Mahatma Gandhi Quotes

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (2 October 1869 – 30 January 1948), commonly known as Mahatma Gandhi (महात्मा mahātmā “Great Soul”). In India he is generally regarded as Bapu (Gujarati: બાપુ bāpu “father”), Jathi Pitha and Raashtra Pitha; he was an advocate and pioneer of nonviolent social protest and direct action in the form he called Satyagraha. He led the struggle for India’s independence from British colonial rule. He died on 30th January as being shot dead by Nathuram Godse.

Mahatma Karamchand Gandhi was a paragon of virtue, an icon of iconoclasm. He was the type of person who took the world for what it was, took inventory of his own personal power, and then did his absolute best to be the change he wished to see in the world. See also: Mahatma Gandhi’s Prayer, Mohandas Gandhi Quotes

We have collected and put the best Mahatma Gandhi quotes in the following categories. Enjoy reading these insights and feel free to share this page on your social media to inspire others.

May these Mahatma Gandhi quotes on many subjects inspire you to never give up and keep working towards your goals. Who knows—success could be just around the corner.

Mahatma Gandhi Quotes

A definite forgiveness would mean a definite recognition of our strength. – Mahatma Gandhi

A leader is useless when he acts against the promptings of his own conscience. – Mahatma Gandhi

A living faith in God means acceptance of the brotherhood of mankind. – Mahatma Gandhi

A man of few words will rarely be thoughtless in his speech; he will measure every word. – Mahatma Gandhi

A nation’s culture resides in the hearts and in the soul of its people. – Mahatma Gandhi

A ‘No’ uttered from deepest conviction is better and greater than a ‘Yes’ merely uttered to please, or what is worse, to avoid trouble. – Mahatma Gandhi

A ‘No’ uttered from the deepest conviction is better than a ‘Yes’ merely uttered to please, or worse, to avoid trouble. – Mahatma Gandhi

A principle is the expression of perfection, and as imperfect beings like us cannot practise perfection, we devise every moment limits of its compromise in practice. – Mahatma Gandhi

A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history. – Mahatma Gandhi

A vow is fixed and unalterable determination to do a thing, when such a determination is related to something noble which can only uplift the man who makes the resolve. – Mahatma Gandhi

A weak man is just by accident. A strong but non-violent man is unjust by accident. – Mahatma Gandhi

A weak man is just by accident. A strong but nonviolent man is unjust by accident. – Mahatma Gandhi

Adaptability is not imitation. It means power of resistance and assimilation. – Mahatma Gandhi

All business depends upon men fulfilling their responsibilities. – Mahatma Gandhi

All compromise is based on give and take, but there can be no give and take on fundamentals. Any compromise on mere fundamentals is a surrender. For it is all give and no take. – Mahatma Gandhi

An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind. – Mahatma Gandhi, (attributed)

Anger is the enemy of nonviolence and pride is a monster that swallows it up. – Mahatma Gandhi

Are creeds such simple things like the clothes which a man can change at will and put on at will? Creeds are such for which people live for ages and ages. – Mahatma Gandhi

Are creeds such simple things like the clothes which a man can change at will and put on at will? – Mahatma Gandhi

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. – Mahatma Gandhi

As long as you derive inner help and comfort from anything, keep it. – Mahatma Gandhi

As soon as we lose moral basis, we cease to be religious. There is no such thing as religion overriding man, for instance cannot be untruthful, cruel, or incontinent and claim to have God in his side. – Mahatma Gandhi

Be congruent, be authentic, be your true self. – Mahatma Gandhi

Before the throne of the Almighty, man will be judged not by his acts but by his intentions. For God alone reads our hearts. – Mahatma Gandhi

But in all my trials – of a spiritual nature, as a lawyer, in conducting institutions, and in politics – I can say that God d me. When every hope is gone, ‘when helpers fail and comforts flee’, I experience that help arrives somehow, from I know not where. – Mahatma Gandhi

Capital as such is not evil; it is its wrong use that is evil. Capital in some form or other will always be needed. – Mahatma Gandhi

Commonsense is the realised sense of proportion. – Mahatma Gandhi

Consciously or unconsciously, every one of us does render some service or other. If we cultivate the habit of doing this service deliberately, our desire for service will steadily grow stronger, and will make, not only our own happiness, but that of the world at large.

Cowards can never be moral. – Mahatma Gandhi

Creeds are such for which people live for ages and ages. – Mahatma Gandhi

Do not judge others. Be your own judge and you will be truly happy. If you will try to judge others, you are likely to burn your fingers. – Mahatma Gandhi

Doubt is invariably the result of want or weakness of faith. – Mahatma Gandhi

Each night, when I go to sleep, I die. And the next morning, when I wake up, I am reborn. – Mahatma Gandhi

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need, but not any man’s greed. – Mahatma Gandhi

Even If I am a minority of one, truth is still the truth. – Mahatma Gandhi

Everyone wants to be strong and self sufficient, but nobody is willing to put in the work necessary to achieve these goals. – Mahatma Gandhi

Everything else is in God’s hands. – Mahatma Gandhi

Faith is the function of the heart. – Mahatma Gandhi

Faith must be enforced by reason. When faith becomes blind it dies. – Mahatma Gandhi

For me every ruler is alien that defies public opinion. – Mahatma Gandhi

Freedom is not worth having if it does not connote freedom to err. It passes my comprehension how human beings, be they ever so experienced and able, can delight in depriving other human beings of that precious right. – Mahatma Gandhi

Friendship that insists upon agreement on all things isn’t worth the name. – Mahatma Gandhi

Hate the sin and not the sinner is a precept which though easy enough to understand is rarely practiced, and that is why the poison of hatred spreads in the world. – Mahatma Gandhi

Healthy discontent is the prelude to progress. – Mahatma Gandhi

Honest differences are often a healthy sign of progress. – Mahatma Gandhi

However much I may sympathize with and admire worthy motives, I am an uncompromising opponent of violent methods even to serve the noblest of causes. – Mahatma Gandhi

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. – Mahatma Gandhi

I am a humble but very earnest seeker after truth. – Mahatma Gandhi

I am in the world feeling my way to light ‘amid the encircling gloom.’ – Mahatma Gandhi

I believe in equality for everyone, except reporters and photographers. – Mahatma Gandhi

I believe in the essential unity of all people and for that matter of all lives. Therefore, I believe that if one person gains spiritually, the whole world gains, and if one person falls, the whole world falls to that extent. – Mahatma Gandhi

I believe that a man is the strongest soldier for daring to die unarmed. – Mahatma Gandhi

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. – Mahatma Gandhi

I can combine the greatest love with the greatest opposition to wrong. – Mahatma Gandhi

I cannot teach you violence, as I do not myself believe in it. I can only teach you not to bow your heads before any one even at the cost of your life. – Mahatma Gandhi

I claim that in losing the spinning wheel we lost our left lung. We are, therefore, suffering from galloping consumption. The restoration of the wheel arrests the progress of the fell disease. – Mahatma Gandhi

I claim to be an average man of less than average ability. I have not the shadow of a doubt that any man or woman can achieve what I have, if he or she would make the same effort and cultivate the same hope and faith. – Mahatma Gandhi

I did once seriously think of embracing the Christian faith. The gentle figure of Christ, so full of forgiveness that he taught his followers not to retaliate when abused or struck, but to turn the other cheek – I thought it was a beautiful example of the perfect man. – Mahatma Gandhi

I do all the evil I can before I learn to shun it? Is it not enough to know the evil to shun it? If not, we should be sincere enough to admit that we love evil too well to give it up. – Mahatma Gandhi

I do believe that where there is a choice between only cowardice and violence, I would advise violence… – Mahatma Gandhi

I do believe that, where there is only a choice between cowardice and violence, I would advise violence….I would rather have India resort to arms in order to defend her honour than that she should, in a cowardly manner, become or remain a helpless witness to her own dishonour. But I believe that nonviolence is infinitely superior to violence, forgiveness is more manly than punishment. Forgiveness adorns a soldier…But abstinence is forgiveness only when there is the power to punish; it is meaningless when it pretends to proceed from a helpless creature….But I do not believe India to be helpless….I do not believe myself to be a helpless creature….Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will. – Mahatma Gandhi

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. – Mahatma Gandhi

I do not believe that multiplication of wants and machinery contrived to supply them is taking the world a single step nearer its goal… I whole-heartedly detest this mad desire to destroy distance and time, to increase animal appetites and go to the ends of the earth in search of their satisfaction. If modern civilization stands for all this, and I have understood it to do so, I call it Satanic. – Mahatma Gandhi

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. – Mahatma Gandhi

I have also seen children successfully surmounting the effects of an evil inheritance. That is due to purity being an inherent attribute of the soul. – Mahatma Gandhi

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. – Mahatma Gandhi

I regard myself as a soldier, though a soldier of peace. – Mahatma Gandhi

I shall content myself with merely declaring my firm conviction that, for the seeker who would live in fear of God and who would see Him face to face, restraint in diet both as to quantity and quality is as essential as restraint in thought and speech. – Mahatma Gandhi

I think it is the height of ignorance to believe that the sexual act is an independent function necessary like sleeping or eating. Seeing, therefore, that I did not desire more children, I began to strive after self-control. There was endless difficulty in the task. – Mahatma Gandhi

I think it would be a good idea! In reply to a reporter’s question What do you think of Western Civilization? – Mahatma Gandhi

I took the vow of celibacy in 1906. I had not shared my thoughts with my wife until then, but only consulted her at the time of making the vow. She had no objection. – Mahatma Gandhi

I used to issue leaflets asking people to enlist as recruits. One of the arguments I had used was distasteful to the Commissioner: ‘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.’ The Commissioner referred to this and said that he appreciated my presence in the conference in spite of the differences between us. And I had to justify my standpoint as courteously as I could. – Mahatma Gandhi

I want freedom for the full expression of my personality. – Mahatma Gandhi

I wear the national dress because it is the most natural and the most becoming for an Indian. – Mahatma Gandhi

I will far rather see the race of man extinct than that we should become less than beasts by making the noblest of God’s creation, woman, the object of our lust. – Mahatma Gandhi

If by strength is meant moral power, then woman is immeasurably man’s superior. – Mahatma Gandhi

If India adopted the doctrine of love as an active part of her religion and introduced it in her politics. Swaraj would descend upon India from heaven. But I am painfully aware that that event is far off as yet. – Mahatma Gandhi

If love or non-violence be not the law of our being, the whole of my argument falls to pieces. – Mahatma Gandhi

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. March 18, 1922, during his trial for “exciting disaffection toward His Majesty’s Government as established by law in India”. – Mahatma Gandhi

If patience is worth anything, it must endure to the end of time. And a living faith will last in the midst of the blackest storm. – Mahatma Gandhi

If we were strong, self-respecting and not susceptible to frightfulness, the foreign rulers would have been powerless for mischief. – Mahatma Gandhi

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. – Mahatma Gandhi

If you don’t ask, you don’t get. – Mahatma Gandhi

If you take care of your immediate surroundings, the universe will take care of itself. – Mahatma Gandhi

Imitation is the sincerest flattery. – Mahatma Gandhi

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. – Mahatma Gandhi

In the attitude of silence the soul finds the path in a clearer light, and what is elusive and deceptive resolves itself into crystal clearness. Our life is a long and arduous quest after Truth. – Mahatma Gandhi

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. – Mahatma Gandhi

Increase of material comforts, it may be generally laid down, does not in any way whatsoever conduce to moral growth. – Mahatma Gandhi

Indolence is a delightful but distressing state; we must be doing something to be happy. – Mahatma Gandhi

Infinite striving to be the best is man’s duty; it is its own reward. – Mahatma Gandhi

Is it not enough to know the evil to shun it? If not, we should be sincere enough to admit that we love evil too well to give it up. – Mahatma Gandhi

It has always been a mystery to me how men can feel themselves honoured by the humiliation of their fellow beings. – Mahatma Gandhi

It is any day better to stand erect with a broken and bandaged head then to crawl on one`s belly, in order to be able to save one`s head. – Mahatma Gandhi

It is difficult, but not impossible, to conduct strictly honest business. – Mahatma Gandhi

It is good to see ourselves as others see us. Try as we may, we are never able to know ourselves fully as we are, especially the evil side of us. This we can do only if we are not angry with our critics but will take in good heart whatever they might have to say.    – Mahatma Gandhi    

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? – Mahatma Gandhi

It is my own firm belief that the strength of the soul grows in proportion as you subdue the flesh. – Mahatma Gandhi

It is open to a war resister to judge between the combatants and wish success to the one who has justice on his side. By so judging he is more likely to bring peace between the two than by remaining a mere spectator. – Mahatma Gandhi

It is possible for a single individual to defy the whole might of an unjust empire to save his honour, his religion, his soul, and lay the foundation for that empire’s fall or its regeneration. – Mahatma Gandhi

It is the duty of every thoughtful Indian not to marry. In case he is helpless in regard to marriage, he should abstain from sexual intercourse with his wife. – Mahatma Gandhi

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. – Mahatma Gandhi

It is weakness which breeds fear, and fear breeds distrust. – Mahatma Gandhi

It may be long before the law of love will be recognized in international affairs. The machinery’s of government stand between and hide the hearts of one people from those of another. – Mahatma Gandhi

It may be possible to gild pure gold, but who can make his mother more beautiful? – Mahatma Gandhi

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. – Mahatma Gandhi

Let not the 12 million Negroes be ashamed of the fact that they are the grandchildren of slaves. There is dishonor in being slave-owners. – Mahatma Gandhi

Life is an aspiration. Its mission is to strive after perfection, which is self-realization. The ideal must not be lowered because of our weaknesses or imperfections. – Mahatma Gandhi

Like the bee gathering honey from the different flowers, the wise person accepts the essence of the different scriptures and sees only the good in all religions. – Mahatma Gandhi

Live as if your were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever. – Mahatma Gandhi

Live simply so that others may simply live. – Mahatma Gandhi

Man and his deed are two distinct things. Whereas a good deed should call forth approbation, and a wicked deed disapprobation, the doer of the deed, whether good or wicked always deserves respect or pity as the case may be. – Mahatma Gandhi

Man has always desired power. Ownership of property gives this power. Man hankers also after posthumous fame based on power. – Mahatma Gandhi

Man is supposed to be the maker of his destiny. It is only partly true. He can make his destiny, only in so far as he is allowed by the Great Power. – Mahatma Gandhi

Man often becomes what he believes himself to be. If I keep on saying to myself that I cannot do a certain thing, it is possible that I may end by really becoming incapable of doing it. – Mahatma Gandhi

Man’s happiness really lies in contentment. He who is discontented, however much he possesses, becomes a slave to his desires. – Mahatma Gandhi

Mankind is notoriously too dense to read the signs that God sends from time to time. We require drums to be beaten into our ears, before we should wake from our trance and hear the warning and see that to lose oneself in all, is the only way to find oneself. – Mahatma Gandhi

Man’s nature is not essentially evil. Brute nature has been know to yield to the influence of love. You must never despair of human nature. – Mahatma Gandhi

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. – Mahatma Gandhi

Many people, especially ignorant people, want to punish you for speaking the truth, for being correct, for being you. Never apologize for being correct, or for being years ahead of your time. If you’re right and you know it, speak your mind. – Mahatma Gandhi

Measures must always in a progressive society be held superior to men, who are after all imperfect instruments, working for their fulfillment. – Mahatma Gandhi

Men aspiring to be free can hardly think of enslaving others. – Mahatma Gandhi

Mental violence has no potency and injures only the person whose thoughts are violent. It is otherwise with mental non-violence. It has potency which the world does not yet know. – Mahatma Gandhi

Moral authority is never retained by any attempt to hold on to it. It comes without seeking and is retained without effort. – Mahatma Gandhi

Morality is contraband in war. – Mahatma Gandhi

Morality which depends upon the helplessness of a man or woman has not much to recommend it. Morality is rooted in the purity of our hearts. – Mahatma Gandhi

Must I do all the evil I can before I learn to shun it? Is it not enough to know the evil to shun it? If not, we should be sincere enough to admit that we love evil too well to give it up. – Mahatma Gandhi

My effort should never be to undermine another’s faith but to make him a better follower of his own faith. – Mahatma Gandhi

My non-violence bids me dedicate myself to the service of the minorities. – Mahatma Gandhi

My nonviolence does not admit of running away from danger and leaving dear ones unprotected. Between violence and cowardly flight, I can only prefer violence to cowardice. I can no more preach nonviolence to a coward than I can tempt a blind man to enjoy healthy scenes. – Mahatma Gandhi

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. – Mahatma Gandhi

My work will be finished if I succeed in carrying conviction to the human family that every man or woman, however weak in body, is the guardian of his or her self-respect and liberty. – Mahatma Gandhi

Namaste. I honour the place in you where the entire universe resides… a place of light, of love, of truth, of peace, of wisdom. I honour the place in you where when you are in that place and I am in that place there is only one of us. – Mahatma Gandhi

No culture can live if it attempts to be exclusive. – Mahatma Gandhi

Nonviolence 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 being. – Mahatma Gandhi

Non-violence is the article of faith. – Mahatma Gandhi

Nonviolence is the first article of my faith. It is also the last article of my creed. – Mahatma Gandhi, Opening words of speech in defense trial, 1922.

Nonviolence is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind.
It is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of man. – Mahatma Gandhi

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. – Mahatma Gandhi

Nonviolent resistance implies the very opposite of weakness. Defiance combined with non-retaliatory acceptance of repression from one’s opponents is active, not passive. – Mahatma Gandhi

Nothing has saddened me so much in life as the hardness of heart of educated people. – Mahatma Gandhi

Nothing is impossible for pure love. – Mahatma Gandhi

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. – Mahatma Gandhi

Our ability to reach unity in diversity will be the beauty and the test of our civilisation. – Mahatma Gandhi

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. – Mahatma Gandhi

Palestine belongs to the Arabs in the same sense that England belongs to the English or France to the French. – Mahatma Gandhi

Palestine belongs to the Arabs in the same sense that England belongs to the English or France to the French. It is wrong and unhuman to impose the Jews on the Arabs. – Mahatma Gandhi

Partition is bad. But whatever is past is past. We have only to look to the future. – Mahatma Gandhi

Patience means self-suffering. – Mahatma Gandhi

Peace will not come out of a clash of arms but out of justice lived and done by unarmed nations in the face of odds. – Mahatma Gandhi

Perfect nonviolence is difficult. It admits to no weakness. – Mahatma Gandhi

Personally, I hold that a man, who deliberately and intelligently takes a pledge and then breaks it, forfeits his manhood. – Mahatma Gandhi

Poverty is the worst form of violence. – Mahatma Gandhi

Purity of mind and idleness are incompatible. – Mahatma Gandhi

Rationalists are admirable beings, rationalism is a hideous monster when it claims for itself omnipotence. Attribution of omnipotence to reason is as bad a piece of idolatry as is worship of stock and stone believing it to be God. – Mahatma Gandhi

Satisfaction does not come with achievement, but with effort. Full effort is full victory. – Mahatma Gandhi

Self-respect knows no considerations. – Mahatma Gandhi

Sense perceptions can be and often are false and deceptive, however real they may appear to us. Where there is realization outside the senses, it is infallible. It is proved not by extraneous evidence but in the transformed conduct and character of those who have felt the real presence of God within. – Mahatma Gandhi

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. – Mahatma Gandhi

Speak only if it improves upon the silence. – Mahatma Gandhi

Study not man in his animal nature – man following the laws of the jungle – but study man in all his glory. – Mahatma Gandhi

Take care of this moment. – Mahatma Gandhi

That which looks for mercy from an opponent is not non-violence. – Mahatma Gandhi

The best way of losing a cause is to abuse your opponent and to trade upon his weakness. – Mahatma Gandhi

The cause of liberty becomes a mockery if the price to be paid is the wholesale destruction of those who are to enjoy liberty. – Mahatma Gandhi

The control of the palate is a valuable aid for the control of the mind. – Mahatma Gandhi

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? – Mahatma Gandhi

The difficulty one experiences in meeting himsa arises from weakness of mind. – Mahatma Gandhi

The golden rule of conduct is mutual toleration, seeing that we will never all think alike and we shall always see Truth in fragment and from different points of vision. – Mahatma Gandhi

The golden way is to be friends with the world and to regard the whole human family as one. – Mahatma Gandhi

The greater our innocence, the greater our strength and the swifter our victory. – Mahatma Gandhi

The history of the world is full of men who rose to leadership, by sheer force of self-confidence, bravery and tenacity.v

The ideally non-violent state will be an ordered anarchy. – Mahatma Gandhi

The King was wearing enough for the both of us. 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. – Mahatma Gandhi

The law of sacrifice is uniform throughout the world. To be effective it demands the sacrifice of the bravest and the most spotless. – Mahatma Gandhi

The mice which helplessly find themselves between the cats teeth acquire no merit from their enforced sacrifice. – Mahatma Gandhi

The moment the slave resolves that he will no longer be a slave. His fetters fall… freedom and slavery are mental states. – Mahatma Gandhi

The rich cannot accumulate wealth without the co-operation of the poor in society.v

The Rich must live more simply so that the Poor may simply live. – Mahatma Gandhi

The roots of violence: Wealth without work, pleasure without conscience, knowledge without character, commerce without morality, science without humanity, worship without sacrifice, politics without principles. – Mahatma Gandhi

The sayings of Muhammad are a treasure of wisdom not only for Muslims but for all of mankind. – Mahatma Gandhi

The Seven Sins are: Wealth without work. Pleasure without conscience. Knowledge without character. Commerce without morality. Science without humanity. Religion without sacrifice. Politics without principle. – Mahatma Gandhi

The weak can never forgive.
Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong. – Mahatma Gandhi

There are limits to self-indulgence, none to restraint.- Mahatma Gandhi

There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread. – Mahatma Gandhi

There are two days in the year that we can not do anything – yesterday and tomorrow. – Mahatma Gandhi

There is a higher court than courts of justice and that is the court of conscience. It supercedes all other courts. – Mahatma Gandhi

There is force in the universe, which, if we permit it, will flow through us and produce miraculous results. – Mahatma Gandhi

There is more to life than simply increasing its speed. – Mahatma Gandhi

There is no ‘way to peace’, there is only ‘peace’. – Mahatma Gandhi

There is no occasion for women to consider themselves subordinate or inferior to men. – Mahatma Gandhi

There is no way to peace; peace is the way. – Mahatma Gandhi

There is nothing more potent than thought. Deed follows word and word follows thought. The word is the result of a mighty thought, and where the thought is mighty and pure the result is always mighty and pure. – Mahatma Gandhi

They may torture my body, break my bones, even kill me-then they will have my dead body, not my obedience. – Mahatma Gandhi

Those who cannot renounce attachment to the results of their work are far from the path. – Mahatma Gandhi

To a man with an empty stomach, food is god. – Mahatma Gandhi

To believe in something, and not live it, is dishonest. – Mahatma Gandhi

To believe what has not occurred in history will not occur at all, is to argue disbelief in the dignity of man. – Mahatma Gandhi

To call woman the weaker sex is a libel; it is man’s injustice to woman. – Mahatma Gandhi

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? – Mahatma Gandhi

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. – Mahatma Gandhi

To run away from danger, instead of facing it, is to deny one’s faith in man and God, even one’s own self. It were better for one to drown oneself than live to declare such bankruptcy of faith. – Mahatma Gandhi

True beauty consists of purity of heart. – Mahatma Gandhi

Unity to be real must stand the severest strain without breaking. – Mahatma Gandhi

Violent means will give violent freedom. – Mahatma Gandhi

We cannot be speakers who do not listen. But neither can we be listeners who do not speak. – Mahatma Gandhi

We may stumble and fall but shall rise again; it should be enough if we did not run away from the battle. – Mahatma Gandhi

