"A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of History "

Sarvodaya International Trust

Sarvodaya International Trust

Quotes of Mahatma Gandhi

“The world rests upon the bedrock of Satya … which being what is can never be destroyed. This is the doctrine of Satyagraha in a nutshell”.

“Peace will come when Truth is pursued, and Truth implies Justice”.

“Non-violence 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 – that of the spirit.”

“Non-violence is based on the assumption that human nature in its essence is one and therefore unfailingly responds to the advances of love…The hardest metal yields to sufficient heat. Even so, the hardest heart must melt before the heat of nonviolence and there is no limit to the capacity of non-violence to generate heat.”

“It is the law of love that rules mankind. Had violence i.e. hate ruled us, we should have become extinct long ago. Mankind has to get out of violence only through non-violence. Hatred can be overcome only by love.”

“The objective of all non-violent activity is always a mutually acceptable agreement, never the defeat, much less the humiliation of the opponent”

“A non-violent revolution is not a programme for seizure of power. It is a programme for transformation of relationships ending in a peaceful transfer of power.”

“A Satyagrahi’s first concern is not the effect of his action. It must always be its propriety. He must have faith enough in his cause and his means, and know that success will be achieved in the end.”

“The means may be likened to a seed, the end to a tree. There is the same inviolable connection between the means and the end as there is between the seed and the tree”

“Passive resistance has been regarded as a weapon of the weak. That is why the name “Satyagraha’ was coined in South Africa to distinguish the movement there from passive resistance…. Non-Violence is not a weapon of the weak. It is a weapon of the strongest and the bravest”

“There is an indefinable mysterious power that pervades everything…a living power that is changeless, that holds all together, that creates, dissolves and recreates. That Power is God…This God is a Living Force. Our life is of that Force. That Force resides in but is not of the body. He who denies the existence of that great Force denies to himself the use of
that inexhaustible Power and thus remains impotent”

“Satyagraha is soul force pure and simple and whenever and to whatever extent there is room for the use of arms or physical force, there and to that extent there is so much less possibility for soul force. These are purely antagonistic forces and I had full realization of this antagonism even at the advent of Satyagraha”

“Satyagraha connotes the living Law of Life. The law will work, just as the law of gravitation will work, whether we accept it or not. And just as a scientist will work wonders out of various applications of the laws of nature, even so a man who applies the law of love with scientific precision can work greater wonders”

“This force (satyagraha) is to violence and therefore to all tyranny and injustice, what light is to darkness. In politics, its use is based upon the immutable maxim, that government of the people is possible only so long as they consent either consciously or unconsciously to be governed.”

“The objective of all non-violent struggle is to arrive at a mutually acceptable
agreement and never the defeat, much less the humiliation of the opponent.”

“Training is as necessary for civil disobedience as for armed revolt”.

“ He who fears, fails”

Fear and Truth are mutually contradictory terms

“Being a slave to fear is the worst form of slavery”

“The golden rule is to act fearlessly upon what one believes to be right”

“They may torture my body, break my bones, even kill me but then they will have my dead body, not my obedience”

“The greatest help you can give me is to banish fear from your hearts”

“An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind”

“Secrecy aims at building a wall of protection around you. Ahimsa disdains all such protection. It functions in the open in the face of odds, the heaviest conceivable. We have to organize for action a vast people that have been crushed under the heel of unspeakable tyranny for centuries. They cannot be organized by other than open, truthful means.”

“I shall work for an India in which the poorest shall feel that it is their country, inwhose making they have an effective voice”

“I have simply tried in my own way to apply the eternal principles of Truth and Non-Violence to our daily life and problems . I have nothing new to teach the world. Truth and non-violence are as old as the hills”.

“Whenever you are in doubt, try the following expedient. Recall the face of the poorest and the most helpless man whom you have seen and ask yourself whether the step you contemplate is going to be of any use to him. Will he be able to gain anything by it? Will it restore to him control over his own life and destiny? In other words will it lead to self rule for the hungry and spiritually starved millions of our countrymen?”

“Swaraj or independence is meaningless if we continue to keep a fifth of India under perpetual subjection. Inhuman ourselves, we may not plead before the throne for deliverance from the inhumanity of others”.

“It has been said that Swaraj will be the rule of the majority community i.e. the Hindus….If this were to be true, I for one would refuse to call it Swaraj and would fight it with all the strength at my command, For to me Hind Swaraj is the rule of all the people and the rule of justice.”

“It would spell the ruin of both the Hindu religion and the majority community if the latter, in the intoxication of power, entertains the belief that it can crush the minority community and establish a purely Hindu Rashtra”.

