Epigrams From Gandhiji

Gandhi quotes on various subjects

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» Daridranarayana is insatiable and there is room enough in his belly for all the money and ornaments you can give. T-2-272

» The real Daridranarayana even I have not seen, but know only through my imagination. T-2-272

» I would like to assure those who would serve Daridranarayana that there is music, art, economy and joy in the spinning wheel. T-2-275

» Of all the myriad of Gods, Daridranarayana is the most sacred, inasmuch as it represents the untold millions of poor people as distinguished from the few rich people. T-2-377

» It is my great misfortune that I have to measure your love by the money and gifts you give for Daridranarayana. T-2-354


» Death is at any time blessed, but it is twice blessed for a warrior who dies for his cause, that is, truth. T-2-237

» Death is no fiend, he is the truest of friends. He delivers us from agony. T-2-237

» Death on the battlefield is welcome to a soldier. XXV-329

» To die in the act of killing is, in essence, to die defeated. MM-169

» Birth and death are not two different states, but they are different aspects of the same state. XXV-333

» It is as clear to me as daylight that life and death are but phases of the same thing, the reverse and obverse of the same coin. T-3-4

» A courageous man prefers death to the surrender of self-respect. MM-462

» Life becomes livable only to the extent that death is treated as a friend, never as an enemy. T-8-205

» If love was not the law of life, life would not have persisted in the midst of death. TIG-18

» True ahimsa should wear a smile even on a deathbed brought about by an assailant. It is only with that ahimsa that we can convert our opponents and win their love. T-5-243

» It was the cowards who died many times before their death. T-7-110

» If we weep for all the deaths in our country, the tears in our eyes would never dry. TIG-147

» Running away for fear of death, leaving one’s dear ones, temples or music to take care of themselves, is irreligion; it is cowardice. XXV-138

» Where death without resistance or death after resistance is the only way, neither party should think of resorting to law-courts or help from the government. XXV-138

» What is imprisonment to the man who is fearless of death itself? T-2-65

» I came alone in this world, I have walked alone in the valley of the shadow of death, and I shall quit alone when the time comes. T-7-147

» Only my death will determine whether I am ‘Mahomed Gandhi’, Jinnah’s slave, destroyer of the Hindu religion or its true servant and protector.T-7-370

» I can see that in the midst of death life persists, in the midst of untruth truth persists, in the midst of darkness light persists. Hence I gather that God is life, Truth, Light. He is Love. He is the supreme good.T-2-313

» You may pluck out my eyes, but that cannot kill me. You may chop off my nose, but that will not kill me. But blast my belief in God, and I am dead.TIG-35

» It is much more difficult to live for nonviolence than to die for it.T-5-4

» History is replete with instances of men, who, by dying with courage and compassion on their lips converted the hearts of their violent opponents. T-3-3


» In the billiard room and on the tennis-court think of the big debt that is being piled against you from day to day. T-2-272

» What God may have enabled me to do is but a repayment of debt, and he who repays a debt deserves no praise.T-4-257


» Terrorism and deception are weapons not of the strong but of the weak.T-2-20


» Heroes are made in the hour of defeat. Success is, therefore, well described as a series of glorious defeats. XXV-588

» Never own defeat in a sacred cause and make up your minds henceforth that you will be pure and that you will find a response from God. TIG-58

» Defeat has no place in the dictionary of nonviolence. T-4-139


» It is the Maginot Line* that has made the Siegfried Line** necessary and vice versa. T-5-178
* For defence of France constructed by France on her frontier
**For defence of Germany constructed by Germany on her frontier

» Whether one or many, I must declare my faith that it is better for India to discard violence altogether even for defending her borders.T-5-178


» Democracy necessarily means a conflict of will and ideas, involving sometimes a war of the knife between different ideas.T-3-291

» Democracy can only represent the average if not less than the average. MM-343

» The very essence of democracy is that every person represents all the varied interests which compose the nation. T-5-75

» Democracy comes naturally to him who is habituated normally to yield willing obedience to all laws, human or divine. T-5-104

» Democracy demands patient instruction on it before legislation. MM-344

» Democracy, disciplined and enlightened, is the finest thing in the world. MM-338

» Democracy and dependence on the military and police are incompatible. MM-347

» Democracy is a great institution and, therefore, it is liable to be greatly abused. MM-345

