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EPIGRAMS FROM GANDHIJI
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There is a divine purpose behind every physical calamity.
No doubt, capital is lifeless, but not the capitalists who are amenable to conversion.
I do not regard capital to be enemy of labour.
I am convinced that the capitalist, if he follows the Samurai of Japan, has nothing really to lose and everything to gain.
I can no more tolerate the yoke of Bolshevism as described by Mr. Roy * than of capitalism.
What the two hands of the labourer could achieve, the capitalist would never get with all his gold and silver.
Labour, because it chose to remain unintelligent, either became subservient or insolently believed in damaging the capitalists goods and machinery or even in killing the capitalists.
Castles In The Air
A cave-dweller can build castles in the air, whereas a dweller in a palace like Janak* has no castles to build.
The half-starved condition of the majority of our cattle is a disgrace to us.
Celibacy is a great help, inasmuch as it enables one to lead a life of full surrender to God.
What is brahmacharya? It is the way of life, which leads us to Brahma (God).
Brahmacharya means control of the senses in thought, word and deed.
Grihasthashrama is the fair fruit of brahmacharya in life for a series of years.
To me I seem to be constantly growing. I must respond to varying conditions, yet remain changeless within.
Character alone will have real effect on masses.
Your character must be above suspicion and you must be truthful and self-controlled. XXVI-297
What will tell in the end will be character and not a knowledge of letters.
A language is an exact reflection of the character and growth of its speakers.
Men of stainless character and self-purification will easily inspire confidence and automatically purity the atmosphere around them.
Sorrow and suffering make for character if
they are voluntarily borne, but not if they are imposed.
A dissolute character is more dissolute in thought than in deed, and the same is true of violence.
If you have no character to lose, people will have no faith in you.
The real property that a parent can transmit to all equally is his or her character and educational facilities.
A vow imparts stability, ballast and firmness to ones character.
If you will express the requisite purity of character in action, you cannot do it better than through the spinning wheel.
All your scholarship, all your study of Shakespeare and Wordsworth would be vain if at the same time you do not build your character and attain mastery over your thoughts and your actions.
In the times to come the people will not judge us by the creed we profess or the label we wear or the slogans we shout but by our work, industry, sacrifice, honesty and purity of character.
Whatever may be the pros and cons of going to the public theatre, it is a patent fact that it has undermined the morals and ruined the character of many a youth in this country.
Charkha (Spinning Wheel)
Charkha is an instrument of service.
The Charkha in the hands of a poor widow brings a paltry price to her, in the hands of Jawaharlal; it is an instrument of Indias freedom.
The Charkha is an outward symbol of truth and nonviolence.
The Charkha is intended to realize the essential and living oneness of interest among Indias myriads.
The Charkha is the symbol of nonviolence on which all life, if it is to be real life, must be based.
The Charkha is the symbol of sacrifice, and sacrifice is essential for the establishment of the image of the deity.
The Charkha supplemented the agriculture of the villagers and gave it dignity.
Seek ye first the Charkha and its concomitants and everything else will be added unto you.
The charkha, which is the embodiment of willing obedience and calm persistence, must therefore succeed before there is civil disobedience.
Unless the charkha adds to your ahimsa and makes you stronger every day, your Gandhism is of little avail.
The turning of the charkha in a lifeless way will be like the turning of the beads of the rosary with a wandering mind turned away from God.
I believe that the yarn we spin is capable of mending the broken warp and woof of our life.
I claim that in losing the spinning wheel we lost our left lung.
I crave to die with my hand at the spinning wheel.
I have called spinning the yajna of this age of India.
If Gandhism means simply mechanically turning the spinning wheel, it deserves to be destroyed.
I have pinned my faith to the spinning wheel. On it, I believe, the salvation of this country depends.
In my dream, in my sleep, while eating, I think of the spinning wheel. The spinning wheel is my sword. To me it is the symbol of Indias liberty.
My heart is drawn backwards and forwards between spinning wheel and books.
For every minute that I spin, there is in me the consciousness that I am adding to the nations wealth.
The spinning wheel and the spinning wheel alone will solve, if anything will solve, the problem of the deepening poverty of India.
The spinning wheel means national consciousness and a contribution by every individual to a definite constructive national work.
He who spins before the poor, inviting them to do likewise, serves God as no one else does.
I would like to assure those who would serve Daridranarayana that there is music, art, economy and joy in the spinning wheel.
