenacity with which the Jews have hankered after return to Palestine. Why should they not, like other peoples of the earth, make that country their home where they are born and where they earn their livelihood?
    • Gandhi's Collected Works, Vol 74 (1938) [2][3]
  • Palestine belongs to the Arabs in the same sense that England belongs to the English or France to the French. It is wrong and in-human to impose the Jews on the Arabs.
    • Gandhi's Collected Works, Vol 74 (1938) [4][5]
  • Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the act of depriving a whole nation of arms, as the blackest.
    • Gandhi, An Autobiography, p. 446 (Beacon Press paperback edition)
  • I do not consider Hitler to be as bad as he is depicted. He is showing an ability that is amazing and seems to be gaining his victories without much bloodshed
    • Statement in May of 1940; for proper context it should be noted that at this time the battles of World War II were just beginning, with Germany's blitzkrieg indeed swift and relatively bloodless compared to the trench battles of the First World War, and the persecution of the Jews in the eyes of the world was limited to lowered civil rights, concentration camps and ghettos. Just a few years before even so notable an opponent to Hitler (and Gandhi himself) as Winston Churchill, in his book Great Contemporaries (1937) had declared: "One may dislike Hitler’s system and yet admire his patriotic achievement. If our country were defeated, I hope we should find a champion as admirable to restore our courage and lead us back to our place among the nations."
  • I appeal for cessation of hostilities ... because war is bad in essence. You want to kill Nazism. Your soldiers are doing the same work of destruction as the Germans. The only difference is that perhaps yours are not as thorough as the Germans ... I venture to present you with a nobler and a braver way, worthy of the bravest soldiers. I want you to fight Nazism without arms or ... with non-violent arms. I would like you to lay down the arms you have as being useless for saving you or humanity. You will invite Herr Hitler and Signor Mussolini to take what they want of the countries you call your possessions. Let them take possession of your beautiful island, with your many beautiful buildings. You will give all these but neither your souls, nor your minds. If these gentlemen choose to occupy your homes, you will vacate them. If they do not give you free passage out, you will allow yourself, man, woman and child, to be slaughtered, but you will refuse to owe allegiance to them ... I am telling His Excellency the Viceroy that my services are at the disposal of His Majesty's Government, should they consider them of any practical use in advancing the object of my appeal.
    • "To Every Briton" (1940)
  • The ideally non-violent state will be an ordered anarchy. That State is the best governed which is governed the least.
    • Gandhi's Wisdom Box (1942), edited by Dewan Ram Parkash, p. 67 also in Collected works of Mahatma Gandhi Vol. 79 (PDF), p. 122
  • Religions are different roads converging to the same point. What does it matter that we take different road, so long as we reach the same goal. Wherein is the cause for quarrelling?
    • Speaking of the conflict between Muslims and Hindus, in Hind Swaraj, Or Indian Home Rule (1946), p. 36
  • If you want to give a message again to the West, it must be a message of 'Love', it must be a message of 'Truth'. There must be a conquest — [audience claps] — please, please, please. That will interfere with my speech, and that will interfere with your understanding also. I want to capture your hearts and don't want to receive your claps. Let your hearts clap in unison with what I'm saying, and I think, I shall have finished my work. Therefore, I want you to go away with the thought that Asia has to conquer the West. Then, the question that a friend asked yesterday, "Did I believe in one world?" Of course, I believe in one world. And how can I possibly do otherwise, when I become an inheritor of the message of love that these great un-conquerable teachers left for us? You can redeliver that message now, in this age of democracy, in the age of awakening of the poorest of the poor, you can redeliver this message with the greatest emphasis.
  • Had we adopted non-violence as the weapon of the strong, because we realised that it was more effective than any other weapon, in fact the mightiest force in the world, we would have made use of its full potency and not have discarded it as soon as the fight against the British was over or we were in a position to wield conventional weapons. But as I have already said, we adopted it out of our helplessness. If we had the atom bomb, we would have used it against the British.
    • Speech (16 June 1947) as the official date for Indian independence approached (15 August 1947) , as quoted in Mahatma Gandhi : The Last Phase (1958) by Pyarelal, p. 326. The last sentence of this statement has sometimes been quoted as if it was being made as an affirmation of extreme hostility to the British, rather than as part of an affirmation of the strength of non-violence, and the ultimate weakness of those who needlessly resort to violence if it is within their power.
  • We need to be the change we wish to see in the world.
    • As quoted in "Arun Gandhi Shares the Mahatma's Message" by Michel W. Potts, in India - West [San Leandro, California] Vol. XXVII, No. 13 (1 February 2002) p. A34; Arun Gandhi indirectly quoting his grandfather. See also. "Be the change you wish to see: An interview with Arun Gandhi" by Carmella B'Hahn, Reclaiming Children and Youth [Bloomington] Vol.10, No. 1 (Spring 2001) p. 6
  • I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ. The materialism of affluent Christian countries appears to contradict the claims of Jesus Christ that says it's not possible to worship both w:Mammon and God at the same time.
    • As quoted by William Rees-Mogg in The Times [London] (4 April 2005). Gandhi here makes reference to a statement of Jesus: “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon." (Luke 16:13)

