101 Mahatma Gandhi Quotes to Inspire Yourself

101 Mahatma Gandhi Quotes to Inspire Yourself March 2, 2015


Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi better known as Mahatma Gandhi, is today referred to as the “Father of the Nation” in India. Besides being a critical spearhead in the Indian Independence Movement, he is also a guiding light for many in aspects of life, spirituality and religion. Here are 101 memorable Mahatma Gandhi quotes on a variety of topics.

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Mahatma Gandhi Quotes on Love and Inclusion

Hate the sin, love the sinner.

The good man is the friend of all living things.

Civilization is the encouragement of differences.

No culture can live, if it attempts to be exclusive.

That service is the noblest which is rendered for its own sake.

Whenever you are confronted with an opponent, conquer him with love.

The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.

The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.

Service which is rendered without joy helps neither the servant nor the served.

Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.

Mahatma Gandhi Quotes on Change and Service

Those who cannot renounce attachment to the results of their work are far from the path.

Action expresses priorities.

Nonviolence is a weapon of the strong.

To lose patience is to lose the battle.

The future depends on what you do today.

An ounce of practice is worth a thousand words.

It is difficult, but not impossible, to conduct strictly honest business

If I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning.

The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.

Victory attained by violence is tantamount to a defeat, for it is momentary.

First they ignore you, then laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.

Honest differences are often a healthy sign of progress.

Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.

Be the change you want to see in the world.

Mahatma Gandhi Quotes on Religion, God and Spirituality

God has no religion.

The one religion is beyond all speech.

Even if you are a minority of one, the truth is the truth.

Prayer is the key of the morning and the bolt of the evening.

Faith is put to the test when the situation is most difficult.

As long as you derive inner help and comfort from anything, keep it.

Faith becomes lame, when it ventures into matters pertaining to reason!

I believe in the fundamental truth of all great religions of the world.

A leader is useless when he acts against the promptings of his own conscience.

In matters of conscience, the law of the majority has no place.

It is easy enough to be friendly to one’s friends but to befriend one who regards himself as your enemy is the quintessence of true religion.

To retaliate against the relatives of the co-religionists of the wrong-doer is a cowardly act.

Ashram means a community of men of religion. I feel that an ashram was a necessity of life for me.

Religion is a matter of the heart. No physical inconvenience can warrant abandonment of one’s own religion.

Miscellaneous Mahatma Gandhi Quotes

The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world’s problem.

You may never know what results come of your action, but if you do nothing there will be no result.

Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.

A ‘No’ uttered from the deepest conviction is better than a ‘Yes’ merely uttered to please, or worse, to avoid trouble.

Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.

Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.

You can chain me, you can torture me, you can even destroy this body, but you will never imprison my mind.

If you want real peace in the world, start with children.

Intolerance is itself a form of violence and an obstacle to the growth of a true democratic spirit.

Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.

It is unwise to be too sure of ones own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err.

God has given me no control over the following moment. I am concerned about taking care of the present.

An ounce of practice is worth a thousand words.

Have faith in humanity. Humanity is like an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the whole ocean doesn’t become dirty.

Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.

A leader is useless when he acts against the promptings of his own conscience.

To believe in something, and not to live it, is dishonest.

I have no disciples, being myself an aspirant after discipleship and in search of a guru.

The hardest heart and the grossest ignorance must disappear before the rising sun of suffering without anger and without malice.

I believe that there is no prayer without fasting and there is no real fast without prayer.

It is better to be violent, if there is violence in our hearts, than to put on the cloak of nonviolence to cover impotence.

Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.

Your beliefs become your thoughts, Your thoughts become your words, Your words become your actions, Your actions become your habits, Your habits become your values, Your values become your destiny.

An eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind.

Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.

Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.

Always aim at complete harmony of thought and word and deed. Always aim at purifying your thoughts and everything will be well.

One can measure the greatness and the moral progress of a nation by looking at how it treats its animals.

I wish to change there minds, not kill them for weaknesses we all poses.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs, but not even one man’s greed.

To give pleasure to a single heart by a single act is better than a thousand heads bowing in prayer.

Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.

An error does not become truth by reason of multiplied propagation, nor does truth become error because nobody sees it.

Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.

Prayer is the key of the morning and the bolt of the evening.

Even if you are a minority of one, the truth is the truth.

A man is but the product of his thoughts what he thinks, he becomes.

Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the act depriving a whole nation of arms as the blackest.

