Beautiful insights and advice from Mahatma Gandhi we must know to lead a fulfilled life.
Quotes of Gandhi – The Man of Peace
An ounce of practice is worth more than tons of preaching.
Action expresses priorities.
Non-cooperation with evil is as much a duty as is cooperation with good.
I care so deeply about this matter that I’m willing to take on the legal penalties, to sit in this prison cell, to sacrifice my freedom, in order to show you how deeply I care. Because when you see the depth of my concern, and how civil I am in going about this, you’re bound to change your mind about me, to abandon your rigid, unjust position, and to let me help you see the truth of my cause.
Before you do anything, stop and recall the face of the poorest most helpless destitute person you have seen and ask yourself, Is what I am about to do going to help him?
A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history.
Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.
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.
Glory lies in the attempt to reach one’s goal and not in reaching it.
We must become the change we want to see in the world.
Be the change that you want to see in the world.
Satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment, full effort is full victory.
For me the present is merged in eternity. I may not sacrifice the latter for the present.
Action is no less necessary than thought to the instinctive tendencies of the human frame.
Consciously or unconsciously, everyone of us does render some service or another. If we cultivate the habit of doing this service deliberately, our desire for service will steadily grow stronger, and it will make not only for our own happiness, but that of the world at large.
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.
I claim to be no more than an average person with less than average ability. I have not the shadow of 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.
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.
There is more to life than increasing its speed.
A person who is worried about the outcome of his work does not see his goal; he sees only his opposition and the obstacles before him.
Service that is rendered without joy helps neither the servant nor the served. But all other pleasures as possessions pale into nothingness before service which is rendered in a spirit of joy.
A true soldier does not argue as he marches, how success is going to be ultimately achieved. But he is confident that if he only plays his humble part well, somehow or other the battle will be won. In is that spirit that every one of us should act. It is not given to us to know the future. But it is given to everyone of us to know how to do our own part well.
To my mind, the life of a lamb is no less precious than that of a human being. The more helpless the creature, the more that it is entitled to protection by man from the cruelty of man.
Non-violence and cowardice are contradictory terms. Non-violence is the greatest virtue, cowardice the greatest vice. Non-violence springs from love, cowardice from hate. Non-violence always suffers, cowardice would always inflict suffering. Perfect non-violence is the highest bravery. Non-violent conduct is never demoralizing; cowardice always is.
Manliness consists not in bluff, bravado or lordliness. It consists in daring to do the right and facing consequences whether it is in matters social, political or other. It consists in deeds, not words.
Better than cowardice is killing and being killed in battle.
Fear has its use but cowardice has none.
A coward is incapable of exhibiting love; it is the prerogative of the brave.
A No uttered from the deepest conviction is better than a Yes merely uttered to please, or worse, to avoid trouble.
I believe that a man is the strongest soldier for daring to die unarmed.
It is better to be violent, if there is violence in our hearts, than to put on the cloak of nonviolence to cover impotence.
Man lives freely only by his readiness to die, if need be, at the hands of his brother, never by killing him.
You can chain me, you can torture me, you can even destroy this body, but you will never imprison my mind.
Nobody can hurt me without my permission.
The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.
It is any day better to stand erect with a broken and bandaged head than to crawl on one’s belly, in order to be able to save one’s head.
Let no one charge me with ever having abused or encouraged weakness or surrendered on matters of principle. But I have said, as I say again, that every trifle must not be dignified into a principle.
Anger is the enemy of Ahimsa and pride is a monster swallows it up.
Let us all be brave enough to die the death of a martyr, but let no one lust for martyrdom.
Real suffering bravely borne, melts even a heart of stone. Such is the potency of suffering. And there lies the key to Satyagraha.
The law of sacrifice is uniform throughout the world. To be effective it demands the sacrifice of the bravest and the most spotless.
It is unwise to be too sure one’s own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err.
Man should forget his anger before he lies down to sleep.
A man is but the product of his thoughts what he thinks, he becomes.
Always aim at complete harmony of thought and word and deed. Always aim at purifying your thoughts and everything will be well.
Anger and intolerance are the enemies of correct understanding.
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.
Men often become what they believe themselves to be. If I believe I cannot do something, it makes me incapable of doing it. But when I believe I can, then I acquire the ability to do it even if I didn’t have it in the beginning.
Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.
I am but a poor struggling soul yearning to be wholly good, wholly truthful and wholly non-violent in thought, word and deed, but ever failing to reach the ideal which I know to be true. It is a painful climb, but the pain of it is a positive pleasure to me. Each step upwards makes me feel stronger and fit for the next.
That service is the noblest which is rendered for its own sake.
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, and that this defense prevails though the world be against the individual resister.
A principle is the expression of perfection, and as imperfect beings like us cannot practice perfection, we devise every moment limits of its compromise in practice.
