Talk:Mahatma Gandhi

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This is the talk page for discussing improvements to the Mahatma Gandhi page.

To check the quotations[edit]

Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi Online


MORE BELOW: #Attribution_check_needed

"Intolerance is itself a form of violence and an obstacle to the growth of a true democratic spirit" And "We must respect other religions even as we respect our own. Mere tolerance thereof is not enough"

"All humanity is one undivided and indivisible family, and each one of us is responsible for the misdeeds of all the others. I cannot detach myself from the wickedest soul." This quote is all over the web as from Gandhi, but can anyone identify its source? Or it it mis-attributed?

How about this one? "I see your beauty. I hear your needs. I feel your feelings. My wisdom flows from the ... I salute that Source in you. Let us work together in unity and love." Just saw it on a jpg circulating the internet & attributed to Gandhi. I don't think so. 23:54, 13 November 2013 (UTC) R.E.D.Reply

Is this real or just attributed?[edit]

Once when the missionary E. Stanley Jones met with Ghandi he asked him, "Mr. Ghandi, though you quote the words of Christ often, why is that you appear to so adamantly reject becoming his follower?"

Ghandi replied, "Oh, I don't reject your Christ. I love your Christ. It's just that so many of you Christians are so unlike your Christ.",+I+love+your+Christ.It%27s+just+that+so+many+of+you+Christians+are+so+unlike+your+Christ.%22&hl=en


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

It is attributed to him on site after site, but I see no reference to it here at all.

Also, "A sign of a good leader is not how many followers you have, but how many leaders you create." the change you want to see in the world[edit]

I always thought that was a Ghandi quote. Actually that's the only quote I knew by him. Can somebody please address this??

—This unsigned comment is by (talkcontribs) .

oops never mind. i didn't realize that WAS in the article. most pages quote him as "You must be..." guess it's we. makes more sense.

—This unsigned comment is by (talkcontribs) .

be the change - Contested[edit]


I found an earlier attribution to Gandhi in the 1984, Volume 14, edition of Drum: a magazine of Africa for Africa. However, earlier versions of a nearly identical quote:
" the change you want to see happen."
appear in a 1974 abstract of Arleen Lorrance's 1972 book The Love Project. The quote is also found in Arleen Lorrance's 1977 book Why me?: How to heal what's hurting you. The quote may also appear in a 1954 edition of Drum
Lenschulwitz (talk) 11:24, 3 March 2012 (UTC)Reply

MORE BELOW: #Attribution_check_needed

On economic wars[edit]

An armed conflict between nations horrifies us. But the economic war is no better than an armed conflict. This is like a surgical operation. An economic war is pro­ longed torture. And its ravages are no less terrible than those depicted in the literature on war properly so called. We think nothing of the other because we are used to its deadly effects The movement against war is sound. I pray for its success. But I cannot help the gnawing fear that the movement will fail if it does not touch the root of all evil—human greed. — M . K. Gandhi, "Non-Violence—The Greatest Force," 1926 — The shock doctrine, Naomi Klein - 2007 - page 129 Metropolitan Books.

As human beings, our greatness lies...[edit]

Third quote in the unsourced section, it seems unfinished, but I could be wrong.

Page moves (title)[edit]

this should be moved to Mohandas Gandhi, as that is the name used as the title of the Wikipedia article. - fonzy

I agree. Move it and the redirect will handle any searches on Mahatma. But change List of people by name to match the article name. Nanobug 12:11, 26 Aug 2003 (UTC)

This move made with following edit history:

2003-08-26T14:26:40 Fonzy (Talk | contribs | block) (#REDIRECT Mohandas Gandhi) [rollback]
2003-08-19T03:23:02 (Talk | block)
2003-08-15T09:52:31 (Talk | block) (* "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they attack you, then you win.")
2003-08-11T08:34:42 (Talk | block)
2003-08-08T10:37:31 Bogdangiusca (Talk | contribs | block)

But a move back was eventually made because the Wikipedia has long used the more commonly used "Mahatma" in its title. ~ Kalki 04:17, 8 April 2007 (UTC)Reply

See 2008 discussion of title change here below.Lisasmall 02:51, 5 June 2009 (UTC)Reply

Gandhi on Customers[edit]

Don't know if he said it in as many words. There is a letter from him to the Europeans (Natal Colony), 19 December 1894, where he writes: "If you are a merchant or lawyer, you have then too, a duty to discharge towards your customers and clients from whom you derive a considerable pecuniary advantage..." Source(s): The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, Volume I - 1894

Does someone here have a source for the often-repeated quote about the customer not being an interruption to our work, but the reason for it? -- 11:11, 15 May 2006 (UTC)Reply

I see it in employee pamphlets all the time :P I think it is a hoax and it should be removed unless a citation is found.-- 02:03, 18 March 2007 (UTC)Reply

"A customer is the most important visitor on our premises. He is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption on our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider on our business. He is a part of it. We are not doing him a favour by serving him. He is doing us a favour by giving us an opportunity to do so.”

I believe this is the quote the above are referring to. It looks like this is not Gandhi's quote. according to:

This quote should be attributed to Kenneth B. Elliott. "Kenneth B. Elliott who was the Vice President in Charge of Sales for The Studebaker Corporation, an automobile company." [KEPI] 1941 May 2, Printers’ Ink: A Journal for Advertisers, Complaints as an asset: [Based on an Interview by P. H. Erbes, Jr., with Kenneth B. Elliott, Vice-president in Charge of Sales, The Studebaker Corporation], Start Page 17, Quote Page 83, Printers’ Ink Publishing Company, New York. (Verified on paper) --Bigskylove 11:57, 21 January 2013 (UTC)

bold quotes[edit]

Why are some quotes in bold? Are they supposed to be more well-known or notable? Sorry if this is a dumb question. It doesn't seem like they should be in bold, though. It seems like someone just went and bolded his or her personal favorite quotes, which isn't very NPOV. I may be just ignorant though.... - 08:37, 24 June 2006 (UTC)Reply

Why, that's just what I was wondering. Apparently there's no justification for it in the official documentation and manual of style. I've filed a question about it at the Village Pump [1]. If it's not official, I'll remove all bolds. -- 10:44, 29 October 2006 (UTC)Reply
Plan to remove most of them today, consistent with the Village Pump discussion from 2006. — Lisasmall 02:51, 5 June 2009 (UTC)Reply
I reverted these edits along with those that broke up the standard chronological ordering of quotes. Though some disputes can, do and should arise over which quotes should be emphasized in bold, I have always defended the practice of it as a further option available to editors here, since the earliest discussions of the subject in 2003. One of the previous discussions on the matter is in my talk archives from 2006 ~ Kalki 05:25, 5 June 2009 (UTC)Reply

Sourced vs. Unsourced?[edit]

Why do so many of the quotes under "unsourced" seem to have sources? 23:24, 7 December 2006 (UTC

I think the quote that "My life is my message" is not a sourced quote. A person with a great humility Mahatma would have never said that. Because I feel it is not his life but his attitude is the message to the whole world. [24 march 2007]

He did say it (source below, it was caught on film), and it was in the context of "be the change you want to see" - ie, that a person should live out his values, and it was in response to a question from a journalist about what his message to the world was, and his response basically indicated that anyone who wanted to understand his message, or his values, only need look at how he lived his life -- being the change that he wanted to see. see link below for source: Wellton19 04:44, 12 July 2008 (UTC) (scroll down to 'reel 31' description). Moving this into quotes area.Reply

(1 Jan 2013, cw) Bouyed by the breath of knowledge demonstrated just above, perhaps there's someone who is familiar with the full provenance of this excerpt of a 1931 speech in English (according to, and played at the conclusion of, the 3-part 2010 BBC biographical documentary presented by Ms Mishal Husain, which references multiple archives), and so might add: "I do dimly perceive that, whilst everything around me is ever-changing, ever-dying, there is, underlying all that change, a living power that is changeless, that holds all together, that creates it all and re-creates it. That informing power or spirit is God. In the midst of death, life persists. In the midth of untruth, truth persists. In the midst of darkness, light persists."

(3 Dec 2023) The above quote comes from Gandhi's journal Young India; October 11, 1928. See 03 In the midst of death, life persists; in the midst of untruth, truth persists; in the midst of darkness, light persists. — Young India; October 11, 1928

did he say "The decision to open the school for all Coloured children is unjust to the Indian community, and is a departure from the assurance given… that the school will be reserved for Indian children only.”?

Atom bomb[edit]

'If we had the atom bomb, we would have used it against the British....' do we have a source for this? I find it very hard to believe he would say this.—This unsigned comment is by (talkcontribs) .