Always aim at complete harmony of thought and word and deed, always aim at purifying your thoughts and everything will be well.

A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history.

A principle is the expression of perfection, and as imperfect beings like us cannot practise perfection, we devise every moment limits of its compromise in practice.

Faith becomes lame, when it ventures into matters pertaining to reason!

Fear has its use but cowardice has none.

My life is my message.

Nobody can hurt me without my permission.

All humanity is one undivided and indivisible family, and each one of us is responsible for the misdeeds of all the others.

Distinguish between real needs and artificial wants and control the latter.

Satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment. Full effort is full victory.

When you want to find Truth as God, the only inevitable means is love, that is nonviolence.

The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world’s problem.

We have to handover the earth, the air, the land and the water to the children at least as it was handed over to us.

As long as you derive inner help and comfort from anything, keep it.

I am prepared to die, but there is no cause for which I am prepared to kill.

Love is the strongest force the world possesses, yet it is the humblest imaginable.

You may never know what results come of your actions, but if you do nothing, there will be no results.

Before the throne of the Almighty, man will be judged not by his acts but by his intentions. For God alone reads our hearts.

Nothing has saddened me so much in life as the hardness of heart of educated people.

Peace between countries must rest on the solid foundation of love between individuals.

Power based on love is a thousand times more effective and permanent than the one derived from fear of punishment.

Faith is put to the test when the situation is most difficult.

Anger is the enemy of non-violence and pride is a monster that swallows it up.

Peace is the most powerful weapon of mankind.

To answer brutality with brutality is to admit one’s moral and intellectual bankruptcy and it can only start a viscous cycle.

What is truth? A difficult question; but I have solved it for myself by saying that it is what the “Voice within” tells you.

One needs to be slow to form convictions, but once formed they must be defended against the heaviest odds.

A man is the sum of his actions, of what he has done, of what he can do, nothing else.

Freedom is never dear at any price. It is the breath of life. What would a man not pay for living?

The real love is to love them that hate you, to love your neighbor even though you distrust him.

Non-violence requires a double faith, faith in God and also faith in man.

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

God lives, but not as we. His creatures live but to die. But God is life. Therefore, goodness is not an attribute. Goodness is God.

Cheeky Mahatma Gandhi Quotes!

I don’t reject Christ. I love Christ. It’s just that so many of you Christians are so unlike Christ.

(When asked what he thought of Western civilization): I think it would be a good idea.

Don’t forget, all these quotes and more can be found in the Spiritual Quote of the Day Android App.

All About Mahatma Gandhi

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi better known as Mahatma Gandhi, was born on October 2, 1869 at Porbandar in Western India. His parents were orthodox Hindus. His father Karamchand was the prime minister, first, to the ruler of Porbandar and later on to that of Rajkot in Kathiawar, and still later on to that of Wankaner. At the age of thirteen when he was still a school student Gandhi married Kasturbai, the daughter of a Porbandar merchant. The bride was of practically the same age as the bridegroom, and the marriage lasted till the death of Kasturbai in a British prison sixty-two years later. At the age of eighteen Gandhi became the father of a son and next year he, left for England where he stayed for three years (1888-91) and qualified himself as a barrister-at-law. On his return to India he practised law at Rajkot and in Bombay but he had little success.

So when in 1892 an offer of a brief came from an Indian Muhammadan firm which had business in South Africa Gandhi readily accepted it and went to South Africa in 1893. Ere long he had the bitter experience of the humiliating treatment to which Indians were then subjected in South Africa. He was travelling with a first class ticket by railway from Durban to Pretoria. On the way at Maritzburg a white man entered the compartment in which Gandhi was travelling and had him ejected from the compartment with the help of the local police, for in South Africa no Indian, however rich and respectable, was to be allowed to travel in the first class along with white passengers. The Maritzburg incident had a profound influence in shaping Gandhi’s career. As he himself wrote, “I was pushed out of the train by a police constable at Maritzburg, and the train having left, was sitting in the waiting room, shivering in the cold. I did not know where my luggage was nor did I dare to enquire of anybody, lest I might be insulted and assaulted once again. Sleep was out of the question. Doubt took possession of my mind.

