Quotations from the book : EPIGRAMS FROM GANDHIJI

Epigrams from Gandhiji

Quotations from the book
Epigrams from Gandhiji

Alphabetical Listing





Numerals after each epigram refer to the pages of volumes indicated by the following abbreviations. Where publisher is not mentioned, it is Navajivan Publishing House, Ahmedabad.

  • I to XXVI: The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, Publications Division
  • A : An Autobiography or The Story of My Experiments with Truth: M. K. Gandhi; Navajivan  Publishing House, Ahmedabad
  • AA: Asia and the Americas: Monthly Magazine published from New York
  • ABP: Amrita Bazar Patrika: English Daily
  • AG: Among the Great: Dilip Kumar Roy; Nalanda Publications, Bombay, 1945
  • AOA: Ashram Observations in Action: Navajivan Publishing House, Ahmedabad
  • BC: The Bombay Chronicle: Daily newspaper published from Bombay
  • Bunch: A Bunch of Old Letters, J. Nehru (Asia, 1958)
  • CP: Constructive Programme: Its Meaning and Place: M. K. Gandhi; Navajivan Publishing House, Ahmedabad
  • EF: The Epic Fast: Pyarelal, Ahmedabad, 1932
  • ER: Ethical Religion: Mahatma Gandhi; S. Ganesan, Madras, 1930
  • EWE : Evil Wrought by the English Medium, R. K. Prabhu(1958)
  • FYM: From Yeravda Mandir: Ashram Observations: M. K. Gandhi; NavajivanPublishing House,
  • GCG: Gandhi's Correspondence with the Government,1924-44: Navajivan Publishing House
  • GIV : Gandhiin Indian Villages: Mahadev Desai; S. Ganesan, Madras1927
  • H: Harijan: (1933-1956) English Weekly Journal founded by Gandhi,
  • HS: Hind SWARAJ OR Indian  Home Rule: ; Navjivan Publishing House,Ahmedabad
  • MM: Mind of Mahatma Gandhi (Ed. Prabhu & Rao), 3rd Edn., 1968
  • MOG: The Message of the Gita, R. K. Prabhu (1959)
  • MGCG: Mahatma Gandhi: Correspondence with the Government (1959)
  • T: (Followed by Vol. No.) Mahatma (D.G. Tendulkar) Vols. 1-8; 2nd Edn.(1960), Publications Division
  • TIG: Truth is God, Ed. R. K. Prabhu(1955)
Banker :
  • Even as a banker cannot run a bank if he has nothing in his chest, so can a general not lead a battle if he has no soldiers on whom he can rely implicitly. T-5-31
Basic Education :
  • Basic education links children, whether of cities or villages, to all that is best and lasting in India.EWE-24
  • The object of basic education is the physical, intellectual and moral development of children though the medium of handicraft. EWE-24
Beast :
  • Every species, human and subhuman, has some distinguishing mark, so that you can tell a man from a beast, or a dog from a cow. T-3-280
Beauty :
  • The beauty of poetry is that the creation transcends the poet. MOG-15
  • There is a beauty and an art in simplicity which he who runs may see.T-4-170
  • When I admire the wonder of a sunset or the beauty of the moon, my soul expands in worship of the Creator. T-2-160
  • All truths, not merely ideas, but truthful faces, truthful pictures or songs, are highly beautiful. T-2-159
  • To a true artist only that face is beautiful which, quite apart from its exterior, shines with the truth within the soul. T-2-159
  • People generally fail to see beauty in truth, the ordinary man runs away from it and becomes blind to the beauty in it. T-2-159
  • Truth is the first thing to be sought for, and Beauty and Goodness will then be added unto you. XXV-255
Bhagavadgita (Gita) :
  • The Gita is not for those who have no faith. T-2-312
  • In theGita continuous concentration on God is the king of sacrifices. T-2-311
  • The Gita distinguishes between the powers of light and darkness and demonstrates their incompatibility. MM-94
  • The Gita is not an aphoristic work, it is a great religious poem. T-2-312
  • Salvation of the Gita is perfect peace. T-2-309
  • A literal interpretation of the Gita lands one in a sea of contradictions. XXVI-289
  • The renunciation of the Gita is the acid test of faith.T-2-310
  • The sanyasa of the Gita is all work and yet no work. T-2-312
  • The sanyasa of the Gita will not tolerate complete cessation of activity. T-2-31
  • Devotion required by the Gita is no soft-hearted effusiveness. T-2-309
  • The Bible is as much a book of religion with me as the Gita and the Koran. MM-98
  • Self-realization is the object of the Gita, as it is of all scriptures. MOG-4
  • The object of the Gita appears to me to be that of showing the most excellent way to attain self-realization. TIG-98