Hind Swaraj (1908)

Full text online
  • In reality there are as many religions as there are individuals.
  • One of the objects of a newspaper is to understand popular feeling and to give expression to it; another is to arouse among the people certain desirable sentiments; and the third is fearlessly to expose popular defects.
    • Sect. 1
  • I believe that the civilization India evolved is not to be beaten in the world. Nothing can equal the seeds sown by our ancestors, Rome went, Greece shared the same fate; the might of the Pharaohs was broken; Japan has become Westernized; of China nothing can be said; but India is still, somehow or other, sound at the foundation. The people of Europe learn their lessons from the writings of the men of Greece or Rome, which exist no longer in their former glory. In trying to learn from them, the Europeans imagine that they will avoid the mistakes of Greece and Rome. Such is their pitiable condition. In the midst of all this India remains immovable and that is her glory. It is a charge against India that her people are so uncivilized, ignorant and stolid, that it is not possible to induce them to adopt any changes. It is a charge really against our merit. What we have tested and found true on the anvil of experience, we dare not change. Many thrust their advice upon India, and she remains steady. This is her beauty: it is the sheet-anchor of our hope.
    Civilization is that mode of conduct which points out to man the path of duty. Performance of duty and observance of morality are convertible terms. To observe morality is to attain mastery over our mind and our passions. So doing, we know ourselves. The Gujarati equivalent for civilization means “good conduct”.
    • Sect. 13
    • Variant translations: I believe that the civilisation into which India has evolved is not to be beaten in the world. Nothing can equal the seeds sown by our ancestry. Rome went; Greece shared the same fate; the might of the Pharaohs was broken; Japan has become westernised; of China nothing can be said; but India is still, somehow or other, sound at the foundation.
      Greece, Egypt, Rome — all have been erased from this world, yet we continue to exist. There is something in us, that our character never ceases from the face of this world, defying global hostility for centuries.

An Autobiography (1927)

An Autobiography or The Story of My Experiments with Truth (1927) Full text online at WIkisource These should eventually have citation by translation, edition, and section or page numbers
  • It is not my purpose to attempt a real autobiography. I simply want to tell the story of my experiments with truth...as my life consists of nothing but those experiments.
  • I am a Hindu by birth. And yet I do not know much of Hinduism, and I know less of other religions. In fact I do not know where I am, and what is and what should be my belief. I intend to make a careful study of my own religion and, as far as I can, of other religions as well.
  • An eye for an eye will make the whole world blind.
  • Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the Act depriving a whole nation of arms as the blackest. If we want the Arms Act to be repealed, if we want to learn the use of arms, here is a golden opportunity. If the middle classes render voluntary help to Government in the hour of its trial, distrust will disappear, and the ban on possessing arms will be withdrawn.

"To my mind the life of the lamb is no less precious than that of a human being. I should be unwilling to take the life of the lamb for the sake of the human body. I hold that, the more helpless a creature, the more entitled it is to protection by man from the cruelty of man."