There are times when you have to obey a call which is the highest of all, i.e. the voice of conscience even though such obedience may cost many a bitter tear, and even more, separation from friends, from family, from the state, to which you may belong, from all that you have held as dear as life itself. For this obedience is the law of our being.
Each one has to find his peace from within. And peace to be real must be unaffected by outside circumstances.
Don’t listen to friends when the friend inside you says Do This.
Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.
The only tyrant I accept in this world is the still voice within.
The human voice can never reach the distance that is covered by the still small voice of conscience.
There is a higher court than courts of justice and that is the court of conscience. It supersedes all other courts.
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.
Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.
Never has man reached his destination by persistence in deviation from the straight path.
Each one has to find his peace from within. And peace to be read must be unaffected by outside circumstances.
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.
Freedom is not worth having if it does not connote freedom to err.
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.
Man and his deed are two distinct things. Whereas a good deed should call forth approbation and a wicked deed dis-approbation, the doer of the deed, whether good or wicked always deserves respect or pity as the case may be. 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.
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.
The moment there is suspicion about a person’s motives, everything he does becomes tainted.
A man who broods on evil is as bad a man who does evil, if he is no worse.
Man has reason, discrimination and free-will such as it is. The brute has no such thing. It is not a free agent, and knows no distinction between virtue and vice, good and evil. Man, being a free agent, knows these distinctions, and when he follows his higher nature, shows himself far superior to the brute, but when he follows his baser nature can show himself lower than the brute.
It has always been a mystery to me how men can feel themselves honoured by the humiliation of their fellow beings.
Woman in the companion of man, gifted with equal mental capacities. She has the right to participate in the minutest details in the activities of man, and she has equal right to liberty of freedom and liberty with him.
I believe in equality for everyone, except reporters and photographers.
Commonsense is a realized sense of proportion.
Gentleness, self-sacrifice and generosity are the exclusive possession of no one race or religion.
It is the law of love that rules mankind. Had violence, i.e. hate, rules us we would 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.
Hatred ever kills, Love never dies, such is the vast difference between the two. What is ordained by love is retained for all time. What is obtained by hatred proves a burden in reality, for it increases hatred.
Where there is love there is life.
It may be long before the law of love will be recognized in international affairs. The machineries of government stand between and hide the hearts of one people from those of another.
To forgive is not to forget. The merit lies in loving in spite of the vivid knowledge that the one that much be loved is not a friend. There is no merit in loving an enemy when you forget him for a friend.
Justice that love gives is a surrender; justice that law gives is a punishment.
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 than the one derived from fear of punishment.
Love never claims, it ever gives. Love ever suffers, never resents, never revenges itself.
Where love is, there God is also.
We may have our private opinions but why should they be a bar to the meeting of hearts?
The test of friendship is assistance in adversity, and that too, unconditional assistance. Co-operation which needs consideration is as a commercial contract and not friendship. Conditional co-operation is like adulterated cement which does not bind.
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.
Friendship that insists on agreement on all matters is not worth the name. Friendship to be real must ever sustain the weight of honest differences, however sharp they be.
When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible but in the end, they always fall — think of it, always.
My notion of democracy is that under it the weakest shall have the same opportunities as the strongest… No country in the world today shows any but patronizing regard for the weak… Western democracy, as it functions today, is diluted fascism… True democracy cannot be worked by twenty men sitting at the center. It has to be worked from below, by the people of every village.
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.
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 my be.
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?
It would conduce to national progress and save a great deal of time and trouble if we cultivated the habit of never supporting the resolutions either by speaking or voting for them if we had not either the intention or the ability to carry them out.
If I seem to take part in politics, it is only because politics encircles us today like the coil of a snake from which one cannot get out, no matter how much one tries. I wish therefore to wrestle with the snake.
Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is.
What is a war criminal? Was not war itself a crime against God and humanity, and, therefore, were not all those who sanctioned, engineered, and conducted wars, war criminals? War criminals are not confined to the Axis Powers alone. Roosevelt and Churchill are no less war criminals than Hitler and Mussolini. England, America and Russia have all of them got their hands dyed more or less red — not merely Germany and Japan.
I do not want my house to be walled in on all sides and my windows to be stuffed. I want the cultures of all the lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible. But I refuse to be blown off my feet by any. I refuse to live in other people’s houses as an interloper, a beggar or a slave.
Measures must always in a progressive society be held superior to men, who are after all imperfect instruments, working for their fulfillment.
This campaign of non-cooperation has no reference to diplomacy, secret or open. The only diplomacy it admits of is the statement and pursuance of truth at any cost.
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.
For me every ruler is alien that defies public opinion.
It is my own firm belief that the strength of the soul grows in proportion as you subdue the flesh.
The spirit of democracy is not a mechanical thing to be adjusted by abolition of forms. It requires a change of heart.
