|Born||Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi
2 October 1869
Porbandar State, Kathiawar Agency, British Indian Empire
(now in Gujarat, India)
|Died||30 January 1948
New Delhi, Delhi, India
|Cause of death||Assassination by shooting|
|Resting place||Ashes scattered in various Indian rivers|
|Other names||Mahatma Gandhi, Bapu, Gandhiji|
|Alma mater||Kathiawar High School, Rajkot,
Samaldas College, Bhavnagar,
University College, London
|Known for||Leadership of Indian independence movement,
philosophy of Satyagraha, Ahimsa or nonviolence,
|Movement||Indian National Congress|
Karamchand Gandhi (father)
A policy is a temporary creed liable to be changed, but while it holds good it has got to be pursued with apostolic zeal.
God is, even though the whole world deny him. Truth stands, even if there be no public support. It is self-sustained.
A weak man is just by accident. A strong but non-violent man is unjust by accident.
An error does not become truth by reason of multiplied propagation, nor does truth become error because nobody sees it.
Non-violence is not a garment to be put on and off at will. Its seat is in the heart, and it must be an inseparable part of our being.
One's own religion is after all a matter between oneself and one's Maker and no one else's.
Man lives freely only by his readiness to die, if need be, at the hands of his brother, never by killing him.
Fear of death makes us devoid both of valour and religion. For want of valour is want of religious faith.
We may stumble and fall but shall rise again; it should be enough if we did not run away from the battle.
What do I think of Western civilization? I think it would be a very good idea.
You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.
Justice that love gives is a surrender, justice that law gives is a punishment.
The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world's problems.
A 'No' uttered from the deepest conviction is better than a 'Yes' merely uttered to please, or worse, to avoid trouble.
I think it is the height of ignorance to believe that the sexual act is an independent function necessary like sleeping or eating. Seeing, therefore, that I did not desire more children, I began to strive after self-control. There was endless difficulty in the task.
God cannot be realized through the intellect. Intellect can lead one to a certain extent and no further. It is a matter of faith and experience derived from that faith.
If co-operation is a duty, I hold that non-co-operation also under certain conditions is equally a duty.
Unwearied ceaseless effort is the price that must be paid for turning faith into a rich infallible experience.
Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.
I suppose leadership at one time meant muscles; but today it means getting along with people.
Nonviolence is the first article of my faith. It is also the last article of my creed.
Man becomes great exactly in the degree in which he works for the welfare of his fellow-men.
It may be possible to gild pure gold, but who can make his mother more beautiful?
Providence has its appointed hour for everything. We cannot command results, we can only strive.
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.
I look only to the good qualities of men. Not being faultless myself, I won't presume to probe into the faults of others.
We should meet abuse by forbearance. Human nature is so constituted that if we take absolutely no notice of anger or abuse, the person indulging in it will soon weary of it and stop.
I wear the national dress because it is the most natural and the most becoming for an Indian.
I have worshipped woman as the living embodiment of the spirit of service and sacrifice.
To give pleasure to a single heart by a single act is better than a thousand heads bowing in prayer.
Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.
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 a sufficiency in the world for man's need but not for man's greed.
Though we may know Him by a thousand names, He is one and the same to us all.
Man is supposed to be the maker of his destiny. It is only partly true. He can make his destiny, only in so far as he is allowed by the Great Power.
Palestine belongs to the Arabs in the same sense that England belongs to the English or France to the French.
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.
I did once seriously think of embracing the Christian faith. The gentle figure of Christ, so full of forgiveness that he taught his followers not to retaliate when abused or struck, but to turn the other cheek – I thought it was a beautiful example of the perfect man.
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.
It is better to be violent, if there is violence in our hearts, than to put on the cloak of nonviolence to cover impotence.
Whatever you do may seem insignificant to you, but it is most important that you do it.
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.