The spinning wheel is not meant to oust a single man or woman from his or her occupation.
The spinning wheel is as much a necessity of Indian life as air and water.
The spinning wheel is the thing which all must turn in the Indian clime for the transition stage at any rate and the vast majority must for all time.
The spinning wheel is itself an exquisite piece of machinery. My head daily bows in reverence to its unknown inventor.
The spinning wheel for us is the foundation for all public corporate life.
The spinning wheel is the auspicious symbol of sharir yajna, body labour.
There is no better way of industrializing the villages of India than the spinning wheel.
If you will express the requisite purity of character in action, you cannot do it better than through the spinning wheel.
Every woman will tell the curious that with the disappearance of the spinning wheel vanished Indias happiness and prosperity.
There is no "playing with truth" in the Charkha programme, for satyagraha is not predominantly civil disobedience but a quiet and irresistible pursuit of Truth.
The socialism that India can assimilate is the socialism of the spinning wheel.
The study of Indian economics is the study of the spinning wheel.
The yajna of our age and for us is the spinning wheel.
The foundation of service and your real training lie in spinning khaddar.
The restoration of spinning to its central place in Indias peaceful campaign for deliverance from the imperial yoke gives her women a special status.
Without proper, careful organisation of the spinning wheel and khaddar, there is absolutely no civil disobedience.
The music of the spinning wheel will be as balm to your soul.
Every window I have met has recognized in the wheel a dear forgotten friend.
It was our love of foreign cloth that ousted the wheel from its position of dignity.
When the wheel was accepted as part of the national flag, it was surely implied that the spinning wheel would hum in every household.
Hand-spinning is designed to put millions of rupees in the hands of the poor villagers.
If hand-spinning is an effective method of making India self-supporting, it must be made part of the franchise.
My Swaraj takes note of bhangis, dheds, dublas and the weakest of the weak, and except the spinning wheel I know no other thing which befriends all these.
A plea for the spinning wheel is a plea for recognizing the dignity of labour.
Hunger is the argument that is driving India to the spinning wheel.
India as a nation can live and die only for the spinning wheel.
Just as there are signs by which you can recognize violence with the naked eye, so is the spinning wheel to me a decisive sign of nonviolence.
Nothing can so quickly put the masses on their legs as the spinning wheel and all it means.
Restore the spinning wheel to its place and you will solve the problem of poverty.
The cause of the spinning wheel is too great and too good to have to rest on mere hero-worship.
If the poet* span for half and hour daily, his poetry would gain in richness.
(The reference here is to poet Rabindranath Tagore).
If we are true servants of the masses, we would take pride in spinning for their sakes.
One hour spent in spinning should be an hour of self-development for the spinner.
There is no yajna (sacrifice) greater than spinning calculated to bring peace to the troubled spirit, to soothe the distracted students mind, to spiritualize his life.
Chastity is one of the greatest disciplines without which the mind cannot attain requisite firmness.
Chastity is not a hothouse growth.
Children wrapped up in cotton wool are not always proof against all temptation of contamination.
Our children should not be so taught as to despise labour.
Basic education links the children, whether of the cities of villages, to all that is best and lasting in India.
The law of love could be best understood and learned through little children.
The greatest lessons in life, if we would but stoop and humble ourselves, we should learn not from the grown-up learned men, but from the so-called ignorant children.
Pestilence, wars and famines are cursed antidotes against cursed list which is responsible for unwanted children.
Jesus was the most active resister known perhaps to history. His was nonviolence par excellence.
Once Jesus had blazed the trail, his twelve disciples could carry on his mission without his presence.
Jesus never uttered a loftier or a grander truth than when he said that wisdom cometh out of the mouths of babes.
Jesus, to me, is a great world teacher among others.
The message of Jesus has proved ineffective
because the environment was unready to receive it.
Christianity in India is mextricably mixed up for the last hundred and fifty years with the British rule.
It is a first class human tragedy that people of the earth who claim to believe in the message of Jesus, whom they describe as the Prince of Peace, show little of that belief in actual practice.
Do not flatter yourselves with the belief that a mere recital of that celebrated verse in St. John makes a man a Christian.
If I had to face only the Sermon on the Mount and my own interpretation of it, I should not hesitate to say, O yes, I am a Christian.'
