Back | Next
PHILOSOPHY > THE MIND OF MAHATMA GANDHI > The Atom Bomb
The Atom Bomb
There have been cataclysmic changes in the world. Do I still adhere to my faith in truth and non-violence? Has not the atom bomb exploded that faith? Not only has it not done so, but it has clearly demonstrated to me that the twins constitute the mightiest force in the world. Before it the atom bomb is of no effect. The two opposing forces are wholly different in kind, the one moral and spiritual, the other physical and material. The one is infinitely superior to the other which by its very nature has an end. The force of the spirit is ever progressive and endless. Its full expression makes it unconquerable in the world. In saying this I know that I have said nothing new. I merely bear witness to the fact. What is more, the force resides in everybody, man, woman and child, irrespective of the colour of the skin. Only, in many it lies dormant. But it is capable of being awakened by judicious training.
It is further to be observed that, without the recognition of this truth and due effort to realize it, there is no escape from self-destruction, the remedy lies in every individual training himself for self-expression in every walk of life, irrespective of response by the neighbours. (H, 10-2-1946, p. 8)
Has not the atom bomb proved the futility of all violence? (H, 10-3-1946, p. 36)
Ahimsa The Answer
Often does good come out of evil. But that is Gods not mans plan. Man knows that only evil can come out of evil, as good out of good.
That atomic energy, though harnessed by American scientists and army men for destructive purposes, may be utilized by other scientists for humanitarian purposes, is undoubtedly within the realm of possibility. But that is not what was meant by my American friends. They were not so simple as to put a question which connoted an obvious truth. An incendiary uses fire for his destructive and nefarious purpose, a housewife makes daily use of it in preparing nourishing food for mankind.
The moral to be legitimately drawn from the supreme tragedy of the bomb is that it will not be destroyed by counter-bomb, even as violence cannot be by counter-violence. Mankind has to get out of violence only through non-violence. Hatred can be overcome only by love, Counter-hatred only increases the surface as well as the depth of hatred. I am aware that I am repeating what I have many times stated before and practiced to the best of my ability and capacity. What I first stated was itself nothing new. It is as old as the hills. Only, I recited no copy book maxim, but definitely announced what I believe in every fibre of my being. Sixty years of practice in various walks of life has only enriched the belief which the experience of friends has fortified. It is, however, the central truth by which one can stand alone without flinching. I believe in what Max Muller said years ago, namely, that truth needed to be repeated as long as there were men who disbelieved it. (H, 7-7-1946, p. 212)
"The very frightfulness of the atom bomb will not force non-violence on the world? If all nations are armed with the atom bomb, they will refrain from using it as it wall mean absolute destruction for all concerned?" I am of the opinion that it will not. The violent mans eye would be lit up with the prospect of the much greater amount of destruction and death which he could now wreak. (H, 23-7-1946, p. 197)
Antidote To The Bomb
"What is the antidote? Has it antiquated non-violence?" No. On the contrary, non-violence is the only thing that is now lift in the field. It is the only thing that the atom bomb cannot destroy. I did not move a muscle when I first heard that the atom bomb had wiped out Hiroshima. On the contrary, I said to myself, unless now the world adopts non-violence, it will spell certain suicide for mankind. (H, 29-9-1946, p. 335)
I have no doubt, that unless big nations shed their desire of exploitation and the spirit of violence of which war is the natural expression and atom bomb the inevitable consequence, there is no hope for peace in the world. I tried to speak out during the War and wrote open letters to the British people, to Hitler and to the Japanese and was dubbed a fifth columnist for my pains. (H, 10-11-1946, p. 389)
Wise Men Of The East
Message Of Asia
The west today is pining for wisdom. It is despairing of a multiplication of the atom bombs, because atom bomb mean utter destruction not merely of the West but of the whole world, as if the prophecy of the Bible is going to be fulfilled and there is to be a prefect deluge. It is up to you to tell the world of its wickedness and sin-that is the heritage your teachers and my teachers have taught Asia.
The weapon of violence, even if it is the atom bomb, becomes useless when it is matched against true non-violence. (H, 1-6-1947, p.172)