Wealth without Work
Pleasure without Conscience
Science without Humanity
Knowledge without Character
Politics without Principle
Commerce without Morality
Worship without Sacrifice. – Mahatma Gandhi

What do I think of Western civilization? I think it would be a very good idea. – Mahatma Gandhi

What does it matter 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? – Mahatma Gandhi

What is a man if he is not a thief who openly charges as much as he can for the goods he sells? – Mahatma Gandhi

What kind of victory is it when someone is left defeated? – Mahatma Gandhi

Whatever you do may seem insignificant to you, but it is most important that you do it. – Mahatma Gandhi

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. – Mahatma Gandhi

When I despair, I remember that all through history the ways of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants, and murderers, and for a time they can seem invincible, but in the end they always fall. Think of it, always. – Mahatma Gandhi

When restraint and courtesy are added to strength, the latter becomes irresistible. – Mahatma Gandhi

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. – Mahatma Gandhi

When you are right, you have no need to be angry. When you are wrong, you have no right to be angry. – Mahatma Gandhi

Whenever you have truth it must be given with love, or the message and the messenger will be rejected. – Mahatma Gandhi

Whenever you take a step forward, you are bound to disturb something. You disturb the air as you go forward, you disturb the dust, the ground. You trample upon things. When a whole society moves forward, this trampling is on a much bigger scale; and each thing that you disturb, each vested interest which you want to remove, stands as an obstacle. – Mahatma Gandhi

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. – Mahatma Gandhi

Why change the world when we can change ourselves? – Mahatma Gandhi

Woman is the companion of man, gifted with equal mental capacity. – Mahatma Gandhi

Yes I am, I am also a Muslim, a Christian, a Buddhist, and a Jew. When asked if he was a Hindu. – Mahatma Gandhi

You assist an evil system most effectively by obeying its orders and decrees.
An evil system never deserves such allegiance.
Allegiance to it means partaking of the evil.
A good person will resist an evil system with his or her whole soul. – Mahatma Gandhi

You should be the change that you want to see in the world. – Mahatma Gandhi

Your capacity to keep your vow will depend on the purity of your life. – Mahatma Gandhi

 

Mahatma Gandhi Quotes

The Most Famous Mahatma Gandhi Quotes

A ‘No’ uttered from deepest conviction is better and greater than a ‘Yes’ merely uttered to please, or what is worse, to avoid trouble. – Mahatma Gandhi

A coward is incapable of exhibiting love; it is the prerogative of the brave. – Mahatma Gandhi

A man is but the product of his thoughts what he thinks, he becomes. – Mahatma Gandhi

An ounce of practice is worth a thousand words. – Mahatma Gandhi

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs, but not every man’s greed. – Mahatma Gandhi

Even if the paradise of material satisfactions, which they envisage as their final goal, were realize on earth, it would not bring mankind either contentment or peace. – Mahatma Gandhi

Faith is not something to grasp, it is a state to grow into. – Mahatma Gandhi

Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes. – Mahatma Gandhi

Gentleness, self-sacrifice and generosity are the exclusive possession of no one race or religion. – Mahatma Gandhi

Glory lies in the attempt to reach one’s goal and not in reaching it. – Mahatma Gandhi

Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony. – Mahatma Gandhi

Hate the sin, love the sinner. – Mahatma Gandhi

Honest disagreement is often a good sign of progress. – Mahatma Gandhi

I cannot conceive of a greater loss than the loss of one’s self-respect. – Mahatma Gandhi

I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent. – Mahatma Gandhi

I suppose leadership at one time meant muscles; but today it means getting along with people. – Mahatma Gandhi

I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet. – Mahatma Gandhi

If I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning. – Mahatma Gandhi

If we are to teach real peace in this world, and if we are to carry on a real war against war, we shall have to begin with the children. – Mahatma Gandhi

If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. We need not wait to see what others do. – Mahatma Gandhi

In a gentle way, you can shake the world. – Mahatma Gandhi

In doing something, do it with love or never do it at all. – Mahatma Gandhi

It is the quality of our work which will please God and not the quantity. – Mahatma Gandhi

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. – Mahatma Gandhi

It’s easy to stand in the crowd but it takes courage to stand alone. – Mahatma Gandhi

It’s the action, not the fruit of the action, that’s important. You have to do the right thing. It may not be in your power, may not be in your time, that there’ll be any fruit. But that doesn’t mean you stop doing the right thing. You may never know what results come from your action. But if you do nothing, there will be no result. – Mahatma Gandhi

Man becomes great exactly in the degree in which he works for the welfare of his fellow-men. – Mahatma Gandhi

Man falls from the pursuit of the ideal of plan living and high thinking the moment he wants to multiply his daily wants. – Mahatma Gandhi

Man should forget his anger before he lies down to sleep. – Mahatma Gandhi

Man’s happiness really lies in contentment. He who is discontented, however much he possesses, becomes a slave to his desires. – Mahatma Gandhi

My faith is brightest in the midst of impenetrable darkness. – Mahatma Gandhi

My life is my message. – Mahatma Gandhi

Nobody can hurt me without my permission. – Mahatma Gandhi

Nonviolence is a weapon of the strong. – Mahatma Gandhi

Our greatest ability as humans is not to change the world; but to change ourselves. – Mahatma Gandhi

Permanent good can never be the outcome of untruth and violence. – Mahatma Gandhi

Prayer is not asking. It is a longing of the soul.. – Mahatma Gandhi

Prayer is the key of the morning and the bolt of the evening. – Mahatma Gandhi

Satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment. – Mahatma Gandhi

Seek not greater wealth, but simpler pleasure; not higher fortune, but deeper felicity. – Mahatma Gandhi

Service which is rendered without joy helps neither the servant nor the served. – Mahatma Gandhi

Service without humility is selfishness and egotism. – Mahatma Gandhi

Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will. – Mahatma Gandhi

That service is the noblest which is rendered for its own sake. – Mahatma Gandhi

The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others. – Mahatma Gandhi

The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world’s problems. – Mahatma Gandhi

The enemy is fear. We think it is hate; but, it is fear. – Mahatma Gandhi

The future depends on what you do today. – Mahatma Gandhi

The only tyrant I accept in this world is the still voice within. – Mahatma Gandhi

The real ornament of woman is her character, her purity. – Mahatma Gandhi

The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members. – Mahatma Gandhi

The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is an attribute of the strong. – Mahatma Gandhi

There are many causes I would die for. There is not a single cause I would kill for. – Mahatma Gandhi

There is a sufficiency in the world for man’s need but not for man’s greed. – Mahatma Gandhi

There is more to life than increasing its speed. – Mahatma Gandhi

There is nothing that wastes the body like worry, and one who has any faith in God should be ashamed to worry about anything whatsoever. – Mahatma Gandhi

They cannot take away our self-respect if we do not give it to them. – Mahatma Gandhi

To give pleasure to a single heart by a single act is better than a thousand heads bowing in prayer. – Mahatma Gandhi

To lose patience is to lose the battle. – Mahatma Gandhi

Truth without humility would be an arrogant caricature. – Mahatma Gandhi

What barrier is there that love cannot break? – Mahatma Gandhi

Whenever you are confronted with an opponent, conquer him with love. – Mahatma Gandhi

Where there is love there is life. – Mahatma Gandhi

You can chain me, you can torture me, you can even destroy this body, but you will never imprison my mind. – Mahatma Gandhi

You don’t know who is important to you until you actually lose them. – Mahatma Gandhi

You may never know what results come of your actions, but if you do nothing, there will be no results. – Mahatma Gandhi

You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is like an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty. – Mahatma Gandhi

Fake Mahatma Gandhi Quotes

A customer is the most important visitor on our premises. – Mahatma Gandhi

An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind. – Mahatma Gandhi

An eye for an eye will make the whole world blind. – Mahatma Gandhi

Be the change you wish to see in the world. – Mahatma Gandhi

First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win. – Mahatma Gandhi

I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ. – Mahatma Gandhi

Interviewer: “What do you think of Western Civilization?” Gandhi: “I think it would be a good idea.” – Mahatma Gandhi

Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever. – Mahatma Gandhi

You must be the change you wish to see in the world. – Mahatma Gandhi

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. – Mahatma Gandhi (Could falsely be attributed to Gandhi 

On Compassion, Love, and Heart

Love is the strongest force the world possesses and yet it is the humblest imaginable. – Mahatma Gandhi

A coward is incapable of exhibiting love; it is the prerogative of the brave. – Mahatma Gandhi

A man who was completely innocent, offered himself as a sacrifice for the good of others, including his enemies, and became the ransom of the world. It was a perfect act. – Mahatma Gandhi

A man’s true wealth hereafter is the good he has done to his fellowmen. – Mahatma Gandhi

Anger and intolerance are the enemies of correct understanding. – Mahatma Gandhi

Anger and intolerance are the twin enemies of correct understanding. – Mahatma Gandhi

Anger is the enemy of non-violence and pride is a monster that swallows it up. – Mahatma Gandhi

Civilization is the encouragement of differences. – Mahatma Gandhi

Culture of the mind must be subservient to the heart. – Mahatma Gandhi

Forgiveness is choosing to love. It is the first skill of self-giving love. – Mahatma Gandhi

Hate the sin and love the sinner. Traditional saying – not first said by him. – Mahatma Gandhi

Hatred can be overcome only by love. – Mahatma Gandhi

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. – Mahatma Gandhi

I believe that the sum total of the energy of mankind is not to bring us down but to lift us up, and that is the result of the definite, if unconscious, working of the law of love. – Mahatma Gandhi

I claim that human mind or human society is not divided into watertight compartments called social, political and religious. All act and react upon one another. – Mahatma Gandhi

I do not like the word tolerance, but could not think of a better one. Tolerance implies a gratuitous assumption of the inferiority of other faiths to one. – Mahatma Gandhi

I first learned the concepts of nonviolence in my marriage. – Mahatma Gandhi

I look only to the good qualities of men. Not being faultless myself, I won’t presume to probe into the faults of others. – Mahatma Gandhi

If your heart acquires strength, you will be able to remove blemishes from others without thinking evil of them. – Mahatma Gandhi

In prayer it is better to have a heart without words than words without a heart. – Mahatma Gandhi

Intolerance betrays want of faith in one’s cause. – Mahatma Gandhi

Justice that love gives is a surrender, justice that law gives is a punishment. – Mahatma Gandhi

Let the first act of every morning be to make the following resolve for the day: I shall not fear anyone on Earth. I shall fear only God. I shall not bear ill will toward anyone. I shall not submit to injustice from anyone. I shall conquer untruth by truth. And in resisting untruth, I shall put up with all suffering. – Mahatma Gandhi

Man can never be a woman’s equal in the spirit of selfless service with which nature has endowed her. – Mahatma Gandhi

Man should forget his anger before he lies down to sleep. – Mahatma Gandhi

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. – Mahatma Gandhi

Relationships are based on four principles: respect, understanding, acceptance and appreciation. – Mahatma Gandhi

The golden rule to apply in all such cases is resolutely to refuse to have what millions cannot. – Mahatma Gandhi

The person who discovered the law of love was a far greater scientist than any of our modern scientists. – Mahatma Gandhi

The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong. – Mahatma Gandhi

There is a sufficiency in the world for man’s need but not for man’s greed. – Mahatma Gandhi

We may have our private opinions but why should they be a bar to the meeting of hearts? – Mahatma Gandhi

Whenever you are confronted with an opponent. Conquer him with love. – Mahatma Gandhi

Where love is, there God is also. – Mahatma Gandhi

Where there is love there is life. – Mahatma Gandhi

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. – Mahatma Gandhi

On Conviction, Will and Action

A ‘No’ uttered from the deepest conviction is better than a ‘Yes’ merely uttered to please, or worse, to avoid trouble. – Mahatma Gandhi

A man is the sum of his actions, of what he has done, of what he can do, Nothing else. – Mahatma Gandhi

Action expresses priorities. – Mahatma Gandhi

Action is no less necessary than thought to the instinctive tendencies of the human frame. – Mahatma Gandhi

All my actions have their rise in my inalienable love of mankind. – Mahatma Gandhi

Everyone who wills can hear the inner voice. It is within everyone. – Mahatma Gandhi

Freedom is not worth having if it does not connote freedom to err. – Mahatma Gandhi

Full effort is full victory. – Mahatma Gandhi

Glory lies in the attempt to reach one’s goal and not in reaching it. – Mahatma Gandhi

He is lost who is possessed by carnal desire. – Mahatma Gandhi

I am not built for academic writings. Action is my domain. – Mahatma Gandhi

I am prepared to die, but there is no cause for which I am prepared to kill. – Mahatma Gandhi

Indolence is a delightful but distressing state; we must be doing something to be happy. Action is no less necessary than thought to the instinctive tendencies of the human frame. – Mahatma Gandhi

Infinite striving to be the best is man’s duty; it is its own reward. Everything else is in God’s hands. – Mahatma Gandhi

It is any day better to stand erect with a broken and bandaged head then to crawl on one’s belly, in order to be able to save one’s head. – Mahatma Gandhi

It’s the action, not the fruit of the action, that’s important. You have to do the right thing. It may not be in your power, may not be in your time, that there’ll be any fruit. But that doesn’t mean you stop doing the right thing. You may never know what results come from your action. But if you do nothing, there will be no result. – Mahatma Gandhi

Satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment, full effort is full victory. – Mahatma Gandhi

Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will. – Mahatma Gandhi

The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world’s problem. – Mahatma Gandhi

The human voice can never reach the distance that is covered by the still small voice of conscience. – Mahatma Gandhi

The moment there is suspicion about a person’s motives, everything he does becomes tainted. – Mahatma Gandhi

The only tyrant I accept in this world is the still voice within. – Mahatma Gandhi

There are many causes that I am prepared to die for but no causes that I am prepared to kill for. – Mahatma Gandhi

Unwearied ceaseless effort is the price that must be paid for turning faith into a rich infallible experience. – Mahatma Gandhi

Whatever you do may seem insignificant, but it is most important that you do it. – Mahatma Gandhi

You can chain me, you can torture me, you can even destroy this body, but you will never imprison my mind. – Mahatma Gandhi

On Humanity and Service

Service which is rendered without joy helps neither the servant nor the served. But all other pleasures and possessions pale into nothingness before service which is rendered in a spirit of joy. – Mahatma Gandhi

Service without humility is selfishness and egotism. – Mahatma Gandhi

A man must arrange his physical and cultural circumstances so that they do not hinder him in his service of humanity, on which all his energies should be concentrated. – Mahatma Gandhi

After becoming self-sufficient we shall use our spare time for the service of others. If all become self-sufficient, none will be in trouble. – Mahatma Gandhi

An intellect that is developed through the medium of socially useful labour will be an instrument for service and will not easily be led astray or fall into devious paths. – Mahatma Gandhi

Destruction is not the law of humans. Man lives freely only by his readiness to die, if need be, at the hands of his brother, never by killing him. Every murder or other injury, no matter for what cause, committed or inflicted on another is a crime against humanity. – Mahatma Gandhi

I have worshipped woman as the living embodiment of the spirit of service and sacrifice. – Mahatma Gandhi

Man becomes great exactly in the degree in which he works for the welfare of his fellow-men. – Mahatma Gandhi

My life is an indivisible whole, and all my attitudes run into one another; and they all have their rise in my insatiable love for mankind. – Mahatma Gandhi

My life is dedicated to service of India through the religion of nonviolence which I believed to be the root of Hinduism. – Mahatma Gandhi

Our first duty is that we should not be a burden on society, i.e., we should be self-dependent. From this point of view self-sufficiency itself is a kind of service. – Mahatma Gandhi

That service is the noblest which is rendered for its own sake. – Mahatma Gandhi

The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others. – Mahatma Gandhi

The human body is meant solely for service, never for indulgence. The secret of happy life lies in renunciation. Renunciation is life. Indulgence spells death. – Mahatma Gandhi

There is no principle worth the name if it is not wholly good. – Mahatma Gandhi

To deprive a man of his natural liberty and to deny to him the ordinary amenities of life is worse then starving the body; it is starvation of the soul, the dweller in the body. – Mahatma Gandhi

To give pleasure to a single heart by a single act is better than a thousand heads bowing in prayer. – Mahatma Gandhi

True humility means most strenuous and constant endeavor entirely directed towards the service of humanity. – Mahatma Gandhi

We win justice quickest by rendering justice to the other party. – Mahatma Gandhi

Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it. – Mahatma Gandhi

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. – Mahatma Gandhi

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. – Mahatma Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi Quotes

On Peace and Non-Violence

Non-cooperation with evil is a sacred duty.
Nonviolence and cowardice are contradictory terms.
Nonviolence is the greatest virtue, cowardice the greatest vice.
Nonviolence springs from love, cowardice from hate.
Nonviolence always suffers, cowardice would always inflict suffering.
Perfect nonviolence is the highest bravery.
Nonviolent conduct is never demoralizing, cowardice always is. – Mahatma Gandhi

Peace is its own reward. – Mahatma Gandhi

Non-violence and truth are inseparable and presuppose one another. – Mahatma Gandhi

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 being. – Mahatma Gandhi

Nonviolence 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 being. – Mahatma Gandhi

Nonviolence is not to be used ever as the shield of the coward. It is the weapon of the brave. – Mahatma Gandhi

Non-violence is the first article of my faith. It is also the last article of my creed. – Mahatma Gandhi

Non-violence is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind. It is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of man. – Mahatma Gandhi

Non-violence requires a double faith, faith in God and also faith in man. – Mahatma Gandhi

Non-violence, which is the quality of the heart, cannot come by an appeal to the brain. – Mahatma Gandhi

Each one has to find his peace from within. And peace to be real must be unaffected by outside circumstances. – Mahatma Gandhi

Gentleness, self-sacrifice and generosity are the exclusive possession of no one race or religion. – Mahatma Gandhi

I know, to banish anger altogether from one’s breast is a difficult task. It cannot be achieved through pure personal effort. It can be done only by God’s grace. – Mahatma Gandhi

I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary, the evil it does is permanent. – Mahatma Gandhi

I offer you peace. I offer you love. I offer you friendship. I see your beauty. I hear your need. I feel your feelings. – Mahatma Gandhi

If co-operation is a duty, I hold that non-co-operation also under certain conditions is equally a duty. – Mahatma Gandhi

If we are to teach real peace in this world, and if we are to carry on a real war against war, we shall have to begin with the children. – Mahatma Gandhi

If you want real peace in the world, start with children. – Mahatma Gandhi

Intolerance is itself a form of violence and an obstacle to the growth of a true democratic spirit. – Mahatma Gandhi

It is better to be violent, if there is violence in our hearts, than to put on the cloak of nonviolence to cover impotence. – Mahatma Gandhi

It’s my conviction that nothing enduring can be built on violence. – Mahatma Gandhi

Non-cooperation is a measure of discipline and sacrifice, and it demands respect for the opposite views. – Mahatma Gandhi

Non-cooperation with evil is as much a duty as is cooperation with good. – Mahatma Gandhi

The cry for peace will be a cry in the wilderness, so long as the spirit of nonviolence does not dominate millions of men and women. – Mahatma Gandhi

The day the power of love overrules the love of power, the world will know peace. – Mahatma Gandhi

Truth, purity, self-control, firmness, fearlessness, humility, unity, peace, and renunciation – these are the inherent qualities of a civil resister. – Mahatma Gandhi

Unless discipline is rooted in nonviolence, it might prove to be a source of infinite mischief. – Mahatma Gandhi

Victory attained by violence is tantamount to a defeat, for it is momentary. – Mahatma Gandhi

Violence is a concession to human weakness, satyagraha is an obligation. – Mahatma Gandhi

Violent means will give violent freedom. That would be a menace to the world and to India herself. – Mahatma Gandhi

Violent men have not been known in history to die to a man. They die up to a point. – Mahatma Gandhi

We may never be strong enough to be entirely nonviolent in thought, word and deed. But we must keep nonviolence as our goal and make strong progress towards it. – Mahatma Gandhi

We should meet abuse by forbearance. Human nature is so constituted that if we take absolutely no notice of anger or abuse, the person indulging in it will soon weary of it and stop. – Mahatma Gandhi

On Life and Living

Always aim at complete harmony of thought and word and deed. Always aim at purifying your thoughts and everything will be well. – Mahatma Gandhi

America aims at having a car for every citizen. I do not. – Mahatma Gandhi

But if you do nothing, there will be no result. – Mahatma Gandhi

But that doesn’t mean you stop doing the right thing. You may never know what results come from your action. – Mahatma Gandhi

Constant development is the law of life, and a man who always tries to maintain his dogmas in order to appear consistent drives himself into a false position. – Mahatma Gandhi

Find purpose, the means will follow. – Mahatma Gandhi

Freedom is never dear at any price. It is the breath of life. What would a man not pay for living? – Mahatma Gandhi

Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony. – Mahatma Gandhi

He who would sacrifice his life for others has hardly time to reserve for himself a place in the sun. – Mahatma Gandhi

I cannot conceive of a greater loss than the loss of one’s self-respect. – Mahatma Gandhi

I do not want to foresee the future. I am concerned with taking care of the present. God has given me no control over the moment following. – Mahatma Gandhi

I know that I have still before me a difficult path to traverse. I must reduce myself to zero. 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 farthest limit of humility. – Mahatma Gandhi

If by abundance you mean everyone having plenty to eat and drink and to clothe himself with, enough to keep his mind trained and educated, I should be satisfied. But I should not like to pack more stuffs in my belly than I can digest and more things than I can ever usefully use. But neither do I want poverty, penury, misery, dirt and dust in India. – Mahatma Gandhi

If I had no sense of humor, I would long ago have committed suicide. – Mahatma Gandhi

It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver. – Mahatma Gandhi

It’s the action, not the fruit of the action, that’s important. – Mahatma Gandhi

Just as one must not receive, so must one not possess anything which one does not really need. It would be a breach of this principle to possess unnecessary food-stuffs, clothing, or furniture. For instance, one must not keep a chair if one can do without it. In observing this principle one is led to a progressive simplification of one’s own life. – Mahatma Gandhi

Man falls from the pursuit of the ideal of plan living and high thinking the moment he wants to multiply his daily wants. Man’s happiness really lies in contentment. – Mahatma Gandhi

My imperfections and failures are as much a blessing from God as my successes and my talents and I lay them both at his feet. – Mahatma Gandhi

Nearly everything you do is of no importance, but it is important that you do it. – Mahatma Gandhi

Nonviolence is impossible without humility. – Mahatma Gandhi

One, who abandons all desires, is free from pride and selfishness and behaves as one apart, finds peace. – Mahatma Gandhi

Providence has its appointed hour for everything. We cannot command results, we can only strive. – Mahatma Gandhi

Purity of personal life is the one indispensable condition for building up a sound education. – Mahatma Gandhi

Rights that do not flow from duty well performed are not worth having. – Mahatma Gandhi

The first condition of humaneness is a little humility and a little diffidence about the correctness of one’s conduct and a little receptiveness. – Mahatma Gandhi

The less you possess, the less you want, the better you are. And better for what? Not for enjoyment of this life, but for enjoyment of personal service to the fellow-beings; service which you dedicate yourself, body, soul and mind. – Mahatma Gandhi

The main purpose of life is to live rightly, think rightly, act rightly. The soul must languish when we give all our thought to the body. – Mahatma Gandhi

The very first step in nonviolence is that we cultivate in our daily life, as between ourselves, truthfulness, humility, tolerance, loving kindness. – Mahatma Gandhi

There are limits to self-indulgence, none to self-restraint. – Mahatma Gandhi

There is an orderliness in the universe, there is an unalterable law governing everything and every being that exists or lives. It is no blind law; for no blind law can govern the conduct of living beings. – Mahatma Gandhi