I do not accept the orthodox teaching that Jesus was or is God incarnate in the accepted sense or that he was or is the only son of God.
I love Christianity, Islam and many other faiths through Hinduism.
The scriptures of Christians, Mussalmans and Hindus are all replete with the teaching of ahimsa.
The Allah of Islam is the same as the God of Christians and the Ishwar of Hindus.
Education in the understanding of citizenship is a short-term affair if we are honest and earnest.
The emphasis laid on the principle of spending every minute of ones life usefully is the best education for citizenship and, incidentally, it makes basic education self-sufficient.
Civil disobedience is the assertion of a right which law should give but which it denies.
Civil disobedience can never be in general terms, such as for independence.
Civil disobedience is a 0stimulation for the fighters and a challenge to the opponent, in the present instance, authority.
Civil disobedience presupposes willing obedience of our self-imposed rules, and without it civil disobedience would be a cruel joke.
Civil disobedience is not only the natural right of a people, especially when they have no effective voice in their own Government, but that it is also a substitute for violence or armed rebellion.
Civil disobedience is the inherent right of a citizen.
Civil disobedience becomes a sacred duty when the state has becomes lawless or, which is the same thing, corrupt.
Civil disobedience can only lead to strength and purity.
Civil disobedience is a preparation for mute suffering.
Civil disobedience means capacity for unlimited suffering, without the intoxicating excitement of killing.
Civil disobedience does not admit of any violence or countenancing of violence, directly or indirectly.
Civil disobedience and excitement and intoxication go ill together.
Individual civil disobedience was everybodys inherent right, like the right of self-defence in normal life.
Mass civil disobedience was for the attainment of independence.
Mass civil disobedience is like an earthquake, a sort of general upheaval on the political plane.
Complete civil disobedience is a state of peaceful rebellion, a refusal to obey every single state-made law.
Aggressive civil disobedience should be confined to a vindication of the right of free speech and free association.
In placing civil disobedience before constructive work I was wrong and I did not profit by the Himalayan blunder that I had committed.
Disobedience, to be civil, has to be open and nonviolent.
Disobedience, to be civil, implies discipline, thought, care, attention.
Before civil disobedience can be practised on a vast scale, people must learn the art of civil or voluntary obedience.
Active nonviolence is necessary for those who will offer civil disobedience but the will and proper training are enough for the people to co-operate with those who are chosen for civil disobedience.
Non co-operation and civil disobedience are but different branches of the same tree called satyagraha.
The Charkha, which is the embodiment of willing obedience and calm persistence, must therefore succeed before there is civil disobedience.
Satyagraha does not begin and end with civil disobedience.
Satyagraha of which civil resistance is but a part is to me the universal law of life.
The liberty of the press is a dear privilege apart from the advisability or otherwise of civil disobedience.
When neglect of the call means a denial of God, civil disobedience becomes a peremptory duty.
Indeed a civil resister offers resistance only when peace becomes impossible.
Ours is a civil fight, and imprisonment as a civil prisoner has got to be earned by the strict observance of the programme.
If they are truly nonviolent, they must also realize that civil disobedience is an impossibility till the preliminary work of construction till the preliminary work of construction is done. XXV-365
For satyagraha and its offshoots, non co-operation and civil resistance are nothing but new names for the law of suffering.
The privilege of resisting or disobeying a particular law or order accrues only to him who gives willing and unswerving obedience to the laws laid down for him.
Civilization have come and gone and, in spite of our vaunted progress. I am tempted to ask again and again, ‘To what purpose?
Civilization is not an incurable disease, but it should never be forgotten that the English people are at present afflicted by it.
Civilization is that mode of conduct which points out to man the path of duty.
Civilization, in the real sense of the term, consists not in the multiplication but in the deliberate and voluntary reduction of wants.
This civilization is such that one has only to be patient and it will be self-destroyed.
Is a civilization worth the name which requires for its existence the very doubtful prop of a racial legislation and a lynch law?
Modern civilization has taught us to convert night into day and golden silence into brazen din and noise.
The truest test of civilization, culture and dignity is character and not clothing.
Further march of civilization seems to employ increasing domination of man over beast, together with a growingly humane method of using them.
The British Government in India constitutes a struggle between the modern civilization, which is the kingdom of Satan, and the ancient civilization, which is the Kingdom of God.
I want co-operation between nations for the salvaging of civilization, but co-operation presupposes free nations worthy of co-operation.
