Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Mahatma Gandhi, fully Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, aka Bapu

Indian Spiritual, Nationalist, Ideological and Political Leader, Attorney, Peace Advocate promoting non-violent resistance to tyranny through civil disobedience. Honorific names include Mahatma meaning Great Soul and Bapu meaning Father.

"An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind."

"And he who would be a friend with God must remain alone, or make the whole world his friend."

"At the time of writing I never think of what I have said before. My aim is not to be consistent with my previous statements on a given question, but to be consistent with truth as it may present itself to me [at that] given moment. The result is that I have grown from truth to truth."

"A civilization is to be judged by its treatment of minorities."

"A nonviolent revolution is not a program of “seizure of power.” It is a program of transformation of relationships ending in a peaceful transfer of power."

"Almost anything you do will seem insignificant but it is very important that you do it…You must be the change you wish to see in the world."

"All sins were committed in secrecy. The moment we realize that God witnesses even our thoughts, we shall be free."

"Blaming the wolf would not help the sheep much. The sheep must learn not to fall into the clutches of the wolf."

"Both heaven and hell are within us."

"Be the change that you wish to see most in your world."

"Faith is nothing but a living, wide-awake consciousness of God within."

"Does not the history of the world show that there would have been no romance in life if there had been no risks?"

"Fear of disease killed more men than disease itself."

"Cowards can never be moral."

"Fearlessness is the first requisite of spirituality. Cowards can never be moral."

"Fear has its use, but cowardice has none. I may not put my finger into the jaws of a snake, but the very sight of the snake need not strike terror into me."

"Faith does not contradict reason but transcends it."

"God is no dictator. He leaves us the freedom to master ourselves."

"Given the opportunity, every human being has the same possibility for spiritual growth."

"Heroes are made in the hour of defeat. Success is, therefore, well described as a series of glorious defeats."

"I believe in the absolute oneness of God and therefore of humanity. What though we have many bodies? We have but one soul... I know god is neither in heaven nor down below, but in everyone."

"I believe in the essential unity of man, and for that matter, of all 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."

"For me truth is the sovereign principle, the Absolute Truth, the Eternal Principle, that is God. Though the path of relative truth is straight and narrow, even my Himalayan blunders have seemed trifling, for daily the conviction is growing that He alone is real and all else is unreal."

"God has no religion."

"Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes [err]."

"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."

"I do dimly perceive that while everything around me is ever changing, ever dying, there is underlying all that change a living power that is changeless, that holds all together, that creates, dissolves and recreates. That informing power of spirit is God, and since nothing else that I see merely through the senses can or will persist, He alone is."

"In the dictionary of the seeker of truth there is no such thing as being “not successful.” He is or should be an irrepressible optimist because of his immovable faith in the ultimate victory of Truth, which is God."

"I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent."

"I do not share the belief that there can or will be on earth one religion. I am striving, therefore, to find a common factor and to induce mutual tolerance"

"I know no diplomacy save that of truth."

"If one takes care of the means, the end will take care of itself."

"In my humble opinion, non-cooperation with evil is as much a duty as is cooperation with good."

"If we had attained the full vision of Truth, we would no longer be mere seekers, would have become one with God, for Truth is God. But being only seekers we prosecute our quest and are conscious of our imperfection."

"If we believe that mankind has steadily progressed towards ahimsa (i.e., love), it follows that it has to progress towards it still further. Nothing in this world is static, everything is kinetic. If there is not progression, then there is inevitable retrogression. No one can remain without the eternal cycle, unless it be God Himself."

"Increases in material comforts, it may be generally laid down, do not in any way whatsoever conduce to moral growth."

"Individuality… lies at the root of all progress."

"It is better to be violent, if there is violence in our hearts, than to put on a cloak of non-violence to cover impotence."

"It is a million times better to appear untrue before the world than to be untrue to ourselves."

"It is knowledge that ultimately gives salvation."

"It is impossible to realize perfect Truth so long as we are imprisoned in this mortal frame. We can only visualize it in out imagination. We cannot, through the instrumentality of this ephemeral body, see face to face Truth, which is eternal. That is why one has ultimately to fall back on faith."

"It is the quality of our work which will please God and not the quantity."

"It is not mass production but only production by the masses that can do the trick."

"It is possible for a single individual to defy the whole might of an unjust empire to save their honor, their religion, their soul and lay the foundation for that empire's fall or its regeneration."

"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."

"Life becomes livable only to the extent that death is treated as a friend, never as an enemy."

"Life is but an endless series of experiments."

"Means are not to be distinguished from ends. If violent means are used, there will be bad results."

"Love is the subtlest force in the world."

"Man’s ultimate aim is the realization of God, and all his activities, - social, religious – have to be guided by the ultimate aim of the vision of God. The immediate service of all human beings becomes a necessary part of the endeavor simply because the only way to god is to see Him in His creation and be one with it."