Thank you for noticing us. I agree with you that it sounds weird ... For an instant remedy, you might put a {{source}}.--Aphaia 09:56, 3 May 2007 (UTC)Reply
If we had the atom bomb, we would have used it against the British. that is really weird, so uncharacteristic of him please some one throw some light here Babumonsms 17:21, 12 December 2010 (UTC)Reply
The quote as retained reads:
  • Had we adopted non-violence as the weapon of the strong, because we realised that it was more effective than any other weapon, in fact the mightiest force in the world, we would have made use of its full potency and not have discarded it as soon as the fight against the British was over or we were in a position to wield conventional weapons. But as I have already said, we adopted it out of our helplessness. If we had the atom bomb, we would have used it against the British.
    • Speech (16 June 1947) as the official date for Indian independence approached (15 August 1947) , as quoted in Mahatma Gandhi : The Last Phase (1958) by Pyarelal Nayyar, p. 326. The last sentence of this statement has sometimes been quoted as if it was being made as an affirmation of extreme hostility to the British, rather than as part of an affirmation of the strength of non-violence, and the ultimate weakness of those who needlessly resort to violence if it is within their power.
This provides a more extensive context than it had as originally posted and often quoted, and does provide citation to the work of Gandhi's personal secretary and archivist Pyarelal Nayyar in which it was published. ~ Kalki (talk · contributions) 17:34, 12 December 2010 (UTC)Reply

Frankly, there still isn't enough context and the quote still implies something that the paragraph doesn't say, which is that Gandhi admits a failure in the initial formulation of non-violence and is asserting here, as he does elsewhere, that nonviolence is actually stronger than atomic weapons. I've supplemented the quote with the full paragraph, which is slightly unweildy but because this is the troll's favorite out-of-context quote and it was extremely hard to find the full context online, it seems like it should be noted here. -- 22:01, 27 November 2016 (UTC)Reply

"Hitler is not a bad man."[edit]

Does anyone have any source for this quotation? I can't find it in the searchable digital version of the Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi. The only source seems to be an article written in 1982 by Richard Grenier, the reference itself which is uncited. I find Grenier's article unpersuasive as a scholarly source because it contains a number of bizarre allegations, e.g. that Gandhi lived in "a permanent state of semen anxiety." Grenier's version seems likely to be an poorly altered version of Gandhi's statement that "I do not consider Hitler to be as bad as he is depicted. He is showing an ability that is amazing and seems to be gaining his victories without much bloodshed." This statement of course provides a lot more context. --Chris Thompson 23:37, 26 May 2007 (UTC)Reply

Removed, but actually I suspect all contributions by are "jokes"... (Disclaimer: I don't know too much about Gandhi, but, well, contribs by this IP seems a little bit suspicious...note that "atom bomb" quote is also by him/her) 00:29, 4 June 2007 (UTC)Reply

there is a lot of gandhi-hatred out there (grenier is a good example, but also from fundamentalist hindus, muslims, and communists) and some of their propaganda has clearly infiltrated wikipedia. 04:09, 12 July 2008 (UTC)Reply

True. OTOH there's also a lot of fairly cynical use of Gandhi, via unverified quotations, to endorse various political/cultural causes. 17:12, 29 November 2008 (UTC)Reply

See more recent discussion of quote re Hitler below.Lisasmall 02:51, 5 June 2009 (UTC)Reply

Typical Wikipedia bullshit. That quote by Gandhi will never be allowed on the Gandhi page because it shows the man was not perfect. And anything that spoils the cartoon image of people on Wikipedia pages is forever banned. God forbid the general public find out that there was a dark side to Gandhi, like every other freaking person in the history of the planet. And this summarizes exactly why Wikipedia sucks. A real encyclopedia does not filter out any unflattering content. A real encyclopedia simply reports the truth no matter what it is. If history ain't neutral-point-of-view, then tough. Had Wikipedia been around in the 1940s, all references to the Holocaust would be removed as "biases" against the Nazis.

—This unsigned comment is by (talkcontribs) .
you have some misunderstanding there. All controversial things on Wikipedia and Wikiquote must be sourced by a reliable resource. You can't just write anything without a notable and respectable source backing it. Robinson James 09:44, 9 August 2011 (UTC)Reply

The source of the Hitler quote is: "In the Shadow of the Mahatma : Bishop V. S. Azariah and the Travails of Christianity in British India (Studies in the History of Christian Missions)"

Hello, I found this quote ("Hitler is not a bad man") on Google Book. But it seem that the quote, poorly sourced, is not accurate. Indeed, one does not find in the Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi Online (see Feb 23, 1940 - Jul 15, 1940).

However, there is no doubt that Gandhi wanted the surrender of Great Britain facing the Nazi Germany in 1940. Here are the own words:

In CWMG, Vol. 78:


The war is taking an ugly turn. Let us see what happens. Somehow or other I do not feel the same way as you do. I do not want to see the Allies defeated. But I do not consider Hitler to be as bad as he is depicted. He is showing an ability that is amazing and he seems to be gaining his victories without much bloodshed.

May 15, 1940 p. 219

LETTER TO [the viceroy of India] LORD LINLITHGOW

But my object in writing this letter is not to ventilate my grievances. It is to place before you my reaction to the war situation. The latest development seems to be most serious. Want of truthful news is tantalizing. I suppose it is inevitable. But assuming that things are as black as they appear to be for the Allied cause, is it not time to sue for peace for the sake of humanity? I do not believe Herr Hitler to be as bad as he is portrayed. He might even have been a friendly power as he may still be. It is due to suffering humanity that this mad slaughter should stop.

May 26, 1940 p. 253


The fall of France is enough for my argument. I think French statesmen have shown rare courage in bowing to the inevitable and refusing to be party to senseless mutual slaughter. There can be no sense in France coming out victorious if the stake is in truth lost. The cause of liberty becomes a mockery if the price to be paid is wholesale destruction of those who are to enjoy liberty. It then becomes an inglorious satiation of ambition. The bravery of the French soldier is world-known. But let the world know also the greater bravery of the French statesmen in suing for peace. I have assumed that the French statesmen have taken the step in a perfectly honourable manner as behoves true soldiers. Let me hope that Herr Hitler will impose no humiliating terms but show that, though he can fight without mercy, he can at least conclude peace not without mercy.
As against this [Hitler vision] imagine the state of Europe today if the Czechs, the Poles, the Norwegians, the French and the English has all said to Hitler:‘You need not make your scientific preparation for destruction. We will meet your violence with non-violence. You will therefore be able to destroy our non-violent army without tanks, battleships and airships'. It may be retorted that the only difference would be that Hitler would have got without fighting what he has gained after a bloody fight. Exactly. […] I dare say that in that case Europe would have added several inches to its moral stature. And in the end I expect it is the moral worth that will count. All else is dross.

June 18, 1940 p. 344; 345


We have to live and move and have our being in ahimsa, even as Hitler does in himsa. It is the faith and perseverance and single-mindedness with which he has perfected his weapons of destruction that commands my admiration. That he uses them as a monster is immaterial for our purpose. We have to bring to bear the same single-mindedness and perseverance in evolving our ahimsa. Hitler is awake all the 24 hours of the day in perfecting his sadhana. He wins because he pays the price. His inventions surprise his enemies. But it is his single-minded devotion to his purpose that should be the object of our admiration and emulation. Although he works all his waking hours, his intellect is unclouded and unerring. Are our intellects unclouded and unerring? A mere belief in ahimsa or the charkha will not do. It should be intelligent and creative. If intellect plays a large part in the field of violence, I hold that it plays a larger part in the field of non-violence.

June 22, 1940 p. 349


I want you to fight Nazism without arms, or, if I am to retain the military terminology, with non-violent arms. I would like you to lay down the arms you have as being useless for saving you or humanity. You will invite Herr Hitler and Signor Mussolini to take what they want of the countries you call your possessions. Let them take possession of your beautiful island, with your many beautiful buildings. You will give all these, but neither your souls, nor your minds. If these gentlemen choose to occupy your homes, you will vacate them. If they do not give you free passage out, you will allow yourself, man, woman and child, to be slaughtered, but you will refuse to owe allegiance to them.

JULY 2, 1940 p. 387

Impossible not to make the connection with his position on the Jews in 1938:

In CWMG, Vol. 74.


The calculated violence of Hitler may even result in a general massacre of the Jews by way of his first answer to the declaration of such hostilities [by Allies]. But if the Jewish mind could be prepared for voluntary suffering, even the massacre I have imagined could be turned into a day of thanksgiving and joy that Jehovah had wrought deliverance of the race even at the hands of the tyrant. For to the godfearing, death has no terror. It is a joyful sleep to be followed by a waking that would be all the more refreshing for the long sleep.

November 20, 1938 p. 241

-- 23:41, 22 December 2014 (UTC)Reply

Quoting from Page 390 of (Mahatma Gandhi, His life and times)

  • Gandhi wrote in Harijan, November 11, 1938*
"the German persecution of the Jews seems to have no parallel in history. The tyrants of old never went so mad as Hitler seems to have done. 
If there ever could be a justifiable war in the name of and for humanity, war against Germany to prevent the wanton persecution of a whole race would be completely justified. But I do not believe in any war...."