All the following quotes were added by a single IP as being from this autobiography, without reference to edition, translator or page numbers; They need further sourcing:

  • God is absolute.
  • God is truth.
  • Truth is God. (In the meaning truth is absolute, therefore God.)
  • Bad handwriting is a sign of imperfect education.
  • Jealousy does not wait for reasons.
  • Nothing is impossible for pure love.
  • Knowledge of Sanskrit must be for every Hindu boy and girl.
  • Indian curricula should include Hindi, Sanskrit, Persian, Arabic, and English.
  • Physical training should have as much place on the curriculum as mental training.
  • A man of truth must also be a man of care.
  • Only between like natures can friendship be altogether worthy and enduring.
  • I regard women as an incarnation of tolerance.
  • Accept the interpretation honestly put on the pledge by the party administering it. - Golden Rule
  • A convert’s enthusiasm for his new religion is greater than a person who is born in it.
  • Supplication, worship, prayer are no superstition; they are acts more real than acts of eating, drinking etc. It will be no exaggeration to say that they are alone real all else is unreal.
  • Selfishness is blind.
  • All my life through, the very insistence on truth has taught me to appreciate the beauty of compromise. It has often meant endangering my life and incurring displeasure of friends.
  • Truth is hard as adamant and tender as a blossom.
  • I learned at the onset not to carry on public work with borrowed money.
  • One could rely on people’s promises in most matters except in respect of money.
  • The heart's earnest and pure desire is always fulfilled.
  • Howsoever you may repair it, a rift is a rift.
  • Things heard from a distance appear bigger than they are.
  • Service which is rendered without joy helps neither the servant nor the served.
  • Justice can be won quickest by rendering justice to the other party.
  • All become one in face of the common danger.
  • With disappearance of danger also disappears the name of God.
  • It is not good to run public institutions on permanent funds.
  • Mind is the root of all sensuality.
  • There is no limit to the possibilities of renunciation.
  • Without infinite patience it is impossible to get the people to do any work.
  • It is the reformer who is anxious for the reforms.
  • Truth is like a vast tree, which yields more and more fruits the more you nurture it.
  • The deeper the search in the mine of truth, the richer the discovery of gems buried here in the shape of openings for an ever greater variety of services.
  • Public worker should not accept no costly gifts.
  • Service is no mushroom growth. It presupposes the will first and then experience.
  • Heavy is the toll of sins and wrongs that wealth, power and prestige extract from man.
  • I am sternly opposed to giving alms to sturdy beggars.
  • Life of a lamb is no less precious than that of a human being.
  • It is wrong to accept certainties.
  • The quest for truth is the summum bouum of life.
  • The chief thing about theosophy is to cultivate and promote the ideal of brotherhood.
  • A clean confession combined with a promise never to commit the sin again, when offered before one who has the right to receive it, is the purest of repentance.
  • Religion in its broadest sense means self-realization or knowledge of self.
  • Account for everything that comes in and goes out of pocket.
  • Real seat of taste is not the tongue but the mind.
  • An Elephant is powerless to think in terms of an ant, in spite of the best intentions.
  • Who can say thus far, no further to the tide of his nature?
  • Every case can be seen in seven different points of view. All of which are correct by themselves, but not correct at the same time, in the same circumstances.
  • As a man eats so shall he become.
  • Hate the sin and not the sinner.
  • Newspaper press is a great power, but just as an unchained torrent of water submerges whole country sides and devastates crops, even so an uncontrolled pen serves but to destroy.
  • Useful and useless must, like good and evil, generally go on together; and man must make his choice.
  • A public worker should not make statements of which he has not made sure.
  • A votary of truth must exercise the greatest caution.
  • Limited reading enabled me to thoroughly digest what I did read.
  • He who would go in for novel experiments must begin with himself.
  • True beauty consists in purity of heart.
  • Indian parents who train their children to think and talk in english from their infancy betray their children and their country. They deprive them of the spiritual and social heritage of the nation and render them to the extent unfit for the service of the country.
  • The brute by nature knows no self restraint.
  • Man is man because he capable of and only in so far as exercises self restraint.
  • Perfection or freedom from error comes only from grace.
  • One should eat to keep the body going.
  • There are none so blind as those who will not see.
  • Self denial is good for soul.
  • True education could be imparted only by the parents and that then there should be minimum of outside help.
  • I always gave first place to building of character.
  • Children take in much more and with less labour through their ears than through their eyes.
  • Children wrapped up in cotton wool are not always proof against all temptations or contaminations.
  • A votary of truth is often obliged to grope in the dark.
  • A satyagrahi is born to be deceived.
  • One who has faith reads in them the merciful providence of God.
  • Satyagraha is a sovereign remedy.
  • Service without humility is selfishness and egotism.
  • Disinterested service of people in any sphere ultimately helps the country.
  • Physical weakness in men manifests itself in irascibility.
  • Civility is the most difficult part of satyagraha.
  • When the fear of jail disappears, repression puts heart into the people.
  • The end of satyagraha campaign can be described as worthy only when it leaves the satyagrahis stronger and more spirited then they are in the beginning.
  • Salvation of people depend upon themselves, upon their capacity for suffering and sacrifice.
  • If all had the same belief about all matters of religion, there would be only one religion in the world.
  • You can wake a man only if he is really asleep, no effort that you may make will produce any effect upon him if he is merely pretending sleep.
  • Those who want to lead the people to satyagraha ought to be able to keep the people within the limited non-violence expected of them.
  • The only means for the realization of truth is ahimsa.
  • So long as a man does not of his own free will put himself last among his fellow creatures, there is no salvation for him.
  • Ahimsa is the furthest limit of humility.
  • Only when one sees one’s own mistakes with a convex lens and does just the reverse in the case of others, that one is able to arrive at a just relative estimate of the two. A Scrupulous and conscientious observance of this rule is necessary for one who wants to be a satyagrahi.
  • A reformer cannot afford to have close intimacy with him whom he seeks to reform.
  • Morality is the basis of things, and that truth is the substance of all morality.
  • Experience has taught me that silence is part of the spiritual discipline of a votary of truth. Proneness to exaggerate, to suppress or modify the truth, wittingly or unwittingly, is a natural weakness of man and silence is necessary in order to surmount it Chapter 18, Shyness My Shield.