There is really no slavery equal to that of the desires. All the sages have declared from the house-tops that man can be his own worst enemy as well as his best friend. To be free or to be a slave lies in his own hands. And what is true for the individual is true for society. – Mahatma Gandhi

Those who know how to think need no teachers. – Mahatma Gandhi

To believe in something, and not to live it, is dishonest. – Mahatma Gandhi

We do not need to proselytize either by our speech or by our writing. We can only do so really with our lives. Let our lives be open books for all to study. – Mahatma Gandhi

When I admire the wonders of a sunset or the beauty of the moon, my soul expands in the worship of the creator. – Mahatma Gandhi

You have to do the right thing. It may not be in your power, may not be in your time, that there’ll be any fruit. – Mahatma Gandhi

On Death

A courageous man prefers death to the surrender of self-respect. – Mahatma Gandhi

Fear has its use but cowardice has none. – Mahatma Gandhi

Fear of death makes us devoid both of valour and religion. For want of valour is want of religious faith. – Mahatma Gandhi

I came alone in this world, I have walked alone in the valley of the shadow of death, and I shall quit alone when the time comes. – Mahatma Gandhi

If we weep for all the deaths in our country, the tears in our eyes would never dry. – Mahatma Gandhi

In the midst of death life persists. – Mahatma Gandhi

Let us all be brave enough to die the death of a martyr, but let no one lust for martyrdom. – Mahatma Gandhi

Life and death are but phases of the same thing, the reverse and obverse of the same coin. Death is as necessary for man’s growth as life itself. – Mahatma Gandhi

Man lives freely only by his readiness to die, if need be, at the hands of his brother, never by killing him. – Mahatma Gandhi

The wise are unaffected either by death or life. These are but faces of the same coin. – Mahatma Gandhi

To die in the act of killing is, in essence, to die defeated. – Mahatma Gandhi

We do not know whether it is good to live or to die. Therefore, we should not take delight in living, nor should we tremble at the thought of death. We should be equiminded towards death. – Mahatma Gandhi

What is imprisonment to the man who is fearless of death itself? – Mahatma Gandhi

Where death without resistance or death after resistance is the only way, neither party should think of resorting to law-courts or help from the government. – Mahatma Gandhi

You don’t know who is important to you until you actually lose them. – Mahatma Gandhi

On God, Faith, and Religion

God cannot be realized through the intellect. Intellect can lead one to a certain extent and no further. It is a matter of faith and experience derived from that faith. – Mahatma Gandhi

God comes to the hungry in the form of food. – Mahatma Gandhi

God has no religion. – Mahatma Gandhi

God is, even though the whole world deny him. Truth stands, even if there be no public support. It is self-sustained. – Mahatma Gandhi

God sometimes does try to the uttermost those whom he wishes to bless. – Mahatma Gandhi

God, as Truth, has been for me a treasure beyond price. May He be so to every one of us. – Mahatma Gandhi

God’s word is: ‘He who strives never perishes’. I have implicit faith in that promise. – Mahatma Gandhi

A religion that takes no account of practical affairs and does not help to solve them is no religion. – Mahatma Gandhi

A vow is a purely religious act which cannot be taken in a fit of passion. It can be taken only with a mind purified and composed and with God as witness. – Mahatma Gandhi

All the religions of the world, while they may differ in other respects, unitedly proclaim that nothing lives in this world but Truth. – Mahatma Gandhi

Are creeds such simple things like the clothes which a man can change at will and put on at will? Creeds are such for which people live for ages and ages. – Mahatma Gandhi

But for my faith in God, I should have been a raving maniac. – Mahatma Gandhi

Cultivation of tolerance for other faiths will impart to us a truer understanding of our own. – Mahatma Gandhi

Each one prays to God according to his own light. – Mahatma Gandhi

Every formula of every religion has in this age of reason, to submit to the acid test of reason and universal assent. – Mahatma Gandhi

Faith becomes lame, when it ventures into matters pertaining to reason. – Mahatma Gandhi

Faith is not a delicate flower which would wither under the slightest stormy weather. Faith is like the Himalaya mountains which cannot possibly change. No storm can possibly remove the Himalaya mountains from their foundations… And I want every one of you to cultivate that faith in God and religion. – Mahatma Gandhi

Faith is not something to grasp, it is a state to grow into. – Mahatma Gandhi

Faith… must be enforced by reason… when faith becomes blind it dies. – Mahatma Gandhi

For me the voice of God, of Conscience, of Truth or the Inner Voice or ‘the still small Voice’ mean one and the same thing. – Mahatma Gandhi

For me, the different religions are beautiful flowers from the same garden, or they are branches of the same majestic tree. Therefore, they are equally true, though being received and interpreted through human instruments equally imperfect. – Mahatma Gandhi

Hindu Dharma is like a boundless ocean teeming with priceless gems. The deeper you dive the more treasures you find. – Mahatma Gandhi

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. – Mahatma Gandhi

Hinduism insists on the brotherhood of not only all mankind but of all that lives. – Mahatma Gandhi

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. – Mahatma Gandhi

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 brilliance perhaps unknown before. – Mahatma Gandhi

Hypocrisy and distortion are passing currents under the name of religion. – Mahatma Gandhi

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. – Mahatma Gandhi

I believe in the fundamental truth of all great religions of the world. – Mahatma Gandhi

I call him religious who understands the suffering of others. – Mahatma Gandhi

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. – Mahatma Gandhi

I consider myself a Hindu, Christian, Muslim, Jew, Buddhist, and Confucian. – Mahatma Gandhi

I consider western Christianity in its practical working a negation of Christ’s Christianity. – Mahatma Gandhi

I have never found Him lacking in response. I have found Him nearest at hand when the horizon seemed darkest—in my ordeals in jails when it was not all smooth sailing for me. I cannot recall a moment in my life when I had a sense of desertion by God. – Mahatma Gandhi

I have no other wish in this world but to find light and joy and peace through Hinduism. – Mahatma Gandhi

I reject any religious doctrine that does not appeal to reason and is in conflict with morality. – Mahatma Gandhi

I worship God as Truth only. I have not yet found Him, but I am seeking after Him. – Mahatma Gandhi

I’m a lover of my own liberty, and so I would do nothing to restrict yours. I simply want to please my own conscience, which is God. – Mahatma Gandhi

If a man reaches the heart of his own religion, he has reached the heart of the others, too. There is only one God, and there are many paths to him.

If Christians would really live according to the teachings of Christ, as found in the Bible, all of India would be Christian today. – Mahatma Gandhi

In reality there are as many religions as there are individuals. – Mahatma Gandhi

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. – Mahatma Gandhi

It is easy enough to be friendly to one’s friends. But to befriend the one who regards himself as your enemy is the quintessence of true religion. The other is mere business. – Mahatma Gandhi

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. – Mahatma Gandhi

It is the duty of every cultured man or woman to read sympathetically the scriptures of the world. If we are to respect others’ religions as we would have them respect our own, a friendly study of the world’s religions is a sacred duty. – Mahatma Gandhi

It is the faith that steers us through stormy seas, faith that moves mountains and faith that jumps across the ocean. – Mahatma Gandhi

Jesus is ideal and wonderful, but you Christians – you are not like him. – Mahatma Gandhi

My religion is based on truth and nonviolence. Truth is my God. Nonviolence is the means of realising Him. – Mahatma Gandhi

One needs to be slow to form convictions, but once formed they must be defended against the heaviest odds. – Mahatma Gandhi

One’s own religion is after all a matter between oneself and one’s Maker and no one else’s. – Mahatma Gandhi

Only he can take great resolves who has indomitable faith in God and has fear of God. – Mahatma Gandhi

Rationalists are admirable beings, rationalism is a hideous monster when it claims for itself omnipotence. Attribution of omnipotence to reason is as bad a piece of idolatry as is worship of stock and stone believing it to be God. I plead not for the suppression of reason, but for a due recognition of that in us which sanctifies reason. – Mahatma Gandhi

Religion is a matter of the heart. No physical inconvenience can warrant abandonment of one’s own religion. – Mahatma Gandhi

Religion is more than life. Remember that his own religion is the truest to every man even if it stands low in the scales of philosophical comparison. – Mahatma Gandhi

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? – Mahatma Gandhi

Satan’s successes are the greatest when he appears with the name of God on his lips. – Mahatma Gandhi

That faith is of little value which can flourish only in fair weather. Faith in order to be of any value has to survive the severest trials. Your faith is a whited sepulcher if it cannot stand against the calumny of the whole world. – Mahatma Gandhi

The dignity of man requires obedience to a higher law, to the strength of the spirit. – Mahatma Gandhi

The essence of all religions is one. Only their approaches are different. – Mahatma Gandhi

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. – Mahatma Gandhi

The truth is that God is the force. He is the essence of life. He is pure and undefiled consciousness. He is eternal. – Mahatma Gandhi

Though we may know Him by a thousand names, He is one and the same to us all. – Mahatma Gandhi

True meditation consists in closing the eyes and ears of the mind to all else except the object of one’s devotion. Hence closing of eyes during the prayers is an aid to such concentration. – Mahatma Gandhi

We do not need to proselytise either by our speech or by our writing. We can only do so really with our lives. Let our lives be open books for all to study. – Mahatma Gandhi

We must respect other religions, even as we respect our own. Mere tolerance thereof is not enough. – Mahatma Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi Quotes

On Self-Awareness and Enlightenment

A man who would interpret the scriptures must have the spiritual discipline. – Mahatma Gandhi

Ahimsa is the attribute of the soul, and therefore, to be practiced by everybody in all affairs of life. If it cannot be practiced in all departments, it has no practical value. – Mahatma Gandhi

As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. – Mahatma Gandhi

Change yourself – you are in control. – Mahatma Gandhi

Distinguish between real needs and artificial wants and control the latter. – Mahatma Gandhi

Every moment of your life is infinitely creative and the universe is endlessly bountiful. Just put forth a clear enough request, and everything your heart desires must come to you. – Mahatma Gandhi

Fasting unto death is the last and the most potent weapon in the armoury of Satyagraha (a policy of passive political resistance). It is a sacred thing. But it must be accepted with all its implications. It is not the fast itself, but what it implies that matters. – Mahatma Gandhi

For winning Swaraj one requires iron discipline. (Swaraj can mean self-governance or “self-rule” but the word usually refers to Gandhi’s concept for Indian independence from foreign domination) – Mahatma Gandhi

He who runs to the doctor, vaidya, or hakim for every little ailment, and swallows all kinds of vegetable and mineral drugs, not only curtails his life, but by becoming the slave of his body instead of remaining its master, loses self-control, and ceases to be a man. – Mahatma Gandhi

I claim to be a simple individual liable to err like any other fellow mortal. I own, however, that I have humility enough to confess my errors and to retrace my steps. – Mahatma Gandhi

I have naturally formed the habit of restraining my thoughts. A thoughtless word hardly ever escaped my tongue or pen. Experience has taught me that silence is part of the spiritual discipline of a votary of truth. – Mahatma Gandhi

If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. – Mahatma Gandhi

Independence means voluntary restraints and discipline, voluntary acceptance of the rule of law. – Mahatma Gandhi

Man is oftentimes weak-minded enough to be caught in the snare of greed and honeyed words. – Mahatma Gandhi

My shyness has been in reality my shield and buckler. It has allowed me to grow. It has helped me in my discernment of truth. – Mahatma Gandhi

Not to have control over the senses is like sailing in a rudderless ship, bound to break to pieces on coming in contact with the very first rock. – Mahatma Gandhi

Not until we have reduced ourselves to nothingness can we conquer the evil in us. God demands nothing less than complete self-surrender as the price for the only real freedom that is worth having. – Mahatma Gandhi

Silence has now become both a physical and spiritual necessity for me. Originally it was taken to relieve the sense of pressure. Then I wanted time for writing. After, however, I had practiced it for some time I saw the spiritual value of it. It suddenly flashed across my mind that that was the time when I could best hold communion with God. And now I feel as though I was naturally built for silence. – Mahatma Gandhi

Spiritual relationship is far more precious than physical. Physical relationship divorced from spiritual is body without soul. – Mahatma Gandhi

The human body is meant solely for service, never for indulgence. The secret of happy life lies in renunciation. Renunciation is life. Indulgence spells death. – Mahatma Gandhi

The mantram becomes one’s staff of life and carries one through every ordeal. Each repetition has a new meaning, carrying you nearer and nearer to God. – Mahatma Gandhi

The richest grace of ahimsa will descend easily upon the owner of hard discipline. (ahimsa is the principle of nonviolence toward all living things) – Mahatma Gandhi

The Swaraj of my dream recognizes no race or religious distinctions. – Mahatma Gandhi

This is the divine mystery supreme. A wonderful thing it is and the source of our happiness. We need not wait to see what others do. – Mahatma Gandhi

We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. – Mahatma Gandhi

We find so many people impatient to talk. All this talking can hardly be said to be of any benefit to the world. It is so much waste of time. – Mahatma Gandhi

On Prayers

Prayer is a confession of one’s own unworthiness and weakness. – Mahatma Gandhi

Prayer is for remembering God, and for purifying the heart and can be offered even when observing silence. – Mahatma Gandhi

Prayer is not an old woman’s idle amusement. Properly understood and applied, it is the most potent instrument of action. – Mahatma Gandhi

Prayer is not asking. It is a longing of the soul. It is daily admission of one’s weakness. It is better in prayer to have a heart without words than words without a heart. – Mahatma Gandhi

Prayer is not asking. It is a longing of the soul. It is daily admission of one’s weakness. – Mahatma Gandhi

Prayer is the key of the morning and the bolt of the evening – Mahatma Gandhi

Prayer needs no speech. It is in itself independent of any sensuous effort. But it must be combined with the utmost humility. – Mahatma Gandhi

As food is necessary for the body, prayer is necessary for the soul. A man may be able to do without food for a number of days – as MacSwiney did for over 70 days – but believing in God, man cannot, should not, live a moment without prayer. – Mahatma Gandhi

As I believe that silent prayer is often a mightier (force) than any overt act, in my helplessness I continuously pray in the faith that the prayer of a pure heart never goes unanswered. – Mahatma Gandhi

Close the day with prayer so that you may have a peaceful night free from dreams and nightmares. – Mahatma Gandhi

I believe that prayer is the very soul and essence of religion, and therefore prayer must be the very core of life of man, for no man can live without religion. – Mahatma Gandhi

I can give my own testimony and say that a heartfelt prayer is undoubtedly the most potent instrument that man possesses for overcoming cowardice and all other bad old habits. – Mahatma Gandhi

In prayer it is better to have a heart without words than words without a heart. – Mahatma Gandhi

Let everyone try and find that as a result of daily prayer he adds something new to his life, something with which nothing can be compared. – Mahatma Gandhi

My religion teaches me that whenever there is distress which one cannot remove, one must fast and pray. – Mahatma Gandhi

Some form of common worship and a common place of worship appear to be a human necessity. – Mahatma Gandhi

On Truth

A man of truth must also be a man of care. – Mahatma Gandhi

All that I can in true humility present to you is that Truth is not to be found by anybody who has not got an abundant sense of humility. If you would swim on the bosom of the ocean of Truth you must reduce yourself to zero. – Mahatma Gandhi

An error does not become truth by reason of multiplied propagation, nor does truth become error because nobody sees it. – Mahatma Gandhi

But it is impossible for us to realize perfect truth so long as we are imprisoned in this mortal frame. – Mahatma Gandhi

 Even if you are a minority of one, the truth is the truth. – Mahatma Gandhi

I have nothing new to teach the world. Truth and Non-violence are as old as the hills. All I have done is to try experiments in both on as vast a scale as I could. – Mahatma Gandhi

In judging myself I shall try to be as harsh as truth, as I want others also to be. – Mahatma Gandhi

In matters of conscience, the law of the majority has no place. – Mahatma Gandhi

It has often occurred to me that a seeker after Truth has to be silent. – Mahatma Gandhi

Morality is the basis of things and truth is the substance of all morality. – Mahatma Gandhi

My religion is based on truth and non-violence. Truth is my God. – Mahatma Gandhi

Silence becomes cowardice when occasion demands speaking out the whole truth and acting accordingly. – Mahatma Gandhi

The pursuit of truth does not permit violence on one’s opponent. – Mahatma Gandhi

The seeker after truth should be humbler than the dust. The world crushes the dust under its feet, but the seeker after truth should so humble himself that even the dust could crush him. Only then, and not till then, will he have a glimpse of truth. – Mahatma Gandhi

There is no god higher than truth. – Mahatma Gandhi

There is nothing on earth that I would not give up, excepting of course, two things and two things only, truth and nonviolence. – Mahatma Gandhi

Truth alone will endure, all the rest will be swept away before the tide of time. – Mahatma Gandhi

Truth is by nature self-evident. As soon as you remove the cobwebs of ignorance that surround it, it shines clear. – Mahatma Gandhi

Truth is one, paths are many. – Mahatma Gandhi

Truth never damages a cause that is just. – Mahatma Gandhi

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. – Mahatma Gandhi

Truth stands, even if there be no public support. It is self-sustained. – Mahatma Gandhi

Truth without humility would be an arrogant caricature. – Mahatma Gandhi

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. – Mahatma Gandhi

What is true of the individual will be tomorrow true of the whole nation if individuals will but refuse to lose heart and hope. – Mahatma Gandhi

What is Truth? A difficult question; but I have solved it for myself by saying that it is what the “voice within” tells you. – Mahatma Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi Quotes

On Education and Knowledge

A wise parent allows the children to make mistakes. It is good for them once in a while to burn their fingers. – Mahatma Gandhi

An ounce of practice is worth more than tons of preaching. – Mahatma Gandhi

Character cannot be built with mortar and stone. It cannot be built by hands other than your own. The Principal and the Professor cannot give you character from the pages of books. Character building comes from their very lives really speaking, it must come from within yourselves. – Mahatma Gandhi

Confession of errors is like a broom which sweeps away the dirt and leaves the surface brighter and clearer. I feel stronger for confession. – Mahatma Gandhi

Craft, art, health and education should all be integrated into one scheme. – Mahatma Gandhi

Education must be of a new type for the sake of the creation of a new world. – Mahatma Gandhi

Every home is a university and the parents are the teachers. – Mahatma Gandhi

Given the right kind of teachers, our children will be taught the dignity of labour and learn to regard it as an integral part and a means of their intellectual growth, and to realize that it is patriotic to pay for their training through their labour. – Mahatma Gandhi

I hold that, as the largest part of our time is devoted to labour for earning our bread, our children must from their infancy be taught the dignity of such labour. – Mahatma Gandhi

If India is not to declare spiritual bankruptcy, religious instruction of its youth must be held to be at least as necessary as secular instruction. – Mahatma Gandhi

If teachers impart all the knowledge in the world to their students but inculcate not truth and purity among them, they will have betrayed them and instead of raising them set them on the downward road to perdition. – Mahatma Gandhi

It is for you and me to show that no vice is inherent in man. – Mahatma Gandhi

It is wrong and immoral to seek to escape the consequences of one’s acts. – Mahatma Gandhi

Knowledge without character is a power for evil only, as seen in the instances of so many talented thieves and ‘gentlemen rascals’ in the world. – Mahatma Gandhi

Literary training by itself adds not an inch to one’s moral height and that character-building is independent of literary training. – Mahatma Gandhi

Persistent questioning and healthy inquisitiveness are the first requisite for acquiring learning of any kind. – Mahatma Gandhi

Purity of personal life is the one indispensable condition for building up a sound education. – Mahatma Gandhi

Real education has to draw out the best from the boys and girls to be educated. This can never be done by packing ill-assorted and unwanted information into the heads of the pupils. It becomes a dead weight crushing all originality in them and turning them into mere automata. – Mahatma Gandhi

Responsibility will mellow and sober the youth and prepare them, for the burden they must discharge. – Mahatma Gandhi

The students should be, above all, humble and correct… The greatest to remain great has to be the lowliest by choice. – Mahatma Gandhi

The utterly false idea that intelligence can be developed only through book-reading should give place to the truth that the quickest development of the mind can be achieved by artisan’s work being learnt in a scientific manner. – Mahatma Gandhi

There can be no knowledge without humility and the will to learn. – Mahatma Gandhi

There is no need of a teacher for those who know how to think. – Mahatma Gandhi

There is no school equal to a decent home and no teacher equal to a virtuous parent. – Mahatma Gandhi

There will have to be rigid and iron discipline before we achieve anything great and enduring, and that discipline will not come by mere academic argument and appeal to reason and logic. Discipline is learnt in the school of adversity. – Mahatma Gandhi

We have up to now concentrated on stuffing children’s minds with all kinds information, without ever thinking of stimulating and developing them. Let us now cry a halt and concentrate on education the child properly through manual work, not as a side activity, but as the prime means of intellectual training. – Mahatma Gandhi

When it is remembered that the primary aim of all education is, or should be, the moulding of the character of pupils, a teacher who has a character to keep need not lost heart. – Mahatma Gandhi

You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them. – Mahatma Gandhi

You have to train the boys in one occupation or another. Round this special occupation you will train up his mind, his body, his handwriting, his artistic sense, and so on. He will be master of the craft he learns. – Mahatma Gandhi

On Nature and Vegetarianism

As for food, India has plenty of fertile land, there is enough water and no dearth of man power… The public should be educated to become self reliant. Once they know that they have got to stand on their own legs, it would electrify the atmosphere. – Mahatma Gandhi

Cow-slaughter and man-slaughter are in my opinion two sides of the same coin. – Mahatma Gandhi

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need, but not every man’s greed. – Mahatma Gandhi

Ethically they had arrived at the conclusion that man’s supremacy over lower animals meant not that the former should prey upon the latter, but that the higher should protect the lower, and that there should be mutual aid between the two as between man and man. They had also brought out the truth that man eats not for enjoyment but to live. – Mahatma Gandhi

Every man has an equal right to the necessaries of life even as birds and beasts have. – Mahatma Gandhi

Human nature will find itself only when it fully realizes that to be human it has to cease to be beastly or brutal. – Mahatma Gandhi

I do feel that spiritual progress does demand at some stage that we should cease to kill our fellow creatures for the satisfaction of our bodily wants. – Mahatma Gandhi

I hold flesh-food to be unsuited to our species. We err in copying the lower animal world if we are superior to it. – Mahatma Gandhi

I submit that scientists have not yet explored the hidden possibilities of the innumerable seeds, leaves and fruits for giving the fullest possible nutrition to mankind. – Mahatma Gandhi

I want to realize brotherhood or identity not merely with the beings called human, but I want to realize identity with all life, even with such things as crawl upon earth. – Mahatma Gandhi

Monotony is the law of nature. Look at the monotonous manner in which the sun rises. The monotony of necessary occupation is exhilarating and life giving. – Mahatma Gandhi

The basis of my vegetarianism is not physical, but moral. If anybody said that I should die if I did not take beef tea or mutton, even on medical advice, I would prefer death. That is the basis of my vegetarianism. – Mahatma Gandhi

The good man is the friend of all living things. – Mahatma Gandhi

The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated. – Mahatma Gandhi

The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated. – Mahatma Gandhi

The purpose of life is undoubtedly to know oneself. We cannot do it unless we learn to identify ourselves with all that lives. The sum-total of that life is God. – Mahatma Gandhi

To forget how to dig the earth and to tend the soil is to forget ourselves. – Mahatma Gandhi

To my mind, the life of a lamb is no less precious than that of a human being. – Mahatma Gandhi

Unlike the animal, God has given man the faculty of reason. – Mahatma Gandhi

What we are doing to the forests of the world is but a mirror reflection of what we are doing to ourselves and to one another. – Mahatma Gandhi

When I see a cow, it is not an animal to eat, it is a poem of pity for me and I worship it and I shall defend its worship against the whole world. – Mahatma Gandhi

On Politics and Government

A democrat must be utterly selfless. He must think and dream not in terms of self or of party, but only of democracy. – Mahatma Gandhi

A good person will resist an evil system with his whole soul. Disobedience of the laws of an evil state is therefore a duty. – Mahatma Gandhi

A policy is a temporary creed liable to be changed, but while it holds good it has got to be pursued with apostolic zeal. – Mahatma Gandhi

Among the many misdeeds of British rule in India, history will look upon the Act depriving a whole nation of arms as the blackest. – Mahatma Gandhi

An unjust law is itself a species of violence. Arrest for its breach is more so. – Mahatma Gandhi

Civil disobedience becomes a sacred duty when the state becomes lawless or corrupt. – Mahatma Gandhi

Corruption and hypocrisy ought not to be inevitable products of democracy, as they undoubtedly are today. – Mahatma Gandhi

Corruption ought not to be an inevitable product of democracy. – Mahatma Gandhi

Democracy and violence can ill go together.
Evolution of democracy is not possible if we are not prepared to hear the other side. – Mahatma Gandhi

Democracy must in essence, therefore, mean the art and science of mobilizing the entire physical, economic and spiritual resources of all the various sections of the people in the service of the common good of all. – Mahatma Gandhi

Every person in a well-ordered state is fully conscious of both his responsibilities and his rights. – Mahatma Gandhi

Good government is no substitute for self-government. – Mahatma Gandhi

I would heartily welcome the union of East and West provided it is not based on brute force. – Mahatma Gandhi

In true democracy every man and women is taught to think for himself or herself. – Mahatma Gandhi

It is derogatory to the dignity of mankind, it is derogatory to the dignity of India, to entertain for one single moment hatred towards Englishmen. – Mahatma Gandhi

No nation being under another nation can accept gifts, and kick at the responsibility attached to those gifts, imposed by the conquering nation. – Mahatma Gandhi

So far as I can see the atomic bomb has deadened the finest feeling that has sustained mankind for ages. – Mahatma Gandhi

Terrorism and deception are weapons not of the strong, but of the weak. – Mahatma Gandhi

The ideally non-violent state will be an ordered anarchy. That State is the best governed which is governed the least. – Mahatma Gandhi

The spirit of democracy cannot be established in the midst of terrorism, whether governmental or popular. – Mahatma Gandhi

The spirit of democracy cannot be imposed from without. It has to come from within. – Mahatma Gandhi

The spirit of democracy is not a mechanical thing to be adjusted by abolition of forms. It requires change of heart. – Mahatma Gandhi

Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is. – Mahatma Gandhi

To safeguard democracy the people must have a keen sense of independence, self-respect, and their oneness. – Mahatma Gandhi

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? – Mahatma Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi Quotes

From Wikiquote

1890s

  • Ours is one continual struggle against a degradation sought to be inflicted upon us by the Europeans, 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.
    • Address given in Bombay (26 September 1896), Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, Vol. 1, p. 410 (Electronic Book), New Delhi, Publications Division Government of India, 1999, 98 volumes.