Gandhi then goes on to call for the Jews to initiate a civil disobedience movement, which has been misquoted here as collective suicide.

Quoting from the same page as above.

 If I were a Jew and were born in Germany and earned my livelihood there, I would claim Germany as my home even as the tallest gentile German might, and challenge him to shoot me or cast me in the dungeon — And for doing this I should not wait for the fellow Jews to join me in civil resistance, but would have confidence that in the end the rest were bound to follow my example. If one Jew or all the Jews were to accept the prescription here offered, he or they cannot be worse off than now... The calculated violence of Hitler may even result in a general massacre of the Jews by way of his first answer to the declaration of such hostilities. But if the Jewish mind could be prepared for voluntary sacrifice, even the massacre I have imagined could be turned into a day of thanksgiving that Jehovah had wrought deliverance of the race even at the hands of a tyrant. For to the God-fearing, death has no terror...."

This resulted in adverse reactions from both the Nazi press and the Jewish press. In his response to an article in a Jewish press Gandhi says,

It is highly probable that, as the (Jewish Frontier) writer says, "A Jewish Gandhi in Germany, should one arise, could function for about five minutes and would be promptly taken to the guillotine."  But that does not disprove my case or shake my belief in the efficacy of non-violence. I can conceive the necessity of the immolation of hundreds, if not thousands, to appease the hunger of dictators.... Sufferers need not see the result during their lifetime...
The method of violence gives no greater guarantee than that of non-violence...' Millions sacrifice themselves in war without any guarantee that the world will be better as a result or even that the enemy will be defeated. 

On Page 392 the author, post WW2, refers to Gandhi's original pre war article in Harijan suggesting civil disobedience and the response in Jewish Frontier stating that Gandhi's method will lead to execution in Germany,

I mentioned the subject to Gandhi in 1946 when Hitler was dead. 'Hitler,' Gandhi said, 'killed five million Jews. It is the greatest crime of our time. But the Jews should have offered themselves to the butcher's knife. They should have thrown themselves into the sea from cliffs... It would have aroused the world and the people of Germany... As it is they succumbed anyway in their millions.'

While this is interpreted as collective suicide, the correct inference seems to be. "Jews should have indulged in active civil disobedience (jump off the cliff) even if it would have resulted in execution (Butchers knife) If they passively held back from fear of the guillotine, the holocaust tells us that passive acceptance of the an unjust dictator eventually results in a greater loss of life."


See earlier discussion of page move / title here above.Lisasmall 03:01, 5 June 2009 (UTC)Reply


Other Wikimedia projects called the articles about Gandhi Mohandas K. Gandhi or Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. Can this article be renamed? I would suggest Mohandas K. Gandhi, as this is what he used to sign his letters and books. Mahatma is honorary title, so I think it better not to use it in the article title. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi is also fine, although very few people will use Karamchand to look for Gandhi. See w:Talk:Mohandas_Karamchand_Gandhi#Move_back_to_Mohandas_Gandhi Regards, Yann

I retitled the page to match the Wikipedia title; though I myself usually refer to him as Mahatma, I also was uncomfortable with the use of the title in the page name, as I was aware he himself objected to it. ~ Kalki 14:07, 27 January 2008 (UTC)Reply

Non-violence and impotence[edit]

A fictional work quoted Gandhi: "It is better to be violent, if there is violence in our hearts, than to put on the cloak of nonviolence to cover impotence".

Is this fiction? The attribution of the quote has currency on google-search but I have found no source. It would be good to have a context for the quote. 19:02, 5 January 2009 (UTC)Reply

This above quote is used in the 2010 film The A-Team, so it will come up in the next few weeks. According to a recent blog post I found, the full quote is:
"It is better to be violent, if there is violence in our hearts, than to put on the cloak of non-violence to cover impotence. Violence is any day preferable to impotence. There is hope for a violent man to become non-violent. There is no such hope for the impotent."
A source for Gandhi's usage, or the actual source would be great. MJBurrage 18:47, 12 June 2010 (UTC)Reply
It comes from Gandhi's Non-Violence in Peace and War (I-240 according to this edition of selected texts). Gordonofcartoon 13:06, 13 June 2010 (UTC)Reply

Attribution check needed[edit]

I just removed this from the Autobiography section. Neither of them are in the source claimed. 14:12, 1 March 2009 (UTC)Reply

  • To my mind the life of the lamb is no less precious than that of a human being. I should be unwilling to take the life of the lamb for the sake of the human body. I hold that, the more helpless a creature, the more entitled it is to protection by man from the cruelty of man.
Sourced. See [2] --Spinoziano (talk) 12:56, 17 March 2017 (UTC)Reply

Unsourced quotes[edit]