Civilization based on nonviolence must be different from that organised for violence.
In mass civil resistance leadership is essential; in individual civil resistance every resister is his own leader.
The field of research is necessarily limited, as the occasions for civil resistance in a mans life not be frequent.
It does not require money to be neat, clean and dignified.
Members of a family will keep their house clean, but they will not be interested in the neighbours.
Coercion cannot but result in chaos in the end.
The man who uses coercion is guilty of deliberate violence. Coercion is inhuman.
Since satyagraha is a method of conversion and conviction, it seeks never to use the slightest coercion.
My method is conversion, not coercion; it is self-suffering, not the suffering of the tyrant.
Communism, as I have understood it, is a natural corollary of socialism.
The socialistic conception of the West was born in an environment reeking with violence.
Our socialism or communism should be based on nonviolence and on harmonious co-operation of labour and capital, landlord and tenant.
I claim to be a foremost communist although I make use of cars and other facilities offered to me by the rich.
I can no more tolerate the yoke of Bolshevism (as described by Mr. Roy*) than of capitalism.
The essential condition of a compromise is that there should be nothing humiliating and nothing panicky about it.
Compulsion means submission of protestants to the thing they oppose under pain of being fined or imprisoned.
Counting beads with the name of Allah on ones lips whilst the mind sanders in all directions is worse than useless.
The safest rule of conduct is to claim kinship when we want to do service, and not to insist on kinship when we want to assert a right.
I am painfully aware of the fact that conduct everywhere falls far short of belief.
Confession of error is like a broom that sweeps away the dirt and leaves the surface cleaner than before.
Prayer is a confession of ones unworthiness and weakness.
I feel stronger for my confession. And the cause must prosper for the retracing.
Indeed, the errors and my prompt confessions have made me surer, if possible, of my insight into the implications of truth and ahimsa.
Conscience can reside only in delicately tuned breast.
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.
Remember that no political programme can stand without the constructive programme.
I would like people to compete with me in my contentment. It is the richest treasure I won.
If my nonviolence is to be contagious and infectious, I must acquire greater control over my thoughts.
Conversion is a matter of heart and reason. An appeal to heart and reason can only be made through conduct.
Conversion without a clean heart is a denial of God and religion.
Conversion without cleanness of heart can only be a matter of sorrow, not joy, to a godly person.
Surely conversion is a matter between man and his Maker who alone knows His creatures hearts.
I believe in conversion of mankind, not its destruction.
I was a co-operator too in the sense that I non-co-operated for co-operation, and even then I said that if I could carry the country forward by co-operation I should co-operate.
My non-co-operation is a token of my earnest longing for real heart co-operation in the place of co-operation falsely so called.
Non-co-operation with evil is as much a duty as co-operation with good.
At times, non-co-operation becomes as much a duty as co-operation.
Nonviolent action without the co-operation of the heart and the head cannot produce the intended result.
The nations non-co-operation is an invitation to the Government to co-operate with in on its own terms, as is every nations right and every good governments duty.
A government builds its prestige upon the apparently voluntary association of the governed.
Drops in separation could only fade away, drops in co-operation made the ocean, which carried on its broad bosom the ocean greyhounds.
A drop torn from the ocean perishes without doing any good.
Copyright is not a natural thing. It is a modern institution, perhaps desirable to a certain extent.
Writings in the journals which I have the privilege of editing must be common property.
Error ceases to be error when it is corrected.
Corruption and hypocrisy ought not to be inevitable products of democracy, as they undoubtedly are today.
The cottage industry of India had to perish in order that Lancashire might flourish.
Human dignity demands the courage to defend oneself.
Ahimsa calls for the strength and courage to suffer without retaliation, to receive blows without returning any.
The cow to me is a sermon on pity.
The cow is the purest type of sub-human life.
Mother cow is as useful dead as when she is alive.
Mother cow expects from us nothing but grass and grain.
Mother cow is in many ways better than the mother who gave use birth.
Man through the cow is enjoined to realize his identity with all that lives.
Cow protection is the gift of Hinduism to the world.
Cow protection to me is one of the most wonderful phenomena in the human evolution.
We cry for cow protection in the name of religion, but we refuse protection to the human cow in the shape of the girl widow.
Cow protection can only be secured by cultivating universal friendliness, i.e. ahimsa.
Cow protection means protection of the weak, the helpless, the dumb and the deaf.