Late at night I came to the conclusion that to run back to India would be cowardly. I must accomplish what I had undertaken.’ The Maritzburg incident marked the dawn in his mind of the determination of dedicating himself for the emancipation of the Indians from the insulting life to which they had been so long condemned in South Africa. So for the next twenty years (1893-1914) Gandhi stayed, with short breaks, in South Africa where he soon took the leadership in a movement for removing the disabilities under which the Indians there were suffering. In pursuit of this movement he gave up the lucrative legal practice that he had soon acquired in South Africa: devoted himself to a drastic course of brahmacharya or self-discipline and lived with his family and friends in a self-supporting colony which he called Tolstoy Farm. He read deeply the Bhagavat Gita (q.v.) on which he later on published a commentary as well as Ruskin and Tolstoy from all of which he drew his ideas and inspiration.

He became convinced that a life to be useful must be full of activities unselfishly done for the good of the community and that a good life was the life lived near the soil, with a minimum dependence on machines. He formed the Natal Indian Congress in 1894 and in the course of the long South African agitation he, his wife and companions suffered arrest and imprisonment. Gandhi himself was assaulted personally on one occasion by Europeans who hated his presence in South Africa and on another occasion by some Indian Pathans because he supported a compromise with the South African leader, General Smuts who, however, proved untrue to his own pledged words. During the South African War of 1899-1902 and the Zulu rebellion of 1906 he organised with Indians an ambulance corps to nurse the wounded British soldiers, for he considered that it was the duty of the Indians to assist the British Empire in times of stress, as it was essentially beneficent. But the British imperialists were not touched. On the other hand, on the heels of a series of repressive measures an act was passed requiring every Indian living in the Transvaal to register himself along with every member of his family each of whom was to carry on his person an identity card. Against this humiliating law Gandhi organised a mighty movement of resistance amongst the Indians in South Africa based on the policy of non-violent civil disobedience. Under his leadership bands of Indians refused to register themselves and repeatedly crossed the Transvaal frontier in violation of the law and were put into prison until at last more than 2000 Indians followed Gandhi, non-violently disobeyed the law, crossed the frontier and were put into prison. The voluntary sufferings of these civil resisters at last forced the South African Government to repeal in 1914 most of the obnoxious acts and Gandhi and his creed of non-violent civil disobedience had their first great success.

In 1914 Gandhi returned to India and was received with great admiration by his countrymen who henceforth preferred to call him Mahatma. He spent the next four years in studying the Indian situation and in preparing himself and those who wanted to follow him for Satyagraha or the application of soul force based on truth for the removal of the social and political inequities then prevalent in India. But he was no inactive observer. In 1917 he went to Champaran in north Bihar and by means of civil disobedience put a new courage and faith in the hearts of the down-trodden peasants and thus ended the long standing exploitation of the peasants by the European indigo-planters and Indian landlords. Soon afterwards he lent his leadership to the mill-hands at Ahmedabad who were badly underpaid, organised a strike by them which lasted 21 days and ended with the acceptance of the. principle of arbitration by the employers and the laborers.

Finally after the passing of the Rowlatt Acts (q.v.) in March, 1919 in the face of the united opposition of all Indian members of the Central Legislature and the Jalianwala Bagh massacre (q.v.) which followed in April, 1919, and which showed the utter contempt in which the Britishers held Indian lives, Gandhi declared the British Government in India to be ‘satanic’ and called upon all Indians to non-co-operate with it by withdrawing from all Government posts and offices and institutions, and even from schools and colleges and thus passively paralyse the British Government in India. At his call a hartal was observed in Bombay and all other important cities in India on March 10, 1919, by way of protest against the Rowlatt Acts and in the villages on April 6, 1919. Cities were all paralysed, all business was at a standstill and the British were helpless spectators. This showed the strength of the principle and practice of non-violent non-co-operation. In 1920 Gandhi became the leader of the Congress and under his direction and inspiration thousands of Indians gave up their connection, often very lucrative, with the British Government. Thousands of the non-co-operators were put into British prisons and many more thousands were extremely cruelly dealt with by the Government officials. In the face of such provocation the people could not remain non-violent and they broke out into violent acts in several places. Such outbreaks of violence were utterly distasteful to Gandhi who confessed that in asking the people to non-co-operate without first disciplining them in non-violence, he had committed a ‘Himalayan miscalculation’ and he called off the movement.