  • A 'No' uttered from the deepest conviction is better than a 'Yes' merely uttered to please, or worse, to avoid trouble.
    • A 'no' uttered from deepest conviction is better and greater than a 'yes' merely uttered to please, or what is worse, to avoid trouble.
    • Source: Young India: Volume 9 -- Gandhi (Mahatma); 1927
  • A coward is incapable of exhibiting love; it is the prerogative of the brave.
  • A customer is the most important visitor on our premises. He is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption in our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider in our business. He is part of it. We are not doing him a favor by serving him. He is doing us a favor by giving us an opportunity to do so.
  • A religion that takes no account of practical affairs and does not help to solve them is no religion.
  • A Satyagrahi loves his so-called enemy even as he loves his friend. He owns no enemy.
  • All my actions have their rise in my inalienable love of mankind.
  • Corruption ought not to be an inevitable product of democracy.
  • Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not any man's greed.
  • Even as a tree has a single trunk but many branches and leaves, there is one religion — human religion — but any number of faiths.
  • Even If I am a minority of one, truth is still the truth.
  • Everyone wants to be strong and self sufficient, but nobody is willing to put in the work necessary to achieve these goals
  • Find purpose, the means will follow.
  • For me the Voice was more real than my own existence. It has never failed me, and for that matter, anyone else. And everyone who wills can hear the Voice. It is within everyone. But like everything else, it requires previous and definite preparation.
  • For this cause I too am prepared to die, but for no cause, my friend, will I be prepared to kill.
    • Similar to: "It is an ideal for which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if need be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die." -- I wonder in what context that was written, though, as I was unable to get my hands on the prior lines.
  • Friendship that insists upon agreement on all matters is not worth the name. Friendship to be real must ever sustain the weight of honest differences, however sharp they may be.
    • Young India, 1927-1928
  • Hatred ever kills, love never dies - such is the vast difference between the two. What is obtained by love is retained for all time. What is obtained by hatred proves a burden in reality for it increases hatred.
  • Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.
    • He is the ideal man whose actions, speech and thought are in harmony with one another.
  • Hindu Dharma is like a boundless ocean teeming with priceless gems. The deeper you dive the more treasures you find.
  • Hinduism has made marvelous discoveries in things of religion, of the spirit, of the soul. We have no eye for these great and fine discoveries. We are dazzled by the material progress that Western science has made. Ancient India has survived because Hinduism was not developed along material but spiritual lines.
  • Hinduism insists on the brotherhood of not only all mankind but of all that lives.
  • Hinduism is a living organism liable to growth and decay subject to the laws of Nature. One and indivisible at the root, it has grown into a vast tree with innumerable branches. The changes in the season affect it. It has its autumn and its summer, its winter and its spring. It is, and is not, based on scriptures. It does not derive its authority from one book. Non violence has found the highest expression and application in Hinduism.
  • Hinduism is a living organism. One and indivisible at the root, it has grown into a vast tree with innumerable branches. Knowledge is limitless and so also the application of truth. Everyday we add to our knowledge of the power of Atman (soul) and we shall keep on doing so.
  • Hinduism is a relentless pursuit of Truth. Truth is God and if today it has become moribund, inactive, irresponsive to growth, it is because we are fatigued; and as soon as the fatigue is over, Hinduism will burst upon the world with a brilliance perhaps unknown before.
  • Hinduism is like the Ganga, pure and unsullied at its source but taking in its course the impurities in the way. Even like the Ganga it is beneficent in its total effect. It takes a provincial form in every province, but the inner substance is retained everywhere.
  • Honest differences are often a healthy sign of progress.
  • Honest disagreement is often a good sign of progress.
  • Hope is eternal — Its worship never goes in vain.
  • I am a Hindu because it is Hinduism which makes the world worth living. I am a Hindu hence I Love not only human beings, but all living beings.
  • I am a proud staunch Sanatani Hindu.
  • I am not built for academic writings. Action is my domain.
  • I am unable to identify with orthodox Christianity. I must tell you in all humility that Hinduism, as I know it, entirely satisfies my soul, fills my whole being, and I find solace in the Bhagavad Gita and the Upanishads that I miss even in the Sermon on the Mount....I must confess to you that when doubts haunt me, when disappointments stare me in the face, and when I see not one ray of light on the horizon I turn to the Bhagavad Gita, and find a verse to comfort me; and I immediately begin to smile in the midst of overwhelming sorrow. My life has been full of external tragedies and if they have not left any visible and indelible effect on me, I owe it to the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita.
  • I call myself a Sanatani Eternal Hindu, because I believe in the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Puranas, and all that goes by the name of Hindu scripture, and therefore in avataras and rebirth...
  • I can combine the greatest love with the greatest opposition to wrong.
  • I consider western Christianity in its practical working a negation of Christ's Christianity.
  • I do not believe in the doctrine of the greatest good of the greatest number. The only real, dignified, human doctrine is the greatest good of all.
  • I do not want my house to be walled in on sides and my windows to be stuffed. I want the cultures of all the lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible. But I refuse to be blown off my feet by any.
  • I don't know which is the greater task: to decentralise a top-heavy civilization or to prevent an ancient civilization from becoming centralised and top-heavy. In both cases the core of the problem is to discover what constitutes a good civilization, then proclaim it to the people and help them to erect it.
  • I have no other wish in this world but to find light and joy and peace through Hinduism.
  • I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent.
  • I think it would be a good idea!
    • In reply to a reporter who asked "What do you think of Western Civilization?"
  • I would far rather that Hinduism died than untouchability lived.
  • If love or non-violence be not the law of our being, the whole of my argument falls to pieces.
  • If my faith burns bright, as I hope it will even if I stand alone, I shall be alive in the grave, and what is more, speaking from it!
  • If one is able to stop smoking, he may continue, if he is unable to quit, then he must!
  • If we were to drive out the English with the weapons with which they enslaved us, our slavery would still be with us even when they have gone.
  • If you want to give a message again to the West, it must be a message of ‘Love’, it must be a message of ‘Truth’. There must be a conquest [claps], please, please, please. That will interfere with my speech, and that will interfere with your understanding also. I want to capture your hearts and don’t want to receive your claps. Let your hearts clap in unison with what I’m saying, and I think, I shall have finished my work. Therefore, I want you to go away with the thought that Asia has to conquer the West. Then, the question that a friend asked yesterday, “Did I believe in one world?” Of course, I believe in one world. And how can I possibly do otherwise, when I become an inheritor of the message of love that these great un-conquerable teachers left for us? (One World - april 2, 1947 - New Delhi)
  • In numbers, Parsis are beneath contempt, but in contribution, beyond compare.
  • In spite of despair staring me in the face on the political horizon, I have never lost my peace. In fact, I have found people who envy my peace. That peace, I tell you, comes from prayer; I am not a man of learning, but I humbly claim to be a man of prayer. I am indifferent as to the form. Every one is a law unto himself in that respect. But there are some well-marked roads, and it is safe to walk along the beaten tracks, trod by the ancient teachers.
  • In the code of the Satyagrahi, there is no such thing as surrender to brute force.
    • Satyagrahi is a practitioner of Satyagraha, a term Gandhi coined for his overall activist strategy. Some translations of the term include "truth-force" and "insistence upon the truth". Satya (the truth)+ Agraha (to insist upon) = Satyagraha.
  • In the secret of my heart I am in perpetual quarrel with God that He should allow such things [as the war] to go on. My non-violence seems almost impotent. But the answer comes at the 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 may break in the attempt.
  • It is better in prayer to have a heart without words than words without a heart.
    • Source: Young India: Volume 12
  • It is my firm opinion that Europe does not represent the spirit of God or Christianity but the spirit of Satan. And Satan's successes are the greatest when he appears with the name of God on his lips.
  • It is the law of love that rules mankind. Had violence, i.e. hate, ruled us we should have become extinct long ago. And yet, the tragedy of it is that the so-called civilized men and nations conduct themselves as if the basis of society was violence.
  • It is unwise to be too sure of one's own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err.
  • It may be long before the law of love will be recognized in international affairs. The machineries of government stand between and hide the hearts of one people from those of another.
  • Just as a man would not cherish living in a body other than his own, so do nations not like to live under other nations, however noble and great the latter may be.
  • Justice that love gives is a surrender; justice that law gives is a punishment
  • Kaffirs are as a rule uncivilized - the convicts even more so. They are troublesome, very dirty and live almost like animals.
  • Let us all be brave enough to die the death of a martyr, but let no one lust for martyrdom.
  • Man is the product of his thoughts. What he thinks, he becomes.
  • Man's nature is not essentially evil. Brute nature has been known to yield to the influence of love. You must never despair of human nature.
  • My effort should never be to undermine another's faith but to make him a better follower of his own faith.
  • My whole soul rebels against the idea that Hinduism and Islam represent two antagonistic cultures and doctrines. To assent to such a doctrine is for me a denial of God.
  • Non-violence and cowardice are contradictory terms. Non-violence is the greatest virtue, cowardice the greatest vice. Non-violence springs from love, cowardice from hate. Non-violence always suffers, cowardice would always inflict suffering. Perfect non-violence is the highest bravery. Non-violent conduct is never demoralising, cowardice always is.
  • Non-violence is not a garment to be put on and off at will. Its seat is in the heart, and it must be an inseparable part of our very being.
  • Non-violent resistance implies the very opposite of weakness. Defiance combined with non-retaliatory acceptance of repression from one's opponents is active, not passive. It requires strength, and there is nothing automatic or intuitive about the resoluteness required for using non-violent methods in political struggle and the quest for Truth.
  • Now let us turn our attention to another and entirely unrepresented community - the Indian. He is in striking contrast with the native. While the native has been of little benefit to the State, it owes its prosperity largely to the Indians. While native loafers abound on every side, that species of humanity is almost unknown among Indians here.
  • On examination, I have found it to be the most tolerant of all religions known to me. Its freedom from dogma makes a forcible appeal to me inasmuch as it gives the votary the largest scope for self-expression.:
  • On Showing up to meet His Majesty King Edward VII of England in just a loincloth, a reporter wondered aloud if this was disrespectful to the king.
    Gandhi replied simply, "The King was wearing enough for the both of us."
  • One can understand the necessity for registration of Kaffirs who will not work.
  • Passive resistance is an all-sided sword; it can be used anyhow; it blesses him who uses it and him against whom it is used.
  • Power is of two kinds. One is obtained by the fear of punishment and the other by acts of love. Power based on love is a thousand times more effective and permanent then the one derived from fear of punishment.
  • Satisfaction does not come with achievement, but with effort. Full effort is full victory.
  • Speak only if it improves upon the silence.
  • Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.
    • Source: Young India: Volume 1, Issue 52; 1919.
  • Supplication, worship, prayer are no superstition; they are acts more real than the acts of eating, drinking, sitting or walking. It is no exaggeration to say that they alone are real, all else is unreal.
  • That which looks for mercy from an opponent is not non-violence
  • The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.
  • The cause of liberty becomes a mockery if the price to be paid is the wholesale destruction of those who are to enjoy liberty.
  • The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world's problem.*
  • The fight of Satyagraha is for the strong in spirit, not the doubter or the timid. Satyagraha teaches us the art of living as well as dying.
  • The Geeta is the universal mother. I find a solace in the Bhagavadgeeta that I miss even in the Sermon on the Mount. When disappointment stares me in the face and all alone I see not one ray of light, I go back to the Bhagavad Gita. I find a verse here and a verse there , and I immediately begin to smile in the midst of overwhelming tragedies - and my life has been full of external tragedies - and if they have left no visible or indelible scar on me, I owe it all to the teaching of Bhagavadgeeta.
  • The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.
  • The moment there is suspicion about a person's motives, everything he does becomes tainted.
  • The more subtle a force is, the more effective it becomes. Love is the greatest force in the world.
  • The most heinous and the most cruel crimes of which history has record have been committed under the cover of religion or equally noble motives.
  • The Natives in our hands proved to be most unreliable and obstinate. Without constant attention, they would as soon have dropped the wounded man as not, and they seemed to bestow no care on their suffering countryman. - on the native Africans, when Gandhi was practising law there.
  • There are times when you have to obey a call which is the highest of all, that is, the voice of conscience.
    • Written in 1919; the rest of the paragraph is also interesting.
  • The Rich must live more simply so that the Poor may simply live.
  • The sayings of Muhammed are a treasure of wisdom not only for Muslims but for all of mankind.
  • The spirit of democracy cannot be imposed from without. It has to come from within.
  • The truth is that God is the force. He is the essence of life. He is pure and undefiled consciousness. He is eternal.
  • There are many causes I would die for. There is not a single cause I would kill for.
  • There is more to life than increasing its speed.
  • There is no way to peace; peace is the way.
  • 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 and seemingly impossible discoveries will be made in the field of nonviolence.
  • This freedom from all attachment is the realisation of God as Truth.
  • This manslaughter must be stopped. You are losing; if you persist, it will only result in greater bloodshed.
    • To the British during WWII
  • To believe in something, and not live it, is dishonest.
  • To forgive is not to forget. The merit lies in loving in spite of the vivid knowledge that the one that must be loved is not a friend. There is no merit in loving an enemy when you forget him for a friend.
  • Truth quenches untruth, love quenches anger, self-suffering quenches violence. This eternal rule is a rule not for saints only but for all
  • Truth resides in every human heart, and one has to search for it there, and to be guided by truth as one sees it. But no one has a right to coerce others to act according to his own view of the truth.
  • Use truth as your anvil, nonviolence as your hammer and anything that does not stand the test when it is brought to the anvil of truth and hammered with nonviolence, reject it.
  • We cannot be speakers who do not listen. But neither can we be listeners who do not speak.
  • We must always seek to ally ourselves with that part of the enemy that knows what is right.
  • We must respect other religions, even as we respect our own. Mere tolerance thereof is not enough.
  • What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty or democracy?
  • When the missionary of another religion goes to them, he goes like a vendor of goods. He has no special spiritual merit that will distinguish him from those to whom he goes. He does however possess material goods which he promises to those who will come to his fold.
  • Whenever you are confronted with an opponent, conquer him with love.
  • Whether humanity will consciously follow the law of love, I do not know. But that need not disturb me. The law will work just as the law of gravitation works, whether we accept it or not. The person who discovered the law of love was a far greater scientist than any of our modern scientists. Only our explorations have not gone far enough and so it is not possible for everyone to see all its workings.
  • Why change the world when we can change ourselves?
  • With this salt I am shaking the foundations of the empire.
    • When beginning a protest against the British rule of India, by breaking a law whereby Indians were not permitted to manufacture salt from seawater. Spoken after picking up a piece of raw salt from the seashore.
  • Yes I am, I am also a Muslim, a Christian, a Buddhist, and a Jew.
    • When asked if he was a Hindu.
  • You may never know what results come of your action, but if you do nothing there will be no result.
  • You can chain me, you can torture me, you can even destroy this body, but you will never imprison my mind.