Unsourced

  • A 'No' uttered from the deepest conviction is better than a 'Yes' merely uttered to please, or worse, to avoid trouble.
  • A coward is incapable of exhibiting love; it is the prerogative of the brave.
  • A customer is the most important visitor on our premises. He is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption in our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider in our business. He is part of it. We are not doing him a favor by serving him. He is doing us a favor by giving us an opportunity to do so.
  • A religion that takes no account of practical affairs and does not help to solve them is no religion.
  • A Satyagrahi loves his so-called enemy even as he loves his friend. He owns no enemy.
  • All my actions have their rise in my inalienable love of mankind.
  • As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world - that is the myth of the "atomic age" - as in being able to remake ourselves.
    • Not by Gandhi, but Prof. Michael N. Nagler in his foreword to Gandhi the Man by Eknath Easwaran[1]
  • Corruption ought not to be an inevitable product of democracy.
  • Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not any man's greed.
  • Even as a tree has a single trunk but many branches and leaves, there is one religion — human religion — but any number of faiths.
  • Even If I am a minority of one, truth is still the truth.
  • Everyone wants to be strong and self sufficient, but nobody is willing to put in the work necessary to achieve these goals
  • Find purpose, the means will follow.
  • First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.
    • Describing the stages of a winning strategy of nonviolent activism. Probable misattribution: a close variant of the quotation first appears in a 1914 US trade union address[2]
  • For this cause I too am prepared to die, but for no cause, my friend, will I be prepared to kill.
  • God has no religion.
  • Hate the sin and love the sinner.
    • This is a traditional saying, not first used by Gandhi.[3]
  • Hatred ever kills, love never dies - such is the vast difference between the two. What is obtained by love is retained for all time. What is obtained by hatred proves a burden in reality for it increases hatred.
  • Hindu Dharma is like a boundless ocean teeming with priceless gems. The deeper you dive the more treasures you find.
  • Hinduism has made marvelous discoveries in things of religion, of the spirit, of the soul. We have no eye for these great and fine discoveries. We are dazzled by the material progress that Western science has made. Ancient India has survived because Hinduism was not developed along material but spiritual lines.
  • Hinduism insists on the brotherhood of not only all mankind but of all that lives.
  • Hinduism is a living organism liable to growth and decay subject to the laws of Nature. One and indivisible at the root, it has grown into a vast tree with innumerable branches. The changes in the season affect it. It has its autumn and its summer, its winter and its spring. It is, and is not, based on scriptures. It does not derive its authority from one book. Non violence has found the highest expression and application in Hinduism.
  • Hinduism is a living organism. One and indivisible at the root, it has grown into a vast tree with innumerable branches. Knowledge is limitless and so also the application of truth. Everyday we add to our knowledge of the power of Atman (soul) and we shall keep on doing so.
  • Hinduism is a relentless pursuit of Truth. Truth is God and if today it has become moribund, inactive, irresponsive to growth, it is because we are fatigued; and as soon as the fatigue is over, Hinduism will burst upon the world with a brilliance perhaps unknown before.
  • Hinduism is like the Ganga, pure and unsullied at its source but taking in its course the impurities in the way. Even like the Ganga it is beneficent in its total effect. It takes a provincial form in every province, but the inner substance is retained everywhere.
  • Honest differences are often a healthy sign of progress.
  • Honest disagreement is often a good sign of progress.
  • Hope is eternal — Its worship never goes in vain.
  • I am a Hindu because it is Hinduism which makes the world worth living. I am a Hindu hence I Love not only human beings, but all living beings.
  • I am a proud staunch Sanatani Hindu.
  • I am unable to identify with orthodox Christianity. I must tell you in all humility that Hinduism, as I know it, entirely satisfies my soul, fills my whole being, and I find solace in the Bhagavad Gita and the Upanishads that I miss even in the Sermon on the Mount....I must confess to you that when doubts haunt me, when disappointments stare me in the face, and when I see not one ray of light on the horizon I turn to the Bhagavad Gita, and find a verse to comfort me; and I immediately begin to smile in the midst of overwhelming sorrow. My life has been full of external tragedies and if they have not left any visible and indelible effect on me, I owe it to the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita.
