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To Promote His Philosophy of Truth Through Non-Violence?
What Actions Would He Do to Confront Today's Issues?

      Mohandas K. Gandhi's writings through the years were not always consistent philosophically or practically which allows everyone from anarchist pacifists to state socialists to terrorists to say -- "Yeah, this is what Gandhi would do!" (Gandhi did support use of violence as a last resort in extreme situtations.)
     However, the spiritual, political and strategic quotes offered here show an internal consistency in his the search for truth, belief in nonviolence, individual liberty and the minimal state.  This page originally was dedicated to promoting this interpretation of a consistent Gandhian viewpoint.  However, it also now is dealing being used to promote the GANDHIAN CAMPAIGN AGAINST THE WAR LOBBIES.
     During his sixty-odd years as an attorney, journalist, speaker and activist, Mohandas K. Gandhi (the “Mahatma” or "Great One") published a massive body of work collected into more than a hundred volumes.   I have collected the quotes below from Gandhi’s writings included especially in “For Pacifists”, B. Kumarappa, Editor, which includes Gandhi's ideas on nonviolent governance, as well as from “The Essential Gandhi”, Louis Fisher, Editor; “The Book of Gandhi Wisdom”, Trudy S. Settel, Editor; Joan Bondurant’s “Conquest of Violence” and other sources.  If you want to find the actual source you might put a phrase in a search engine since so many of Gandhi's writing are now online.  See links (Greenleaf Books, Canton, Maine, USA also carries many of Gandhi's books, including original, early Indian editions.)  

Carol Moore  - page updated July, 2006


          Desire for enjoyment creates bodies for the soul...The soul that is hidden beneath this earthly crust is one and the same for all men and women belonging to all climes.  There is a real and substantial unity in all the variety we see around us...The force of spirit is ever progressive and endless...If we turn our eyes to the time of which history has any record we shall find that man has been steadily progression towards Ahimsa [love and non-violence]...The moment he awakens to the spirit he cannot remain violent...How many lifetimes may be needed for mastering the greatest spiritual force that mankind has ever known? [Ahimsa]  But why worry even if it means several lifetimes?  For, if this is the only permanent thing in life, if this is the only thing that counts, then whatever effort you bestow on mastering it is well-spent..Souls must react upon souls.  And since non-violence is essentially a quality of soul, the only effective appeal to the soul must lie through non-violence...Pit soul-force against brute-force...Fear is not a disease of the body; fear kills the soul.

        Faith gains in strength only when people are willing to lay down their lives for it....Faith is not like a delicate flower which would wither away....Robust faith in oneself and brave trust of the opponent, so-called or real, is the best safeguard....A living faith cannot be manufactured by the rule of [the] majority....What is faith if it is not translated into action?...Faith is not imparted like secular subjects. It is given through the language of the heart....Every living faith must have within itself the power of rejuvenation if it is to live. Just as the body cannot exist without blood, so the soul needs matchless and pure strength of faith....My effort should never be to undermine another's faith but to make him a better follower of his own faith....Even as a tree has a single trunk but many branches and leaves, there is one religion-- human religion--but any number of faiths.

        Truth alone will endure; all the rest will be swept away before the tide of time....What may appear as truth to one person will often appear as untruth to another person.  But that need not worry the seeker....Truth and untruth often co-exist; good and evil often are found together....Use truth as your anvil, nonviolence as your hammer and anything that does not stand the test when it is brought to the anvil of truth and hammered with nonviolence, reject it....Truth and nonviolence demand that no human being may debar himself from serving any other human being, no matter how sinful he may be....Truth is the first to be sought for, and Beauty and Goodness will then be added unto you....An error does not become truth by reason of multiplied propagation, nor does truth become error because nobody sees it....Truth without humility would be an arrogant caricature....The quest of truth involves self-suffering, sometimes even unto death.