1900s

  • One thing we have endeavoured to observe most scrupulously, namely, never to depart from the strictest facts and, in dealing with the difficult questions that have arisen during the year, we hope that we have used the utmost moderation possible under the circumstances. Our duty is very simple and plain. We want to serve the community, and in our own humble way to serve the Empire. We believe in the righteousness of the cause, which it is our privilege to espouse. We have an abiding faith in the mercy of the Almighty God, and we have firm faith in the British Constitution. That being so, we should fail in our duty if we wrote anything with a view to hurt. Facts we would always place before our readers, whether they are palatable or not, and it is by placing them constantly before the public in their nakedness that the misunderstanding between the two communities in South Africa can be removed.
    • Indian Opinion (1 October 1903)
  • 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 native. 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)
  • A general belief seems to prevail in the colony that the Indians are little better, if at all, than the savages or natives of Africa. Even the children are taught to believe in that manner, with the result that the Indian is being dragged down to the position of a raw Kaffir.
    • During his time in South Africa from The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, Government of India (CWMG), Vol I, p. 150
  • Kaffirs are as a rule uncivilised—the convicts even more so. They are troublesome, very dirty and live almost like animals.
    • “My Experience in Gaol”, Indian Opinion (7 March 1908). Also: Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, op cit., Vol. 8, p. 199.
  • Leo Tolstoy’s life has been devoted to replacing the method of violence for removing tyranny or securing reform by the method of non­resistance to evil. He would meet hatred expressed in violence by love expressed in self­suffering. He admits of no exception to whittle down this great and divine law of love. He applies it to all the problems that trouble mankind.
    • Introduction to the publication of Tolstoy’s A Letter to a HinduIndian opinion, 25 December, (1909)
  • We are our own slaves, not of the British. This should be engraved on our minds. The whites cannot remain if we do not want them. If the idea is to drive them out with firearms, let every Indian consider what precious little profit Europe has found in these.
    • Introduction to the publication of Tolstoy’s A Letter to a HinduIndian opinion, 25 December, (1909)

Hind Swaraj (1908)

  • In reality there are as many religions as there are individuals…. Religions are different roads converging to the same point. What does it matter that we take different roads, so long as we reach the same goal. Wherein is the cause for quarrelling?
  • The English have taught us that we were not one nation before and that it will reaquire centuries before we become one nation. This is without foundation. We were one nation before they came to India. One thought inspired us. Our mode of life was the same. It was because we were one nation that they were able to establish one kingdom. Subsequently they divided us.
  • I do not wish to suggest that because we were one nation we had no differences, but it is submitted that our leading men travelled throughout India . . . They learned one another’s languages . . . they saw that India was one undivided land so made by nature. They, therefore, argued that it must be one nation. Arguing thus, they established holy places in various parts of India, and fired the people with an idea of nationality in a manner unknown in other parts of the world. Any two Indians are one as no two Englishmen are.
  • 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.

1910s

  • Victory attained by violence is tantamount to a defeat, for it is momentary.
    • Satyagraha Leaflet No. 13 ( 3 May 1919)
  • [I]t is not true that we shall necessarily progress if our political conditions undergo a change, irrespectively of the manner in which it is brought about. If the means employed are impure, the change will not be in the direction of progress but very likely in the opposite.
    • As quoted in Gandhi’s Experiments With Truth: Essential Writings by and about Mahatma Gandhi, Richard L. Johnson (edit), Lexington Books (2006) p. 118. Original source: Forward to volume of Gokhale’s speeches, Gopal Krishna Gokahalenan Vyakhyanao, 1, 1916

1920s

  • In matters of conscience, the law of majority has no place.
    • Young India (4 August 1920)
  • For me the only training in Swaraj we need is the ability to defend ourselves against the whole world and to live our natural life in perfect freedom, even though it may be full of defects. Good government is no substitute for self-government.
    • Young India (2 September 1920) p. 1
  • Complete civil disobedience is a state of peaceful revolution, a refusal to obey every single state-made law.
    • As quoted in Mahatma: Life of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (1920-1929), D.G. Tendulkar, Vol. 2, (1920-1929), 2nd edition, Publications Division (1960), p 52
  • I have learnt through bitter experience the one supreme lesson to conserve my anger, and as heat conserved is transmuted into energy, even so our anger controlled can be transmuted into a power which can move the world.
    • Young India (15 September 1920), reprinted in Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, Vol. 21 (electronic edition), p. 252.
  • 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 descend 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)
  • The Jews cannot receive sovereign rights in a place which has been held for centuries by Muslim powers by right of religious conquest. The Muslim soldiers did not shed their blood in the late War for the purpose of surrendering Palestine out of Muslim control.
    • Mahatma Gandhi, Young India, 6 April 1921. Quoted from Hinduism and Judaism compilation
  • I would, in a sense, certainly assist the Amir of Afghanistan if he waged war against the British Government. That is to say, I would openly tell my countrymen that it would be a crime to help a government which had lost the confidence of the nation to remain in power.
    • May 4, 1921. Gandhi commenting on the appeal to the Amir of Afghanistan to invade British India proposed by some Muslim leaders. Quoted from B.R. Ambedkar, Pakistan or The Partition of India (1946)
  • I cannot understand why the Ali Brothers are going to be arrested as the rumours go, and why I am to remain free. They have done nothing which I would not do. If they had sent a message to the Amir, I also would send one to inform the Amir that if he came, no Indian so long as I can help it, would help the Government to drive him back.
    • Mahatma Gandhi, Quoted from Elst, Koenraad (2018). Why I killed the Mahatma: Uncovering Godse’s defence. New Delhi : Rupa, 2018.
  • I claim that in losing the spinning wheel we lost our left lung. We are, therefore, suffering from galloping consumption. The restoration of the wheel arrests the progress of the fell disease.
    • The Great Sentinel in Young India 13 October 1921
  • There is no such thing as slow freedom. Freedom is like a birth. Till we are fully free we are slaves.
    • Young India (15 December 1921)
  • There is a higher court than courts of justice and that is the court of conscience. It supersedes all other courts.
    • Young India (15 December 1921)
  • I hold the opinion firmly that Civil Disobedience is the purest type of constitutional agitation. Of course, it becomes degrading and despicable if its civil, i.e. non-violent character is a mere camouflage.
    • Young India (15 December 1921)
  • Gandhi spoke of the Moplas as the ” brave God-fearing Moplas who were fighting for what they consider as religion and in a manner which they consider as religious “. Speaking of the Muslim silence over the Mopla atrocities Mr. Gandhi told the Hindus: “The Hindus must have the courage and the faith to feel that they can protect their religion in spite of such fanatical eruptions. A verbal disapproval by the Mussalmans of Mopla madness is no test of Mussalman friendship. The Mussalmans must naturally feel the shame and humiliation of the Mopla conduct about forcible conversions and looting, and they must work away so silently and effectively that such a thing might become impossible even on the part of the most fanatical among them. My belief is that the Hindus as a body have received the Mopla madness with equanimity and that the cultured Mussalmans are sincerely sorry of the Mopla’s perversion of the teaching of the Prophet.”
    • Mahatma Gandhi quoted from B. R. Ambedkar, Ambedkar, Bhimrao. Pakistan or the Partition of India. Chapter 7
  • Disobedience without civility, discipline, discrimination, non-violence, is certain destruction. Disobedience combined with love is the living water of life. Civil disobedience is a beautiful variant to signify growth, it is not discordance which spells death.
    • Young India (1 May 1922)
  • A man is but the product of his thoughts. What he thinks, he becomes.
    • In Ethical Religion, (Madras: S. Ganesan, 1922), p. 62
  • Any action that is dictated by fear or by coercion of any kind ceases to be moral.
    • Ethical Religion, S. Ganesan, Madras (1922) p. 8
  • No action which is not voluntary can be called moral.
    • Ethical Religion, S. Ganesan, Madras (1922) p. 8
  • Satan’s successes are the greatest when he appears with the name of God on his lips.
    • “The Inwardness of Non-Co-operation”. Quoted in Freedom’s Battle: Being a Comprehensive Collection of Writings and Speeches (1922), p. 144.
  • The only tyrant I accept in this world is the “still small voice” within me. And even though I have to face the prospect of being a minority of one, I humbly believe I have the courage to be in such a hopeless minority.
    • In Young India (2 March 1922). Quoted in The Essential Gandhi: An Anthology of His Writings on His Life, Work, and Ideas edited by Louis Fischer (2002), p. 160.
  • Under democracy individual liberty of opinion and action is jealously guarded.
    • Young India (2 March 1922)
  • 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) [specific citation needed]
  • 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)
  • Non-cooperation with evil is as much a duty as is cooperation with good.
    • Written statement in trial for sedition, March 1922
  • Always believe in your dreams, because if you don’t, you’ll still have hope.
    • Young India (23 March 1924)
  • Hinduism is a relentless pursuit after truth and if today it has become moribund, inactive, irresponsive to growth, it is because we are fatigued. As soon as the fatigue is over, Hinduism will burst forth upon the world with a brilliance perhaps never known before.
    • Young India (24 April 1924)
  • The indirect influence of Christianity has been to quicken Hinduism to life. The cultured Hindu society has admitted its grievous sin against the untouchables. But the effect of Christianity upon India in general must be judged by the life lived in our midst by the average Christian and its effect upon us. I am sorry to have to re record my opinion that it has been disastrous. It pains me to have to say that the Christian missionaries as a body, with honourable exceptions, have actively supported a system which has impoverished, enervated and demoralised a people considered to be among the gentlest and most civilized on earth…
    • Young India (13 July 1924), reprinted in Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, Volume 24, New Delhi, 1967, p. 476.
  • 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.
    • Young India (23 September 1924) Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, vol.29, “My Jail experiences”, p. 133
  • “My error? Why, I may be charged with having committed a breach of faith with the Hindus. I asked them to lay their lives and their property at the disposal of the Mussalmans for the protection of their Holy Places. Even to-day I am asking them to practise Ahimsa, to settle quarrels by dying but not by killing. And what do I find to be the result? How many temples have been desecrated? How many sisters came to me with complaints? As I was saying to Hakimji [Ajmal Khan] yesterday, Hindu women are in mortal fear of Mussalman goondas. I had a letter from… How can I bear the way in which his little children were molested? How can I now ask Hindus to put up with everything patiently? I gave the assurance that the friendship with Mussalmans was bound to bear fruit. I asked them to befriend them, regardless of results. It is not in my power to make good that assurance. And yet I must ask the Hindus even to-day to die rather than kill. I can only do so by laying down my own life. I can teach them the way to die by my own example.”
    • September 1924. Mahadev Desai, Day to Day with Gandhi, Volume 4, p. 165.
  • Some of my corresponents seem to think that I can work wonders. Let me say as a devotee of truth that I have no such gift. All the power I may have comes from God. But He does not work directly. He works through His numberless agencies. In this case it is the Congress.
    • Young India (8 October 1924). Quoted in Teachings of Mahatma Gandhi (1945), edited by Jag Parvesh Chander, Indian Printing Works, page 242.
  • I do not believe as the friend seems to do that an individual may gain spiritually and those who surround him suffer. I believe in advaita [nonduality], I believe in the essential unity of man and for that matter of all that lives. Therefore I believe that if one man gains spiritually, the whole world gains with him and if one man falls, the whole world falls to that extent.
    • Young India (4 December 1924)
  • [R]eal Swaraj will come, not by the acquisition of authority by a few, but by the acquisition of the capacity by all to resist authority when it is abused. In other words, Swaraj is to be attained by educating the masses to a sense of their capacity to regulate and control authority.
    • Young India (29 January 1925) p. 41
  • There is no principle worth the name if it is not wholly good. I swear by non-violence because I know that it alone conduces to the highest good of mankind, not merely in the next world, but in this also. I object to violence because, when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary, the evil it does is permanent.
    • Young India (21 May 1925)
  • Self-government means continuous effort to be independent of government control, whether it is foreign government or whether it is national. Swaraj government will be a sorry affair if people look up for the regulation of every detail of life.
    • Young India (6 August 1925) p. 276
  • What the divine author of the Mahabharata said of his great creation is equally true of Hinduism. Whatever of substance is contained in any other religion is always to be found in Hinduism, and what is not contained in it is insubstantial or unnecessary.
    • Young India (27 September 1925)
  • 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 written list given to his departing grandson Arun Gandhi (October 1947), as quoted in Marriot (Spring 1998; p.5). 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 list was originally written by a Socialist clergyman in England in March 1925 and was passed along to Gandhi, who published it later that year, as detailed in this article.
  • In the language of the Gita therefore ‘happy the warrior who achieves such a blessed death.’ … I cannot therefore mourn over his death. He and his are to be envied. For though Shraddhanandji is dead, he is yet living. He is living in a truer sense than when he moved in our midst in his giant body …..I have called Abdul Rashid a brother and I repeat it. I do not even regard him as guilty of Swamiji’s murder. Guilty indeed are all those who excited feelings of hatred against one another.
    • Mahatma Gandhi, A Gandhi Anthology – Book 1, [1]. Mahatma Gandhi, Congress session in Guwahati, 1926,. Quoted from Hinduism and Judaism compilation
  • Disobedience is a right that belongs to every human being, and it becomes a sacred duty when it springs from civility.
    • Young India (4 January 1926)
  • 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 provinvce, but the inner substance is retained everywhere.
    • Young India (8 April 1926)
  • Our sages have taught us to learn one thing; `As in the Self, so in the Universe.’ It is not possible to scan the universe as it is to scan the self. Know the self and you know the universe.
    • Young India (8 April 1926)
  • The cry for peace will be a cry in the wilderness, so long as the spirit of nonviolence does not dominate millions of men and women.
    An armed conflict between nations horrifies us. But the economic war is no better than an armed conflict. This is like a surgical operation. An economic war is prolonged torture. And its ravages are no less terrible than those depicted in the literature on war properly so called. We think nothing of the other because we are used to its deadly effects. …
    The movement against war is sound. I pray for its success. But I cannot help the gnawing fear that the movement will fail if it does not touch the root of all evil — man’s greed.

    • “Non-Violence — The Greatest Force” in The World Tomorrow (5 October 1926)
  • Now when we talk of brotherhood of men, we stop there and feel that all other life is there for man to exploit for his own purposes. But Hinduism excludes all exploitation.
    • Young India (26 December 1926)
  • The essential part of the teachings of Buddha now forms an integral part of Hinduism. (…) It is my fixed opinion that the teaching of Buddha found its full fruition in India, and it could not be otherwise, for Gautama was himself a Hindu of Hindus. He was saturated with the best that was in Hinduism, and he gave life to some of the teachings that were buried in the Vedas and which were overgrown with weeds. (…) Buddha never rejected Hinduism, but he broadened its base. He gave it a new life and a new interpretation.’
    • Mahatma Gandhi, Speech delivered in Colombo in 1927, quoted by Gurusevak Upadhyaya: Buddhism and Hinduism, p. iii. Quoted from Elst, Koenraad (2002). Who is a Hindu?: Hindu revivalist views of Animism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and other offshoots of Hinduism. ISBN 978-8185990743
  • 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’m a lover of my own liberty, and so I would do nothing to restrict yours. I simply want to please my own conscience, which is God.
    • Young India (21 January 1927)
  • For one man cannot do right in one department of life whilst he is occupied in doing wrong in any other department. Life is one indivisible whole.
    • Young India (27 January 1927)
  • On examination, I have found [Hinduism] to be the most tolerant of all religions known to me. Its freedom from dogma makes a forcible appeal to me in as much as it gives the votary the largest scope for self-expression. Not being an exclusive religion, it enables the followers of the faith not merely to respect all the other religions, but it also enables them to admire and assimilate whatever may be good in the other faiths. Non-violence is common to all religions, but it has found the highest expression and application in Hinduism. (I do not regard Jainism or Buddhism as separate from Hinduism.) Hinduism believes in the oneness not of merely all human life but in the oneness of all that lives.
    • October 1927. The Collected Works, Volume 35, New Delhi, 1968, pp. 166-67. As quoted in Goel, S.R. History of Hindu-Christian Encounters (1996)
  • God forbid that India should ever take to industrialism after the manner of the West. The economic imperialism of a single tiny island kingdom is today keeping the world in chains. If an entire nation of 300 million took to similar economic exploitation, it would strip the world bare.
    • 1928, as reported in Development Without Destruction: Economics of the Spinning Wheel, p. 97
  • My ambition is much higher than independence. Through the deliverance of India, I seek to deliver the so-called weaker races of the Earth from the crushing heels of Western exploitation in which England is the greatest partner.
    • Young India (12 January 1928). Quoted in The Essential Writings of Gandhi, edited by Judith Brown. Oxford University Press, 2008, (p. 153).
  • 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)
  • It is not possible to make a person or society non-violent by compulsion.
    • Young India (13 September 1928). All Men Are Brothers: Autobiographical Reflections, compiled and edited by Krishna Kripalani, The Continuum, (2011) p. 34
  • 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.
    • Young India (13 June 1929); also in All Men Are Brothers: Autobiographical Reflections (2005) edited by Krishna Kripalani, p. 163
  • I am uncompromising in the matter of woman’s rights. In my opinion she should labour under no legal disability not suffered by man, I should treat the daughters and sons on a footing of perfect equality.
    • Mohandas Gandhi, 17th October 1929. Quoted in Gandhi: The Essential Writings. Judith M. Brown, Oxford University Press, 1998 (pp. 228-9). Also quoted in Kumari Jayawardena, Feminism and Nationalism in the Third World in the 19th and Early 20th Centuries, Institute of Social Studies, 1982.

The Doctrine Of The Sword (1920)

“The Doctrine Of The Sword”, in Young India (11 August 1920)
  • In this age of the rule of brute force, it is almost impossible for anyone to believe that anyone else could possibly reject the law of final supremacy of brute force. And so I receive anonymous letters advising me that I must not interfere with the progress of non-co-operation even though popular violence may break out. Others come to me and assuming that secretly I must be plotting violence, inquire when the happy moment for declaring open violence to arrive. They assure me that English never yield to anything but violence secret or open. Yet others I am informed, believe that I am the most rascally person living in India because I never give out my real intention and that they have not a shadow of a doubt that I believe in violence just as much as most people do.
    Such being the hold that the doctrine of the sword has on the majority of mankind, and as success of non-co-operation depends principally on absence of violence during its pendency and as my views in this matter affect the conduct of large number of people. I am anxious to state them as clearly as possible.
    I do believe that where there is only a choice between cowardice and violence I would advise violence.
  • I advocate training in arms for those who believe in the method of violence. I would rather have India resort to arms in order to defend her honor than that she should in a cowardly manner become or remain a helpless witness to her own dishonor.
    But I believe that nonviolence is infinitely superior to violence, forgiveness is more manly than punishment, forgiveness adorns a soldier.
     But abstinence is forgiveness only when there is the power to punish, it is meaningless when it pretends to proceed from a helpless creature. A mouse hardly forgives cat when it allows itself to be torn to pieces by her. … I do not believe myself to be a helpless creature. Only I want to use India’s and my strength for better purpose.
    Let me not be misunderstood. Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.
  • We in India may in moment realize that one hundred thousand Englishmen need not frighten three hundred million human beings. A definite forgiveness would therefore mean a definite recognition of our strength. … I must not refrain from a saying that India can gain more by waiving the right of punishment. We have better work to do, a better mission to deliver to the world.
    I am not a visionary. I claim to be a practical idealist. The religion of nonviolence is not meant merely for the Rishis and saints. It is meant for the common people as well. Nonviolence is the law of our species as violence is the law of the brute. The spirit lies dormant in the brute and he knows no law but that of physical might. The dignity of man requires obedience to a higher law — to the strength of the spirit.
  • Nonviolence in its dynamic condition means conscious suffering. It does not means meek submission to the will of the evil-doer, but it means the putting of one’s whole soul against the will of the tyrant. Working under this law of being , it is possible for a single individual to defy the whole might of an unjust empire to save his honor, his religion, his soul and lay the foundation for the empire’s fall or its regeneration.
    And so I am not pleading for India to practice nonviolence because it is weak. I want her to practice nonviolence being conscious of her strength and power. No training in arms is required for realization of her strength. We seem to need it because we seem to think that we are but a lump of flesh. I want India to recognize that she has a soul that cannot perish and that can rise triumphant above every physical weakness and defy the physical combination of a whole world.
  • I invite even the school of violence to give this peaceful non-co-operation a trial. It will not fail through its inherent weakness. It may fail because of poverty of response. Then will be one time for real danger. The high-souled men, who are unable to suffer national humiliation any longer, will want to vent their wrath. They will take to violence.
  • I am wedded to India because I owe my all to her. I believe absolutely that she has a mission for the world. She is not to copy Europe blindly, India’s acceptance of the doctrine of the sword will be the hour of my trial. I hope I shall not be found wanting. My religion has no geographical limits. If I have a living faith in it, it will transcend my love for India herself. My life is dedicated to service of India through the religion of nonviolence which I believed to be the root of Hinduism.
    Meanwhile I urge those who distrust me, not to disturb the even working of the struggle that has just commenced, by inciting to violence in the belief that I want violence I detest secrecy as a sin. Let them give nonviolence non co-operation a trial and they will find that I had no mental reservation whatsoever.

