My Wishes

Wise sayings by gandhi

  1. Home
  2. Anniversary Wishes
  3. Wise sayings by gandhi
Wise sayings by gandhi
January 16, 2019 Anniversary Wishes 4 comments

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (2 October 1869 – 30 January 1948), commonly known as Mahatma Gandhi (Sanskrit: महात्मा mahātmā "Great Soul").


Mahatma Gandhi Sayings and Quotes

Below you will find our collection of inspirational, wise, and humorous old mahatma gandhi quotes, mahatma gandhi sayings, and mahatma gandhi proverbs, collected over the years from a variety of sources.


The sacrifice which causes sorrow to the doer of the sacrifice is no sacrifice. Real sacrifice lightens the mind of the doer and gives him a sense of peace and joy. The Buddha gave up the pleasures of life because they had become painful to him.      

Mahatma Gandhi

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

Mahatma Gandhi

Learn as if you were to live forever.

Mahatma Gandhi

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

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

Honest differences are often a healthy sign of progress.

Mahatma Gandhi

Where there is love there is life.     

Mahatma Gandhi

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

Mahatma Gandhi

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

Mahatma Gandhi

The simplest acts of kindness are by far more powerful then a thousand heads bowing in prayer.

Mahatma Gandhi

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

Mahatma Gandhi

Peace is its own reward.      

Mahatma Gandhi

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

Mahatma Gandhi

Joy lies in the fight, in the attempt, in the suffering involved, not in the victory itself.

Mahatma Gandhi

To celebrate what would have been Gandhi's 150th birthday on October 2nd, we Today, the power of Gandhi's words still inspire us to change the world by.

Quotes by Mahatma Gandhi

wise sayings by gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi Quotes About Living Your Best Life

Our latest collection of inspirational MahatmaGandhi quotes on Everyday Power Blog!

Gandhi is a man that needs no introduction. A man that changed a nation and changed the world with his compassion, vision, tolerance, and patience. Mahatma Gandhi is an undying reminder of how one person can inspire a community, a nation, and the world.

Gandhi stood for peace, equality and non-violent protest and was even an inspiration for Martin Luther King, Jr. Gandhi is proof that one man can make massive changes, inspire a world and preserve their character throughout the journey.

Born on 2nd October 1869, in North West India, Gandhi was an activist, lawyer, politician, and writer. His upbringing was infused with the Jain pacifist teachings of mutual tolerance, non-injury to living beings and vegetarianism. He was assassinated on 30 January 1948, when he was 78 years old.

First, let’s look at some life lessons from Gandhi, the quotes come after.

Mahatma Gandhi Life Lessons

1.) Lead A Simple Life.

Gandhi felt that we shouldn’t be tempted by glamorous lifestyles and that the most meaningful lives are simple and purposeful. Gandhi believed that when life is minimal, we can effectively focus on self-improvement.

2.) Be Selfless

Gandhi believed that we should focus more on positive impact and kindness, instead of personal achievement and personal gain. He believed everyone can do small things to improve the life of their neighbors.

3.) Always Be Yourself

Gandhi led by example and refused to dress any other way than what he thought was right for him and his mission. He encouraged other people to do the same thing. Be who you are at all costs.

4.) Lead By Example

Before we can change the world, we must change ourselves. Gandhi believed that before we even consider changing the world, we commit ourselves to personal improvement. Only then, we will know, understand and appreciate what it takes to make meaningful change.

5.) The Mind Will Always Be Stronger Than Your Body

Gandhi believed that the person with the strongest mind wins. The person who can control their emotions, their fear, their desire for revenge and violence, will win every single time. Gandhi challenged ALL people to develop their courage and compassion during times of battle.