The ‘swaraj’ that he had promised would come within a year as a result of non-violent non-co-operation, did not come and people were not wanting to point out the failure of the movement. But non-violent non-co-operation had really been a tremendous success; it had effectively shaken the cornerstone of the British empire in India by instilling in the minds of the conquered Indians the priceless virtue of fearlessness. by removing from the minds of thousands of Indians the fear of British guns, British bayonets and British prisons. Henceforth the end of British rule in India was. only a question of time. But the struggle was hard and long. 1n 1922 Gandhi was arrested on a charge of sedition, tried and sentenced by a sweet-tongued British judge to six years’ imprisonment. In 1924 following an attack of appendicitis he was released.

Gandhi believed that India’s future political progress depended on Hindu-Muslim unity and from 1918 he was busily engaged in its pursuit. He supported the demand of the Indian Muslims for the preservation of the Turkish Khilafat as a symbol of the unity of Islam; but his efforts failed to produce any permanent effect. In September, 1924, therefore, he undertook a three weeks’ fast at Delhi in the house of the Muslim leader, Muhammad Ali, hoping thereby to bring about a complete understanding between the Hindus and the Muslims. For a time it seemed that his rigorous fast had attained its object, but the two communities soon drifted away from each other as a result of their mutual distrust and clashing interests which were encouraged by the Anglo-Indian Government. Gandhi called upon the Hindus to refrain from being agitated over the slaughter of cows by the Muhammadans and from the practice of taking processions with music in front of mosques in times of prayer.

But these exhortations in their favour would not and did not mollify the Muhammadans; for their difference with the Hindus lay in causes deeper than objection to cow-slaughter and music before mosques. They apprehended that with the passing of power from the British to Indian hands the Muhammadans who were in a minority in India, would be placed under the rule of the Hindus who formed the vast majority of the population of India. This apprehension which was encouraged by the British rulers and the reality of which had been recognised by them by the introduction of communal representation in the Indian and provincial legislatures by the Government of India Acts of 1909 and 1919 could not be allayed by Gandhi and the Indian National Congress. Nor could any means be devised by which the Muhammadans could be assured of an equal share in the administration of a country where they were a minority. Herein lay the failure of Gandhi and of the Indian National Congress which he led and the genesis of Pakistan.

In 1925 being out of sympathy with the desire of most Congressmen to enter the legislatures set up by the Government of India Act, 1919, Gandhi retired for a time from active politics and during the next three years he devoted himself to the uplifting of the Indian villages by popularising amongst them hand-spinning with the charkha (spinning wheel) as a remedy for their dire poverty and on the removal of untouchability amongst the Hindus. This he called his ‘constructive programme’ and by it he came, more than any other Indian leader, closer to the villagers who formed 90% of the population of India. He moved from village to village visiting every part of India, dressed like a common villager and speaking to them in an Indian language. Thus he made the teeming millions of Indian villagers politically more conscious than ever before and changed the demand for national government from the level of the middle class agitation that it had so long been to a popular mass movement which soon became irresistible. In 1927 Gandhi resumed his political activities, as he saw that owing to the slow progress of the constitutional development the country was on the verge of plunging into a movement for violence. The Congress had already declared that full independence was its goal. Under Gandhi’s leadership it was soon resolved that as the Government would not make any promise of the immediate grant of dominion status, the Congress would launch a new campaign of non-violent civil disobedience and Gandhi took charge of it.

Accordingly, in 1930 Gandhi with some of his chosen followers walked all the way from Sabarmati Ashram (where he participated in yoga and guided meditation camps) near Ahmedabad to the sea at Dandi, and there he and his followers made salt from the sea-water which, under the existing laws, was illegal and punishable. This Salt March from Sabarmati to Dandi amounted to an active step of disobedience, defiance and revolution. It had an extraordinary effect on the country and before long many thousands of Indians all over the land followed his lead, broke such laws as they found convenient to do and the country was again plunged into a great agitation. The British Government at first tried its old remedy of severe repression and persecution, clapping thousands into the prisons. Gandhi himself was again imprisoned.

The British Government also opened political talks and in 1931 and 1932 Gandhi attended as the sole representative of the Indian National Congress the second and third Round Table Conferences (q.v.) held in London where he appeared dressed in ‘dhoti and chaddar’ like an ordinary Indian which provoked the derision of Sir Winston Churchill who called him an ‘Indian Fakir'(beggar). Gandhi was received in ,audience by the King-Emperor, but he was disappointed with the result of the Conferences. On his way back he declared his intention to resume the Civil Disobedience Movement on his return to India. He was, therefore, arrested as soon as he landed in India. He was in prison when the British Prime Minister, Ramsay Macdonald, issued his infamous communal award (q.v.) in which separate representation was given not only to the Muhammadans and Christians but also to the scheduled castes, considered the lowest in the Indian caste system.