An Autobiography (1927)

An Autobiography or The Story of My Experiments with Truth (1927) 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.
    • Introduction
  • In judging myself I shall try to be as harsh as truth, as I want others also to be. Measuring myself by that standard I must exclaim with Surdas: ‘ Where is there a wretch So wicked and loathsome as I? I have forsaken my Maker, So faithless have I been.’ For it is an unbroken torture to me that I am still so far from him, who, as I fully know, governs every breath of my life, and whose offspring I am. I know that it is the evil passions within that keep me so far from Him, and yet I cannot get away from them.
    • Introduction
  • 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.
    • Part II: First Day in Pretoria
  • 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.
    • From a leaflet urging Indians to serve with the British Army in World War I, Part V, Chapter 27, Recruiting Campaign
  • Jealousy does not wait for reasons.
    • Part I, Chapter 4, Playing the Husband
  • Nothing is impossible for pure love.
    • Part I, Chapter 4, Playing the Husband
  • I saw that bad handwriting should be regarded as a sign of an imperfect education.
    • Part I, Chapter 5, At the High School
  • That is why a thinker like Thoreau said that ‘that government is the best which governs the least.’ This means that when people come into possession of political power, the interference with the freedom of people is reduced to a minimum. In other words, a nation that runs its affairs smoothly and effectively without much State interference is truly democratic. Where such a condition is absent, the form of government is democratic in name.
    • Harijan, (Nov. 1. 1936). M.K. Gandhi, Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, Vol-62, New Delhi: Publication Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India (1975) p. 92
  • Every Hindu boy and girl should possess sound Sanskrit learning.
    • Part I, Chapter 5, At the High School
  • It is now my opinion that in all Indian curricula of higher education there should be a place for Hindi, Sanskrit, Persian, Arabic and English, besides of course the vernacular.
    • Part I, Chapter 5, At the High School
  • Today I know that physical training should have as much place in the curriculum as mental training.
    • Part I, Chapter 5, At the High School
  • A man of truth must also be a man of care.
    • Part I, Chapter 5, At the High School
  • About this time, I heard of a well known Hindu having been converted to Christianity. It was the talk of the town that, when he was baptized, he had to eat beef and drink liquor, that he also had to change his clothes, and that thenceforth he began to go about in European costume including a hat. These things got on my nerves. Surely, thought I, a religion that compelled one to eat beef, drink liquor, and change one’s own clothes did not deserve the name. I also heard that the new convert had already begun abusing the religion of his ancestors, their customs and their country. All these things created in me a dislike for Christianity.
    • Part I, Chapter 10, Glimpses of Religion
  • I saw that the writers on vegetarianism had examined the question very minutely, attacking it in its religious, scientific, practical and medical aspects. Ethically they had arrived at the conclusion that man’s supremacy over the lower animals meant not that the former should prey upon the latter, but that the higher should protect the lower, and that there should be mutual aid between the two as between man and man.
    • Part I, Chapter 17, Experiments in Dietetics
  • One golden rule is to accept the interpretation honestly put on the pledge by the party administering it.
    • Part I, Chapter 17, Experiments in Dietetics
  • A convert’s enthusiasm for his new religion is greater than that of a person who is born in it.
    • Part I, Chapter 17, Experiments in Dietetics
  • 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.
    • Part I, Chapter 21, ‘Nirbal Ke Bala Rama’
  • Selfishness is blind.
    • Part II, Chapter 4, The First Shock
  • My joy was boundless. I had learnt the true practice of law. I had learnt to find out the better side of human nature and to enter men’s hearts. I realized the true function of a lawyer was to unite parties riven asunder. The lesson was so indelibly burnt into me that a large part of my time during the twenty years of my practice as a lawyer was occupied in bringing about private compromises of hundreds of cases. I lost nothing thereby – not even money, certainly not my soul.
    • Part II, Chapter 14, Preparation for the Case
  • But all my life though, the very insistence on truth has taught me to appreciate the beauty of compromise. I saw in later life that this spirit was an essential part of Satyagraha. It has often meant endangering my life and incurring the displeasure of friends. But truth is hard as adamant and tender as a blossom.
    • Part II, Chapter 18, Colour Bar
  • I had learnt at the onset not to carry on public work with borrowed money.
    • Part II, Chapter 19, Natal Indian Congress
  • To my mind the life of a lamb is no less precious than that of a human being. I should be unwilling to take the life of a 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.
    • Part III, Chapter 18, A Month with Gokhale II
  • “Hate the sin and not the sinner” is a precept which, though easy enough to understand, is rarely practiced, and that is why the poison of hatred spreads in the world… Man and his deed are two distinct things. It is quite proper to resist and attack a system, but to resist and attack its author is tantamount to resisting and attacking one-self. For we are all tarred with the same brush and are children of one and the same Creator, and as such the divine powers within us are infinite. To slight a single human being is to slight those divine powers, and thus to harm not only that being, but with him, the whole world.
    • In reference to the Christian precept that God “hates sin but loves the sinner”. Part IV, Chapter 9, A Tussle with Power. pp. 230-231. Also quoted in The Essential Gandhi: An Anthology of His Writings on His Life, Work, and Ideas (2012), p. 83
  • My uniform experience has convinced me that there is no other God than Truth.
    • Farewell, p. 453
  • To see the universal and all-pervading Spirit of Truth face to face one must be able to love the meanest of creation as oneself. And a man who aspires after that cannot afford to keep out of any field of life. That is why my devotion to Truth has drawn me into the field of politics; and I can say without the slightest hesitation, and yet in all humility, that those who say that religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion means.
    Identification with everything that lives is impossible without self-purification; without self-purification the observance of the law of Ahimsa must remain an empty dream; God can never be realized by one who is not pure of heart. Self-purification therefore must mean purification in all the walks of life. And purification being highly infectious, purification of oneself necessarily leads to the purification of one’s surroundings.
    But the path of self-purification is hard and steep. To attain to perfect purity one has to become absolutely passion-free in thought, speech and action; to rise above the opposing currents of love and hatred, attachment and repulsion. I know that I have not in me as yet that triple purity, in spite of constant ceaseless striving for it. That is why the world’s praise fails to move me, indeed it very often stings me. To conquer the subtle passions seems to me to be far harder than the physical conquest of the world by the force of arms. Ever since my return to India I have had experiences of the dormant passions lying hidden within me. The knowledge of them has made me feel humiliated though not defeated. The experiences and experiments have sustained me and given me great joy. But I know that I have still before me a difficult path to traverse. I must reduce myself to zero. 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 farthest limit of humility.

    • Farewell, p. 454

1930s

  • 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 (10 April 1930)
  • By its very nature, non-violence cannot ‘seize’ power, nor can that be its goal. But non-violence can do more; it can effectively control and guide power without capturing the machinery of government. That is its beauty.
    • Young India (Feb. 7, 1931) p. 162
  • Freedom is not worth having if it does not connote freedom to err. It passes my comprehension how human beings, be they ever so experienced and able, can delight in depriving other human beings of that precious right.
    • Young India (12 March 1931), p. 31
  • It would be a great things, a brave thing, for the Hindus to achieve act of self-denial.
    • Mahatma Gandhi, Young India, 12 March 1931. Quoted from Hinduism and Judaism compilation
  • My implicit faith in nonviolence does mean yielding to minorities when they are really weak. The best way to weaken communalists is to yield to them. Resistance will only rouse their suspicion and strengthen their opposition.
    • Mahatma Gandhi, Young India, 2 July 1931. Quoted from Hinduism and Judaism compilation
  • The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.
    • “Interview to the Press” in Karachi about the execution of Bhagat Singh (23 March 1931); 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.”
  • 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 intelligence 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.
    • Young India (24 September 1931); also in Teachings Of Mahatma Gandhi (1945), edited by Jag Parvesh Chander, p. 458 archive.org
  • I say without fear of my figures being successfully challenged that India today is more illiterate than it was before a fifty or hundred years ago, and so is Burma, because the British administrators when they came to India, instead of taking hold of things as they were, began to root them out. They scratched the soil and began to look at the root and left the root like that and the beautiful tree perished.
    • Mahatma Gandhi, Speech at Chatham House, London, on October 20, 1931. Quoted in Essential Writings of Dharampal by Dharampal, and quoted in S.R. Goel, Hindu Society under siege [2]
  • 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), published in Young India Vol. 13 (1931), p. 355
  • If we are to reach real peace in this world and if we are to carry on a real war against war, we shall have to begin with children; and if they will grow up in their natural innocence, we won’t have to struggle, we won’t have to pass fruitless idle resolutions. But we shall go from love to love and peace to peace, until at last all the corners of the world are covered with that peace and love for which, consciously or unconsciously, the whole world is hungering.
    • Young India (19 November 1931, p. 361)
  • Vegetarians should have that moral basis—that a man was not born a carnivorous animal, but born to live on the fruits and herbs that the earth grows.
    • Speech at Meeting of London Vegetarian Society (20 November 1931), in The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi (New Delhi: Publications Division Government of India, 1999 electronic edition), Volume 54, p. 189.
  • I do feel that spiritual progress does demand at some stage—an inexorable demand—that we should cease to kill our fellow-creatures for satisfaction of our bodily wants.
    • Speech at Meeting in Lausanne (8 December 1931), in The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi (New Delhi: Publications Division Government of India, 1999 electronic edition), Volume 54, p. 272.
  • I regard myself as a soldier, though a soldier of peace.
    • Speech at Victoria Hall, Geneva (10 December 1931)
  • I do not believe in the doctrine of the greatest number. It means in its nakedness that in order to achieve the supposed good of 51 per cent the interests of 49 per cent may be, or rather, should be sacrificed. It is a heartless doctrine and has done harm to humanity.
    • The Dairy of Mahadev Desai, (June 4, 1932) p. 149
  • For me the voice of God, of Conscience, of Truth or the Inner Voice or ‘the still small Voice’ mean one and the same thing. I saw no form. I have never tried, for I have always believed God to be without form. One who realizes God is freed from sin for ever…. But what I did hear was like a Voice from afar and yet quite near. It was as unmistakable as some human voice definitely speaking to me, and irresistible. I was not dreaming at the time I heard the Voice. The hearing of the Voice was preceded by a terrific struggle within me. Suddenly the Voice came upon me. I listened, made certain that it was the Voice, and the struggle ceased. I was calm. The determination was made accordingly, the date and the hour of the fast were fixed…. Could I give any further evidence that it was truly the Voice that I heard and that it was not an echo of my own heated imagination? I have no further evidence to convince the sceptic. He is free to say that it was all self-delusion or hallucination. It may well have been so. I can offer no proof to the contrary. But I can say this — that not the unanimous verdict of the whole world against me could shake me from the belief that what I heard was the true voice of God.
    • Harijan (1933, July 8); also in Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi (Vol. 61), and in The Mind of Mahatma Gandhi (Prabhu and Rao, eds., 1967, pp. 33-34)
  • But religion is not like a house or a cloak which can be changed at will. It is more an integral part of one’s self than of one’s body. Religion is the tie that binds one to one’s Creator, and while the body perishes as it has to, religion persists even after that.
    • Gandhi (1935) in response to a call by Dr. Ambedkar for mass conversions among the depressed classes. Quoted from Sri Aurobindo, ., Nahar, S., Aurobindo, ., & Institut de recherches évolutives (Paris). India’s rebirth: A selection from Sri Aurobindo’s writing, talks and speeches. Paris: Institut de Recherches Evolutives. 3rd Edition (2000). [3]
  • I look upon an increase in the power of the State with the greatest fear because, although while apparently doing good by minimizing exploitation, it does the greatest harm to mankind by destroying individuality, which lies at the root of the progress. We know of so many cases where men have adopted trusteeship, but none where the State has really lived for the poor.
    • Modern Review (October, 1935) p. 412. Interview with Nirmal Kumar Bose (9/10 November 1934)
  • It is my firm conviction that if the State suppressed capitalism by violence, it will be caught in the coils of violence itself, and fail to develop non-violence at any time. The state represents violence in a concentrated and organized form. The Individual has a soul, but as the state is a soulless machine, it can never be weaned from violence to which it owes its very existence.
    • Modern Review (October, 1935) p. 412. Interview with Nirmal Kumar Bose (9/10 November 1934)
  • “Only the other day .a missionary descended on a famine area with money in his pocket, distributed it among the famine-stricken, converted them to his fold, took charge of their temple and demolished it. This is outrageous. The temple could not belong to the converted Hindus, and it could not belong to the Christian missionary. But this friend goes and gets it demolished at the hands of the very men who, only a little while ago, believed that God was there.”
    • ‘Harijan’, English weekly (founded by M.K. Gandhi), Poona, May 11, 1935
  • “If I had power and could legislate, I should certainly stop all proselytizing. For Hindu households, the advent of a missionary has meant the disruption of the family, coming in the wake of change of dress, manners, language, food and drink.”
    • ‘Harijan’, English weekly, Poona, founded by M.K. Gandhi, dated May 11, 1935
  • Man’s excellence lies in his readiness to let others live and lay down his own life. As he progresses, his food also changes for the better. He has the capacity to grow still further. There have been many more discoveries after Darwin’s. The book which you have been reading seems to be an old one. Whether it is old or new, the “Principle of the greatest good of the greatest number,” or “survival of the fittest” is false.
    • In his Letter to Premabehn Kantak, in Collected Works, , Delhi. Ministry of Information (1969-94)., 50:309-10
  • I worship God as Truth only. I have not yet found Him, but I am seeking after Him.
    • An Autobiography (1936); also in All Men Are Brothers: Autobiographical Reflections (2005) edited by Krishna Kripalani, p. 63
  • Hinduism insists on the brotherhood of not only all mankind but of all that lives.
    • Harijan, 28-3-1936
  • I am a lover of my own liberty and so I would do nothing to resist yours.
    • As quoted Quote in Justice and Democracy (1997), edit., Ron Bontekoe and Marietta Stepaniants, University of Hawai’i Press, p. 233.
  • 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?Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi
    • 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.
    • Letter in Harijan (1938)
  • 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)
  • 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)
  • My sympathies are all with the Jews. I have known them intimately in South Africa. Some of them became life-long companions. Through these friends I came to learn much of their age-long persecution. They have been the untouchables of Christianity. The parallel between their treatment by Christians and the treatment of untouchables by Hindus is very close. Religious sanction has been invoked in both cases for the justification of the inhuman treatment meted out to them. Apart from the friendships, therefore, there is the more common universal reason for my sympathy for the Jews…. If I were a Jew and were born in Germany and earned my livelihood there, I would claim Germany as my home even as the tallest gentile German may, and challenge him to shoot me or cast me in the dungeon; I would refuse to be expelled or to submit to discriminating treatment. And for doing this, I should not wait for the fellow Jews to join me in civil resistance but would have confidence that in the end the rest are bound to follow my example. If one Jew or all the Jews were to accept the prescription here offered, he or they cannot be worse off than now. And suffering voluntarily undergone will bring them an inner strength and joy which no number of resolutions of sympathy passed in the world outside Germany can. Indeed, even if Britain, France and America were to declare hostilities against Germany, they can bring no inner joy, no inner strength. The calculated violence of Hitler may even result in a general massacre of the Jews by way of his first answer to the declaration of such hostilities. But if the Jewish mind could be prepared for voluntary suffering, even the massacre I have imagined could be turned into a day of thanksgiving and joy that Jehovah had wrought deliverance of the race even at the hands of the tyrant. For to the godfearing, death has no terror. It is a joyful sleep to be followed by a waking that would be all the more refreshing for the long sleep.
    • Mahatma Gandhi, Harijan, 26 November 1938. Quoted from Hinduism and Judaism compilation
  • 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. [4]
    • Gandhi, An Autobiography, p. 446 (Beacon Press paperback edition)
  • Political power, in my opinion, cannot be our ultimate aim. It is one of the means used by men for their all-round advancement. The power to control national life through national representatives is called political power. Representatives will become unnecessary if the national life becomes so perfect as to be self-controlled. It will then be a state of enlightened anarchy in which each person will become his own ruler. He will conduct himself in such a way that his behaviour will not hamper the well-being of his neighbours. In an ideal State there will be no political institution and therefore no political power. That is why Thoreau has said in his classic statement that “that government is the best which governs the least”. [From Hindi] Sarvodaya, January, 1939
    • The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi “Enlightened Anarchy – A Political Ideal” Volume 74 p. 380.
  • It is quite clear that you are today the one person in the world who can prevent a war which may reduce humanity to the savage state. Must you pay that price for an object however worthy it may appear to you to be? Will you listen to the appeal of one who has deliberately shunned the method of war not without considerable success?
    • Letter addressed to Hitler. 23 July 1939 (Collected Works, vol. 70, pp. 20–21), Quoted from Koenraad Elst: Return of the Swastika (2007). (Also in [5])

1940s

  • 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.
    • Harijan (17 February 1940)
  • I do not share the socialist belief that centralization of the necessaries of life will conduce to the common welfare, when the centralized industries are planned and owned by the State. The socialistic concept of the West was born in an environment reeking with violence.
    • Harijan (27 January 1940) p. 428
  • I have always held that social justice, even to the least the lowliest, is impossible of attainment by force.
    • Harijan (20 April 1940) p. 97
  • But my object in writing this letter is not to ventilate my grievances. It is to place before you my reaction to the war situation. The latest development seems to be most serious. Want of truthful news is tantalizing. I suppose it is inevitable. But assuming that things are as black as they appear to be for the Allied cause, is it not time to sue for peace for the sake of humanity? I do not believe Herr Hitler to be as bad as he is portrayed. He might even have been a friendly power as he may still be. It is due to suffering humanity that this mad slaughter should stop.
    • LETTER TO [the viceroy of India] LORD LINLITHGOW , May 26, 1940 p. 253 (Mahatma Gandhi, The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi (New Delhi: Publications Division Government of India, 1999), vol. 78, [6]
  • But let the world know also the greater bravery of the French statesmen in suing for peace. I have assumed that the French statesmen have taken the step in a perfectly honourable manner as behoves true soldiers. Let me hope that Herr Hitler will impose no humiliating terms but show that, though he can fight without mercy, he can at least conclude peace not without mercy. […] As against this [Hitler vision] imagine the state of Europe today if the Czechs, the Poles, the Norwegians, the French and the English has all said to Hitler:‘You need not make your scientific preparation for destruction. We will meet your violence with non-violence. You will therefore be able to destroy our non-violent army without tanks, battleships and airships’. It may be retorted that the only difference would be that Hitler would have got without fighting what he has gained after a bloody fight. Exactly. […] I dare say that in that case Europe would have added several inches to its moral stature. And in the end I expect it is the moral worth that will count. All else is dross.
    • HOW TO COMBAT HITLERISM June 18, 1940 p. 344; 345 (Mahatma Gandhi, The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi (New Delhi: Publications Division Government of India, 1999), vol. 78, [7]
  • We have to live and move and have our being in ahimsa, even as Hitler does in himsa. It is the faith and perseverance and single-mindedness with which he has perfected his weapons of destruction that commands my admiration. That he uses them as a monster is immaterial for our purpose. We have to bring to bear the same single-mindedness and perseverance in evolving our ahimsa. Hitler is awake all the 24 hours of the day in perfecting his sadhana. He wins because he pays the price. His inventions surprise his enemies. But it is his single-minded devotion to his purpose that should be the object of our admiration and emulation. Although he works all his waking hours, his intellect is unclouded and unerring. Are our intellects unclouded and unerring? A mere belief in ahimsa or the charkha will not do. It should be intelligent and creative. If intellect plays a large part in the field of violence, I hold that it plays a larger part in the field of non-violence.
    • June 1940 speech. (Mahatma Gandhi, The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi (New Delhi: Publications Division Government of India, 1999), vol. 78, p. 349. [8]
  • I do not want to see the allies defeated. But 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. Englishmen are showing the strength that Empire builders must have. I expect them to rise much higher than they seem to be doing.
    • Letter to Rajkumari Amrit Kaur, regarding the military situation between England and Germany (May 1940), quoted in Collected Works (1958), p. 70.
  • Whatever Hitler may ultimately prove to be, we know what Hitlerism has come to mean, It means naked, ruthless force reduced to an exact science and worked with scientific precision. In its effect it becomes almost irresistible.
    Hitlerism will never be defeated by counter-Hitlerism. It can only breed superior Hitlerism raised to nth degree. What is going on before our eyes is the demonstration of the futility of violence as also of Hitlerism.
    What will Hitler do with his victory? Can he digest so much power? Personally he will go as empty-handed as his not very remote predecessor Alexander. For the Germans he will have left not the pleasure of owning a mighty empire but the burden of sustaining its crushing weight. For they will not be able to hold all the conquered nations in perpetual subjection. And I doubt if the Germans of future generations will entertain unadulterated pride in the deeds for which Hitlerism will be deemed responsible. They will honour Herr Hitler as genius, as a brave man, a matchless organizer and much more. But I should hope that the Germans of the future will have learnt the art of discrimination even about their heroes. Anyway I think it will be allowed that all the blood that has been spilled by Hitler has added not a millionth part of an inch to the world’s moral stature.