» Democracy is an impossible thing until the power is shared by all, but let not democracy degenerate into mobocracy. MM-345

» Democracy is not a state in which people act like sheep. MM-341

» Democracy and violence can ill go together. MM-347

» Evolution of democracy is not possible if we are not prepared to hear the other side. MM-342

» The spirit of democracy cannot be imposed from without. It has to come from within. T-3-301

» In the days of democracy there is no such thing as active loyalty to a person. You are, therefore, loyal or disloyal to institutions. T-3-25

» Democracy will break under the strain of apron strings. It can exist only on trust. MM-339

» Islam was nothing if it did not spell complete democracy. T-7-312

» My notion of democracy is that under it the weakest should have the same opportunity as the strongest. T-5-277

» To safeguard democracy people must have a keen sense of independence, self-respect and their oneness. MM-339

» What is really needed to make democracy function is not knowledge of facts, but right education. T-7-209

» Intolerance, discourtesy and harshness are taboo in all good societies and are surely contrary to the spirit of democracy. MM-342

» The line of demarcation between democracy and monocracy is often thin, but rigid and stronger than unbreakable steel. MM-346

» In true democracy every man and woman is taught to think for himself or herself. MM-338

» The spirit of democracy cannot be established in the midst of terrorism, whether governmental or popular. MM-347

» The spirit of democracy is not a mechanical thing to be adjusted by abolition of forms. It requires change of heart. MM-338

» People in a democracy should be satisfied with drawing the Government’s attention to a mistake, if any. MM-341

» You have to uphold democracy, for, democracy and dependence on the military and the police are incompatible. T-7-284

» Under democracy, individual liberty of opinion and action is jealously guarded. MM-341

» No perfect democracy is possible without perfect nonviolence at the back of it. MM-348

» The only force at the disposal of democracy is that of public opinion. T-8-100

» True democracy is not inconsistent with a few persons representing the spirit, the hope and the aspirations of those whom they claim to represent. T-3-301

» The voice of the people may be said to be God’s voice, the voice of the Panchayat. MM-340

» A born democrat is a born disciplinarian. T-5-104

» A democrat must be utterly selfless. He must think and dream not in terms of self or of party, but only of democracy. T-5-104

» The true democrat is he who, with purely nonviolent means, defends his liberty and, therefore, his country’s and ultimately that of the whole of mankind. MM-347

» A democratic organization has to dare to do the right at all costs. MM-346

» Corruption and hypocrisy ought not to be inevitable products of democracy, as they undoubtedly are today.T-3-301


» No nation being under another nation can accept gifts, and kick at the responsibility attached to those gifts imposed by the conquering nation. T-2-13


» When there is no desire for fruit, there is also no temptation for untruth or himsa. T-2-311


» "Despair" is a term which does not occur in my dictionary. XXVI-266

» I shall despair when I despair of myself, of God and humanity. XXVI-266


» Man is the maker of his own destiny, and I therefore ask you to become makers of your own destiny. XXVI-294

» To find Truth completely is to realize oneself and one’s destiny, to become perfect.T-2-73

Devotee – Devotion (Bhakti)

» Devotion to Truth is the sole justification for our effusiveness. TIG-20

» Devotion required by the Gita is not soft-hearted effusiveness. T-2-309

» Without devotion, action and knowledge are cold and dry, and may even become shackles.MOG-26

» A devotee may use, if he likes, rosaries, forehead marks, make offerings, but these things are not a test of his devotion.T-2-309

» A devote of Rama may be said to be the same as the steadfast one (sthitaprajnya) of the Gita.TIG-111

» The path of bhakti, karma, love, as expounded in the Gita, leaves no room for the despising of man by man. T-2-278

» Knowledge without devotion will be like a misfire. TIG-99

» Renunciation is the central sun, around which devotion, knowledge and the rest revolve like planets. TIG-99

» In order that knowledge may not run riot, the author of the Gita has insisted on devotion accompanying it and has given it the first place.T-2-309


» A correct diagnosis is three-fourths the remedy. T-5-129


» The truest test of civilization, culture and dignity is character and not clothing.XXVI-258


» I know no diplomacy save that of truth.XXV-423


» A free India will throw all her weight in favour of world disarmament and should herself be prepared to give a lead in this.T-5-319


» True discipline gives enthusiastic obedience to instructions even though they do not satisfy the reason. T-5-266

» A disciplined army of a few hundred picked men has routed countless undisciplined hordes. XXVI-564