Added 20 Jan 2010[edit]

  • Oppose tyranny but never hurt the tyrant.
  • Even a King can be a Socialist by becoming a servant of the people.
  • My patriotism is not exclusive. I will not hurt England or Germany to serve India.
  • The hardest fibre must melt in the fire of love. If it does not melt, it is because the fire is not strong enough.
  • Where there is only a choice between cowardice and violence, I advice violence.
  • With the Pariahs we must be pariahs and see how it feels to clean the closets of the upper classes and have the remains of their table thrown at us.
    • (Pariahs means untouchables)
  • Hindus and Muslims of India are not two nations. Those whom God has made one, man will never be able to divide.
  • And non-violence being the mightiest force in the world and also the most elusive in its work, it demands the greatest exercise of faith. Even as we believe in God in faith, so have we to believe in non-violence in Faith.
  • Indolence is a delightful but distressing state; we must be doing something to be happy. Action is no less necessary than thought to the instinctive tendencies of the human frame.


The following are claimed to come from An Autobiography. I've moved them here for analysis. Since it's online at Wikisource, Googling can easily find if they exist. For instance: |site: "Service is no mushroom growth"|. Add links if found; otherwise strike out thus.

And even with ones that are sourced, it's worth considering whether they're notable (for instance, if Gandhi said "God is truth", he can hardly be the first to make such a generic statement). There are also quotes which are not aphorisms in context. For instance, ones that are prefaced with "I think" or "In my view" being turned into far more definite soundbites. Or "Without infinite patience it is impossible to get the people to do any work" is based on a statement about Gandhi's difficulties in motivating sanitary reform, not a general observation on getting people to work. Gordonofcartoon 17:15, 2 March 2009 (UTC)Reply

All the following quotes were added by a single IP as being from this autobiography, without reference to edition, translator or page numbers; They need further sourcing:

  • God is absolute.
  • God is truth.
  • Truth is God. (In the meaning truth is absolute, therefore God.)
  • Only between like natures can friendship be altogether worthy and enduring.
  • I regard women as an incarnation of tolerance.
  • One could rely on people’s promises in most matters except in respect of money.
Part II/Natal Indian Congress
  • The heart's earnest and pure desire is always fulfilled.
Part II/Balasundaram
  • Howsoever you may repair it, a rift is a rift.
Part II/As a Householder
  • Things heard of from a distance appear bigger than they are.
Part II/In India
  • Service which is rendered without joy helps neither the servant nor the served.
Part II/Two Passions
  • We win justice quickest by rendering justice to the other party.
Part II/'Return Soon'
  • All became one in face of the common danger.
Part III/Rumblings of the Storm
  • With disappearance of danger also disappears the name of God.
Part III/Rumblings of the Storm as "People's faces beamed with gladness, and with the disappearance of danger disappeared also the name of God from their lips, eating and drinking, singing and merry- making again became the order of the day".
  • It is not good to run public institutions on permanent funds.
  • Mind is at the root of all sensuality.
Part III/Brahmacharya II
  • There is no limit to the possibilities of renunciation even as there is none to those of brahmacharya.
Part III/Brahmacharya II
  • These experiences taught me, better than ever before, that without infinite patience it was impossible to get the people to do any work. It is the reformer who is anxious for the reform, and not society, from which he should expect nothing better than opposition, abhorrence and even mortal persecution.
Referring to sanitary reform. Part III/Sanitary Reform and Famine Relief
  • Truth is like a vast tree, which yields more and more fruits the more you nurture it.
Part III/Sanitary Reform and Famine Relief
  • The deeper the search in the mine of truth, the richer the discovery of gems buried here in the shape of openings for an ever greater variety of services.
Part III/Sanitary Reform and Famine Relief
  • A public worker should accept no costly gifts.
Part III/Return to India
  • Service is no mushroom growth. It presupposes the will first and then experience.
Part III/In India Again
  • How heavy is the toll of sins and wrongs that wealth, power and prestige extract from man.
Part III/Lord Curzon's Darbar
  • I am sternly opposed to giving alms to sturdy beggars.
"There were religious mendicants too, and even in those days I was sternly opposed to giving alms to sturdy beggars" Part III/A Month with Gokhale II
  • To my mind the life of a lamb is no less precious than that of a human being.
Part III/A Month with Gokhale II
  • I think it is wrong to accept certainties.
Part III/To South Africa Again
  • But there is a Supreme Being hidden therein as a Certainty, and one would be blessed if one could catch a glimpse of that Certainty and hitch one's waggon to it. The quest for that Truth is the summum bonum of life.
Part III/To South Africa Again
  • The chief thing about theosophy is to cultivate and promote the ideal of brotherhood.
Part IV/Quickened Spirit of Sacrifice
  • A clean confession combined with a promise never to commit the sin again, when offered before one who has the right to receive it, is the purest form of repentance.
Part I/Stealing and Atonement
  • Religion in its broadest sense means self-realization or knowledge of self.
Not an aphorism in context: "From my sixth or seventh year up to my sixteenth I was at school, being taught all sorts of things except religion ... The term 'religion' I am using in its broadest sense, meaning thereby self- realization or knowledge of self" Part I/Glimpses of Religion
  • Let every youth take a leaf out of my book and make it a point to account for everything that comes into and goes out of his pocket, and like me he is sure to be a gainer in the end.
Part I/Changes
  • Many such experiments taught me that the real seat of taste was not the tongue but the mind.
Re taking food without sweets and condiments Part I/Experiments in Dietetics
  • As the elephant is powerless to think in the terms of the ant, in spite of the best intentions in the world, even so is the Englishman powerless to think in the terms of, or legislate for, the Indian.
Part III/Settled in Bombay?
  • Who can say thus far, no further, to the tide of his nature?
Part IV/Result of Introspection
  • A writer almost always presents one aspect of a case, whereas every case can be seen from no less than seven points of view, all of which are probably correct by themselves, but not correct at the same time and in the same circumstances.
In warning against relying on Just's Return of Nature Part IV/Experiments in Earth and Water Treatment
  • As a man eats so shall he become.
  • "Hate the sin and not the sinner" is a precept which, though easy enough to understand, is rarely practised, and that is why the poison of hatred spreads in the world.
Part IV/A Tussle with Power
  • Newspaper press is a great power, but just as an unchained torrent of water submerges whole country sides and devastates crops, even so an uncontrolled pen serves but to destroy.
Part IV/Indian Opinion
  • The useful and the useless must, like good and evil generally, go on together, and man must make his choice.
Part IV/Indian Opinion
  • I now realize that a public worker should not make statements of which he has not made sure.
Part IV/The Magic Spell of a Book
  • Above all, a votary of truth must exercise the greatest caution.
Part IV/The Magic Spell of a Book
  • On the contrary, the limited reading may be said to have enabled me thoroughly to digest what I did read.
On his reading mainly textbooks during his education, and little after entering active life Part IV/The Magic Spell of a Book
  • My object is only to show that he who would go in for novel experiments must begin with himself. That leads to a quicker discovery of truth, and God always protects the honest experimenter.
Regarding earth and water and fasting treatment Part IV/Whom God Protects
  • After all, true beauty consists in purity of heart.
Speaking of his friend's wife, Mrs West Part IV/Whom God Protects
  • Indian parents who train their children to think and talk in english from their infancy betray their children and their country. They deprive them of the spiritual and social heritage of the nation and render them to the extent unfit for the service of the country.
  • The brute by nature knows no self restraint.
Part IV/Heart Searchings
  • Man is man because he capable of, and only in so far as exercises, self restraint.
Part IV/Heart Searchings
  • Perfection or freedom from error comes only from grace.
Part IV/Heart Searchings
  • One should eat not in order to please the palate, but just to keep the body going.
Part IV/More Experiments in Dietetics
  • All this is passing before our very eyes, but there are none so blind as those who will not see.
His view of the self-evidence that pleasuring the senses is destructive. Part IV/More Experiments in Dietetics
  • Medically there may be two opinions as to the value of this diet, but morally I have no doubt that all self-denial is good for the soul.
On the merits of a saltless and pulseless diet Part IV/Domestic Satyagraha
  • True education could be imparted only by the parents and that then there should be minimum of outside help.
  • I always gave first place to building of character.
  • Children take in much more and with less labour through their ears than through their eyes.
Part IV/Literary Training
  • Children wrapped up in cottonwool are not always proof against all temptation or contamination.
On mixing well-behaved with disruptive children during education Part IV/Tares Among the Wheat
  • A votary of truth is often obliged to grope in the dark.
Part IV/A Spiritual Dilemma
  • A Satyagrahi is born to be deceived.
Part IV/Miniature Satyagraha
  • One who has faith reads in them the merciful providence of God.
On the solace of friends during illness Part IV/Treatment of Pleurisy
  • I have no doubt that the British Government is a powerful Government, but I have no doubt also that Satyagraha is a sovereign remedy.'
Part V/Was it a Threat ?
  • Service without humility is selfishness and egotism.
  • The Champaran struggle was a proof of the fact that disinterested service of the people in any sphere ultimately helps the country politically.
Part V/Case Withdrawn
  • Physical weakness in men manifests itself in irascibility.
Part V/The Fast
  • Experience has taught me that civility is the most difficult part of Satyagraha.
Part V/'The Onion Thief'
  • When the fear of jail disappears, repression puts heart into the people.
Part V/'The Onion Thief'
  • The end of satyagraha campaign can be described as worthy only when it leaves the satyagrahis stronger and more spirited then they are in the beginning.
Part V/End of Kheda Satyagraha
  • The lesson was indelibly imprinted on the public mind that the salvation of the people depends upon themselves, upon their capacity for suffering and sacrifice.
Commenting on the Bardoli Satyagraha in Gujarat Part V/End of Kheda Satyagraha
  • If all had the same belief about all matters of religion, there would be only one religion in the world.
Part V/Passion for Unity
  • You can wake a man only if he is really asleep, no effort that you may make will produce any effect upon him if he is merely pretending sleep.
Part V/That Wonderful Spectacle !
  • Those who want to lead the people to satyagraha ought to be able to keep the people within the limited non-violence expected of them.
Part V/That Memorable Week ! II
  • My uniform experience has convinced me that there is no other God than Truth. And if every page of these chapters does not proclaim to the reader that the only means for the realization of Truth is Ahimsa, I shall deem all my labour in writing these chapters to have been in vain.
  • So long as a man does not of his own free will put himself last among his fellow creatures, there is no salvation for him.
  • Ahimsa is the furthest limit of humility.
  • Only when one sees one’s own mistakes with a convex lens and does just the reverse in the case of others, that one is able to arrive at a just relative estimate of the two. A Scrupulous and conscientious observance of this rule is necessary for one who wants to be a satyagrahi.
Chapter 33, 'A Himalayan Miscalculation'
  • A reformer cannot afford to have close intimacy with him whom he seeks to reform.
  • Morality is the basis of things, and that truth is the substance of all morality.
  • Experience has taught me that silence is part of the spiritual discipline of a votary of truth. Proneness to exaggerate, to suppress or modify the truth, wittingly or unwittingly, is a natural weakness of man and silence is necessary in order to surmount it.
Chapter 18, Shyness My Shield.