  • I call myself a Sanatani Eternal Hindu, because I believe in the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Puranas, and all that goes by the name of Hindu scripture, and therefore in avataras and rebirth...
  • I can combine the greatest love with the greatest opposition to wrong.
  • I consider western Christianity in its practical working a negation of Christ's Christianity.
  • I do not believe in the doctrine of the greatest good of the greatest number. The only real, dignified, human doctrine is the greatest good of all.
  • I do not want my house to be walled in on sides and my windows to be stuffed. I want the cultures of all the lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible. But I refuse to be blown off my feet by any.
  • I don't know which is the greater task: to decentralise a top-heavy civilization or to prevent an ancient civilization from becoming centralised and top-heavy. In both cases the core of the problem is to discover what constitutes a good civilization, then proclaim it to the people and help them to erect it.
  • I have been known as a crank, faddist, madman. Evidently the reputation is well deserved. For wherever I go, I draw to myself cranks, faddists, and madmen.
  • I have no other wish in this world but to find light and joy and peace through Hinduism.
  • I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent.
  • I regard myself as a soldier, though a soldier of peace.
  • I think it would be a good idea!
    • In reply to a reporter who asked "What do you think of Western Civilization?"
  • I worship God as Truth only. I have not yet found Him, but I am seeking after Him
  • I would far rather that Hinduism died than untouchability lived.
  • If love or non-violence be not the law of our being, the whole of my argument falls to pieces.
  • If my faith burns bright, as I hope it will even if I stand alone, I shall be alive in the grave, and what is more, speaking from it!
  • If one is able to stop smoking, he may continue, if he is unable to quit, then he must!
  • If we were to drive out the English with the weapons with which they enslaved us, our slavery would still be with us even when they have gone.
  • If you don't ask, you don't get.
  • If you do your dishes, you will become rich.
  • In numbers, Parsis are beneath contempt, but in contribution, beyond compare.
  • In spite of despair staring me in the face on the political horizon, I have never lost my peace. In fact, I have found people who envy my peace. That peace, I tell you, comes from prayer; I am not a man of learning, but I humbly claim to be a man of prayer. I am indifferent as to the form. Every one is a law unto himself in that respect. But there are some well-marked roads, and it is safe to walk along the beaten tracks, trod by the ancient teachers.
  • In the code of the Satyagrahi, there is no such thing as surrender to brute force.
    • Satyagrahi is a practitioner of Satyagraha, a term Gandhi coined for his overall activist strategy. Some translations of the term include "truth-force" and "insistence upon the truth". Satya (the truth)+ Agraha (to insist upon) = Satyagraha.
  • In the dictionary of Satyagraha, there is no enemy.
  • In the secret of my heart I am in perpetual quarrel with God that He should allow such things [as the war] to go on. My non-violence seems almost impotent. But the answer comes at the end of the daily quarrel that neither God nor non-violence is impotent. Impotence is in men. I must try on without losing faith even though I may break in the attempt.
  • It is my firm opinion that Europe does not represent the spirit of God or Christianity but the spirit of Satan. And Satan's successes are the greatest when he appears with the name of God on his lips.
  • It is the law of love that rules mankind. Had violence, i.e. hate, ruled us we should have become extinct long ago. And yet, the tragedy of it is that the so-called civilized men and nations conduct themselves as if the basis of society was violence.
  • It is unwise to be too sure of one's own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err.
  • It may be long before the law of love will be recognized in international affairs. The machineries of government stand between and hide the hearts of one people from those of another.
  • Just as a man would not cherish living in a body other than his own, so do nations not like to live under other nations, however noble and great the latter may be.
  • Justice that love gives is a surrender; justice that law gives is a punishment
  • Kaffirs are as a rule uncivilized - the convicts even more so. They are troublesome, very dirty and live almost like animals.
  • Let us all be brave enough to die the death of a martyr, but let no one lust for martyrdom.
  • Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.