Cow protection to me is infinitely more than mere protection of the cow.
The central fact of Hinduism is cow protection.
Cow preservation is an article of faith in Hinduism.
The only way Hindus can convert the whole world to cow protection is by giving and object-lesson in cow protection and all it means.
My religion teaches me that I should by my personal conduct instil into the minds of those who might hold different views the conviction that cow-killing is a sin.
By ahimsa we will be able to save the cow and also win the friendship of the English.
When I see a cow, it is not an animal to eat; it is a poem of pity for me and I worship it and I shall defend its worship against the whole world.
If I were overfull of pity for the cow, I should sacrifice my life to save her but not to take my brothers.
Cow-slaughter and man-slaughter are in my opinion the two sides of the same coin.
Cow-slaughter can never be stopped by law.
The cow can be saved only if buffalo-breeding is given up.
It is no part of religion to breed buffaloes or, for that matter, cows.
Nowhere in the world you find such skeletons of cows and bullocks as you do in out cow-worshipping India.
Cowardice was incompatible with divine wisdom.
Cowardice is no sign of belief in God.
Cowardice, whether philosophical or otherwise, I abhor.
Better far than cowardice is killing and being killed in battle.
Could there be a greater proof of our cowardice than fighting amongst ourselves?
No police or military in the world can protect people who are cowards.
There can be no friendship between cowards, or cowards and brave men.
It was the cowards who died many times before their death.
It is better to be charged with cowardice and weakness than to be guilty of denial of our oath and sin against God.
Nonviolence is the virtue of the manly. The coward is innocent of it.
Nonviolence and cowardice go ill together.
Between violence and cowardly flight, I can only prefer violence to cowardice.
Nonviolence should never be used as a shield for cowardice. It was a weapon of the brave.
To change ones religion under the threat of force was no conversion, but rather cowardice.
Swaraj is not meant for cowards, but for those who would mount smilingly to the gallows and refuse was no conversion, but rather cowardice.
To retaliate against the relatives of the co-religionists of the wrong-doer is a cowardly act.
I can no more preach nonviolence to a cowardly man than I can tempt a blind man to enjoy healthy scenes.
I would rather have India resort to arms in order to defend her honour than that she should in a cowardly manner become or remain a helpless witness to her own dishonour.
The truth is that cowardice itself is violence of a subtle and therefore dangerous type and far more difficult to eradicate than the habit of physical violence.
Running away for fear of death, leaving ones dear ones, temples or music to take care of themselves, is irreligion; it is cowardice.
Where there is only a choice between cowardice and violence, I would advise violence.
Ahimsa is an attribute of the brave. Cowardice and ahimsa don’t go together any more than water and fire.
For thousands to do to death few hundreds is no bravery. It is worse than cowardice. It is unworthy of nationalism, of any religion.
Free, open love I have looked upon as dogs love. Secret love is, besides cowardly.
Religion is the tie that binds one to ones Creator, and whilst the body perishes, as it has to, religion persists even after death.
When I admire the wonder of a sunset or the beauty of the moon, my soul expands in worship of the Creator.
Crime is like a disease, like any other malady, and is a product of the prevalent social system.
Surrender is no mitigation of the crime. It may easily be simple bravado.
Healthy, well-informed, balanced criticism is the ozone of public life.
Volunteers should regard criticism as the food on which they live.
I would like to say that even the teaching themselves of the Koran cannot be exempt from criticism.
Intolerance of criticism even of what one may prize as dear as life itself is not conducive to the growth of public corporate life. XXVI-234
Surely, Islam has nothing to fear from criticism even if it is unreasonable.
God cannot be so cruel and unjust as to make the distinctions of high and low between man and man, and woman and woman.
A nations culture resides in the hearts and in the soul of its people.
Mutual courtesy and respect was the foundation of culture.
No culture can live if it attempts to be exclusive.
It is my firm opinion that no culture has treasures to rich as ours has.
The truest test of civilization, culture and dignity is character and not clothing.
The ideal is a synthesis of the different culture that have come to stay in India, that have influenced Indian life, and that, in their turn, have themselves been influenced by the spirit of the soil.
I claim to represent all the cultures, for my religion, whatever it may be called, demands the fulfillment of all the cultures.
My religion forbids me to belittle or disregard other cultures, as it insists under pain of civil suicide upon imbibing and living my own.
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