Sense perceptions can be and often are false and deceptive, however real they may appear to us. Where there is realization outside the senses, it is infallible. It is proved not by extraneous evidence but in the transformed conduct and character of those who have felt the real presence of God within.
God, as Truth, has been for me a treasure beyond price. May He be so to every one of us.
Service which is rendered without joy helps neither the servant nor the served. But all other pleasures and possessions pale into nothingness before service which is rendered in a spirit of joy.
Anger is the enemy of non-violence and pride is a monster that swallows it up.
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.
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.
Let us all be brave enough to die the death of a martyr, but let no one lust for martyrdom.
When restraint and courtesy are added to strength, the latter becomes irresistible.
I would heartily welcome the union of East and West provided it is not based on brute force.
When I admire the wonders of a sunset or the beauty of the moon, my soul expands in the worship of the creator.
Intolerance is itself a form of violence and an obstacle to the growth of a true democratic spirit.
There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.
Measures must always in a progressive society be held superior to men, who are after all imperfect instruments, working for their fulfilment.
Purity of personal life is the one indispensable condition for building up a sound education.
The moment there is suspicion about a person's motives, everything he does becomes tainted.
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.
Let not the 12 million Negroes be ashamed of the fact that they are the grandchildren of slaves. There is dishonor in being slave-owners.
Always aim at complete harmony of thought and word and deed. Always aim at purifying your thoughts and everything will be well.
Power is of two kinds. One is obtained by the fear of punishment and the other by acts of love. Power based on love is a thousand times more effective and permanent then the one derived from fear of punishment.
Freedom is never dear at any price. It is the breath of life. What would a man not pay for living?
Capital as such is not evil; it is its wrong use that is evil. Capital in some form or other will always be needed.
My religion teaches me that whenever there is distress which one cannot remove, one must fast and pray.
If a man reaches the heart of his own religion, he has reached the heart of the others, too. There is only one God, and there are many paths to him.
Before the throne of the Almighty, man will be judged not by his acts but by his intentions. For God alone reads our hearts.
Ours is one continued struggle against degradation sought to be inflicted upon us by the European, who desire to degrade us to the level of the raw Kaffir, whose occupation is hunting and whose sole ambition is to collect a certain number of cattle to buy a wife with, and then pass his life in indolence and nakedness.
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.
A coward is incapable of exhibiting love; it is the prerogative of the brave.
Just as a man would not cherish living in a body other than his own, so do nations not like to live under other nations, however noble and great the latter may be.
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.
A man who was completely innocent, offered himself as a sacrifice for the good of others, including his enemies, and became the ransom of the world. It was a perfect act.
Only he can take great resolves who has indomitable faith in God and has fear of God.
Each one has to find his peace from within. And peace to be real must be unaffected by outside circumstances.
Religion is a matter of the heart. No physical inconvenience can warrant abandonment of one's own religion.
I reject any religious doctrine that does not appeal to reason and is in conflict with morality.
I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent.
What is true of the individual will be tomorrow true of the whole nation if individuals will but refuse to lose heart and hope.
I claim to be a simple individual liable to err like any other fellow mortal. I own, however, that I have humility enough in me to confess my errors and to retrace my steps.
Man's nature is not essentially evil. Brute nature has been known to yield to the influence of love. You must never despair of human nature.
Gentleness, self-sacrifice and generosity are the exclusive possession of no one race or religion.
The spirit of democracy is not a mechanical thing to be adjusted by abolition of forms. It requires change of heart.
Action is no less necessary than thought to the instinctive tendencies of the human frame.
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.
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.
First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.
I have nothing new to teach the world. Truth and Non-violence are as old as the hills. All I have done is to try experiments in both on as vast a scale as I could.
Interdependence is and ought to be as much the ideal of man as self-sufficiency. Man is a social being.
To deprive a man of his natural liberty and to deny to him the ordinary amenities of life is worse then starving the body; it is starvation of the soul, the dweller in the body.
Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is.
The human voice can never reach the distance that is covered by the still small voice of conscience.
Confession of errors is like a broom which sweeps away the dirt and leaves the surface brighter and clearer. I feel stronger for confession.
My religion is based on truth and non-violence. Truth is my God. Non-violence is the means of realising Him.
Nearly everything you do is of no importance, but it is important that you do it.
The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated.
There is a higher court than courts of justice and that is the court of conscience. It supercedes all other courts.
We may have our private opinions but why should they be a bar to the meeting of hearts?
The law of sacrifice is uniform throughout the world. To be effective it demands the sacrifice of the bravest and the most spotless.
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.
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?
Spiritual relationship is far more precious than physical. Physical relationship divorced from spiritual is body without soul.
Man can never be a woman's equal in the spirit of selfless service with which nature has endowed her.
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 know, to banish anger altogether from one's breast is a difficult task. It cannot be achieved through pure personal effort. It can be done only by God's grace.
You can chain me, you can torture me, you can even destroy this body, but you will never imprison my mind.
Increase of material comforts, it may be generally laid down, does not in any way whatsoever conduce to moral growth.
Violent men have not been known in history to die to a man. They die up to a point.
Non-violence is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind. It is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of man.
I took the vow of celibacy in 1906. I had not shared my thoughts with my wife until then, but only consulted her at the time of making the vow. She had no objection.
It is any day better to stand erect with a broken and bandaged head then to crawl on one's belly, in order to be able to save one's head.
Truth is by nature self-evident. As soon as you remove the cobwebs of ignorance that surround it, it shines clear.
In prayer it is better to have a heart without words than words without a heart.
A religion that takes no account of practical affairs and does not help to solve them is no religion.
Satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment, full effort is full victory.
I am in the world feeling my way to light 'amid the encircling gloom.'
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.
I do all the evil I can before I learn to shun it? Is it not enough to know the evil to shun it? If not, we should be sincere enough to admit that we love evil too well to give it up.
The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.
Non-violence, which is the quality of the heart, cannot come by an appeal to the brain.
Prayer is not an old woman's idle amusement. Properly understood and applied, it is the most potent instrument of action.
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.
I have also seen children successfully surmounting the effects of an evil inheritance. That is due to purity being an inherent attribute of the soul.
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.
A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history.
I am prepared to die, but there is no cause for which I am prepared to kill.
A nation's culture resides in the hearts and in the soul of its people.
It has always been a mystery to me how men can feel themselves honoured by the humiliation of their fellow beings.
An unjust law is itself a species of violence. Arrest for its breach is more so.
Man falls from the pursuit of the ideal of plan living and high thinking the moment he wants to multiply his daily wants. Man's happiness really lies in contentment.
All compromise is based on give and take, but there can be no give and take on fundamentals. Any compromise on mere fundamentals is a surrender. For it is all give and no take.
The main purpose of life is to live rightly, think rightly, act rightly. The soul must languish when we give all our thought to the body.
I will far rather see the race of man extinct than that we should become less than beasts by making the noblest of God's creation, woman, the object of our lust.
A principle is the expression of perfection, and as imperfect beings like us cannot practise perfection, we devise every moment limits of its compromise in practice.
Every formula of every religion has in this age of reason, to submit to the acid test of reason and universal assent.
Infinite striving to be the best is man's duty; it is its own reward. Everything else is in God's hands.
It is my own firm belief that the strength of the soul grows in proportion as you subdue the flesh.
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.
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.
Violent means will give violent freedom. That would be a menace to the world and to India herself.
Moral authority is never retained by any attempt to hold on to it. It comes without seeking and is retained without effort.
All the religions of the world, while they may differ in other respects, unitedly proclaim that nothing lives in this world but Truth.
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.
Partition is bad. But whatever is past is past. We have only to look to the future.
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.
Morality is the basis of things and truth is the substance of all morality.