  • Man is the product of his thoughts. What he thinks, he becomes.
  • Man's nature is not essentially evil. Brute nature has been known to yield to the influence of love. You must never despair of human nature.
  • My effort should never be to undermine another's faith but to make him a better follower of his own faith.
  • My life is my message.
  • My whole soul rebels against the idea that Hinduism and Islam represent two antagonistic cultures and doctrines. To assent to such a doctrine is for me a denial of God.
  • Non-violence and cowardice are contradictory terms. Non-violence is the greatest virtue, cowardice the greatest vice. Non-violence springs from love, cowardice from hate. Non-violence always suffers, cowardice would always inflict suffering. Perfect non-violence is the highest bravery. Non-violent conduct is never demoralising, cowardice always is.
  • Non-violence is not a garment to be put on and off at will. Its seat is in the heart, and it must be an inseparable part of our very being.
  • Non-violent resistance implies the very opposite of weakness. Defiance combined with non-retaliatory acceptance of repression from one's opponents is active, not passive. It requires strength, and there is nothing automatic or intuitive about the resoluteness required for using non-violent methods in political struggle and the quest for Truth.
  • Now let us turn our attention to another and entirely unrepresented community - the Indian. He is in striking contrast with the native. While the native has been of little benefit to the State, it owes its prosperity largely to the Indians. While native loafers abound on every side, that species of humanity is almost unknown among Indians here.
  • On examination, I have found it to be the most tolerant of all religions known to me. Its freedom from dogma makes a forcible appeal to me inasmuch as it gives the votary the largest scope for self-expression.:
  • On Showing up to meet His Majesty King Edward VII of England in just a loincloth, a reporter wondered aloud if this was disrespectful to the king.
    Gandhi replied simply, "The King was wearing enough for the both of us."
  • One can understand the necessity for registration of Kaffirs who will not work.
  • Ours is one continued struggle against degradation sought to be inflicted upon us by the European, who desire to degrade us to the level of the raw Kaffir, whose occupation is hunting and whose sole ambition is to collect a certain number of cattle to buy a wife with, and then pass his life in indolence and nakedness.
  • Passive resistance is an all-sided sword; it can be used anyhow; it blesses him who uses it and him against whom it is used.
  • Power is of two kinds. One is obtained by the fear of punishment and the other by acts of love. Power based on love is a thousand times more effective and permanent then the one derived from fear of punishment.
  • Satisfaction does not come with achievement, but with effort. Full effort is full victory.
  • Speak only if it improves upon the silence.
  • Supplication, worship, prayer are no superstition; they are acts more real than the acts of eating, drinking, sitting or walking. It is no exaggeration to say that they alone are real, all else is unreal.
  • That which looks for mercy from an opponent is not non-violence
  • The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.
  • The cause of liberty becomes a mockery if the price to be paid is the wholesale destruction of those who are to enjoy liberty.
  • The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world's problem.*
  • The fight of Satyagraha is for the strong in spirit, not the doubter or the timid. Satyagraha teaches us the art of living as well as dying.
  • The Geeta is the universal mother. I find a solace in the Bhagavadgeeta that I miss even in the Sermon on the Mount. When disappointment stares me in the face and all alone I see not one ray of light, I go back to the Bhagavad Gita. I find a verse here and a verse there , and I immediately begin to smile in the midst of overwhelming tragedies - and my life has been full of external tragedies - and if they have left no visible or indelible scar on me, I owe it all to the teaching of Bhagavadgeeta.
  • The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.
  • The moment there is suspicion about a person's motives, everything he does becomes tainted.
  • The more subtle a force is, the more effective it becomes. Love is the greatest force in the world.
  • The most heinous and the most cruel crimes of which history has record have been committed under the cover of religion or equally noble motives.
  • The Natives in our hands proved to be most unreliable and obstinate. Without constant attention, they would as soon have dropped the wounded man as not, and they seemed to bestow no care on their suffering countryman. - on the native Africans, when Gandhi was practising law there.