“Real 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 obtained by educating the masses to a sense of their capacity to regulate and control authority”

“As long as women do not come to public life and purify it, we are not likely to attain Swaraj. Even if we did, I would have no use for that Swaraj in which women have not made their full contribution”.

“Woman is the companion of man, gifted with equal mental capacities. She has theright to participate in the minutest detail in the activities of man.”

“My religion is that which transcends Hinduism, which changes one’s very nature, binds one indissolubly to the truth within and ever purifies. It is the permanent element in human nature which leaves the soul restless until it has found itself”.

“For me different religions are beautiful flowers from the same garden or branches of the same majestic tree”.

“He alone is a true devotee of God who understands the pains and sufferings ofothers”.

“The essence of all religions is the same, only their approaches are different”

“The hands that serve are holier than the lips that pray”.

“I reject any religious doctrine that does not appeal to reason and is in conflict with morality”.

“Independent India as conceived by me will have all Indians belonging to different religions, living in perfect friendship…….God did not create men with the badge of superiority or inferiority; no scripture which labels a human being an inferior or untouchable because of his or her birth can command our allegiance. It is denial of God and Truth which is God”.

“I have read the Koran more than once. My religion enables me, obliges me, to imbibe all that is good in all the great religions of the earth. I have come to the conclusion that the teaching of the Koran is essentially in favour of
non-violence. It holds that non-violence is better than violence. Non-violence is enjoined as a duty, violence is permitted only where necessary.”

“Islam’s distinctive contribution to India’s national culture is unadulterated belief in the oneness of God and a practical application of the truth of the brotherhood of man for those within its fold. In Hinduism the spirit of brotherhood has become too much philosophized. Similarly, though philosophical Hinduism has no other God but God, it cannot be denied that
practical Hinduism is not so emphatically uncompromising on this as Islam”.

“Jesus was the most active resister known perhaps to history. His was nonviolence par excellence”.

“Jesus expressed as no other could, the spirit and will of God. It is in this sense that I see him and recognize him as the Son of God. And because the life of Jesus has the significance and the transcendence to which I have alluded, I believe that he belongs not solely to Christianity but to the entire world, to all races and people. It matters little under what flag, name or doctrine they may work, profess a faith or worship a God inherited from their ancestors”.

“What would not I have given to be able to bow my head before the living image of Christ crucified. I saw there at once that nations like individuals could only be made through the agony of the cross and in no other way. Joy comes not out of infliction of pain on others but out of pain voluntarily borne by oneself.”

“I am a Christian and a Hindu and a Moslem and a Jew…. Looking at all religions with an equal eye, we would not only not hesitate, but would think it our duty to blend into our faith every acceptable feature of other faiths”.

“Faith is not imparted like secular subjects. It is given through the language of theheart. If a man has a living faith in him it spreads its aroma like the rose in scent. Because of its invisibility, the extent of its influence is far wider than that of its visible beauty. I am then not against conversion. But I am against the modern methods of it. Conversion nowadays has become a matter of business like any other. I remember having read a missionary report saying how much it cost per head to convert and then presenting a budget for “the next harvest”….. Conversion in the sense of self purification, self realization is the crying need of the times.”

“Education is of no value if it is not able to build up a sound character”

“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 the children… Jesus never uttered a loftier or a grander truth than when he said that wisdom cometh out of the mouths of babes.”

“Economics that hurt the moral well being of an individual or a nation are immoral and therefore sinful. So also, the economics that permit one country to prey upon another are immoral.”

“I want no differentiation between the sons of a weaver, an agricuturist and a school master. No labour will be considered too low or too high.. I have been saying for years labour is far superior to capital. Without labour gold, silver and copper are a useless burden. It is labour which extracts precious ore from the bowels of the earth. Labour is priceless, not gold”

“I want marriage between capital and labour. They can work wonders in cooperation. But that can happen only when labour is intelligent enough to cooperate with itself and then offer cooperation with capital on terms of honourable equality.”

“I want marriage between capital and labour. They can work wonders in cooperation. But that can happen only when labour is intelligent enough to cooperate with itself and then offer cooperation with capital on terms of honourable equality.”

“I look upon an increase of the power of the state with the greatest fear, because while apparently doing good by minimizing exploitation, it does the greatest harm to mankind by destroying individuality, which lies at the root of all progress. I know of many cases where men have adopted trusteeship, but none where the state has really lived for the poor.”

“It is my firm conviction that if the State suppressed capitalism by violence, it will be caught in the evils of violence itself. The state represents violence in a concentrated and organized form. The individual has a soul, but the State is a
soulless machine and can never be weaned from violence to which it owes its existence. Hence I prefer the doctrine of trusteeship”.