Recent edits on a quote about Hitler[edit]

See earlier discussion of Gandhi Hitler quote here above.Lisasmall 02:51, 5 June 2009 (UTC)Reply

A statement of Gandhi about the early situations of WWII has often been used by neo-nazi's and other anti-pacifists as if it were an endorsement of Hitler, and was originally quoted here as:

  • I do not consider Hitler to be as bad as he is depicted. He is showing an ability that is amazing and seems to be gaining his victories without much bloodshed
    • Statement in May of 1940; for proper context it should be noted that at this time the battles of World War II were just beginning, with Germany's blitzkrieg indeed swift and relatively bloodless compared to the trench battles of the First World War, and the persecution of the Jews in the eyes of the world was limited to lowered civil rights, concentration camps and ghettos. Just a few years before even so notable an opponent to Hitler (and Gandhi himself) as Winston Churchill, in his book Great Contemporaries (1937) had declared: "One may dislike Hitler’s system and yet admire his patriotic achievement. If our country were defeated, I hope we should find a champion as admirable to restore our courage and lead us back to our place among the nations."

To the above IP added personal commentary:

Statement in rebuttal of the previous; for the proper non-biased context it should be noted that by May of 1940, Hitler had destroyed Poland (September 1939), then invaded Denmark and Norway (April 1940). In May 1940 he began his attack on France, conquering The Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg at the same time. In addition to the desimation of the militaries of these countries, many thousands of innocent civilians died. Gandhi had to have known this, and in this honestly presented context his comments favoring Hitler are despicable. The previous statement's glossing over of these facts betray an intellectually dishonest bias that does your readers a huge disservice.

To me this seems the mere ranting of someone who has some very mistaken impressions about the quote, it's general use, and the purposes of this site. Noticing these recent edits and a subsequent edit, which removed some of these comments, I looked up what I could on the source and context of the quote, and extended it to provide what is clearly the context in which Gandhi is speaking.

  • I do not want to see the allies defeated. But I do not consider Hitler to be as bad as he is depicted. He is showing an ability that is amazing and seems to be gaining his victories without much bloodshed. Englishmen are showing the strength that Empire builders must have. I expect them to rise much higher than they seem to be doing.
    • Letter to Rajkumari Amrit Kaur, regarding the military situation between England and Germany (May 1940), quoted in Collected Works (1958), p. 70. It should be noted that in May 1940 the battles of World War II were just beginning after the German invasion Poland, that the subsequent blitzkrieg invasions of The Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, and France, were indeed swift and relatively bloodless compared to the trench battles of the First World War, and that the persecution of the Jews in the eyes of the world was at this point limited to lowered civil rights, and the use of concentration camps and ghettos, and that the facts of Nazi genocidal strategies were not widely known until towards the end of that war, in 1945.

Between my adding to the quote and revising the commentary to provide context, and my adding of Wikipedia links for further research, the IP added this further personal comment:

First, there is no proof that Gandhi was intending to contrast WW1 and WW2. That is a comparison you have added to build a false context. Second, in trying to soften Gandhi's statement regarding Hitler, you are doing a disservice to the intellectual honesty of your site by minimizing the civilian death tolls in those countries. The civilian death toll in Poland was 2,360,000; in Belgium, 49,600; in Norway, 5,800; in Denmark, 1,000; in Luxembourg, 1300. Again, these are civilian death tolls; to add in military death tolls would increase the overall totals by tens of thousands. Here is the reference:

I wish to note that I removed this commentary, stating "I extended the quote for proper context and removed rantings against the site — this is neither an article on WWII, nor a forum for discussion of it." I also wish to note that there is no "false context" here, and that brief commentary regarding the actual time and context of the statement is appropriate: the last major war in Europe had been a very slow and very bloody affair, and it was not yet plain to most that the war that was emerging was going to be far bloodier. I do not actually accept Gandhi's radical levels of pacifism as a practical ideal for most people, and believe him very mistaken on some matters, but that does not mean that any of his words should be twisted and taken out of context — as they often are by both neo-nazis and other anti-pacifists — as if he had at some point in his life given a full endorsement to Hitler and all the subsequent Nazi brutalities which occurred. ~ Harlequin 19:55, 25 April 2009 (UTC)Reply


I have a question about whether breaking the sourced quotes into "general" and then the two book titles is really a sensible way to do this. I re-organized the unsourced quotes into sections by topic, which should make them easier to access. Should we consider breaking the sourced quotations down the same way, or is there a protocol on Wikiquote giving preference to organizing quotes by book title or source? — Lisasmall 02:51, 5 June 2009 (UTC)Reply

Okay, I was bold and broke the "general" sourced quotes into topical sections roughly parallel with the topical sections of the unsourced quotes, but not shifting the sourced quotes presently listed under the two book titles. My question still stands: should the quotes under the book titles be distributed to the topical sections instead? — Lisasmall 03:57, 5 June 2009 (UTC)Reply
I undid much of the recent reorganization efforts, and restored chronological order of sourced quotes — sections based on arbitrary subjects have been rejected as too prone to abuse, in favor of straight chronological ordering of general quotes and any sections devoted to specific works, where sequential presentations as arranges within these is also preferred. ~ Kalki 05:00, 5 June 2009 (UTC)Reply

"I have never advocated 'passive' anything. "[edit]

Accurate? "I have never advocated 'passive' anything. Poverty is the worst kind of violence," -- Mahatma Ghandi

—This unsigned comment is by (talkcontribs) .