    • Harijan (22 June 1940), after Nazi victories resulting in the occupation of France.
  • A seeker after Truth cannot afford to indulge in generalisation. Darwin for the greater part of his book Origin of the Species [sic] has simply massed fact upon fact without any theorising, and only towards the end has formulated his conclusion which, because of the sheer weight of testimony behind it, becomes almost irresistible. Yes I have criticised even Darwin’s generalisation as being unwarranted. Science tells us that a proposition may hold good in nine hundred ninety-nine cases and yet fail in the thousandth case and thus be rendered untenable as a universal statement.
    • “Generalisation”, from Harijan (6 July 1940). Quoted in Teachings of Mahatma Gandhi (1945), edited by Jag Parvesh Chander, Indian Printing Works, pages 243-244.
  • A society organized and run on the basis of complete nonviolence would be the purest anarchy… That State is perfect and non-violent where the people are governed the least.
    • Harijan (21 July 1940)
  • That I address you as a friend is no formality. I own no foes. My business in life has been for the past 33 years to enlist the friendship of the whole of humanity by befriending mankind, irrespective of race, colour or creed. … We have no doubt about your bravery or devotion to your fatherland, nor do we believe that you are the monster described by your opponents… But your own writings and pronouncements and those of your friends and admirers leave no room for doubt that many of your acts are monstrous and unbecoming of human dignity, especially in the estimation of men like me who believe in human friendliness. Such are your humiliation of Czechoslovakia, the rape of Poland and the swallowing of Denmark. I am aware that your view of life regards such spoliations as virtuous acts. But we have been taught from childhood to regard them as acts degrading humanity…Hence we cannot possibly wish success to your arms….But ours is a unique position. We resist British imperialism no less than Nazism… If there is a difference, it is in degree. One-fifth of the human race has been brought under the British heel by means that will not bear scrutiny… Our resistance to it does not mean harm to the British people. We seek to convert them, not to defeat them on the battle-field… No spoliator can compass his end without a certain degree of co-operation, willing or unwilling, of the victim…. The rulers may have our land and bodies but not our souls…. We know what the British heel means for us and the non-European races of the world. But we would never wish to end the British rule with German aid… We have found in non-violence a force which, if organized, can without doubt match itself against a combination of all the most violent forces in the world… If not the British, some other power will certainly improve upon your method and beat you with your own weapon. You are leaving no legacy to your people of which they would feel proud.
    • Letter to Hitler. 24 December 1940. Quoted from Koenraad Elst: Return of the Swastika (2007). (Also in [9])
  • But to me both the parties [Axis and Allies] seem to be tarred with the same brush.
    • Mahatma Gandhi. Gandhi, in his speech at Bardoli on 8 January 1942, which was printed in Harijanbandhu the same day and later in Collected Works (vol. 79, p. 205) Quoted from Elst, Koenraad (2018). Why I killed the Mahatma: Uncovering Godse’s defence. New Delhi : Rupa, 2018.
  • If the vast majority of Muslims regard themselves as a separate nation having nothing in common with the Hindus and others, no power on earth can compel them to think otherwise. And if they want to partition India on that basis, they must have the partition, unless Hindus want to fight against such a division.
    • Harijan, 18 April 1942. Quoted from Elst, Koenraad (2018). Why I killed the Mahatma: Uncovering Godse’s defence. New Delhi : Rupa, 2018.
  • The ideally non-violent state will be an ordered anarchy. That State is the best governed which is governed the least.
    • From Discussion with BG Kher and others, 15 August 1940. Gandhi’s Wisdom Box (1942), edited by Dewan Ram Parkash, p. 67 also in Collected works of Mahatma Gandhi Vol. 79 (PDF), p. 122
  • 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 and democracy?
    • Non-Violence in Peace and War, 1942, Vol. 1, Ch. 142
  • I suggest that, if India is to evolve along nonviolent lines, it will have to decentralize many things. Centralization cannot be sustained and defended without adequate force . . .Centralization as a system is inconsistent with non-violent structure of society.
    • Young India (18 January 1942) p. 5
  • If individual liberty goes, then surely all is lost, for, if the individual ceases to count, what is left of society? Individual freedom alone can make a man voluntarily surrender himself completely to the service of society. If it is wrested from him, he becomes automaton and society is ruined.
    • Harijan (1 February 1942) p. 27
  • No society can possibly be built upon a denial of individual freedom.It is contrary to the very nature of man. Just as a man will not grow horns or a tail, so will he not exist as man if he has no mind of his own. In reality even those who do not believe in the liberty of the individual believe in their own.
    • Conquest of Violence: The Gandhian Philosophy of Conflict by Joan V. Bondurant (1965) University of California Press, Berkeley: CA, p. 174. Harijan (1 February 1942) p. 27
  • My conception of freedom is no narrow conception. It is co-extensive with the freedom of man in all his majesty.
    • Harijan (June 1942)
  • Ours is not a drive for power, but purely a non-violent fight for India’s independence. In a violent struggle, a successful general has been often known to effect a military coup and to set up a dictatorship. But under the Congress scheme of things, essentially non-violent as it is, there can be no room for dictatorship. A non-violent soldier of freedom will covet nothing for himself, he fights only for the freedom of his country.
    I read Carlyle’s French Revolution while I was in prison, and Pandit Jawaharlal has told me something about the Russian revolution. But it is my conviction that inasmuch as these struggles were fought with the weapon of violence they failed to realize the democratic ideal. In the democracy which I have envisaged, a democracy established by non-violence, there will be equal freedom for all. Everybody will be his own master. It is to join a struggle for such democracy that I invite you today. Once you realize this you will forget the differences between the Hindus and Muslims, and think of yourselves as Indians only, engaged in the common struggle for independence.
    We cannot evoke the true spirit of sacrifice and valour, so long as we are not free. I know the British Government will not be able to withhold freedom from us, when we have made enough self-sacrifice. We must, therefore, purge ourselves of hatred.

    • From the Quit India speech in Bombay, on the eve of the Quit India movement (8 August 1942)
  • Holding the view I do, it is superfluous for me now to answer your argument that “this war has split the world into two camps.” Between Scylla and Charybdis, if I sail in either direction, I suffer shipwreck. Therefore I have to be in the midst of the storm.
    • Mahatma Gandhi. 30 July 1944, in Collected Works, vol. 77, p. 434. Quoted from Elst, Koenraad (2018). Why I killed the Mahatma: Uncovering Godse’s defence. New Delhi : Rupa, 2018.
  • War criminals are not confined to the Axis powers alone. Roosevelt and Churchill are no less war criminals than Hitler and Mussolini.
    • Mahatma Gandhi. Interview given to Ralph Coniston, ‘before April 25, 1945’, reproduced in Collected Works, vol. 79, p. 423. Quoted from Elst, Koenraad (2018). Why I killed the Mahatma: Uncovering Godse’s defence. New Delhi : Rupa, 2018.
  • Coercion cannot but result in chaos in the end.
    • As quoted in Mahatma, edit., D.G. Tendulkar, Vol. 7 (1945-1947), first edition, New Delhi, India, Publication Division of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (1953) p. 138[10]
  • The man who uses coercion is guilty of deliberate violence. Coercion is inhuman.
    • As quoted in Mahatma, edit., D.G. Tendulkar, Vol. 7 (1945-1947) first edition, New Delhi, India, Publication Division of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (1953) p. 82
  • The moment the slave resolves that he will no longer be a slave, his fetters fall. He frees himself and shows the way to others. Freedom and slavery are mental states. Therefore, the first thing to say to yourself: ‘I shall no longer accept the role of a slave. I shall not obey orders as such but shall disobey them when they are in conflict with my conscience.
    • Harijan (24 February 1946). As quoted in The Politics Of Nonviolent Action, Gene Sharp, Porter Sargent Publishers (1973), p. 59
  • I draw no distinction between error and sin. If a man commits a bona fide mistake and confesses it with a contrite heart before his Maker, the merciful Maker sterilizes it of all harm.
    • Harijan (20 October 1946); as quoted in The Encyclopaedia of Gandhian Thoughts (1985)
  • The only thing lawful is non-violence. Violence can never be lawful in the sense meant here, i.e., not according to man-made laws, but according to the laws made by Nature for man.
    • Harijan (27 October 1946) p. 369
  • Hindus should never be angry against the Muslims even if the latter might make up their minds to undo even their existence.
    • Mahatma Gandhi post-prayer speech at Birla Mandir, New Delhi, on April 6, 1947. quoted in Arvind Lavakare, Of Sabarmati secularism & non-violence, 16 April 2002, Rediff. Quoted from Hinduism and Judaism compilation
  • We both may be killed by the Muslims, and must put our purity to the ultimate test, so that we know that we are offering the purest of sacrifices, and we should now both start sleeping naked.
    • Gandhi’s comments privately told to Manuben in 1947. Quoted from Hiro, D. (2015). The longest August: The unflinching rivalry between India and Pakistan. New York, NY: Nation Books.
  • 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.
    • Speech in New Delhi to the Inter-Asian Relations Conference (2 April 1947) – Parts of this speech became used in an Telecom Italia advertisement (Video at YouTube – B&W, English text version, better sound)
  • [During his prayer meeting on 1 May 1947, he prepared the Hindus and Sikhs for the anticipated massacres of their kind in the upcoming state of Pakistan with these words:] ‘I would tell the Hindus to face death cheerfully if the Muslims are out to kill them. I would be a real sinner if after being stabbed I wished in my last moment that my son should seek revenge. I must die without rancour. (…) You may turn round and ask whether all Hindus and all Sikhs should die. Yes, I would say. Such martyrdom will not be in vain.’
    • (The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, vol. LXXXVII, p. 394–5) Quoted from Elst, Koenraad (2018). Why I killed the Mahatma: Uncovering Godse’s defence. New Delhi : Rupa, 2018. Appendix 4
  • I went to Noakhali and let no one imagine that, because it is now to be included in Pakistan, I would not go there again. A part of me lies there. I shall tell the Hindus there that they should not fear anyone even if they are surrounded by [Muslim] murderers.
    • Prarthana Pravachan – I, pp. 166-70; The Hindu, 17 June 1947.
  • I am told that there are still left over 18,000 Hindus and Sikhs in Rawalpindi and 30,000 in the Wah Camp. I will repeat my advice that they should all be prepared to die rather than leave their homes. The art of dying bravely and with honour does not need any special training, save a living faith in God. Then there will be no abductions and no forcible conversions. I know that you are anxious I should go to the Punjab at the earliest moment. I want to do so. But if I failed in Delhi, it is impossible for me to succeed in Pakistan. For I want to go to all the parts and provinces of Pakistan under the protection of no escort save God. I will go as a friend of the Muslims as of others. My life will be at their disposal. I hope that I may cheerfully die at the hands of anyone who chooses to take my life. Then I will have done as I have advised all to do.
    • SELECTED WRITINGS OF MAHATMA GANDHI, Extracts from the Delhi Diary, 23 September 1947.
  • There was a time when people listened to me because I showed them how to give fight to the British without arms when they had no arms and the British Government was fully equipped and organised for an armed fight. But today I am told that my non-violence can be of no avail against the communal madness and, therefore, people should arm themselves for self-defence. If this is true, it has to be admitted that our thirty years of nonviolent practice was an utter waste of time. We should have from the beginning trained ourselves in the use of arms. But I do not agree that our thirty years’ probation in nonviolence has been utterly wasted. It was due to our non-violence, defective though it was, that we were able to bear up under the heaviest repression and the message of independence penetrated every nook and corner of India. But as our non-violence was the nonviolence of the weak, the leaven did not spread. 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 Nayyar, p. 326 [11]
  • Impure means result in an impure end… One cannot reach truth by untruthfulness. Truthful conduct alone can reach Truth.
    • Harijan (13 July 1947) p. 232
  • ‘I am grieved to learn that people are running away from the West Punjab and I am told that Lahore is being evacuated by the non-Muslims. I must say that this is what it should not be. If you think Lahore is dead or is dying, do not run away from it, but die with what you think is the dying Lahore. (…) When you suffer from fear you die before death comes to you. That is not glorious. I will not feel sorry if I hear that people in the Punjab have died not as cowards but as brave men. (…) I cannot be forced to salute any flag. If in that act I am murdered I would bear no ill will against anyone and would rather pray for better sense for the person or persons who murder me.’
    • 6 August 1947,. (Hindustan Times, 8-8-1947, CWoMG, vol. LXXXIX, p. 11) Quoted from Elst, Koenraad (2018). Why I killed the Mahatma: Uncovering Godse’s defence. New Delhi : Rupa, 2018. App. 4
  • [Government] control gives rise to fraud, suppression of truth, intensification of the black market and artificial scarcity. Above all, it unmans the people and deprives them of initiative, it undoes the teaching of self-help…It makes them spoon-fed.
    • Delhi Diary (3 November 1947 entry), Navajivan Publishing House, Ahmedabad, (March 1948) pp. 68-70
  • Muslims must realize and admit the wrongs perpetrated under the Islamic rule.
    • 25 December 1947, in reaction to a Urdu poem protesting against the planned rebuilding of the Somnath temple and calling for “a new Ghaznavi to avenge the renovation of the Somnath temple”, quoted by Rajmohan Gandhi: Revenge and Reconciliation, p. 237 and quoted from Elst, Koenraad (2014). Decolonizing the Hindu mind: Ideological development of Hindu revivalism. New Delhi: Rupa.
  • Truth never damages a cause that is just.
    • Non-Violence in Peace and War (1948); also in Gandhi on Non-violence: Selected Texts from Mohandas K. Gandhi’s Non-Violence in Peace and War (1965) edited by Thomas Merton Google Books linkISBN 0811200973
  • In the dictionary of Satyagraha, there is no enemy.
    • Non-Violence in Peace and War (1948); also in Gandhi on Non-violence: Selected Texts from Mohandas K. Gandhi’s Non-Violence in Peace and War (1965) edited by Thomas Merton
  • It is better to be violent, if there is violence in our breasts, than to put on the cloak of non-violence to cover impotence. Violence is any day preferable to impotence. There is hope for a violent man to become non-violent. There is no such hope for the impotent.
    • Non-Violence in Peace and War p. 254 (1948); also in Gandhi on Non-violence: Selected Texts from Mohandas K. Gandhi’s Non-Violence in Peace and War (1965) edited by Thomas Merton; this has also appeared in paraphrased form as “if there is violence in our hearts.”
  • Capital as such is not evil; it is its wrong use that is evil. Capital in some form or other will always be needed.
    • Harijan (28 July 1949) p. 219
  • Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need but not for every man’s greed.
    • Quoted by Pyarelal Nayyar in Mahatma Gandhi: The Last Phase (Volume 10), page 552 (1958)

To Every Briton (1940)

Open letter, “To Every Briton”, New Delhi (2 July 1940); published in Harijan (6 July 1940)
  • This war has descended upon mankind as a curse and a warning. It is a curse inasmuch as it is brutalizing man on a scale hitherto unknown. All distinctions between combatants and noncombatants have been abolished. No one and nothing is to be spared. Lying has been reduced to an art. Britain was to defend small nationalities. One by one they have vanished, at least for the time being. It is also a warning. It is a warning that, if nobody reads the writing on the wall, man will be reduced to the state of the beast, whom he is shaming by his manners. I read the writing when the hostilities broke out. But I had not the courage to say the word. God has given me the courage to say it before it is too late.
  • I appeal for cessation of hostilities, not because you are too exhausted to fight, but because war is bad in essence. You want to kill Nazism. You will never kill it by its indifferent adoption. 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. If that be so, yours will soon acquire the same thoroughness as theirs, if not much greater. On no other condition can you win the war. In other words, you will have to be more ruthless than the Nazis. No cause, however just, can warrant the indiscriminate slaughter that is going on minute by minute. I suggest that a cause that demands the inhumanities that are being perpetrated today cannot be called just.
  • I do not want Britain to be defeated, nor do I want her to be victorious in a trial of brute strength, whether expressed through the muscle or the brain. Your muscular bravery is an established fact. Need you demonstrate that your brain is also as unrivaled in destructive power as your muscle? I hope you do not wish to enter into such an undignified competition with the Nazis. I venture to present you with a nobler and a braver way, worthy of the bravest soldier. I want you to fight Nazism without arms, or, if I am to retain the military terminology, 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.
    This process or method, which I have called non-violent non-co-operation, is not without considerable success in its use in India. Your representatives in India may deny my claim. If they do, I shall feel sorry for them. ‘
  • This is no appeal made by a man who does not know his business. I have been practising with scientific precision non-violence and its possibilities for an unbroken period of over fifty years. I have applied it in every walk of life, domestic, institutional, economic and political. I know of no single case in which it has failed. Where it has seemed sometimes to have failed, I have ascribed it to my imperfections. I claim no perfection for my self. But I do claim to be a passionate seeker after Truth, which is but another name for God. In the course of the search the discovery of non-violence came to me. Its spread is my life-mission. I have no interest in living except for the prosecution of that mission.
  • Whatever the ultimate fate of my country, my love for you remains, and will remain, undiminished. My non-violence demands universal love, and you are not a small part of it. It is that love which has prompted my appeal to you.
  • May God give power to every word of mine. In his name I began to write this, and in His name I close it. May your statesman have the wisdom and courage to respond to my appeal. 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.

Posthumous publications

  • Hitler killed five million [sic] Jews. It is the greatest crime of our time. But the Jews should have offered themselves to the butcher’s knife. They should have thrown themselves into the sea from cliffs…..It would have aroused the world and the people of Germany…. As it is they succumbed anyway in their millions.
    • Mahatma Gandhi, June 1946, in an interview with Louis Fischer. Rabbi Stephen Pearce, Torah Offers Ethics, rules, so all is fair in love and war, September 2000, [12] . Quoted from Hinduism and Judaism compilation The Life of Mahatma Gandhi (1950) by Louis Fischer. The quote is in the context of Gandhi’s argument to his biographer that collective suicide would have been a heroic response that would have “aroused the world and the people of Germany to Hitler’s violence”.
  • Nor, do I believe in inequalities between human beings. We are all absolutely equal. But equality is of the souls and not the bodies. Hence, it is a mental state. We need to think of, and to assert, equality because we see great inequality in the physical world. We have to realize equality in the midst of this apparent external inequality. Assumption of superiority by any person over any other is a sin against God and man. Thus caste, in so far as it connotes distinctions in status, is an evil.
    • Conquest of Violence: The Gandhian Philosophy of Conflict, by Joan V. Bondurant (1965) University of California Press, Berkeley: CA, pp. 168-169
  • Truth alone will endure, all the rest will be swept away before the tide of time. I must continue to bear testimony to truth even if I am forsaken by all. Mine may today be a voice in the wilderness, but it will be heard when all other voices are silenced, if it is the voice of Truth.
    • Basic Education (1951) p. 89
  • 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.
    • Gandhi: His Life and Message for the World (1954), by Louis Fischer, p. 177
    • Mahatma Gandhi to Rajkumari Amrit Kaur, August 29, 1947. In Letters to Rajkumari Amrit Kaur. 1st edition (April, 1961), p. 246
  • An unjust law is itself a species of violence. Arrest for its breach is more so. Now the law of nonviolence says that violence should be resisted not by counter-violence but by nonviolence. This I do by breaking the law and by peacefully submitting to arrest and imprisonment.
    • Non-Violence in Peace & War (1962) Vol. 2, edited by Mahadev Haribhai Desai, p. 144
  • We were strangers to this sort of classification – ‘animists’, ‘aborigines’, etc., – but we have learnt it from English rulers.
    • Mahatma Gandhi, The Collected Works, Volume 35, New Delhi, 1968, pp. 462-63. Quoted from Goel, S.R. History of Hindu-Christian Encounters (1996)
  • All faiths are a gift of God, but partake of human imperfection, as they pass through the medium of humanity. God-given religion is beyond all speech. Imperfect men put it into such language as they can command, and their words are interpreted by other men equally imperfect. Whose interpretation must be held to be the right one ? Every one is right from his own standpoint, but it is not impossible that every one is wrong. Hence the necessity for tolerance, which does not mean indifference towards one’s own faith, but a more intelligent and purer love for it. Tolerance gives us spiritual insight, which is as far from fanaticism as the north pole is from the south. True knowledge of religion breaks down the barriers between faith and faith and gives rise to tolerance. Cultivation of tolerance for other faiths will impart to us a truer understanding of our own.
    • Young India, (Bulletin), 2-10-1930, p. 2 In: My God (1962), Chapter 13. Pathways of God, Printed and Published by: Jitendra T. Desai, Navajivan Mudranalaya, Ahemadabad-380014 India
  • For me the different religions are beautiful flowers from the same garden, or they are branches of the same majestic tree. Therefore they are equally true, though being received and interpreted through human instruments equally imperfect.
    • Harijan, 30-1-1937, p. 407; In: My God (1962), Chapter 13. Pathways of God, Printed and Published by: Jitendra T. Desai, Navajivan Mudranalaya, Ahemadabad-380014 India
  • The Allah of Islam is the same as the God of Christians and the Ishwara of Hindus. Even as there are numerous names of God in Hinduism, there are as many names of God in Islam. The names do not indicate individuality but attributes, and little man had tried in his humble way to describe mighty God by giving Him attributes, though He is above all attributes, Indescribable, Inconceivable, Immeasurable. Living faith in this God means acceptance of the brotherhood of mankind. It also means equal respect for all religions.
    • Harijan, 14-5-1938, pp. 110-11; In: My God (1962), Chapter 13. Pathways of God, Printed and Published by: Jitendra T. Desai, Navajivan Mudranalaya, Ahemadabad-380014 India
  • If all the Punjabis were to die to the last man without killing, Punjab will be immortal. … Offer yourselves as non-violent, willing sacrifices.
    • Attributed to Gandhi in : Larry Collins and D. Lapierre, Freedom at Midnight.
  • My life is my message.
    • Response to a journalist’s question about what his message to the world was. Mahatma: Life of Gandhi 1869-1948 (1968) Reel 13
  • You assist an unjust administration most effectively by obeying its orders and decrees. An evil administration never deserves such allegiance. Allegiance to it means partaking of the evil.
    A good person will resist an evil system with his whole soul. Disobedience of the laws of an evil state is therefore a duty.

    • Non-Violent Resistance – Often misquoted as “You assist an evil system most effectively by obeying its orders and decrees. An evil system never deserves such allegiance.”
  • All humanity is one undivided and indivisible family, and each one of us is responsible for the misdeeds of all the others. I cannot detach myself from the wickedest soul.[citation needed]
  • Remember that there is always a limit to self-indulgence but none to self-restraint, and let us daily progress in that direction.
    • Article in Young India (2 February 1928, Volume 10, Page 35)
  • There is no doubt in my mind that in the majority of quarrels the Hindus come out second best. But my own experience confirms the opinion that the Mussalman as a rule is a bully, and the Hindu as a rule is a coward. I have noticed this in railway trains, on public roads, and in the quar­rels which I had the privilege of settling. Need the Hindu blame the Mussalman for his cowardice? Where there are cowards, there will always be bullies. They say that in Saharan­pur the Mussal­mans looted houses, broke open safes and, in one case, a Hindu woman’s modesty was outraged. Whose fault was this? Mussalmans can offer no defence for the execrable conduct, it is true. But I, as a Hindu, am more ashamed of Hindu cowardice than I am angry at the Mussalman bullying. Why did not the owners of the houses looted die in the attempt to defend their possessions? Where were the relatives of the outraged sister at the time of the outrage? Have they no account to render of themselves? My non-violence does not admit of running away from danger and leaving dear ones unprotected. Between violence and cowardly flight, I can only prefer violence to cowardice.
    • Mahatma Gandhi, The source quoted is “Hindu-Muslim Tension: Its Cause and Cure”, Young India, 29/5/1924; reproduced in M.K. Gandhi: The Hindu-Muslim Unity, p.35-36. [13]
  • During my travels, I find a general belief that to turn a Christian is to turn European; to become self-willed, and give up self-restraint, use only foreign cloth, dress oneself in European style and start taking meat and brandy. But I think the fact is, if a person discards his country, his customs and his old connections and manners when he changes his religion, he becomes all the more unfit to gain a knowledge of God. For, a change of religion means really a conversion of the heart. When there is a real conversion, a man’s heart grows. But in this country one finds that conversion brings about deep disdain for one’s old religion and its followers, i.e., one’s old friends and relatives. The next change that takes place is that of dress and manners and behaviour. All that does great harm to the country.
    • Mahatma Gandhi in Mahadev Desai, Day-to-Day with Gandhi,Volume 7, Varanasi, 1969, as quoted in Goel, S.R. History of Hindu-Christian Encounters (1996)
  • I do not regard Jainism or Buddhism as separate from Hinduism. Hinduism believes in the oneness not of merely all human life but in the oneness of all that lives.
    • Mahatma Gandhi. October 1927. The Collected Works, Volume 35, New Delhi, 1968, pp. 166-67. Quoted in Goel, S.R. History of Hindu-Christian Encounters (1996)
  • Unfortunately, Christianity in India has been inextricably mixed up for the last one hundred years with the British rule. It appears to us as synonymous with the materialistic civilization and imperialistic exploitation by the strong white races of the weaker races of the world. Its contribution to India has been therefore largely of a negative character. It has done some good in spite of its professors. It has shocked us into setting our own house in order.
    • Mahatma Gandhi, The Collected Works, Volume 40. New Delhi. 1970, pp. 58-59. as quoted in Goel, S.R. History of Hindu-Christian Encounters (1996)
  • Conversion in the sense of self-purification, self-realization, is the crying need of the hour. That, however, is not what is meant by proselytising. To those who would convert India, might it not be said, ‘physician heal thyself’?
    • Mahatma Gandhi The Collected Works Volume 46, New Delhi, 1971, pp. 28-29. As quoted in Goel, S.R. History of Hindu-Christian Encounters (1996)
  • It is no use trying to fight these forces [of materialism] without giving up the idea of conversion, which I assure you is the deadliest poison which ever sapped the fountain of truth.
    • Mahatma Gandhi The Collected Works Vol 46, p. 203. As quoted in Goel, S.R. History of Hindu-Christian Encounters (1996)
  • If I had power and could legislate, I should certainly stop all proselytising. It is the cause of much avoidable conflict between classes and unnecessary heart-burning among the missionaries… In Hindu households the advent of a missionary has meant the disruption of the family coming in the wake of change of dress, manners, language, food and drink. … The other day a missionary descended on a famine area with money in his pocket, distributed it among the famine-stricken, converted them to his fold, took charge of their temple and demolished it. This is outrageous. The temple could not belong to the converted, and it could not belong to the Christian missionary. But this friend goes and gets it demolished at the hands of the very men who only a little while ago believed that God was there.
    • Mahatma Gandhi The Collected Works Volume 61, Ahmedabad, 1975, p, 46-57. As quoted in Goel, S.R. History of Hindu-Christian Encounters (1996)
  • In my opinion, they are not examples of real conversion. If a person through fear, compulsion, starvation or for material gain or consideration goes over to another faith, it is a misnomer to call it conversion. Most cases of mass conversion, of which we have heard so much during the past two years, have been to my mind false coin… I would, therefore, unhesitatingly re-admit to the Hindu fold all such repentants without much ado, certainly without any shuddhi… And as I believe in the equality of all the great religions of the earth, I regard no man as polluted because he has forsaken the branch on which he was sitting and gone over to another of the same tree. If he comes to the original branch, he deserves to be welcomed and not told that he had committed sin by reason of his having forsaken the family to which he belonged. In so far as he may be deemed to have erred, he has sufficiently purged himself of it when he repents of the error and retraces his step.
    • Mahatma Gandhi, The Collected Works Volume 66, New Delhi, 1976, pp. 163-64. As quoted in Goel, S.R. History of Hindu-Christian Encounters (1996)
  • If Brahmanism does not revive, Hinduism must perish. […] I will not like to live in an India which has ceased to be Hindu.
    • Mahtama Gandhi, quoted in Meaning of the word Hindu
  • We can drive English [the English language] out. All this is necessary for us slaves.
    • Gandhi, quoted from Koenraad Elst, On Modi Time : Merits And Flaws of Hindu Activism In Its Day Of Incumbency – 2015 Ch 29
  • I know of no one who has done more for humanity than Jesus. In fact, there is nothing wrong with Christianity … The trouble is with you Christians. You do not begin to live up to your own teachings.
    • In conversation, attributed by James E. McEldowney