Gandhi Memorial in Washington, DC


        Satyagraha is a relentless search for truth and a determination to search truth....Satyagraha is an attribute of the spirit within....Satyagraha has been designed as an effective substitute for violence.... Satyagraha is a process of educating public opinion, such that it covers all the elements of the society and makes itself irresistible....The fight of Satyagraha is for the strong in spirit, not the doubter or the timid. Satyagraha teaches us the art of living as well as dying....Satyagraha, of which civil-resistance is but a part, is to me the universal law of life....Satyagraha can rid society of all evils, political, economic, and moral...A genuine Satyagraha should never excite contempt in the opponent even when it fails to command regard or respect....Satyagraha thrives on repression till at last the repressor is tired and the object of Satyagraha is gained....Satyagraha does not depend on the outside [for] help; it derives all its strength from within....The method of Satyagraha requires that the Satyagrahi should never lose hope, so long as there is the slightest ground left for it....In the dictionary of Satyagraha, there is no enemy. Since Satyagraha is a method of conversion and conviction, it seeks never to use the slightest coercion... For a Satyagraha brigade, only those are eligible who believe in ahimsa--nonviolence and satya--truth... A Satyagrahi has infinite patience, abundant faith in others, and ample hope....A Satyagrahi cannot go to law for a personal wrong....In the code of the Satyagrahi, there is no such thing as surrender to brute force.

           Violence breeds violence...Pure goals can never justify impure or violent action...They say the means are after all just means.  I would say means are after all everything.  As the means, so the end....If we take care of the means we are bound of reach the end sooner or later.

         Woman is more fitted than man to make exploration and take bolder action in nonviolence... There is no occasion for women to consider themselves subordinate or inferior to men....Woman is the companion of man, gifted with equal mental capacity....If by strength is meant moral power, then woman is immeasurably man's superior....If nonviolence is the law of our being, the future is with women....

          The spirit of political and international liberty is universal and, it may even be said, instinctive...The attainment of freedom, whether for a man, a nation or the world, must be in exact proportion to the attainment of non-violence by each...There is no such thing as slow freedom.  Til we are fully free we are all slaves...I want freedom for the full expression of my personality.  I must be free to build a staircase to Sirius if I want to...No action which is not voluntary can be called moral.  So long as we act like machines there can be no question of morality....Freedom is like birth. Till we are fully free, we are slaves....No charter of freedom will be worth looking at which does not ensure the same measure of freedom for the minorities as for the majority....True nonviolence should mean a complete freedom from ill-will and anger and hate and an overflowing love for all....Complete independence does not mean arrogant isolation or a superior disdain for all help....If it is man's (sic) privilege to be independent, it is equally his duty to be inter-dependent.... Any action that is dictated by fear or by coercion of any kind ceases to be moral....Freedom of the individual is at the root of all progress.


          Government control gives rise to fraud, suppression of Truth, intensification of the black market and artificial scarcity.  Above all, it unmans the people and deprives them of initiative, it undoes the teaching of self-help...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 heart of all progress...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....We find the general work of mankind is being carried on from day to day be the mass of people acting as if by instinct....If they were instinctively violent the world would end in no time...It is when the mass mind is unnaturally influenced by wicked men that the mass of mankind commit violence.  But they forget it as they commit it because they return to their peaceful nature immediately the evil influence of the directing mind has been removed....A government that is evil has no room for good men and women except in its prisons.

          Civil disobedience becomes a sacred duty when the state has become lawless or corrupt. And a citizen who barters with such a state shares in its corruption and lawlessness...Every citizen is responsible for every act of his government...There is only one sovereign remedy, namely, non-violent non-cooperation.  Whether we advertise the fact or not, the moment we cease to support the government it dies a nature death....My method is conversion, not coercion, it is self-suffering, not the suffering of the tyrant....I hope the real Swaraj (self-rule) will come not by the acquisition of authority by the few but by the acquisition by all of the courage to resist authority when abused.  In other words, Swaraj is to be attained by education the masses to a sense of their capacity to regulate ad control authority.... Civil disobedience is the assertion of a right which law should give but which it denies...Civil disobedience presupposes willing obedience of our self-imposed rules, and without it civil disobedience would be cruel joke....Civil disobedience means capacity for unlimited suffering without the intoxicating excitement of killing....Disobedience to be civil has to be open and nonviolent....Disobedience to be civil implies discipline, thought, care, attention...Disobedience that is wholly civil should never provoke retaliation....Non-cooperation and civil disobedience are different but [are] branches of the same tree call Satyagraha (truth-force).... Coercion cannot but result in chaos in the end....One who uses coercion is guilty of deliberate violence. Coercion is inhuman....Non-cooperation with evil is as much a duty as cooperation with good... Nonviolent action without the cooperation of the heart and the head cannot produce the intended result....All through history the way of truth and love has always won.  There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time they can seem invincible, but in the end they always fall, always.