Man becomes great exactly in the degree in which he works for the welfare of his fellow men.
First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.
An opponent is entitled to the same regard for his principles as we would expect others to have for ours. Non-violence demands that we should see every opportunity to win over opponents.
Indeed one’s faith in one’s plans and methods is truly tested when the horizon before one is the blackest.
Honest disagreement is often a good sign of progress.
Non-cooperation is an attempt to awaken the masses, to a sense of their dignity and power. This can only be done by enabling them to realize that they need not fear brute force, if they but know the soul within.
Public opinion alone can keep a society pure and healthy.
Non-cooperation is beyond the reach of the bayonet. It has found an abiding place in the Indian heart. Workers like me will go when the hour has struck, but non-cooperation will remain.
Non-cooperation is directed not against men but against measures. It is not directed against the Governors, but against the system they administer. The roots of non-cooperation lies not in hatred but in justice if not in love.
Insistence on truth can come into play when one party practices untruth or injustice. Only then can love be tested. True friendship is put to the test only when one party disregards the obligation of friendship.
You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.
If we want to cultivate a true spirit of democracy we cannot afford to be intolerant. Intolerance betrays want of faith in one’s cause.
Moral authority is never retained by any attempt to hold onto it. It comes without seeking and is retained without effort.
Adaptability is not imitation. It means power of resistance and assimilation.
It is quite proper to resist and attack a system, but to resist and attack its author is tantamount to resisting and attacking oneself, 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.
If co-operation is a duty, I hold that non-co-operation also under certain conditions is equally a duty.
I believe that cunning is not only morally wrong but also politically expedient, and have therefore always discountenanced its use even from the practical standpoint.
Healthy discontent is the prelude to progress.
How can one be compelled to accept slavery? I simply refuse to do the master’s bidding. He may torture me, break my bones to atoms and even kill me. He will then have my dead body, not my obedience. Ultimately, therefore, it is I who am the victor and not he, for he has failed in getting me to do what he wanted done.
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.
The only virtue I want to claim is truth and non-violence. I lay no claim to super-human powers. I want none. I wear the same corruptible flesh that the weakest of my fellow beings wears, and am therefore as liable to err as any. My services have many limitations, but God has up to now blessed them in spite of the imperfections.
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.
The first condition of humaneness is a little humility and a little diffidence about the correctness of one’s conduct and a little receptiveness.
It is man’s social nature which distinguishes him from the brute creation. If it is his privilege to be independent, it is equally his duty to be inter-dependent. Only an arrogant man will claim to be independent of everybody else and be self-contained.
Man falls from the pursuit of the ideal of plain living and high thinking the moment he wants to multiply his daily wants. Man’s happiness really lies in contentment.
As a rule, the mind, residing in a body that has become weakened by pampering, is also weak, and where there is no strength of mind there can be no strength of soul.
Increase of material comforts, it may be generally laid down, does not in any way whatsoever conduce to moral growth.
Suffering cheerfully endured, ceases to be suffering and is transmuted into an ineffable joy.
I am a Puritan myself, but I am catholic toward others.
I would 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.
No sacrifice is worth the name unless it is a joy. Sacrifice and a long face go ill together. Sacrifice is making sacred. He must be a poor specimen of humanity who is in need of sympathy for his sacrifice.
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.
Literary education is of no value, if it is not able to build up a sound character.
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.
I worship God as Truth only. I have not yet found Him, but I am seeking after Him. I am prepared to sacrifice the things dearest to me in pursuit of this quest. Even if the sacrifice demanded by very life, I hope I may be prepared to give it.
Power invariably elects to go into the hands of the strong. That strength may be physical or of the heart or, if we do not fight shy of the word, of the spirit. Strength of the heart connotes soul-force. Let it be remembered that physical force is transitory, even as the body is transitory. But the power of spirit is permanent even as the spirit is everlasting.
The badge of the violent is his weapon, spear, sword or rifle. God is the shield of the non-violent.
No religion which is narrow and which cannot satisfy the test of reason, will survive the coming reconstruction of society in which the values will have changed and character, not possession of wealth, title or birth, will be the test of merit.
As soon as we lose the moral basis, we cease to be religious. There is no such thing as religion over-riding morality. Man, for instance, cannot be untruthful, cruel or incontinent and claim to have God on his side.
Birth and death are not two different states, but they are different aspects of the same state. There is as little reason to deplore the one as there is to be pleased over the other.
Before the throne of the Almighty, man will be judged not by his acts, but by his intentions. For God alone reads our hearts.
It is through truth & non-violence that I can have some glimpse of God. Truth & non-violence are my God. They are the obverse and reverse of the same coin.
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.
Faith… must be enforced by reason… when faith becomes blind it dies.
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.
Infinite striving to be the best is man’s duty; it is its own reward. Everything else is in God’s hands.