It may be true or false but what i know about Mahatma from what i have read about him is that he was a great man that respected all religions and he could have read the Bible to show that all religions are centered around one place. Phoebian Blessing (talk) 18:12, 3 April 2020 (UTC)Reply

"The more you learn, The more you want to learn"[edit]

"The more you learn, The more you want to learn"

  • During one of his speeches to unite India (Bharat), Gandhi said this to motivate his listeners into doing their task given at hand and as a way of showing the British that India is a capable country.
—This unsigned comment is by (talkcontribs) .

I removed this from the article, because it provides no citation to a specific use by Gandhi, and is a variant of what is generally accepted as an old addage which is difficult or perhaps impossible to trace to any one person. The earliest incident I have found online is below:

  • The more you learn, the more you want to learn not only of your own group but of others. Knowledge today makes achievement possible tomorrow.
    • Xi Psi Phi Quarterly, Vol. 29 (1930), p. 26

A few other incidents of this or similar expressions are:

  • The more you learn, the more you can learn. The more you think, the better the thought process becomes.
    • Hardin Craig, in Freedom and Renaissance (1949)
  • The more you know, the more you can know, the more you remember, the more you can remember.
    • J. R. Muma, in Language Handbook : Concepts, Assessment, Intervention (1978)

There are also similar assertions which have been made by others, but this seems a sufficient sampling for now, to illustrate that it probably does not originate with Gandhi. ~ Kalki (talk · contributions) 13:48, 31 January 2011 (UTC)Reply

You can visit here-

"Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it."[edit]

This quote was one of two inspirations for an unpublished poem of mine, written Sept. 30th, 1983. While I don't expect my private poetry journal to be a citeable Wikiquote source, it does indicate that the original attribution of this quote to Gandhi must have occurred earlier than the post-1990 inspirational texts currently cited.

The version of the quote that I had heard attributed to Gandhi was "All that you can do will be worth almost nothing, but it is essential that you do it." The other inspiration for my poem was seeing the 1982 film, "The White Rose," about a group of students in Nazi Germany who resisted Hitler. While I think I encountered the quote in a different context, someone who has seen the film more recently than I might want to check if the film mentions the quote (it would certainly be thematically appropriate).

David Wallace 20:47, 1 March 2011 (UTC)Reply

The earliest I could find the quote was in a T-Shirt advertisement appearing in Mother Jones magazine in April of 1983. [3]. The same ad appears in the May and June editions as well. This syncs up nicely with your poem, preceding your work by only a few months. Lenschulwitz (talk) 13:40, 2 March 2012 (UTC)Reply

Canavalia (talk) 01:48, 7 November 2022 (UTC) Google Scholar finds this earliest appearance: Campbell, Meg. Fellowship; New York Vol. 49, Iss. 3, (Mar 1983): 14-15.Reply

[4] "In April 1982, no one expected the Western Campaign to be won in less than six months. How did this interfaith grassroots campaign accomplish its goal so fast? The answer is rooted in particular human beings, who took a Gandhi saying to heart: "Almost anything you do will seem insignificant, but it is very important that you do it." "

No source cited. Someone must have been disseminating this as a Gandhi quote in activist circles at the time.

note on The Quote Verifier[edit]

  • The quote verifier: who said what, where, and when, by Ralph Keyes, addresses Gandhi on pp. 74–76, rejected various quotes attributed to Gandhi

I moved this comment from the article to here. ~ Kalki (talk · contributions) 22:00, 23 July 2011 (UTC)Reply

The ideally non-violent state will be an ordered anarchy. That State is the best governed which is governed the least.[edit]

The quote "That State is the best governed which is governed the least." was already used by Thoreau as "I heartily accept the motto, "That government is best which governs least"; and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically.". And Thoreaus work was known to Gandhi. I think he is just quoting here. --helohe 12:39, 29 December 2011 (UTC)Reply

Forests of the world[edit]

The quotation "what we are doing to the forests of the world is but a mirror of what we are doing to ourselves and one another" has appeared as a popular meme lately, and I believe it has been falsely attributed to Gandhi. Can anybody verify?

See: 03:47, 5 September 2012 (UTC)R.E.D.Reply

Quote about Jesus.[edit]

This quote gets 15,000 hits on google. Is it legit?

An example:

"Lord Irwin asked Gandhi what he thought would solve the problems between Great Britain and India. Gandhi picked up a Bible and opened it to the fifth chapter of Matthew and said: “When your country and mine shall get together on the teachings laid down by Christ in this Sermon on the Mount, we shall have solved the problems not only of our countries but those of the whole world.”"

(Irwin had talks with Gandhi in 1931, if that's any help).

Gnu Ordure (talk) 16:28, 22 August 2013 (UTC)Reply

The origin of that quote seems to be a report by Frank E. Eden, in Treasury of the Christian Faith (1949), where he relates what was told to him "by a friend who has traveled through India in the interest of mission work"—
Gandhi and Lord Irwin, former Viceroy to India, were friends. On their return from the Round Table Conference at London, Lord Irwin paid a visit to the Mahatma in his ashram. During the conversation Lord Irwin put this question to his host: "Mahatma, as man to man, tell me what you consider to be the solution to the problems of your country and mine." Taking up a little book from the nearby lampstand, Gandhi opened it to the fifth chapter of Matthew and replied, "When your country and mine shall get together on the teachings laid down by Christ in this Sermon on the Mount, we shall have solved the problems not only of our countries but those of the whole world."
I will add it to the article, as an attribution. Cheers ~ DanielTom (talk) 16:47, 22 August 2013 (UTC)Reply

Hi DanielTom. Y'know, I'm really suspicious when a person of one faith provides a quotation from someone of another faith which makes his own faith look good. In this case we have Eden, obviously a Christian judging by the title of his report, citing another Christian, the anonymous missionary, who quotes Gandhi, so I'm doubly suspicious. Call me cynical, but I'm not convinced by this story. But thanks for checking it out. Gnu Ordure (talk) 17:32, 22 August 2013 (UTC)Reply

Quite. I also find it very hard to take these accounts given by Christians seriously. Yet, they are noteworthy attributions, so it is important to adequately source them. ~ DanielTom (talk) 17:47, 22 August 2013 (UTC)Reply

I guess so. I never really thought before about how the sources of quotations can vary on a scale of certainty/uncertainty. If we have a film of someone making a speech and hundreds of witnesses who can verify the speech, it's almost certain that the person said those words (allowing the tiny possibility that it was an identical twin speaking or a faked film, or something)). Whereas in this Gandhi example we have Person A saying that anonymous person B said that person C said something; no film, no named witnesses. So, not quite so certain.Gnu Ordure (talk) 16:25, 23 August 2013 (UTC)Reply

Eye for an eye ... makes the whole world blind[edit]

Gandhi never said it and I am not aware of any informed dispute, only countless false and unsupported attributions, so I am moving the following out of the Disputes section of the main article to here. Also see Briley '51 EPIC SCREENWRITER, which opens with, "Many who saw the movie Gandhi recall the moment when the humble pacifist sums up his philosophy by saying, 'An eye for an eye only makes the whole world blind.' Apt as that summation was, Gandhi never said it. Michigan graduate John Briley put those pithy words in his mouth."

  • An eye for an eye will make the whole world blind.
    • Also thoroughly discussed in this entry from Quote Investigator.
    • Appeared as "An-eye-for-an-eye-for-an-eye-for-an-eye ... ends in making everybody blind" in The Life of Mahatma Gandhi by Louis Fischer (1950), though Fischer did not attribute it to Gandhi and seemed to be giving his own description of Gandhi's philosophy; the quote was later popularised by its use in the 1982 film Gandhi. The Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence says that Gandhi's family believes it authentic, but it has never been sourced to Gandhi. Yale Book of Quotations (2006) ed. Fred R. Shapiro.