          The science of war leads one to dictatorship, pure and simple.  The science of non- violence alone can lead one to pure democracy...The states that are today nominally democratic have either to become frankly totalitarian or, if they are to become truly democratic, they must become courageously non-violent.  Power is of two kinds.  One is obtained by fear of punishment and the other by arts of love.  Power based on love is thousand times more effective and permanent than power derived from fear of punishment....
         When a respectable minority objects to any rule of conduct, it would be dignified of the majority to yield...No organization can run smoothly when it is divided into two camps, each growling at each other and each determined to have its own way by hook or by crook...The spirit of democracy is not a mechanical thing to be adjusted by abolition of forms.  It requires change of heart...My notion of democracy is that under it the weakest should have the same opportunity as the strongest.  That can not happen except through non-violence...It is a blasphemy to say non-violence can be practiced only by individuals and never by nations which are compose of individuals...The nearest approach to purest anarchy would be a democracy based on non-violence...A society organized and run on the basis of complete non-violence would be the purest anarchy....

        I have conceded that even in a non-violent state a police force may be necessary...Of course, I can and do envisage a state where the police would be unnecessary but whether we shall succeed in realizing it, the future alone will show....Police ranks will be composed of believers in non-violence.  The people will instinctively render them every help and through mutual cooperation they will easily deal with the ever decreasing disturbances...Violent quarrels between labor and capital and strikes will be few and far between in a non-violent state because the influence of the non-violent majority will be great as to respect the principle elements in society.  Similarly, there will be no room for communal disturbances....

          A non-violent army acts unlike armed men, as well in times of peace as in times of disturbances.  Theirs will be the duty of bringing warring communities together, carrying peace propaganda, engaging in activities that would bring and keep them in touch with every single person in their parish or division.  Such an army should be ready to cope with any emergency, and in order to still the frenzy of mobs should risk their lives in numbers sufficient for that purpose. ...Satragrapha (truth-force) brigades can be organized in every village and every block of buildings in the cities.  In non-violent bodies the charger or soul force must mean everything and the physique must take second place.  It is difficult to find such persons.  That is why the non-violent force must be small if it is to efficient.
          [If the non-violent society is attacked from without] there are two ways open to non-violence.  To yield possession, but non-cooperate with the aggressor...prefer death to submission.  The second way would be non-violent resistance by the people who have been trained in the non-violent way...The unexpected spectacle of endless rows upon rows of men and women simply dying rather than surrender to the will of an aggressor must ultimately melt him and his soldiery...A nation or group which has made non-violence its final policy cannot be subjected to slavery even by the atom bomb....Before general disarmament commences some nation will have to disarm herself and take large risks.  The level of non-violence in that nation, if that even happily comes to pass, will naturally have risen so high as to command universal respect.

          Economic equality is the master key to non-violent independence...A non-violent system of government is impossible as long as the wide gulf between the rich and the hungry millions persists....A violent and bloody revolution is a certainty one day unless there is a voluntary abdication of riches and the power riches give and a sharing of them for the public good....All have not the same capacity...I would not cramp talent...I want to bring about an equalization of status....

          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.
          But my sympathy does not blind me to the requirements of justice. 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?
          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. What is going on in Palestine today cannot be justified by any moral code of conduct. The mandates have no sanction but that of the last war. Surely it would be a crime against humanity to reduce the proud Arabs so that Palestine can be restored to the Jews partly or wholly as their national home.
          The nobler course would be to insist on a just treatment of the Jews wherever they are born and bred. The Jews born in France are French in precisely the same sense that Christians born in France are French. If the Jews have no home but Palestine, will they relish the idea of being forced to leave the other parts of the world in which they are settled?  Or do they want a double home where they can remain at will? This cry  for the national home affords a colourable justification for the German expulsion of the Jews.
     ...And now a word to the Jews in Palestine. I have no doubt that they are going about it the wrong way. The Palestine of the Biblical conception is not a geographical tract. It is in their hearts. But if they must look to the Palestine of geography as their national home, it is wrong to enter it under the shadow of the British gun. A religious act cannot be performed with the aid of the bayonet or the bomb. They can settle in Palestine only by the goodwill of the Arabs. They should seek to convert the Arab heart.... (November 1938)
       See quotes from Zionists over 100 years calling for expulsion of Arabs from Palestine as a pre-requisite for the creation and maintainance of a Jewish state.