  • The Rich must live more simply so that the Poor may simply live.
  • The sayings of Muhammed are a treasure of wisdom not only for Muslims but for all of mankind.
  • The spirit of democracy cannot be imposed from without. It has to come from within.
  • The truth is that God is the force. He is the essence of life. He is pure and undefiled consciousness. He is eternal.
  • There are many causes I would die for. There is not a single cause I would kill for.
  • There is more to life than increasing its speed.
  • There is no way to peace; peace is the way.
  • Things undreamt of are daily being seen, the impossible is ever becoming possible. We are constantly being astonished these days at the amazing discoveries in the field of violence. But I maintain that far more undreamt of and seemingly impossible discoveries will be made in the field of nonviolence.
  • This freedom from all attachment is the realisation of God as Truth.
  • This manslaughter must be stopped. You are losing; if you persist, it will only result in greater bloodshed.
    • To the British during WWII
  • To believe in something, and not live it, is dishonest.
  • To forgive is not to forget. The merit lies in loving in spite of the vivid knowledge that the one that must be loved is not a friend. There is no merit in loving an enemy when you forget him for a friend.
  • Truth alone will endure; all the rest will be swept away before the tide of time.
  • Truth never damages a cause that is just.
  • Truth quenches untruth, love quenches anger, self-suffering quenches violence. This eternal rule is a rule not for saints only but for all
  • Truth resides in every human heart, and one has to search for it there, and to be guided by truth as one sees it. But no one has a right to coerce others to act according to his own view of the truth.
  • Use truth as your anvil, nonviolence as your hammer and anything that does not stand the test when it is brought to the anvil of truth and hammered with nonviolence, reject it.
  • We cannot be speakers who do not listen. But neither can we be listeners who do not speak.
  • We must always seek to ally ourselves with that part of the enemy that knows what is right.
  • We must respect other religions, even as we respect our own. Mere tolerance thereof is not enough.
  • What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty or democracy?
  • Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.
  • When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall — think of it, always.
  • When the missionary of another religion goes to them, he goes like a vendor of goods. He has no special spiritual merit that will distinguish him from those to whom he goes. He does however possess material goods which he promises to those who will come to his fold.
  • Whenever you are confronted with an opponent, conquer him with love.
  • Whether humanity will consciously follow the law of love, I do not know. But that need not disturb me. The law will work just as the law of gravitation works, whether we accept it or not. The person who discovered the law of love was a far greater scientist than any of our modern scientists. Only our explorations have not gone far enough and so it is not possible for everyone to see all its workings.
  • Why change the world when we can change ourselves?
  • With this salt I am shaking the foundations of the empire.
    • When beginning a protest against the British rule of India, by breaking a law whereby Indians were not permitted to manufacture salt from seawater. Spoken after picking up a piece of raw salt from the seashore.
  • Yes I am, I am also a Muslim, a Christian, a Buddhist, and a Jew.
    • When asked if he was a Hindu.
  • You may never know what results come of your action, but if you do nothing there will be no result.
  • You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.
  • The Jews should have offered themselves to the butcher's knife. They should have thrown themselves into the sea from cliffs.
  • If you have a sword in your breast take it out and use it like a man.
  • If you want to give a message again to the West, it must be a message of ‘Love’, it must be a message of ‘Truth’. There must be a conquest [claps], please, please, please. That will interfere with my speech, and that will interfere with your understanding also. I want to capture your hearts and don’t want to receive your claps. Let your hearts clap in unison with what I’m saying, and I think, I shall have finished my work. Therefore, I want you to go away with the thought that Asia has to conquer the West. Then, the question that a friend asked yesterday, “Did I believe in one world?” Of course, I believe in one world. And how can I possibly do otherwise, when I become an inheritor of the message of love that these great un-conquerable teachers left for us? (One World - april 2, 1947 - New Delhi)
  • You can chain me, you can torture me, you can even destroy this body, but you will never imprison my mind.