Mahatma Gandhi Quotes about love and life

1.) “You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” – MahatmaGandhi

2.) “There is more to life than simply increasing its speed.” – MahatmaGandhi

3.) “Faith is not something to grasp, it is a state to grow into.” – MahatmaGandhi

Mahatma Gandhi Quotes about forgiveness

4.) “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” – MahatmaGandhi

Great Gandhi quotes about happiness

5.) “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” – MahatmaGandhi

Most famous Mahatma Gandhi quote

6.) “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” –MahatmaGandhi

7.) “In a gentle way, you can shake the world.”- MahatmaGandhi

8.) “There goes my people. I must follow them, for I am their leader.” – MahatmaGandhi

9.) “First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, and then you win.” – MahatmaGandhi

Best Gandhi quotes about peace

10.) “There is no ‘way to peace,’ there is only peace.” – MahatmaGandhi

11.) “Poverty is the worst form of violence.” – MahatmaGandhi

12.) “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.” – MahatmaGandhi

Mahatma Gandhi Quotes

13.) “Seek not greater wealth, but simpler pleasure; not higher fortune, but deeper felicity.” – MahatmaGandhi

14.) “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.” – MahatmaGandhi

More Gandhi quotes about love and life

15.) “I first learned the concepts of non-violence in my marriage.”- MahatmaGandhi

16.) “There is no school equal to a decent home and no teacher equal to a virtuous parent.”- MahatmaGandhi

17.) “Don’t talk about it. The rose doesn’t have to propagate its perfume. It just gives it forth, and people are drawn to it. Live it, and people will come to see the source of your power.”- MahatmaGandhi

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

19.) “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.”- MahatmaGandhi

20.) “You can chain me, you can torture me, you can even destroy this body, but you will never imprison my mind.”- MahatmaGandhi

21.) “If I had no sense of humor, I would long ago have committed suicide.”- MahatmaGandhi

Quotes by Gandhi  about suffering

22.) “Nobody can hurt me without my permission.”- MahatmaGandhi

23.) “I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.”- MahatmaGandhi

24.) “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”- MahatmaGandhi

25.) “Each night, when I go to sleep, I die. And the next morning, when I wake up, I am reborn.”- MahatmaGandhi

26.) “If we are to reach real peace in the world, we shall have to begin with the children.”- MahatmaGandhi

Quotes of Mahatma Gandhi about faith

27.) “Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs, but not every man’s greed.”- MahatmaGandhi

28.) “To believe in something, and not to live it, is dishonest.”- MahatmaGandhi

29.) “There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.”- MahatmaGandhi

30.) “Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.”

Quotes by Mahatma Gandhi about positive thoughts

31.) “Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become your words. Keep your words positive because your words become your behavior. Keep your behavior positive because your behavior becomes your habits. Keep your habits positive because your habits become your values. Keep your values positive because your values become your destiny.”- MahatmaGandhi

32.) “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.”- MahatmaGandhi

33.) “When I despair, I remember that all through history the way 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.”- MahatmaGandhi

34.) “I came to the conclusion long ago that all religions were true and also that all had some error in them, and while I hold by my own religion, I should hold other religions as dear as Hinduism. So we can only pray, if we were Hindus, not that a Christian should become a Hindu; but our innermost prayer should be that a Hindu should become a better Hindu, a Muslim a better Muslim, and a Christian a better Christian.”- MahatmaGandhi

Mahatma Gandhi Quotes about love and life

35.) “I must say that, beyond occasionally exposing me to laughter, my constitutional shyness has been no dis-advantage whatever. In fact,I can see that on the contrary, it has been all to my advantage. My hesitancy in speech, which was once an annoyance, is now a pleasure. Its greatest benefit has been that it has taught me the economy of words.

I have naturally formed the habit of restraining my thoughts. And I can now give myself the certificate that a thoughtless word hardly ever escapes my tongue or pen. I do not recollect ever having had to regret anything in my speech or writing. I have thus been spared many a mishap and waste of time. Experience has taught me that silence is part of the spiritual discipline of a votary of truth. Proneness to exaggerate, to suppress or modify the truth, wittingly or unwittingly, is a natural weakness of man, and silence is necessary in order to surmount it.