Disputed

  • Poverty is the worst kind of violence.
    • Quoted without reference to earlier source, time or location in A Just Peace through Transformation: Cultural, Economic, and Political Foundations for Change (1988) by the International Peace Association
  • Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.
    • The earliest attribution of this to Gandhi yet located is in a T-shirt advertisement in Mother Jones, Vol. 8, No. 5 (June 1983), p. 46
  • If you don’t ask, you don’t get.
    • Widespread late 20th century aphorism that appears to have been first attributed to Gandhi in various self-help books of the early 2000s. Google Books
  • Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.
    • Variant on aphorism “Study as if you were to live forever. Live as if you were to die tomorrow” pre-dating Gandhi, variously attributed to Isidore of Seville (c. 560 – 636), in FPA Book of Quotations (1952) by Franklin Pierce Adams, to Edmund Rich (1175–1240) in American Journal of Education (1877), or to Alain de Lille in Samuel Smiles’s Duty (1881).
    • The 1995 book “The good boatman: a portrait of Gandhi,” states that Gandhi subscribed “to the view that a man should live thinking he might die tomorrow but learn as if he would live forever.”
    • In his 2010 Boyer lecture Glyn Davis (Professor of Political Science and Vice-Chancellor of Melbourne University) attributes the quote to Desiderius Erasmus. “He [Erasmus] reworked Pliny to urge ‘live as if you are to die tomorrow, study as if you were to live forever’. Many students obey the first clause – the best heed both.”
    • There is a similar quote by Johann Gottfried Herder: “Mensch, genieße dein Leben, als müssest morgen du weggehn; Schone dein Leben, als ob ewig du weiletest hier.” [“Man, enjoy your life as if you were to depart tomorrow; spare your life as if you were to linger here forever.”] (Zerstreute Blätter, 1785).
  • I have never advocated “passive” anything. We must never submit to unjust laws. Never. And our resistance must be active and provocative.
    • This may be derived from lines in the movie Gandhi (1982); such statements have not been located among published sources.
  • The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.
    • Widely attributed to Gandhi, sometimes citing Ramachandra Krishna Prabhu, The Moral Basis of Vegetarianism (1959). (Cf. Ralph Keyes, The Quote Verifier (2006), p. 74.) However, it is not found in that essay [14] nor in any of Gandhi’s Complete works. [15]
    • The original quote seems to be by David Strauss, The Old Faith and the New (Der alte und der neue Glaube, 1872, trans. by M. Blind, New York: Henry Holt & Co., 1873), vol. II, ch. 71, p. 59: The manner in which a nation in the aggregate treats animals, is one chief measure of its real civilization.
    • Similar quotes, not attributed to Gandhi, are found throughout the twentieth century: e.g. The great actress, Mrs Fiske, once said to me, “The civilization of any country can be told by the way it treats its animals” (Zoe Berkeley, “Zoe Berkeley’s Corner”, Salinas Index-Journal, 1933-07-01, p. 8).
    • Attributed to Gandhi since at least 1980: The seal hunt truly is Canada’s shame and we would do well to think of the words of Gandhi when he said, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated” (Doris Potter, Letter to the editor, The Gazette (Montreal), 1980-03-18, p. 8).
  • 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 Mammon and God at the same time.
    • As quoted by William Rees-Mogg in The Times [London] (4 April 2005) {not found}. 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); also partly quoted in Christianity in the Crosshairs: Real Life Solutions Discovered in the Line of Fire (2004, p. 74 books.google) by Bill Wilson.
    • A variation is found in Bombay Sarvodaya Mandal & Gandhi Research Foundation’s website mkgandhi.org. Christian missionary E. Stanley Jones, who spent much time with Gandhi in India, is said to have askedː “Mr Gandhi, though you quote the words of Christ often, why is it that you appear to so adamantly reject becoming his follower?”. To this, Gandhi is said to have repliedː “Oh, I don’t reject your Christ. I love your Christ. It is just that so many of you Christians are so unlike your Christ”. Jones would write a book called “Mahatma Gandhi: An Interpretation” (1948), where he included excerpts of his personal correspondance with Gandhi, but he did not include this conversation.
    • No further sources for Gandhi have been yet found; but a A similar quote is attributed to Bara Dadaː “Jesus is ideal and wonderful, but you Christians — you are not like him.” Source – Jones, E. Stanley. The Christ of the Indian Road, New York: The Abingdon Press,1925. (Page 114)
  • [asked what he thought of modern civilization] That would be a good idea.
    • variant: “I think it would be a good idea” when asked what he thought of Western civilization.
    • On p. 75 of Ralph Keyes’ book The Quote Verifier (2006), Keyes writes: ‘During his first visit to England, when asked what he though of modern civilization, Gandhi is said to have told news reporters, “That would be a good idea.” The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations cites E. F. Schumacher’s Good Work as its source for this Gandhiism, as does Nigel Rees in the Cassell Companion to Quotations. In that 1979 book, Schumacher said he saw Gandhi make this remark in a filmed record of his quizzing by reporters as he disembarked in Southampton while visiting England in 1930. Gandhi did not visit England in 1930. He did attend a roundtable conference on India’s future in London the following year. Standard biographies of Gandhi do not report his making any such quip as he disembarked. Most often it has been revised to be Gandhi’s assessment of “Western” civilization: “I think it would be a good idea.” A retort such as this seems a little flip for Gandhi, and must be regarded as questionable. A comprehensive collection of his observations includes no such remark among twelve entries for “Civilization.”‘
    • The quote was attributed to Gandhi in various sources prior to Schumacher’s 1979 book mentioned by Keyes above, though none have been found that mention where and when he gave this answer. The earliest located on google books being Reader’s Digest, Volume 91 from 1967, p. 52, where it is attributed to a CBS News Special called “The Italians”, described here as “a 1966 look at the nation and its people based on the book by Luigi Barzini”, produced by Bernard Birnbaum and one of the 1966/1967 Emmy award winners. A discussion of the quote on “The Quote Investigator” website here mentions that on “The Italians” the quote was attributed to Gandhi.
  • What we are doing to the forests of the world is but a mirror reflection of what we are doing to ourselves and to one another.
    • Earliest instance of this quote found on google books is the 1989 book Forest primeval: the natural history of an ancient forest by Chris Maser, but there it appears to be Maser’s own thought (see p. 230 followed by a different supposed Gandhi quote).
  • To believe in something, and not to live it, is dishonest.
    • Earliest instance of this quote found on Google Books is the heading to a chapter entitled “How to Make Free Money From Your Website” from 2001, where it is attributed to “M. K. Ghandi” [sic].
  • The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others
    • Attributed to Gandhi in Stone, The Full Spectrum Synthesis Bible, iUniverse, 2001. link to Google Books. However, very similar quotes are found in the nineteenth century:
      • “Have you sorrows or trials that seem very heavy to bear? Then let me tell you that one of the best ways in the world to lighten and sweeten them is to lose yourself in the service of others …” from Trine, What All The World’s A-Seeking (1896) Google Books link;
      • “To lose yourself in the service of others may be to truly find yourself” from Usher, Protestantism (1897) Googe Books link.

Misattributed

  • 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. There is no record of Gandhi saying this. A close variant of the quotation first appears in a 1918 US trade union address by Nicholas Klein:
  • 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.
  • Proceedings of the Third Biennial Convention of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America (1918), p. 53
  • In Freedom’s Battle (1922), Gandhi wrote this:
  • Unfortunately for His Excellency the movement is likely to grow with ridicule as it is certain to flourish on repression. No vital movement can be killed except by the impatience, ignorance or laziness of its authors. A movement cannot be ‘insane’ that is conducted by men of action as I claim the members of the Non-co-operation Committee are. … Ridicule is like repression. Both give place to respect when they fail to produce the intended effect. … It will be admitted that non-co-operation has passed the stage [of] ridicule. Whether it will now be met by repression or respect remains to be seen. … But the testing time has now arrived. In a civilized country when ridicule fails to kill a movement it begins to command respect.
  • Source: The Project Gutenberg EBook of Freedom’s Battle, 2nd edition, by Mahatma Gandhi, 1922 http://www.gutenberg.net/1/0/3/6/10366/10366-h/10366-h.htm
  • An eye for an eye will make the whole world blind.
    • 1914: “If…we were to go back to…’an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth,’ there would be very few [Honourable] Gentlemen in this House who would not…be blind and toothless.” — George Perry Graham, during a debate on capital punishment before the Canadian House of Commons. Official Report of the Debates of the House of Commons of the Dominion of Canada, Third Session-Twelfth Parliament, Vol CXIII, p. 496, February 5, 1914.
    • 1950: “An-eye-for-an-eye-for-an-eye-for-an-eye … ends in making everybody blind” in The Life of Mahatma Gandhi by Louis Fischer (1950), though Fischer did not attribute it to Gandhi and seemed to be giving his own description of Gandhi’s philosophy.
    • 1958: “The old law of an eye for an eye leaves everybody blind” in Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story by Martin Luther King, Jr., 1958.
    • 1982: “An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind” in the 1982 film, Gandhi. In a 1993 biographical article about screenwriter John Briley, Jon Krampner wrote, “…Gandhi never said it. Michigan graduate John Briley put those pithy words in his mouth.” From “John Briley ’51 – Epic Screenwriter”, Michigan Today, March 1993, p. 12.
    • 2006: There is a quaternary source in Yale Book of Quotations (2006), in which editor Fred R. Shapiro states that the Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence stated that Gandhi’s family believes it authentic, but did not provide any further reference and provided no year, place or body of work.
    • 2006: Discussed in The Quote Verifier: Who Said What, Where, and When, by Ralph Keyes (2006), 1st ed., p. 74.
    • 2010: Research detailed by Garson O’Toole in “An Eye for an Eye Will Make the Whole World Blind” in Quote Investigator.
  • God has no religion.
    • Aphorism pre-dating Gandhi, e.g., in Re-statements of Christian Doctrine: In Twenty-five Sermons, Henry Whitney Bellows, (1867); the attribution of this to Gandhi dates from the 1980s. [16]
  • Hate the sin and love the sinner.
    • This is variant of a traditional Christian proverb; ie: “Hate the sin, but love the sinner” in Sermons, Lectures, and Occasional Discourses (1828) Edward Irving, and similar expressions date to those of Augustine of Hippo: “Love the sinner and hate the sin.” Gandhi did express approval of such sentiments in his An Autobiography (1927): “Hate the sin and not the sinner” is a precept which, though easy enough to understand, is rarely practiced, and that is why the poison of hatred spreads in the world.
  • 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.
    • Prof. Michael N. Nagler in his foreword to Gandhi the Man (1978) by Eknath Easwaran, p. 8
  • Action expresses priorities.
    • Apparently a rephrasing of “Actions express priorities,” from Peak Performers (1987) by Charles A. Garfield. The phrase is adjacent to a Gandhi quote in at least one list of quotations alphabetized by last name.
  • There is enough wealth in the world to satisfy everyone’s needs, …’. This quote is actually credited to an American pastor of Swiss origin Frank Buchman, founder of the Moral Rearmament movement. Misquotes that Bapu is forced to wear.
  • We need to be the change we wish to see in the world.
    • There is “no reliable documentary evidence for the quotation”, according to an article in The New York Times. Brian Morton, “Falser Words Were Never Spoken”, New York Times, 2011-08-29. It is not found as a direct Gandhi quotation in the 98-volume authorized Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi.Misquotes that Bapu is forced to wear
    • The earliest evidence for quotes of this type comes from the “Love Project”, an initiative begun at 1970 at a high school in Brooklyn, New York by teacher Arleen Lorrance. According to the project’s website, “Be the change you want to see happen, instead of trying to change anyone else” was one the principles of the Project “received” by Lorrance in 1970 — but contemporaneous evidence for this has not been found.
    • A 1972 newspaper article states: “Instead of advocating change in people and things, … Love Project encourages people to actually be change itself”. Fulkerson, Ron (1972-09-28). “‘Love Project’ Marks End of Quest”. San Antonio Express: p. 76.
    • In 1974, Lorrance wrote, in a report on the Project: “One way to start a preventative program is to be the change you want to see happen.” (“The Love Project”, in Kellough (ed.), Developing Priorities and a Style, MSS, 1974).
    • In 1976, a newspaper report listed “‘Be the change you want to see happen, instead of trying to change anyone else” as one of the principles of the Love Project. ‘A Ministry Called “The Love Project”, St Louis Post Dispatch, 1976-11-15, p. 36
    • In 1987, a similar quote was attributed to Gandhi in a New Mexico newspaper: “You must be the change you wish to see in the world”. Hollis Engley, “A Long List of Varied Accomplishments”, The New Mexican, Santa Fe, NM, 1987-01-11, p. D-1
    • In 1991,”We must be the change we wish to see in the world” is attributed to Gandhi in Stella Cornelius, “Partners in Conflict Resolution”, from Barnaby (ed.), Building a More Democratic United Nations (1991) Google Book link
    • Arun Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, has attributed the quote to his famous grandfather since at least 2000. See also “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, and “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.< It is not clear whether Arun claims to have directly witnessed his grandfather saying it, or whether he heard of it second-hand.
  • 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 can seem invincible. But in the end they always fall. Think of it—always… When you are in doubt that that is God’s way, the way the world is meant to be… think of that.
    • This appears to have been originally written by John Briley in the screenplay for the movie, Gandhi (1982), spoken by Ben Kingsley, playing Gandhi. The earliest [partial] misattribution to Gandhi appears to be by Ronald Reagan in an address to the United Nations General Assembly on 24 September 1984 (also a misquotation, substituting the word fail for fall). John S. Dunne misattributes the first sentence in The Peace of the Present (1991) on p. 50, just after misattributing the same first two sentences that Reagan did. Dunne also misattributes the final part of the quotation in the same book on p. 34.

Quotes about Gandhi

Alphabetized by author
  • However pure Mr. Gandhi’s character may be, he must appear to me from the point of view of religion inferior to any Musalman, even though he be without character… Yes, according to my religion and creed, I do hold an adulterous and a fallen Musalman to be better than Mr. Gandhi.
    • Mahomed Ali (1924). The statement created a great stir, according to B.R. Ambedkar. Quoted in B.R. Ambedkar, Pakistan or The Partition of India (1946)
  • Toward the end of our discussion I asked Attlee what was the extent of Gandhi’s influence upon the British decision to quit India. Hearing this question, Attlee’s lips became twisted in a sarcastic smile as he slowly chewed out the word, m-i-n-i-m-a-l!
    • Clement Attlee, Justice PB Chakraborthy. 1956. Conversation first published by the Institute of Historical Review by author Ranjan Borra in 1982, in his piece on Subhas Chandra Bose, the Indian National Army and the war of India’s liberation. Quoted in India Today in review of Bose: An Indian Samurai by book General GD Bakshi EXCLUSIVE: Attlee told Bengal governor, Netaji, not Gandhi, got India freedom, claims book, 2016
  • When Gandhi’s movement was started, I said that this movement would lead either to a fiasco or to a great confusion. And I see no reason to change my opinion. Only I would like to add that it has led to both.
    • Sri Aurobindo, June 23, 1926, quoted from Sri Aurobindo, ., Nahar, S., Aurobindo, ., & Institut de recherches évolutives (Paris). India’s rebirth: A selection from Sri Aurobindo’s writing, talks and speeches. Paris: Institut de Recherches Evolutives. 3rd Edition (2000). [17]
  • As for Gandhi, why should you suppose that I am so tender for the faith of the Mahatma? I do not call it faith at all, but a rigid mental belief and what he calls soul-force is only a strong vital will which has taken a religious turn. That, of course, can be a tremendous force for action, but unfortunately Gandhi spoils it by his ambition to be a man of reason, while in fact he has no reason in him at all, never was reasonable at any moment in his life and, I suppose, never will be. What he has in its place is a remarkable type of unintentionally sophistic logic. Well, what this reason, this amazingly precisely unreliable logic brings about is that nobody is even sure and, I don’t think, he is himself really sure what he will do next. He has not only two minds but three or four minds, and all depends on which will turn up topmost at a particular moment and how it will combine with the others. There would be no harm in that, on the contrary these might be an advantage if there were a central Light somewhere choosing for him and shaping the decision to the need of the action. He thinks there is and calls it God… but it has always seemed to me that it is his own mind that decides and most often decides wrongly. Anyhow I cannot imagine Lenin or Mustapha Kemal not knowing their own minds or acting in this way… even their strategic retreats were steps towards an end clearly conceived and executed. But whatever it be it is all mind action and vital force in Gandhi. So why should he be taken as an example of the defeat of the Divine or of a spiritual Power? I quite allow that there has been something behind Gandhi greater than himself and you can call it the Divine or a Cosmic Force which has used him, but then there is that behind everybody who is used as an instrument for world ends,… behind Kemal and Lenin also; so that is not germane to the matter.
    • Sri Aurobindo, Letter dated July 31, 1932, quoted from Sri Aurobindo, ., Nahar, S., Aurobindo, ., & Institut de recherches évolutives (Paris). India’s rebirth: A selection from Sri Aurobindo’s writing, talks and speeches. Paris: Institut de Recherches Evolutives. 3rd Edition (2000). [18]
  • Some prominent national workers in India seem to me to be incarnations of some European force here. They may not be incarnations, but they may be strongly influenced by European thought. For instance Gandhi is a European – truly, a Russian Christian in an Indian body. And there are some Indians in European bodies! Yes. When the Europeans say that he is more Christian than many Christians (some even say that he is “Christ of the modern times”) they are perfectly right. All his preaching is derived from Christianity, and though the garb is Indian the essential spirit is Christian. He may not be Christ, but at any rate he comes in continuation of the same impulsion. He is largely influenced by Tolstoy, the Bible, and has a strong Jain tinge in his teachings; at any rate more than by the Indian scriptures – the Upanishads or the Gita, which he interprets in the light of his own ideas.
    • Sri Aurobindo. 1926. India’s Rebirth. Quoted in [19]
  • It is sometimes said that Britain liberated India. In fact the reverse is the truth. Gandhi and Nehru liberated us. By winning their freedom, they freed us from the ignorance and prejudice that lay behind the myth of Britain’s imperial destiny.
    • Tony Benn, 1964. Quoted in Gandhi by David Arnold. Pearson Education, 2001.
  • It is impossible for me to ignore that you are in a different category from any person I have ever tried, or am likely to try. It is nevertheless my duty to sentence you – to six years imprisonment. [A stunned intake of breath from the whole courtroom, then in absolute silence the clerk scribbles the sentence in his notebook. A pause. The Judge lowers his eyes.] If however His Majesty’s Government could – at some later date – see fit to reduce that term, no one would be better pleased than I.
    • Judge Broomfield, sentencing Gandhi, as depicted in the film Gandhi (1982)
  • Gandhi proved it is possible to fight for one’s people and win without for a moment losing the world’s respect.
    • Albert Camus, Preface to Algerian Reports, in Resistance, Rebellion and Death, Alfred A. Knopf, 1960.
  • 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.
    • Winston Churchill addressing the Council of the West Essex Unionist Association (23 February 1931); as quoted in “Mr Churchill on India” in The Times (24 February 1931)
  • Mr. Gandhi has gone very high in my esteem since he stood up for the untouchables … I do not care whether you are more or less loyal to Great Britain … Tell Mr. Gandhi to use the powers that are offered and make the thing a success.
    • Winston Churchill, in a letter to G.D. Birla (1935); published in Winston S. Churchill, Volume Five: The Coming of War 1922-1939 (1979) by Sir Martin Gilbert
  • An enigmatic character, sly and acetic, ambitious and devout, one of those gurus who exert an incredible magnetism on the crowds and often lead them to disaster (…) a sentimental religiosity coupled with a lack of scruples (…) During his lifetime, no one could stop his fateful influence. It will take a long time before the victims of his charisma, in India as well as in the West, dare to make an account of his actions…. [Gandhi’s religion consisted in] ‘extreme puritanism, the strictest vegetarianism, the total absence of metaphysical concerns and philosophical culture, and, conversely, the grossest religious sentimentalism’ in which ‘icy puritanism masks dishonesty.’…. [Even Rabindranath Tagore] ‘detested the ambitious and wrong-headed Gandhi’ as ‘a very dangerous man’. … ‘This character with his ascetic appearance always had the unconditional support of the great Indian capitalists’ and that ‘his social reforms always ended up benefiting the merchant bourgeoisie.’
    • Alain Daniélou, Quoted from Elst, Koenraad (2018). Why I killed the Mahatma: Uncovering Godse’s defence. New Delhi : Rupa, 2018.
  • This Jonah of revolution, this general of unbroken disasters was the mascot of the bourgeoisie in each wave of the developing Indian struggle.Gandhi’s strategy…was not a strategy intended to lead to the victory of independence, but to find the means in the midst of a formidable revolutionary wave to maintain leadership of the mass movement and yet place the maximum bounds and restraints upon it.
    • R. Palme Dutt, India Today, Gollancz, 1940. The “mascot of the bourgeoisie”. line is quoted in Gandhi by David Arnold, Pearson Education, 2001.
  • 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, as quoted in The Art of Winning Commitment: 10 Ways Leaders Can Engage Minds, Hearts, And Spirits (2004) by Dick Richards, p. 11
  • Gandhi and Lord Irwin, former Viceroy to India, were friends. On their return from the Round Table Conference at London, Lord Irwin paid a visit to the Mahatma in his ashram. During the conversation Lord Irwin put this question to his host: “Mahatma, as man to man, tell me what you consider to be the solution to the problems of your country and mine.” Taking up a little book from the nearby lampstand, Gandhi opened it to the fifth chapter of Matthew and replied, “When your country and mine shall get together on the teachings laid down by Christ in this Sermon on the Mount, we shall have solved the problems not only of our countries but those of the whole world.
    • Frank E. Eden, reporting what was related to him “by a friend who has traveled through India in the interest of mission work”, in Treasury of the Christian Faith (Association Press, 1949), p. 43
  • Taken on the whole, I would 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.
    • Albert Einstein, in a United Nations radio interview recorded in Einstein’s study, Princeton, New Jersey, (1950)
  • Generations to come, it may well be, will scarce believe that such a man as this one ever in flesh and blood walked upon this Earth.
    • Albert Einstein, statement on the occasion of Gandhi’s 70th birthday (1939); Einstein archive 32-601, published in Out of My Later Years (1950).
    • Variants:
    • Generations to come, it may be, will scarcely believe that such a one as this ever in flesh and blood walked upon this earth.
    • Generations to come, it may be, will scarce 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.