Quotes about Gandhi

  • It is alarming and also nauseating to see Mr. Gandhi, a seditious middle temple lawyer, now posing as a fakir of a type well known in the east, striding half-naked up the steps of the viceregal palace, while he is still organizing and conducting a defiant campaign of civil disobedience, to parley on equal terms with the representative of the king-emperor.
  • I believe that Gandhi's views were the most enlightened of all the political men of our time. We should strive to do things in his spirit: not to use violence for fighting for our cause, but by non-participation of anything you believe is evil.
  • Generations to come, it may be, will scarcely believe that such a one, as this, ever in flesh and blood walked upon this earth.
  • Everyone concerned in the better future of mankind must be deeply moved by the tragic death of Mahatma Gandhi. He died as the victim of his own principles, the principle of nonviolence. He died because in time of disorder and general irritation in his country, he refused armed protection for himself. It was his unshakable belief that the use of force is an evil in itself, that therefore it must be avoided by those who are striving for supreme justice to his belief. With his belief in his heart and mind, he has led a great nation on to its liberation. He has demonstrated that a powerful human following can be assembled not only through the cunning game of the usual political manoeuvres and trickeries but through the cogent example of morally superior conduct of life.

The admiration for Mahatma Gandhi in all countries of the world rests on recognition, mostly sub-conscious, recognition of the fact that in our time of utter moral decadence, he was the only statesman to stand for a higher level of human relationship in political sphere. This level we must, with all our forces, attempt to reach. We must learn the difficult lesson that an endurable future of humanity will be possible only if, also in international relations, decisions are based on law and justice and not on self-righteous power, as they have been upto now.

  • A lot of people are waiting for Martin Luther King or Mahatma Gandhi to come back -- but they are gone. We are it. It is up to us. It is up to you.
    • Marian Wright Edelman
  • Gandhi was a pacifist, but we might suspect him to have been something of a "militant pacifist" at heart: he would have used force to prevent those who sought to make war from carrying out their aims.
  • I could find no explanation worthy of the Mahatma for his decision to accept leadership of the khilafat movement. The decision, it seemed to me, revealed the great man's proverbial Achilles' heel.
  • But, he was a bhakt not of Ram in his totality, that is of Ram the warrior also, but of Ram as Purushottam Purusha, that is, of Ram who set the ideal for ethical life.

See also

References

  1. Gandhi the Man, Eknath Easwaran2d ed, 1978, Nilgiri Press, p. 8Google Books
  2. "And, my friends, in this story you have a history of this entire movement. First they ignore you. Then they ridicule you. And then they attack you and want to burn you. And then they build monuments to you. And that, is what is going to happen to the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America." General Executive Board Report and Proceedings [of The] Biennial Convention, Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America, 1914. Google Books
  3. For instance, "Hate the sin, but love the sinner", p32, Sermons, lectures, and occasional discourses, Edward Irving, 1828 Google Books

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