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THE SELECTED WORKS OF MAHATMA GANDHI > Vol. V - THE VOICE OF TRUTH > Part II- Section II: Means and Ends > The power of Non-violence


The power of Non-violence

I swear by non-violence because I know that it alone conduces to the highest good of mankind, not merely in the next world but in this also. I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary, the evil it does is permanent.

Young India, 21-5-‘25, p. 178


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. Destruction is not the law of the humans. Man lives freely only by his readiness to die, If need be, at the hands of his brother, never by killing him. Every murder or other injury, no matter for what cause, committed or inflicted on another is a crime against humanity.

Harijan, 20-7-‘35, p. 180


I have been practicing with scientific precision non-violence and its possibilities for an unbroken period of over fifty years. I have applied it in every walk of life, domestic, institutional, economic and political. I know of no single case in which it has failed, I have ascribed it to my imperfections. I claim no perfection for myself. But I do claim to be a passionate seeker after Truth, which is but another name of God. In the course of that search, the discovery of non-violence came to me. Its spread is my life mission. I have no interest in living except for the prosecution of that mission.

Harijan, 6-7-‘40, pp. 185-86


In this age of wonders no one will say that a thing or an idea is worthless because it is new. To say it is impossible because it is new. To say it is impossible because it is difficult, is again not in consonance with the spirit of the age. Things undreamt of are daily being seen, the impossible is ever becoming possible. We are constantly being astonished these days at the amazing discoveries in the field of violence. But I maintain that far more undreamt of any seemingly impossible discoveries will be made in the field of non-violence.

Harijan, 25-8-‘40, p. 260


Ahimsa is a science. The word ‘failure’ has no place in the vocabulary of science. Failure to obtain the expected result is often the precursor to further discoveries.

Harijan, 6-5-‘39, p. 113


Non-violence is like radium in its action. An infinitesimal quantity of it embedded in a malignant growth, acts continuously, silently, and ceaselessly till has transformed the whole mass of the diseased tissue into a healthy one. Similarly, even a little of true non-violence acts in a silent, subtle, unseen way and leavens the whole society.

Harijan, 12-11-‘38, p. 327


Superficially we are surrounded in life by strife and bloodshed, life living upon life. But some great seer, who ages ago penetrated the centre of Truth, said: It is not through strife and violence, but through non-violence that man can fulfill his destiny and his duty to his fellow-creatures.  It is a force which is more positive than electricity and more powerful than even other. At the centre of non-violence is a force which is self-acting.

Harijan, 14-3-‘36, p. 39