    • Albert Einstein, as quoted in Mahatma Gandhi and the U.S.A.‎ (1949) by Pasupuleti Gopala Krishnayya, p. 399
  • Mahatma Gandhi stands squarely with Maharshi Dayananda, Bankim Chandra, Swami Vivekananda, Lokamanya Tilak and Sri Aurobindo in developing the language of Indian nationalism. His mistake about Islam does not diminish the lustre of that language which he spoke with full faith and confidence. On the contrary, his mistake carries a message of its own. […] It must be admitted that the failure which the Mahatma met vis-à-vis the Muslims was truly of startling proportions (…) his policy towards Muslims had been full of appeasement at the cost of Hindu society. But nothing had helped. Muslims had continued to grow more and more hostile (…) there must be something very hard in the heart of Islam that even a man of an oceanic goodwill like Mahatma Gandhi failed to move it.
    • Sita Ram Goel, Perversion of India’s Political Parlance, ch. 7. Quoted in part in Elst, Koenraad (2018). Why I killed the Mahatma: Uncovering Godse’s defence. New Delhi : Rupa, 2018.
  • Mahatma Gandhi is the greatest living exponent of successful pacifism. He has demonstrated that pacifism in action can be a force in world politics. It proved itself, that is to say, a stronger instrument than the instrument of government by force and oppression. In South Africa, his success was complete; in India it was very considerable; and had his following been larger and more uniformly non-violent, his pacific instrument would have triumphed.
    • Laurence Housman, 1939, reprinted in S. Radhakrishnan, Mahatma Gandhi, essays and reflections on his life and work. George Allen & Unwin, 1949.
  • Gandhi, like Jefferson, thought of politics in moral and religious terms. That is why his proposed solutions bear so close a resemblance to those proposed by the great American. That he went further than Jefferson — for example, in recommending economic as well as political decentralization and in advocating the use of satyagraha in place of the ward’s “elementary exercises of militia”-is due to the fact that his ethic was more radical and his religion more profoundly realistic than Jefferson’s. Jefferson’s plan was not adopted; nor was Gandhi’s. So much the worse for us and our descendants.
    • Aldous Huxley, “A Note on Gandhi”, in S. Radhakrishnan, Mahatma Gandhi, essays and reflections on his life and work. George Allen & Unwin, 1949.
  • It would not be extravagant to consider Gandhi as one of the most revolutionary of individualists and one of the most individualistic of revolutionaries in world history.
    • Raghavan N. Iyer, The Moral and Political Thought of Mahatma Gandhi, Oxford University Press (1978) p. 114
  • Gandhi could not regard good government as better than self-government because he believed there was a connection between individual and national self-rule.
    • Raghavan N. Iyer, The Moral and Political Thought of Mahatma Gandhi, Oxford University Press (1978) p. 356
  • 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.
    • Girilal Jain in The Hindu Phenomenon, p. 52 ISBN 81-86112-32-4
  • 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.
    • Girilal Jain in The Hindu Phenomenon, p. 152 ISBN 81-86112-32-4
  • With Lenin he shared a quasi-religious approach to politics, though in sheer crankiness he had much more in common with Hitler (…) One of his favourite books was Constipation and Our Civilization, which he constantly reread. (…) His eccentricities appealed to a nation which venerates sacral oddity. But his teachings had no relevance to India’s problems. (…) His food policy would have led to mass starvation. In fact Gandhi’s own ashram (…) had to be heavily subsidized by three merchant princes.‘And Gandhi was expensive in human life as well as money. The events of 1920–21 indicated that though he could bring a mass-movement into existence, he could not control it. Yet he continued to play the sorcerer’s apprentice, while the casualty bill mounted into hundreds, then thousands, then tens of thousands, and the risks of a gigantic sectarian and racial explosion accumulated. This blindness to the law of probability in a bitterly divided subcontinent made nonsense of Gandhi’s professions that he would not take life in any circumstances.
    • Paul Johnson, Quoted from Elst, Koenraad (2018). Why I killed the Mahatma: Uncovering Godse’s defence. New Delhi : Rupa, 2018.
  • Prior to reading Gandhi, I had about concluded that the ethics of Jesus were only effective in individual relationships. The “turn the other cheek” philosophy and the “love your enemies” philosophy were only valid, I felt, when individuals were in conflict with other individuals; when racial groups and nations were in conflict, a more realistic approach seemed necessary.
    But after reading Gandhi, I saw how utterly mistaken I was. Gandhi was probably the first person in history to lift the love ethic of Jesus above mere interaction between individuals to a powerful and effective social force on a large scale.

    • Martin Luther King Jr., Stride Toward Freedom
  • Hinduism in its most perverted forms was preached and practised by Gandhi. He tried to obliterate the distinction between the life of a monk and the life of a householder by making ordinary people behave like monks. He wanted India to have a monkish economy, a monkish politics, a monkish foreign policy and a monkish defence policy. Consequently, under the leadership of Gandhi, India acquired a great heart but lost its head.
    • Jodhpur University philosopher M.M. Kothari, Critique of Gandhi. Quoted from Elst, Koenraad (2018). Why I killed the Mahatma: Uncovering Godse’s defence. New Delhi : Rupa, 2018.
  • Gandhi was the last political leader in the world who was a person, not a mask or a radio voice or an institution. The last on a human scale. The last for whom I felt neither fear nor contempt nor indifference but interest and affection…he was dear to me because he had no respect for railroads, assembly-belt production, and other knick-knacks of liberalistic progress, and insisted on examining their human (as against their metaphysical) value.
    • Dwight Macdonald, Politics Magazine, Winter 1948.
  • In his History of the Freedom Movement in India, the distinguished historian R. C. Majumdar was forced to reject “the generally accepted view which gave Mahatma Gandhi the ‘sole credit for the freedom of India’. He noted: “It has been my painful duty to show that … the popular image of Gandhi cannot be reconciled with what he actually was…. It will also be seen that the current estimate of the degree or extent of his success bears no relation to actual facts.”
    • R. C. Majumdar, History of the Freedom Movement in India, vol. 3, p. xviii. Quoted in Michel Danino Sri Aurobindo and the Gita
  • Gandhi combined in himself the dual role of a saint and an active politician…[his] followers did not make this distinction and gave unto the political leader what was really due to the saint…best illustrated by the implicit faith in, and unquestioning obedience to Gandhi…shown by even very highly eminent persons. They mostly belonged to two categories. The first comprised those who willingly surrendered their conscience and judgement to the safe keeping of the political Guru… the second…consisted of those who fell a victim to the magic charm of Gandhi even though they fumed and fretted at his…irrational dogmas repulsive to their own independent judgment… Gandhi was lacking in both political wisdom and political strategy…far from being infallible, committed serious blunders, one after another in pursuit of some Utopian ideals… which had no basis in reality…he placed the cult of non-violence above everything else—even above the independence of India… To Gandhi, not only was independence of India a minor issue as compared with the principle of non-violence, but it is painful…to relate, he was even prepared to postpone Swaraj activity if thereby he could advance the interest of the Khilafat… Gandhi was a dictator who could not tolerate opposition. In 1930, he deliberately excluded from the Working Committee…those who differed from his views… it would be a travesty of truth to give him the sole credit for the freedom of India.
    • R.C. Majumdar. History of the Freedom Movement in India: Preface to Volume 3: R.C. Majumdar, Firma K.L Mukhopadhyay, Calcutta. also quoted in S. Balakrishna, Seventy years of secularism.
  • In the Civil Disobedience Campaign of 1930, Gandhi demonstrated the living power of non-violence, a magnificent example to a world that increasingly understands no power but the sword, and which is seemingly incapable of learning that violence never defeats violence but merely begets it.
    • Ethel Mannin, in S. Radhakrishnan, Mahatma Gandhi, essays and reflections on his life and work. George Allen & Unwin, 1949.
  • It is my conviction and shraddha (faith) that even on economic issues, Gandhi is relevant even today…. So in every aspect of my social reform efforts, you will see the imprint of Gandhi…. I bring every little aspect of Gandhi ji’s life into my work. In social forestry, that is, in planting trees outside forest areas, Gujarat is number one in India… We have also incentivized every village to have a panchvati (a green belt drawing its name from the forest in which Ram, Lakshman, and Sita lived during their years of exile)…. This is part of putting our traditions and Gandhian values to creative use.
    • Narendra Modi quoted from Kishwar, Madhu (2014). Modi, Muslims and media: Voices from Narendra Modi’s Gujarat. p.381-386
  • I am thinking of the anger Gandhi experienced that fateful night of May 31, 1893, when he was thrown off the train at Pietermaritzburg a week after his arrival in South Africa. This was no minor irritation; according to his own testimony, Gandhi was furious. That, along with the fact that Gandhi is more than usually articulate about his inner experiences, is what makes this event (among millions of similar insults human beings endure at one another’s hands) such an important window into the dynamics of nonviolent conversion. The first clue as to how he finally succeeded, after a night of bitter reflection, to see the creative way out is that he didn’t take the insult personally; he saw in it the whole tragedy of man’s inhumanity to man, the whole outrage of racism. Not “they can’t do this to me,” but “how can we do this to one another?”
    • Michael Nagler, Is There No Other Way?: The Search for a Nonviolent Future (2001), p. 77
  • During the 1920’s and 1930’s young radicals like Jawaharlal Nehru, Subhas Bose and Jayaprakesh Narayan were straining at the leash: they fretted at the patient and peaceful methods of the Mahatma. The Indian communists dubbed him a charismatic but calculating leader who knew how to rouse the masses but deliberately contained and diverted their revolutionary ardour so as not to hurt the interests of British imperialists and Indian capitalists.
    • B. R. Nanda, Gandhi and his Critics, Delhi, Oxford University Press, 1985, (p. viii).
  • “I am mindful that I might not be standing before you today, as President of the United States, had it not been for Gandhi and the message he shared with America and the world.
    • Barack Obama in an address to a Joint Session of the Parliament of India
  • Although no doubt he was shrewd enough in detecting dishonesty, he seems wherever possible to have believed that other people were acting in good faith and had a better nature through which they could be approached.
    • George Orwell, in “Reflections on Gandhi”, in Partisan Review (January 1949)
  • It is difficult to see how Gandhi’s methods could be applied in a country where opponents of the regime disappear in the middle of the night and are never heard of again. Without a free press and the right of assembly, it is impossible not merely to appeal to outside opinion, but to bring a mass movement into being, or even to make your intentions known to your adversary.
    • George Orwell, in “Reflections on Gandhi”, in Partisan Review (January 1949)
  • One feels of him that there was much he did not understand, but not that there was anything that he was frightened of saying or thinking. I have never been able to feel much liking for Gandhi, but I do not feel sure that as a political thinker he was wrong in the main, nor do I believe that his life was a failure. … One may feel, as I do, a sort of aesthetic distaste for Gandhi, one may reject the claims of sainthood made on his behalf (he never made any such claim himself, by the way), one may also reject sainthood as an ideal and therefore feel that Gandhi’s basic aims were anti-human and reactionary: but regarded simply as a politician, and compared with the other leading political figures of our time, how clean a smell he has managed to leave behind!
    • George Orwell, in “Reflections on Gandhi”, in Partisan Review (January 1949)
  • Many of us were educated on the literature of India when we fell in love we read Rabindranath Tagore and when we matured we tried to understand Gandhi.
    • Shimon Peres (Israeli President), on India. Israeli President Shimon Peres praises India as greatest ‘show of co-existence’ (4 December 2012)
  • In the 1980s Gandhi began to influence European public life. He was acknowledged by non-violent revolutionaries in Eastern Europe-Lech Wałęsa in Poland and Václav Havel in Czechoslovakia. In the 1990s the Dalai Lama began to invoke Gandhi in his non-violent effort to gain autonomy for Tibet. In the 1990s Nelson Mandela was in position publicly to acknowledge that “the Gandhian influence dominated freedom struggles on the African continent until the 1960s”. At the close of the 20th century, Time chose Gandhi along with Albert Einstein and Franklin Roosevelt as the three most influential persons of the century.
    • Lloyd I. Rudolph, “Postmodern Gandhi”, in Postmodern Gandhi and Other Essays (2006), edited by Lloyd I. Rudolph and Susanne Hoeber Rudolph, (p.34).
  • To make Gandhi appeal to the Western market, he had to be sanctified and turned into Christ – an odd fate for a crafty Gujarati lawyer – and the history of one of the century’s greatest revolutions had to be mangled.
    • Salman Rushdie, quoted in Patrick French – Liberty or Death : India’s Journey to Independence and Division (1998)
  • The best rule, according to Gandhi, was self rule. Everything great comes from within. The spiritual progress of a society depends on individuals. Therefore, the individual should be given maximum freedom for evolving without interference.
    • Urmila Sharma and S.K. Sharma, Indian Political Thought, Atlantic Publishers, New Delhi: India (1996) p. 297
  • To Gandhi, the end is the greatest good of all and this can be realized only in the classless and stateless democracy of autonomous village communities base on non-violence.
    • Ajay Shanker, Rai Gandhian Satyagraha: An Analytical and Critical Approach, Concept Publishing, New Delhi, India, (2000) p. 26
  • Many analysts have pointed out that Gandhi was in the anarchist tradition and that his anarchism was strongly individualistic. In contrast to the supposedly Oriental view that the individual counts for nothing, Gandhi argued that ‘the individual is the one supreme consideration.’
    • George H. Smith, as quoted in “Does Gandhi Deserve a Place in the Libertarian Tradition?” by Jeff Riggenbach, Mises Daily (Feb. 2, 2011)
  • Gandhi repeatedly called himself an anarchist . . . He refused positions of political power … he called for the abolition of the Indian Congress after independence … he criticized Nehru’s government … he desired the abolition of the Indian military and the maintenance of, at most, a minimal police force. … his entire social program revolved around establishing decentralized “village republics” which would use social sanctions to maintain order and which would be free of State control. … Gandhi was a vigorous opponent of imperialism … war (including World War II), censorship, and virtually every other kind of State intrusion.
    • George H. Smith, as quoted in “Does Gandhi Deserve a Place in the Libertarian Tradition?” by Jeff Riggenbach, Mises Daily (Feb. 2, 2011)
  • It was Gandhi who made the most significant personal contribution in the history of the nonviolent technique, with his political experiments in the use of noncooperation, disobedience and defiance to control rulers, alter government policies, and undermine political systems. With these experiments the character of the technique was broadened and its practice refined. Among the modifications Gandhi introduced were greater attention to strategy and tactics, a more judicious use of the armory of nonviolent methods, and a conscious association between mass political action and the norm of nonviolence.
    • Gene Sharp, The Politics of Nonviolent Action: Part One: Power and Struggle. Porter Sargent, 1973, (p. 82).
  • Gandhi’s hatred of State oppression was as passionate and deeply-felt as any contemporary libertarian.
    • George H. Smith, as quoted in “Does Gandhi Deserve a Place in the Libertarian Tradition?” by Jeff Riggenbach, Mises Daily (Feb. 2, 2011)
  • Gandhi linked many ideas to satyagraha which aren’t essential to it. His religious ideas (non-possession, non-acquisition, chastity, fasting, vegetarianism, teetotalism) and his economic ideas (self-sufficiency, “bread labour”, and agarianianism) don’t necessarily have anything to do with post-Gandhian nonviolence.
    • Nicolas Walter, Nonviolent Resistance: Men Against War, Nonviolence 63, 1963.
  • A madman, mad and arrogant.
    • Dinshaw E. Wacha (one of the founders of the Indian National Congress, and its President in 1901) Quoted from Elst, Koenraad (2018). Why I killed the Mahatma: Uncovering Godse’s defence. New Delhi : Rupa, 2018.
  • Gandhi was a completely unofficial man. He recognized the gulf that lay between the enjoyment of freedom and the exercise of authority. When the Indian National Congress, which he had led intermittently as a movement dedicated to achieving liberation by legal and extra‑legal means, itself grasped for power and became a political party, he withdrew. With an extraordinary persistence he made and kept himself one of the few free men of our time.
    • George Woodcock, in Mohandas Gandhi (1971), p. 3
  • Much in his career remains unexplained if we forget his insistence that religion and politics were bound inextricably in the common search for Truth. “To me,” he said, “Truth is God and there is no way to find Truth except the way of nonviolence.” Truth conceived as God is of course the Absolute. Truth perceived by man must always be relative, changing according to human contacts developing as men understand better each other, their circumstances and themselves. Gandhi never set out to develop a fixed and final doctrine, but emphasized that his practice of ahimsa, or nonviolence, was always experimental, that his political struggle like his personal life was part of a continuing quest for Truth as manifested existentially, a quest that could never end because human understanding was incapable of comprehending the Absolute.
    The identification of Truth as the goal of political action, as well as of religious devotion, and the refusal to distinguish between religion and politics, form the background to the great divergences between Gandhi’s revolutionary ideas and techniques and those of other contemporary revolutionists … Unorthodox though he might be, Gandhi fitted into the traditional pattern of the sanyassi who practices non‑attachment in the search for Truth; he was the karma yogin, the man who perfects and purifies himself through action. Yogic disciplines of all kinds are held in India to confer power over destiny, and Gandhi believed that positive action — love and nonviolence — could intangibly influence men and therefore events. With Truth as the goal and at the same time as the principle of action (for in Gandhian terms ends are emergent from means and hence virtually indistinguishable from them), there was no place in Gandhi’s idea of revolution for conspiratorial methods or guerrilla activities.

    • George Woodcock, in Mohandas Gandhi (1971), p. 8
  • Gandhi on many occasions declared himself an anarchist — of his own kind — and he created, partly from his readings of Tolstoy and Kropotkin and partly on the basis of Indian communitarian traditions, the plan of a decentralized society based on autonomous village communes.
    • George Woodcock, in Anarchism: A History of Libertarian Ideas and Movements (1962) Postscript (July 1973)
  • Gandhi has sound economic and cultural reasons for encouraging the revival of cottage industries, but he does not counsel a fanatical repudiation of all modern progress. Machinery, trains, automobiles, the telegraph have played important parts in his own colossal life! Fifty years of public service, in prison and out, wrestling daily with practical details and harsh realities in the political world, have only increased his balance, open-mindedness, sanity, and humorous appreciation of the quaint human spectacle.
    • Paramahansa Yogananda, in Autobiography of a Yogi (1946), Ch. 44 – With Mahatma Gandhi At Wardha
  • Sri Yukteswar used to poke gentle fun at the commonly inadequate conceptions of renunciation.
    “A beggar cannot renounce wealth,” Master would say. “If a man laments: ‘My business has failed; my wife has left me; I will renounce all and enter a monastery,’ to what worldly sacrifice is he referring? He did not renounce wealth and love; they renounced him!”
    Saints like Gandhi, on the other hand, have made not only tangible material sacrifices, but also the more difficult renunciation of selfish motive and private goal, merging their inmost being in the stream of humanity as a whole.

    • Paramahansa Yogananda, in Autobiography of a Yogi (1946), Ch. 44 – With Mahatma Gandhi At Wardha
  • Gandhi was a deceptively clever strategist whose frail, even saintly appearance constantly misled his adversaries into underestimating him. –  Robert Greene

  • My study of Gandhi convinced me that true pacifism is not nonresistance to evil, but nonviolent resistance to evil. Between the two positions, there is a world of difference. Gandhi resisted evil with as much vigor and power as the violent resister, but True pacifism is not unrealistic submission to evil power. It is rather a courageous confrontation of evil by the power of love. – Martin Luther King Jr

  • Dr. King used Gandhi‘s commitment to nonviolence and to passive resistance. – Al Sharpton

  • On Gandhi after his assassination: Generations to come, it may be, will scarce believe that such a one as this ever in flesh and blood walked upon this earth! – Albert Einstein

  • I guess the most surprising discovery was how long Gandhi remained loyal to the ideal of the British Empire, even in India. – Arthur L. Herman
  • There are many people making a difference. I mean, Dr. King never held an office. Gandhi never held an office. There are people who are archetypes in our society who have never held office and made a difference. – Dennis Kucinich

  • I believe that Gandhi was correct. Non-violent civil disobedience is the only way to bring about change that allows people to enjoy the change and not get killed in the process. – Edward James Olmos

  • I’m hungry for knowledge. The whole thing is to learn every day, to get brighter and brighter. That’s what this world is about. You look at someone like Gandhi, and he glowed. Martin Luther King glowed. Muhammad Ali glows. I think that’s from being bright all the time, and trying to be brighter. – Jay-Z

  • Nobody sensible voted for Thatcher. For me, in political terms, the most admirable person and the most influential would have been the philosophy of Gandhi. The ideology of passive resistance worked and can work again and again. It is the exact opposite of violence. A glorious conception. – John Lydon

  • I don’t believe in anarchy, because it will ultimately amount to the power of the bully, with weapons. Gandhi is my life’s inspiration: passive resistance. – Johnny Rotten

  • I am really honoured but if the prize had gone to Mahatma Gandhi before me I would have been more honoured. – Kailash Satyarthi (On winninng the Nobel Peace Prize)

  • I am very proud to be an Indian, a son of the soil where Mahatma Gandhi and Buddha were born and they were always the great inspiration for me, in my life. – Kailash Satyarthi

  • I believe in Gandhi‘s philosophy of the last man, that is, the bonded laborer is the last man in Indian society, that we are here to liberate the last man. – Kailash Satyarthi

  • As you may be well aware, marches and walks have been an integral part of our Indian tradition. Mahatma Gandhi marched several times to educate the people and also to learn something himself. – Kailash Satyarthi

  • I want to be like Gandhi, and Martin Luther King, and John Lennon… but I want to stay alive. – Madonna Ciccone

  • I was a little nervous backstage. But I had this book, Gandhi. I just read his quotes, closed my eyes and focused my thoughts. Presently, this book is my prized possession. – Nafisa Joseph

  • In our generation, the role models were Gandhi and Nehru. We revered them. They were venerated personalities. – Pranab Mukherjee

  • One was a book I read by Mahatma Gandhi. In it was a passage where he said that religion, the pursuing of the inner journey, should not be separated from the pursuing of the outer and social journey, because we are not isolated beings. – Satish Kumar

  • Gandhi has asked that the British Government should walk out of India and leave the Indian people to settle differences among themselves, even if it means chaos and confusion. – Stafford Cripps

  • Gandhi has more recently recognized the need for continuance of British, American and Chinese efforts in India and has suggested that these troops might remain by agreement with some new Indian Government. – Stafford Cripps

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