Such a famous quote should not be removed from the article, so I've restored it. If you have good sources showing he "never said it", please include them in the commentary, and move the quote to the "Misattributed" section. Thanks ~ DanielTom (talk) 08:47, 20 December 2013 (UTC)Reply

There was no basis to revert this into "Disputed," as it is not disputed. Your insistence to prove something didn't happen is unreasonable in the absence of evidence that it did, but, as there are several variants more convincingly attributed to others, I will move it to the "Misattributed" section with references to the others. Danorton (talk) 14:43, 20 December 2013 (UTC)Reply

Dubious quote[edit]

It's the action, not the fruit of the action, that's important. You have to do the right thing. It may not be in your power, may not be in your time, that there'll be any fruit. But that doesn't mean you stop doing the right thing. You may never know what results are coming from your action. But if you do nothing, there will be no result.

Earliest example I can find is from page 3 of The Voluntaryist magazine of April 1996, which claims to be quoting Michael Ryan, "I Refuse To Live In Fear", Parade Magazine, October 23, 1994, p. 73. I can't find an online version of Parade to check. Grover cleveland (talk) 00:34, 13 October 2015 (UTC)Reply

The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world's problems.[edit]

This quote is widely attributed to Gandhi, though I don't know of any evidence that he actually said it. Can anyone shed any light on this? Given the widespread belief that it's a Gandhi quote, shouldn't it at least be part of the "Disputed" section? Brooklyn Eagle (talk) 18:02, 10 November 2015 (UTC)Reply

"Always believe in your dreams, because if you don't, you'll still have hope."[edit]

This quote is on the article page and is attributed to "Young India (23 March 1924)" but I couldn't find it in the database. Can anyone confirm it? It doesn't make much sense as written. Valdean (talk) 22:28, 14 September 2016 (UTC)Reply

Quotes removed from page.[edit]

The following quotes were removed from the page by another editor. Please discuss whether they should be included on the page. Cheers! BD2412 T 22:20, 23 April 2018 (UTC)Reply

  • When Gandhi's movement was started, I said that this movement would lead either to a fiasco or to a great confusion. And I see no reason to change my opinion. Only I would like to add that it has led to both.
    • Sri Aurobindo, June 23, 1926, quoted from Sri Aurobindo, ., Nahar, S., Aurobindo, ., & Institut de recherches évolutives (Paris). India's rebirth: A selection from Sri Aurobindo's writing, talks and speeches. Paris: Institut de Recherches Evolutives. 3rd Edition (2000). [5]
  • As for Gandhi, why should you suppose that I am so tender for the faith of the Mahatma? I do not call it faith at all, but a rigid mental belief and what he calls soul-force is only a strong vital will which has taken a religious turn. That, of course, can be a tremendous force for action, but unfortunately Gandhi spoils it by his ambition to be a man of reason, while in fact he has no reason in him at all, never was reasonable at any moment in his life and, I suppose, never will be. What he has in its place is a remarkable type of unintentionally sophistic logic. Well, what this reason, this amazingly precisely unreliable logic brings about is that nobody is even sure and, I don't think, he is himself really sure what he will do next. He has not only two minds but three or four minds, and all depends on which will turn up topmost at a particular moment and how it will combine with the others. There would be no harm in that, on the contrary these might be an advantage if there were a central Light somewhere choosing for him and shaping the decision to the need of the action. He thinks there is and calls it God... but it has always seemed to me that it is his own mind that decides and most often decides wrongly. Anyhow I cannot imagine Lenin or Mustapha Kemal not knowing their own minds or acting in this way... even their strategic retreats were steps towards an end clearly conceived and executed. But whatever it be it is all mind action and vital force in Gandhi. So why should he be taken as an example of the defeat of the Divine or of a spiritual Power? I quite allow that there has been something behind Gandhi greater than himself and you can call it the Divine or a Cosmic Force which has used him, but then there is that behind everybody who is used as an instrument for world ends,... behind Kemal and Lenin also; so that is not germane to the matter.
    • Sri Aurobindo, Letter dated July 31, 1932, quoted from Sri Aurobindo, ., Nahar, S., Aurobindo, ., & Institut de recherches évolutives (Paris). India's rebirth: A selection from Sri Aurobindo's writing, talks and speeches. Paris: Institut de Recherches Evolutives. 3rd Edition (2000). [6]

We need to add Gandhi's quotes on sex[edit]

"It is the duty of every thoughtful Indian not to marry. In case he is helpless in regard to marriage, he should abstain from sexual intercourse with his wife"
"While she is bathing I keep my eyes tightly shut," he said, "I do not know ... whether she bathes naked or with her underwear on. I can tell from the sound that she uses soap." 
"Vina's sleeping with me might be called an accident. All that can be said is that she slept close to me." 
"One who conserves his vital fluid acquires unfailing power," he said.
"We both may be killed by the Muslims," he told her, "and must put our purity to the ultimate test, so that we know that we are offering the purest of sacrifices, and we should now both start sleeping naked."
"One who never has any lustful intention, who, by constant attendance upon God, has become proof against conscious or unconscious emissions, who is capable of lying naked with naked women, however beautiful, without being in any manner whatsoever sexually excited ... who is making daily and steady progress towards God and whose every act is done in pursuance of that end and no other." That is, he could do whatever he wished, so long as there was no apparent "lustful intention". He had effectively redefined the concept of chastity to fit his personal practices.
"If I don't let Manu sleep with me, though I regard it as essential that she should," he announced, "wouldn't that be a sign of weakness in me?"
Gandhi had written to his son: "I have asked her to write about her sharing the bed with me,"

"If I stop sleeping together for all time it will mean that I have been mistaken. Otherwise why should I stop it? There is a limit to abstaining from it for the sake of my friends"
Gandhi says of Kasturba "she was never the temptress." 
"I sent the boys reputed to be mischievous and the innocent young girls to bathe at the same time," he boasted, explaining carefully to them they were not to succumb to temptation.

Disputed quote[edit]

The following quote is sourced to the Watchtower, with reference to The Message of Jesus Christ. The Message of Jesus Christ, it seems, is not a book written by Gandhi, but a book published some decades after his death. I have tried to find the quote in Gandhis Complete Works, but I could not find it. This quote by Gandhi should be attributed to a source from Gandhi's writings.--Luke Jedi Skywalker (talk) 12:28, 6 August 2018 (UTC)Reply

  • I have regarded Jesus of Nazareth as one amongst the mighty teachers that the world has had. . . . I shall say to the Hindus that your lives will be incomplete unless you reverently study the teachings of Jesus.
    • The Message of Jesus Christ. Cited in The Watchtower magazine, 2001, 12/15.
The closest phrase I have found in Gandhis works is this: I believe that Jesus Christ was one of the greatest teachers of the world. --Luke Jedi Skywalker (talk) 12:33, 6 August 2018 (UTC)Reply

This quote is also disputed. It is sourced to a website, which gives no attribution or source. I could also not find it in Gandhis complete works.

  • A man who was completely innocent, offered himself as a sacrifice for the good of others, including his enemies, and became the ransom of the world. It was a perfect act.

I found this quote; it is in Volume II of Non-Violence in Peace and War, page 166, in the edition published in 1948. Aidann1 (talk) 04:44, 15 May 2021 (UTC)Reply

  • Actually, not only did I find the "a man who was completely innocent" quote in the book mentioned above, but you can find it in Volume 92 of Gandhi's Collected Works, page 346. Aidann1 (talk) 05:00, 15 May 2021 (UTC)Reply

Unsourced quote[edit]

  • Let's arrest me again English! We all saw arresting or killing isn't effective. Here, the Turks whacked their coffins prepared for their funeral on their owners!

Primary source[edit]

Hello , I've been seeking a primary source for these quotes without success. The secondary source does not seem to be available online, so I couldn't verify there.

I have added more details. Please in the future never remove quotes without moving them to the talkpage for discussion see this, thanks. -- (talk) 09:47, 21 October 2021 (UTC)Reply

Deleted quotes[edit]


Capitals00 has removed Ambedkar quotes with the edit summary rm undue weight on Ambedkar. Undue weight is a wikipedia rule, not a wikiquote rule. As admin BD2412 said elsewhere, Generally, if a subject is notable and has made notable quotes relevant to a particular page, we have no limitation to the number of quotes by that subject that can be included in this compendium.

Removed quotes should also be moved to the talkpage for discussion, not just deleted, see Template:Remove:

Quotes should never be removed without a comment in the edit summary, and should almost always be moved to the Talk page with a note that they were removed from the article, giving full reasoning. If it is a misattribution, the quote should not be removed, instead being moved to a "Misattributed" section, where explanation of the misattribution can be made in a subbullet.

Capitals00 also removed an image of Ambedkar with a quote. This should also have been discussed on the talkpage. -- (talk) 10:41, 27 March 2024 (UTC)Reply

I have replaced the image of Ambedkar with an image of Aurobindo in the same section. -- (talk) 10:47, 27 March 2024 (UTC)Reply