Quotations by Gandhi, Mohandas


The only tyrant I accept in this world is the ‘still small voice’ within me.

Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948) Indian philosopher and nationalist [Mahatma Gandhi]
(Attributed)
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Fear has its use but cowardice has none.

Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948) Indian philosopher and nationalist [Mahatma Gandhi]
(Attributed)
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One man cannot do right in one department of life whilst he is occupied in doing wrong in any other department. Life is one indivisible whole.

Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948) Indian philosopher and nationalist [Mahatma Gandhi]
(Attributed)
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I have learnt through bitter experience the one supreme lesson to conserve my anger, and as heat conserved is transmuted into energy, even so our anger controlled can be transmuted into a power which can move the world.

Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948) Indian philosopher and nationalist [Mahatma Gandhi]
(Attributed)
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Freedom is not worth having if it does not connote freedom to err. It passes my comprehension how human beings, be they ever so experienced and able, can delight in depriving other human beings of that precious right.

Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948) Indian philosopher and nationalist [Mahatma Gandhi]
(Attributed)
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You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.

Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948) Indian philosopher and nationalist [Mahatma Gandhi]
(Attributed)
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Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.

Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948) Indian philosopher and nationalist [Mahatma Gandhi]
(Attributed)
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We must become the change we want to see.

Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948) Indian philosopher and nationalist [Mahatma Gandhi]
(Attributed)
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Human life is a series of compromises and it is not always easy to achieve in practice what one has found to be true in theory.

Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948) Indian philosopher and nationalist [Mahatma Gandhi]
(Attributed)
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My non-violence does not admit of running away from danger and leaving dear ones unprotected. Between violence and cowardly flight, I can only prefer violence to cowardice. I can no more preach non-violence to a coward than I can tempt a blind man to enjoy healthy scenes. … Nonviolence is infinitely superior to violence. But the message of nonviolence is for those who know how to die, not for those who are afraid of death. If one has not that courage, I want him to cultivate the art of killing and being killed, rather than in a cowardly manner to flee from danger.

Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948) Indian philosopher and nationalist [Mahatma Gandhi]
(Attributed)
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No culture can live, if it attempts to be exclusive.

Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948) Indian philosopher and nationalist [Mahatma Gandhi]
(Attributed)
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It is the quality of our work which will please God and not the quantity.

Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948) Indian philosopher and nationalist [Mahatma Gandhi]
(Attributed)
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To give pleasure to a single heart by a single act is better than a thousand heads bowing in prayer.

Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948) Indian philosopher and nationalist [Mahatma Gandhi]
(Attributed)
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A “no” uttered from deepest conviction is better and greater than a “yes” merely uttered to please, or what is worse, to avoid trouble.

Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948) Indian philosopher and nationalist [Mahatma Gandhi]
(Attributed)
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You must watch my life, how I live, eat, sit, talk, behave in general. The sum total of all those in me is my religion.

Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948) Indian philosopher and nationalist [Mahatma Gandhi]
(Attributed)
Added on 12-May-04 | Last updated 12-May-04
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I have only three enemies. My favorite enemy, the one most easily influenced for the better, is the British Empire. My second enemy, the Indian people, is far more difficult. But my most formidable opponent is a man named Mohandas K. Gandhi. With him I seem to have very little influence.

Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948) Indian philosopher and nationalist [Mahatma Gandhi]
(Attributed)
Added on 30-Jun-04 | Last updated 30-Jun-04
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The best politics is right action.

Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948) Indian philosopher and nationalist [Mahatma Gandhi]
(Attributed)
Added on 16-Nov-12 | Last updated 16-Nov-12
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You should be pioneers in presenting a living faith to the world, and not the dry bones of a traditional faith which the world will not grasp.

Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948) Indian philosopher and nationalist [Mahatma Gandhi]
(Attributed)

In Mahadev Desai, With Gandhiji in Ceylon (1928)
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Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become your words.
Keep your words positive because your words become your behavior.
Keep your behavior positive because your behavior becomes your habits.
Keep your habits positive because your habits become your values.
Keep your values positive because your values become your destiny.

Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948) Indian philosopher and nationalist [Mahatma Gandhi]
(Attributed)

Never specifically cited, and attributed with variations in the language. Also attributed as a Chinese or Buddhist proverb.
Added on 26-Oct-15 | Last updated 26-Oct-15
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He who would be friends with God must remain alone or make the whole world his friend.

Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948) Indian philosopher and nationalist [Mahatma Gandhi]
An Autobiography: The Story of My Experiments with Truth, 1.6 (1929) [tr. Desai (1940)]
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True morality consists not in following the beaten track, but in finding out the true path for ourselves and fearlessly following it.

Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948) Indian philosopher and nationalist [Mahatma Gandhi]
Ethical Religion, ch. 2 (1930)
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We are all children of one and the same God and, therefore, absolutely equal.

Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948) Indian philosopher and nationalist [Mahatma Gandhi]
Harijan (2 Feb 1934)
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Capital as such is not evil; it is its wrong use that is evil. Capital in some form or other will always be needed.

Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948) Indian philosopher and nationalist [Mahatma Gandhi]
Harijan (28 Jul. 1940)
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If I could persuade myself that I should find Him in a Himalayan cave, I would proceed there immediately. But I know that I cannot find Him apart from humanity.

Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948) Indian philosopher and nationalist [Mahatma Gandhi]
Harijan (29 Aug 1936)
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I love those who never preach but live the life according to their lights. Their lives are silent, yet most effective, testimonies. Therefore I cannot say what to preach, but I can say that a life of service and uttermost simplicity is the best preaching. A rose does not need to preach. It simply spreads its fragrance. The fragrance is its own sermon. If it had human understanding and if it could engage a number of preachers, the preachers would not be able to sell more rose than the fragrance itself could do. The fragrance of religious and spiritual life is much finer and subtler than that of the rose.

Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948) Indian philosopher and nationalist [Mahatma Gandhi]
Harijan (29 Mar 1935)

Full text.
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Rights that do not flow directly from duty well performed are not worth having.

Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948) Indian philosopher and nationalist [Mahatma Gandhi]
Harijan (6-Jul-1947)
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I will give you a talisman. Whenever you are in doubt, or when the self becomes too much with you, apply the following test. Recall the face of the poorest and the weakest man whom you may have seen, and ask yourself, if the step you contemplate is going to be of any use to him. Will he gain anything by it? Will it restore him to a control over his own life and destiny? In other words, will it lead to swaraj [freedom] for the hungry and spiritually starving millions? Then you will find your doubts and your self melt away.

Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948) Indian philosopher and nationalist [Mahatma Gandhi]
Last Phase, Vol. II (written 1948, published 1958)
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All progress is gained through mistakes and their rectification. No good comes fully fashoned, out of God’s hand, but has to be carved out through repeated experiments and repeated failures by ourselves. This is the law of individual growth. The same law controls social and political evolution also. The right to err, which means the freedom to try experiments, is the universal condition of all progress.

Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948) Indian philosopher and nationalist [Mahatma Gandhi]
M. K. Gandhi: Speeches and Writings (1918)
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It ill becomes us to invoke in our daily prayers the blessings of God, the Compassionate, if we in turn will not practice elementary compassion towards our fellow creatures.

Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948) Indian philosopher and nationalist [Mahatma Gandhi]
The Moral Basis of Vegetarianism, Speech to the London Vegetarian Society (20 Nov. 1931)
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He who cannot protect himself or his nearest and dearest or their honor by non-violently facing death, may and ought to do so by violently dealing with the oppressor. He who can do neither of the two is a burden.

Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948) Indian philosopher and nationalist [Mahatma Gandhi]
Young India (10 Nov. 1928)
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Faith does not admit of telling.  It has to be lived and then it becomes self-propagating.

Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948) Indian philosopher and nationalist [Mahatma Gandhi]
Young India (20 Oct 1927)
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The golden rule of conduct, therefore, is mutual toleration, seeing that we will never all think alike and we shall see Truth in fragment and from different angles of vision. Conscience is not the same thing for all. Whilst, therefore, it is a good guide for individual conduct, imposition of that conduct upon all will be an insufferable interference with everybody’s freedom of conscience.

Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948) Indian philosopher and nationalist [Mahatma Gandhi]
Young India (23 Sep 1926)

Full text.

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The still small voice within you must always be the final arbiter when there is a conflict of duty.

Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948) Indian philosopher and nationalist [Mahatma Gandhi]
Young India (4 Aug 1920)
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In matters of conscience, the law of majority has no place.

Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948) Indian philosopher and nationalist [Mahatma Gandhi]
Young India (4 Aug. 1920)
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Even as a tree has a single trunk but many branches and leaves, there is one religion —- human religion -— but any number of faiths.

Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948) Indian philosopher and nationalist [Mahatma Gandhi]
Young India (Bulletin) (2 Oct 1930)

Some versions omit "-- human religion --".  Full text.
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Seven social sins: politics without principles, wealth without work, pleasure without conscience, knowledge without character, commerce without morality, science without humanity, and worship without sacrifice.

Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948) Indian philosopher and nationalist [Mahatma Gandhi]
Article, Young India, (22 Oct 1925)
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First, they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you win.

Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948) Indian philosopher and nationalist [Mahatma Gandhi]
Attributed
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As in law so in war, the longest purse finally wins.

Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948) Indian philosopher and nationalist [Mahatma Gandhi]
Bombay Provincial Cooperative Conference (17 Sep 1917)

See also Taft, DeFoe.
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There can be no rule of God in the present state of iniquitous inequalities in which a few roll in riches and the masses do not get enough to eat.

Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948) Indian philosopher and nationalist [Mahatma Gandhi]
In Harijan (1 Jun 1947)
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The essence of true religious teaching is that one should serve and befriend all. … It is easy enough to be friendly with one’s friends. But to befriend the one who regards himself as your enemy is the quintessence of true religion. The other is mere business.

Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948) Indian philosopher and nationalist [Mahatma Gandhi]
In Harijan (11 May 1947)
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A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history.

Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948) Indian philosopher and nationalist [Mahatma Gandhi]
In Harijan (19 Nov 1938)
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Let no one say that he is a follower of Gandhi. It is enough that I should be my own follower. I know what an inadequate follower I am of myself, for I cannot live up to the convictions I stand for. You are no followers, but fellow students, fellow pilgrims, fellow seekers, fellow workers.
Gandhi - followers - wist_info

Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948) Indian philosopher and nationalist [Mahatma Gandhi]
In Harijan (2 Mar 1940)
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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 the] given moment. The result has been that I have grown from truth to truth.

Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948) Indian philosopher and nationalist [Mahatma Gandhi]
In Harijan (30 Sep 1939)
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If one takes care of the means, the end will take care of itself.

Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948) Indian philosopher and nationalist [Mahatma Gandhi]
In Harijan (6 Feb 1939)
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Silence becomes cowardice when occasion demands speaking out the whole truth and acting accordingly.

Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948) Indian philosopher and nationalist [Mahatma Gandhi]
In Harijan (7 Apr 1946)
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Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.

Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948) Indian philosopher and nationalist [Mahatma Gandhi]
In Young India (11 Aug 1920)
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If I seem to take part in politics, it is only because politics encircle us today like the coil of a snake from which one cannot get out, no matter how much one tries. I wish therefore to wrestle with the snake.

Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948) Indian philosopher and nationalist [Mahatma Gandhi]
In Young India (12 May 1920)
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Let us all be brave enough to die the death of a martyr, but let no one lust for martyrdom.

Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948) Indian philosopher and nationalist [Mahatma Gandhi]
In Young India (13 Jan 1927)
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Fearlessness is the first requisite of spirituality. Cowards can never be moral.

Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948) Indian philosopher and nationalist [Mahatma Gandhi]
In Young India (13 Oct 1921)
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As the means, so the end.

Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948) Indian philosopher and nationalist [Mahatma Gandhi]
In Young India (17 Jul 1924)

Compare to this.
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Strength of numbers is the delight of the timid. The valiant in spirit glory in fighting alone.

Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948) Indian philosopher and nationalist [Mahatma Gandhi]
In Young India (17 Jun 1926)
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Terrorism set up by reformers may be just as bad as Government terrorism and it is often worse because it draws a certain amount of false sympathy.

Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948) Indian philosopher and nationalist [Mahatma Gandhi]
In Young India (18 Dec 1924)
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Intolerance betrays a want of faith in one’s own cause.

Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948) Indian philosopher and nationalist [Mahatma Gandhi]
In Young India (2 Feb 1921)
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Terrorism and deception are weapons not of the strong but of the weak.

Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948) Indian philosopher and nationalist [Mahatma Gandhi]
In Young India (22 Sep 1920)
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No sacrifice is worth the name unless it is a joy. Sacrifice and a long face go ill together.

Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948) Indian philosopher and nationalist [Mahatma Gandhi]
In Young India (25 Jun 1925)
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No human being is so bad as to be beyond redemption.

Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948) Indian philosopher and nationalist [Mahatma Gandhi]
In Young India (26 Mar 1931)
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Satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment. Full effort is full victory.

Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948) Indian philosopher and nationalist [Mahatma Gandhi]
In Young India (9 Mar 1992)
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Do not undertake anything beyond your capacity and at the same time do not harbor the wish to do less than you can. One who takes up tasks beyond his powers is proud and attached. On the other hand, one who does less than he can is a thief.

Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948) Indian philosopher and nationalist [Mahatma Gandhi]
Letter to Narandas Gandhi (10 Jul 1932)
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I have become disconsolate. In the secret of my heart I am in perpetual quarrel with God that He should allow such things to go on. My non-violence seems almost impotent. But the answer comes at teh end of the daily quarrel that neither God nor non-violence is impotent. Impotence is in men. I must try on without losing faith even though I break in the attempt.

Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948) Indian philosopher and nationalist [Mahatma Gandhi]
Press statement (5 Sep 1939)

On the impending war in Europe.

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Do not worry about what others are doing! Each of us should turn the searchlight inward and purify his or her own heart as much as possible.

Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948) Indian philosopher and nationalist [Mahatma Gandhi]
Radio broadcast (16 Mar 1948)
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I am very imperfect. Before you are gone you will have discovered a hundred of my faults, and if you don’t, I will help you to see them.

Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948) Indian philosopher and nationalist [Mahatma Gandhi]
Remark (1942)

To Louis Fischer, The Life of Mahatma Gandhi, ch. 38 (1950)

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

Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948) Indian philosopher and nationalist [Mahatma Gandhi]
Remark (Jul 1946)

In L. Fischer, The Life of Mahatma Gandhi, ch. 43 (1950)
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All of your scholarship, all your study of Shakespeare and Wordsworth would be vain if at the same time you did not build your character and attain mastery over your thoughts and your actions.

Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948) Indian philosopher and nationalist [Mahatma Gandhi]
Speech to students, Agra, in Young India (19 Sep 1929)
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