A man of few words will rarely be thoughtless in his speech; he will measure every word. We find so many people impatient to talk. There is no chairman of a meeting who is not pestered with notes for permission to speak. And whenever the permission is given the speaker generally exceeds the time-limit, asks for more time, and keeps on talking without permission. All this talking can hardly be said to be of any benefit to the world. It is so much waste of time. 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.” – MahatmaGandhi

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

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

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

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

40.) “There is more to life than simply increasing its speed.” – Mahatma Gandhi

41.) “What we are doing to the forests of the world is but a mirror refection of what we are doing to ourselves and to one another.” – Mahatma Gandhi

Other inspirational Mahatma Gandhi quotes

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

43.) “Speak only if it improves upon the silence.” – Mahatma Gandhi

44.) “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

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

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

47.) “Those who know how to think need no teachers.” – Mahatma Gandhi

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

49.) “Strength does not come from physical capacity, it comes from indomitable will.” – Mahatma Gandhi

50.) “If we want to reach real peace in this world, we should start educating children.” – Mahatma Gandhi


Let these Gandhi quotes become your mantras for greater love, motivation, purpose, inner peace and success!

Which Mahatma Gandhi quotes were your favorite?

As you can see from these quotes, Gandhi was big on compassion, vision, tolerance, and patience. His words remind us that we can inspire the world and make massive changes in life.

We live in a world where there’s a lot of violence and people take life for granted.

Hopefully, these Mahatma Gandhi quotes will inspire you to preserve your character and live your best life.

WATCH THE VIDEO ON THEME: Martin Luther King Jr. & Gandhi: Words of the Wise
wishing you a great day images
Meaningful good morning wishes
best happy birthday wishes for mother
Thanks sentence for birthday wishes
thanks everyone for your birthday wishes
Birthday wishes that are funny
best wishes for new baby boy
Lunar new year wishes quotes

Gandhi's Birthday: 15 Inspiring Quotes

wise sayings by gandhi

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (2 October1869 – 30 January1948), commonly known as Mahatma Gandhi (Sanskrit: 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.

Quotes[edit]

1890s[edit]

  • 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[edit]

  • 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.
  • 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 Hindu, Indian 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 Hindu, Indian opinion, 25 December, (1909)

Hind Swaraj (1908)[edit]

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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[edit]

  • 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[edit]

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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)
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • “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 GandhiVol. 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.
  • 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)[edit]

"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)[edit]

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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

1930s[edit]

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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[edit]

  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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 [6])
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.
God forbid that India should ever take to industrialism after the manner of the West. ... If an entire nation of 300 million took to similar economic exploitation, it would strip the world bare like locusts.
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... This is part of putting our traditions and Gandhian values to creative use.~ Narendra Modi
Victory attained by violence is tantamount to a defeat, for it is momentary.
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.
The ideally non-violent state will be an ordered anarchy. That State is the best governed which is governed the least.
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?
An unjust law is itself a species of violence. Arrest for its breach is more so.
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.
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.
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.
I simply want to tell the story of my experiments with truth...as my life consists of nothing but those experiments.

Mahatma Gandhi Statue, Port Blair, Andaman Islands British Rule. He is known for his famous words of wisdom on God, life, and religion.

Top 10 Mahatma Gandhi Quotes

wise sayings by gandhi

In western society a belief exists that ‘achievement’ and ‘stress’ go hand in hand. There’s almost an unwritten rule that if you look too calm and peaceful, then you’re clearly not working hard enough.

What I love about Mahatma Gandhi is that he proved it’s possible to remain gentle in spirit, yet command an enormous amount of strength and respect at the same time.

In a world where authority is revered over genuine leadership, I believe we can learn a lot from the man who fought for a nation with his mind alone.

Gandhi’s philosophy was not theoretical but one of pragmatism, that is, practicing his principles in real time. Asked to give a message to the people, he would respond, “My life is my message.”

I hope you take something from one of the 12 Gandhi quotes below, maybe even a sense of liberation from the idea that ‘it is possible to be a gentle and relaxed Superachiever.’

If you’re inspired by this post, please share it with others.

If you enjoyed this post, please share it with others.

More from the ‘Inspiring Quotes’ series:

Not loving your day job? Get my most popular, FREE online training here: My 3 Step process To Find A More Meaningful Career.

Join 108,000 beautiful souls on the Simple Life Strategies Facebook page to get access to articles before anyone else!

WATCH THE VIDEO ON THEME: Best Quotes By Mahatma Gandhi - Quotes By Mahatma Gandhi - Quotes On Life

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (2 October 1869 – 30 January 1948), commonly known as Mahatma Gandhi (Sanskrit: महात्मा mahātmā "Great Soul").

wise sayings by gandhi
Written by Bagami
Write a comment