This was an attempt to drive a permanent wedge between them and the Caste Hindus. Gandhi appreciated the danger inherent in this new proposal and, in protest, started a fast unto death. He could not tolerate the idea of the perpetual separation of the untouchables from the rest of the Hindus. As a result of his fast a compromise was effected by the Poona Pact (q.v.) which provided for joint constituencies with reserved seats for the depressed classes for some years to come. The integrity and unity of Hindu society were thus preserved. Gandhi was released in 1933 and for the next few years he concentrated his main attention to work for the untouchables, for the promotion of which he started a journal called the Harijan or Children of God. This weekly paper he continued to edit and publish during the rest of his life.

When the Second World War broke out, Gandhi was prepared to give his moral support to Great Britain and would do nothing that would embarrass Great Britain in a time of stress. He, therefore, would not support Netaji Subhas Bose in his attempts to promote the cause of Indian independence by securing the military aid of Germany or of Japan, but he agreed with other Congress leaders that India would fully co-operate with Great Britain if only the latter would give definite assurance of granting full freedom to India after the War.

But as no such promise came he started in 1940 what was called ‘Individual Civil Disobedience’ to be undertaken by himself and his chosen followers. But as this movement did not sufficiently impress the British Government, Gandhi in August, 1942 called upon the British to ‘quit India’ and immediately transfer power to the Indians. The ‘quit India’ cry was taken up by thousands all over the country. Even the navy was affected. The British were again confronted with a mighty popular agitation; thousands were arrested and imprisoned and Gandhi himself was imprisoned, along with all Congress leaders, in 1943. Gandhi’s wife, Kasturba, was also arrested and the British Government suffered her to die in detention in 1944.

Gandhi was soon afterwards released. The British and their allies won the war, but the British felt that in the face of the mighty popular demand for India’s freedom they could no longer retain India, and they decided to transfer power to the Indians. But the question was whether free India should be one united country or divided into two on a communal basis, Self-interested leaders of both the communities plunged the country into a terrible communal riot in 1946. Gandhi was opposed to the division of the country as well as to the communal riots. He moved from village to village in Bengal, Bihar and the Punjab trying to instill into the popular mind the desirability and benefit of communal amity and national unity. But his efforts were unavailing. His comrades in the Congress accepted independence on the basis of a partition of the country into India and Pakistan and Gandhi had to fall in line with them.

India got her independence on the 15th August, 1947. Horrible communal riots soon broke out and unspeakable horrors were committed against the minority communities on both sides of the western frontier. Delhi itself was badly affected by the communal riots and in the middle of January, 1948, Gandhi in Delhi again undertook a fast to allay communal discord. Within a few days a compromise was effected and communal amity was restored in the capital. Through Gandhi’s intervention the newly established Government of India paid the Pakistan Government a very large sum of money to which many Hindus thought the Pakistan Government were not legally entitled. Gandhi thus came to be considered by some Hindus as an obstacle to the establishment of a Hindu Raj in India. On January 30, 1948, ten days after his last fast, Gandhi was fatally shot by one such Hindu fanatic when Gandhi was walking to his daily prayer meeting at the house where he was residing in Delhi.

The profound grief and sorrow with which the country heard of the demise of their great leader was voiced by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the Prime Minister of India, who, in announcing the sad news of the murder of Gandhi said, “The light has gone out of our lives and there is darkness everywhere and I do not quite know what to tell you and how to say it. Our beloved leader, Bapu, as we call him. the father of our nation, is no more.” Indeed Mahatma Gandhi was the father of the Indian nation which “he had led within the short span of only twenty-seven years from the darkness of the centuries’ old thralldom to the dawn of an age of independence. But Gandhi’s contribution was not confined to the narrow boundaries of India alone. He exercised profound influence on humanity as a Whole. As Arnold Toynbee observes, “The generation into which I happen to have been born has not only been Hitler’s generation in the West and Stalin’s in Russia: it has also been Gandhi’s in India; and it can already be forecast with some confidence that Gandhi’s effect on human history is going to be greater and more lasting than Stalin’s or Hitler’s.”

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