‘In Truth, that Government is ideal which governs the least. It is no self government that leaves nothing for the people to do.’

“A certain degree of physical comfort is necessary but above that it becomes a hindrance. Therefore, creating an unlimited number of wants and satisfying them is a delusion and a snare. Man falls from the ideal of plain living and high thinking the moment he multiplies his daily wants. His happiness really lies in contentment. I make bold to say that the Europeans will have to remodel their outlook if they are not to perish under the weight of the comforts to which they are becoming slaves”.

“Civilization in the real sense of the term consists not in the multiplication but in the deliberate and voluntary reduction of selfish wants. This alone promotes real happiness and contentment and increases the capacity for service”

“Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need but not for every man’s greed. The wars of our times spring from greed.”

“The real conflict is not between environment and development but between environment and the reckless exploitation of the earth by man.”

“I would prize every invention made for the benefit of all and welcome the machine that lightens the burden of millions of people living in villages.”.

“How I can be anti-machinery when I know that even this body is a delicate piece of machinery? The spinning wheel is a machine, a little toothpick is a machine. What I object to is the craze for machinery, not machinery as such. The machine should not atrophy the limbs of man”.

“Scientists tell us that, without the presence of the cohesive force amongst the atoms that comprise this globe of ours, it would crumble to pieces and we would cease to exist. Even as there is a cohesive force in blind matter, so must there be in all things animate and the name of that cohesive force is love…..But we have to learn to use that force among all that lives….Where there is love there is life; hatred leads to destruction…..I have therefore ventured to place before India the ancient law of self sacrifice…The rishis who discovered the law of non-violence in the midst of violence, were greater
geniuses than Newton…”

“I live for India’s freedom and would die for it. But my patriotism is not exclusive. It is calculated to benefit all in the true sense of the word. Through the deliverance of India, I seek to deliver the so called weaker races of the world…. For me, patriotism is the same as humanity. It is not exclusive. I am patriotic because I am human and humane. I will not hurt England or Germany to serve India”.

“My nationalism includes the love of all nations of the earth irrespective of creed …. It is not nationalism that is evil; it is the narrowness, selfishness, exclusiveness which is the bane of modern nations which is evil. Each one wants to profit at the expense and on the ruin of the other. Indian nationalism has, I hope, struck a different path to find full self expression for the benefit and service of humanity at large”.

“Through the deliverance of India, I seek to deliver the so called weaker races of the world”

There is no limit to extending our services to our neighbours across our frontiers. God never made frontiers.”

“My sympathies are all with the Jews. I have known them intimately in South Africa. Through these friends I came to know of their age-long persecution. They have been the untouchables of Christianity…….. “My sympathy does not blind me to the requirements to Justice. It is wrong and inhuman to impose the Jews on the Arabs. What is going on in Palestine today cannot be justified by any moral code of conduct. The mandates have no sanction but that of the last war. The nobler course would be to insist on a just treatment of the Jews wherever they were born and bred. The Jews born and bred in France are French precisely in the same sense as the Christians born in France are French. Every country is their home, including Palestine, not by aggression but by loving service…”

The German persecution of the Jews seems to have no parallel in history. The tyrants of old never went so mad as Hitler seems to have done. If there ever could be a justifiable war in the name of and for humanity, war against Germany to prevent the wanton persecution of a whole race would be completely justified. But I do not believe in any war “

“The Jews of Germany can offer Satyagraha under infinitely better auspices than the Indians of South Africa. The Jews are a compact, homogenous community in Germany. They are far more gifted than the Indians of South Africa and they have organized world opinion behind them. I am convinced that if someone with courage and vision can arise among them to lead them in nonviolent action, the winter of their despair can be turned into the summer of hope”

“Let not the 12 million Negroes be ashamed of the fact that they are the grandchildren of slaves. There is dishonour in being slave-owners. But let us not think of honour or dishonor in connection with the past. Let us realize that the future is with those who would be pure, truthful and loving. For as the old wise men have said: Truth ever is, untruth never was. Love alone binds and truth and love accrue only to the truly humble.”

“A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history”

On the eve of the San Francisco Conference which created the United Nations, Gandhi issued a statement which inter alia
stated :
“I reiterate my conviction that there will be no peace for the allies or the world unless they shed their belief in the efficacy of war and its accompanying terrible deception and fraud. Peace must be just. In order to be that it must neither be punitive nor vindictive. Germany and Japan should not be humiliated. The fruits of peace must be equally shared. Exploitation and domination of one nation over another can have no place in a world striving to put an end to all wars. Strong nations should be the servants of the weak not their masters or exploiters; Future peace, security and ordered progress of the world should be the responsibility of a world federation that would ensure the freedom of its constituent parts.”

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