» Conscience is the ripe fruit of strictest discipline. XXV-23

» A student’s life has been rightly likened to the life of a sanyasi. He must be the embodiment of simple living and high thinking. He must be discipline incarnate. His pleasure is derived from his studies. T-8-71

» Unless discipline is rooted in nonviolence, it might prove a source of infinite mischief. T-4-256

» For winning Swaraj one requires iron discipline. XXV-5

» A born democrat is a born disciplinarian. T-5-104

» A man who would interpret the scriptures must have spiritual discipline. MOG-13

» Chastity is one of the greatest disciplines without which the mind cannot attain requisite firmness. X-52

» I have not known of a war gained by a rabble, but I have known of wars gained by disciplined armies. T-2-13

» Non-co-operation is a measure of discipline and sacrifice, and it demands respect for the opponents views.T-2-12


» We are like the nurses, who may not leave their patients because they are reported to have an incurable disease.T-4-73


» A businessman who lies and cheats his simple minded and ignorant customers cannot hope to be saved.T-7-124


» Labour is a great levelers of all distinctions. T-8-97


» It is weakness which breeds fear, and fear breeds distrust.T-2-123

Divine Rights

» There is no such thing as the divine right of the kings to rule and the humble duty of the ryots to pay respectful obedience to their masters.T-8-31


» Divine knowledge is not borrowed from books. It has to be realized by oneself. TIG-94

» The meaning of prayer is that I want to evoke that Divinity within me. T-5-147

» The Divine Radio is always singing, if we could only make ourselves ready to listen to it, but it is impossible to listen without silence. TIG-60

» There is a divine purpose behind every physical calamity. TIG-24

» I cannot ascribe exclusive divinity to Jesus. He is as divine as Krishna or Rama or Muhammad or Zoroaster. TIG-78

» My belief in the Hindu scriptures does not require me to accept every word and every verse as divinely inspired. TIG-75


» A doctor who uses his talent to pander to the vice of his patient degrades himself and his patient. TIG-114

Dominion Status

» Dominion status is nothing if it does not mean the ability of the dominion in question to stand by itself. T-5-254

» My conception of dominion status implies present ability to sever the British connection if I wish to. T-2-382


» Close the day with prayer so that you may have a peaceful night free from dreams and nightmares. TIG-43


» Drink makes a man forget himself. He ceases to be a man for the time being. He becomes less than a beast. XXVI-350

» It is wrong and immoral for a nation to supply intoxicating liquor to those who are addicted to drink.XXV-474


» Civilization is that mode of conduct which points out to man the path of duty. X-37

» A duty religiously performed carries with it several other important consequences. T-3-225

» A man can give up a right, but he may not give up a duty without being guilty of a grave dereliction. T-2-324

» Means to be means must always be within our reach, and so ahimsa is our supreme duty. TIG-37

» Ahimsa is the highest duty. Even if we cannot practise it in full, we must try to understand its spirit and refrain as far as is humanly possible from violence. T-7-61

» Performance of duty and observance of morality are convertible terms. X-37

» Out of the performance of duties flow rights, and those that knew and performed their duties came naturally by their rights. XXV-573

» A pure fast, like duty, is its own reward. T-8-247

» The true source of rights is duty. T-2-179

» A teetotaler would regard it as his duty to associate with his drunkard brother for the purpose of weaning him from the evil habit. XXVI-65

» If leaving duties unperformed we run after rights, they will escape us like a will-o’-the-wisp. TIG-152

» If we all discharge our duties, rights will not be far to seek. XXV-564

» A wretched parent who claims obedience from his children, without first doing his duty by them, excites nothing but contempt. T-8-31

» He who is ever brooding over result often loses nerve in the performance of his duty. T-2-310

» No people have risen who thought only of rights. Only those did so who thought of duties. XXV-573

» You cannot neglect the nearer duty for the sake of a remote. XXV-160

» Violence becomes imperative when an attempt is made to assert rights without any reference to duties. T-4-13

» In my humble opinion, non-co-operation with evil is as much a duty as is co-operation with good. T-2-100

» I know, too, that performance of one’s duty should be independent of public opinion. T-2-320

» I know that not only is Swaraj our birthright, but it is our sacred duty to win it. T-2-26222

» No displeasure, even of the dearest friends, can put me off the duty I see clearly in front of me. T-5-296