It is the quality of our work which will please God and not the quantity.
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.
There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.
Whenever I see an erring man, I say to myself I have also erred; when I see a lustful man I say to myself, so was I once; and in this way I feel kinship with everyone in the world and feel that I cannot be happy without the humblest of us being happy.
Fear of death makes us devoid both of valour and religion. For want of valour is want of religious faith.
Religion is a matter of the heart. No physical inconvenience can warrant abandonment of one’s own religion.
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.
I have but shadowed forth my intense longing to lose myself in the Eternal and become merely a lump of clay in the Potter’s divine hands so that my service may become more certain because uninterrupted by the baser self in me.
The spirit of non-violence necessarily leads to humility. Non-violence means reliance on God, the rock of ages. If we would seek his aid, we must approach Him with a humble and contrite heart.
God is, even though the whole world deny him. Truth stands, even if there be no public support. It is self-sustained.
When I admire the wonders of a sunset or the beauty of the moon, my soul expands in the worship of the creator.
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.
In nature there is a fundamental unity running through all the diversity we see about us. Religions are given to mankind so as to accelerate the process of realisation of fundamental unity.
I believe in absolute oneness of God and therefore also of humanity.
My trust is solely in God. And I trust men only because I trust God. If I had no God to rely upon, I should be like Timon, a hater of my species.
One’s own religion is after all a matter between oneself and one’s Maker and no one else’s.
My religion is based on truth and non-violence. Truth is my God. Non-violence is the means of realising Him.
A religion that takes no account of practical affairs and does not help to solve them is no religion.
Every formula of every religion has in this age of reason, to submit to the acid test of reason and universal assent.
God tries his votaries through and through but never beyond endurance. He gives them strength enough to go through the ordeal he prescribes for them.
It is easy enough to say, I do not believe in God. For God permits all things to be said of Him with impunity. he looks at our acts. And any breach of His Law carries with it, not its vindictive, but it purifying, compelling punishment.
Human society is a ceaseless growth, and unfoldment in terms of spirituality.
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.
Though we may know Him by a thousand names, He is one and the same to us all.
I have found by experience that man makes his plans to be upset by God, but, at the same time, where the ultimate goal is the search of truth, on matter how a man’s plans are frustrated the issue is never injurious and often better than anticipated.
A clean confession combined with a promise never to commit the sin again, when offered before one who has the right to receive it, is the purest type of repentance.
Purity of personal life is the one indispensable condition for building up a sound education.
Perfection is the exclusive attribute of God, and it is indescribable, untranslatable. I do believe that it is possible for human beings to become perfect, even as God is perfect. It is necessary for all of us to aspire after that perfection but when that blessed state is attained, it become indescribable, indefinable.
What is true of the individual will be tomorrow true of the whole nation if individuals will but refuse to lose heart and hope.
Of all the animal creations of God, main is the only animal who has been created in order that he may know his Maker. Man’s aim is life is not therefore to add from day to day to his material prospects and to his material possessions, but his predominant calling is, from day to day to come nearer to his own Maker.
Spiritual relationship is far more precious than physical. Physical relationship divorced from spiritual is body without soul.
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.
I do not want any patronage, as I do not give any. I am 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.
But for my faith in God, I should have been a raving maniac.
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.
We are merely instruments of the Almighty’s will and therefore ignorant of what helps us forward and what acts as an impediment. We must thus rest satisfied with the knowledge only of the means and if these are pure, we can fearlessly leave the end to take care of itself.
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.
When anything assumes the strength of a creed, it becomes self-sustained and derives the needed support from within.
I do dimly perceive that whilst everything around me is ever-changing, ever-dying, there is underlying all that change a living Power that is changeless, that holds all together, that creates, dissolves and recreates. That informing power or spirit is God. And since nothing else I see merely through the senses can or will persist, He alone is.
Intellect takes us along in the battle of life to a certain limit, but at the crucial moment it fails us. Faith transcends reason. It is when the horizon is the darkest and human reason is beaten down to the ground that faith shines brightest and comes to our rescue.
I reject any religious doctrine that does not appeal to reason and is in conflict with morality.
The world is touched by sacrifice. It does not then discriminate about the merits of a cause. No so God — He is all seeing. He insists on the purity of the cause and on adequate sacrifice thereof.
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.
Non-violence requires a double faith, faith in God and also faith in man.
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.
Prayer is not an old woman’s idle amusement. Properly understood and applied, it is the most potent instrument of action.
Prayer is the key of the morning and the bolt of the evening.
In prayer it is better to have a heart without words than words without a heart.
Imitation is the sincerest flattery.
Each one prays to God according to his own light.
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.
To give pleasure to a single heart by a single act is better than a thousand heads bowing in prayer.
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.
If I had no sense of humor, I would long ago have committed suicide.