  • The message of the Gita is to be found in the second chapter of the Gita where Lord Krishna speaks of the balanced state of mind, of mental equipoise. T-5-21
  • Time is wealth, and the Gita says the Great Annihilator annihilates those who waste time. T-2-274
  • According to the letter of the Gita, it is possible to say that warfare is consistent with renunciation of fruit. T-2-312
  • The path of bhakti, karma and love as expounded in the Gita leaves no room for the despising of man by man. T-2-278
  • I have felt that the Gita teaches us that what cannot be followed in day-to-day practice cannot be called religion. T-2-311
  • My Gita tells me that evil can never result from a good action. XXV-520
  • The Gita is not only my Bible and my Koran, it is more than that, it is my mother. MM-95
  • I find a solace a in the Bhagavadgita and Upanishads that I miss even in the Sermon on the Mount. MM-94
  • The Gita has become for me the key to the scriptures of the world. T-4-76
  • Let the Gita be to you a mine of diamonds, as it has been to me; let it be your constant guide and friend on life's way. T-2-307
  • The object of the Gita appears to me to be that of showing the most excellent say to attain self-realization. MOG-4
  • My life has been full of external tragedies and if they have not left any visible effect on me, I owe it to the teaching of the >Bhagavadgita. MOG-40
  • In the characteristics of the perfected man of the Gita, I do not see any to correspond to physical warfare. MOG-3
  • I still somehow or other fancy that "my philosophy" represents the true meaning of the teaching of the Gita.XXVI-140
  • Untouchability, I hold, is a sin, if Bhagavadgita is one of our Divine Books. XXVI-349
  • In order that knowledge may not run riot, the author of the Gita has insisted on devotion accompanying it and has given it the first place. T-2-309
  • The lives of Zoroaster, Jesus and Mohammed, as I have understood them, have illumined many a passage in the Gita. T-3-181
  • The Krishna of the Gita is perfection and right knowledge personified, but the picture is imaginary. TIG-98
  • A devotee of Rama may be said to be the same as the steadfast one (sthitaprajnya) of the Gita. TIG-111
  • The seeker is at liberty to extract from this treasure any meaning he likes, so as to enable him to enforce in his life the central teaching. T-2-312
  • To one who reads the spirit of the Gita, it teaches the secret of nonviolence, the secret of realizing self through the physical body. MOG-16
  • What the Sermon* describes in a graphic manner, the Bhagavadgita reduces to a scientific formula. MM-68* The Sermon on the Mount
  • To those who are innocent of nonviolence, the Gita does not teach a lesson despair. MOG-17
Birth :
  • Birth and death are no two different states, but they are different aspects of the same state. XXV-333
  • The whole world is in the throes of new birth. Anything done for temporary gain would be tantamount to an abortion. T-5-273
Birth Control :
  • Self-control is the surest and the only method of regulating the birthrate. Birth control by contraceptives is race suicide. T-2-226
Blame :
  • Blaming the wolf would not help the sheep much. The sheep must learn not to fall into the clutches of the wolf. T-5-10
Bolshevism : See Communism :

Bone :
  • Every bone picked up is valuable raw material from which useful articles can be made or which can be crushed into rich manure. T-4-17
Boycott :
  • Boycott brought about anyhow of British cloth cannot yield the same results as boycott brought about by hand spinning and khaddar. XXV-475
  • So long as we have to rely on the pins and the needles, figurative and literal, we cannot bring about a complete boycott of foreign goods. T-2-14
  • I boycott foreign goods, not foreign ability. Bunch-268
  • We are aware that the business of Swaraj will thrive only if the boycott of foreign cloth is successful. XXV-578
  • If the people resolve and carry out this programme of boycott and swadeshi, they would not have to wait for Swaraj even for a year. T-2-27
Brahmins-Brahminism :
  • The Brahmin is the finest flower of Hinduism and humanity. I will do nothing to whither it.XXVI-331
  • Brahmins are born, not so Brahminism. It is a quality open to be cultivated by the lowliest or the lowest among us. XXVI-331
  • A true Brahmin should be the very image of humility and not be proud of his knowledge or wisdom. T-3-270
  • A Brahmin is hardly worth the name, if he did not have the courage of his convictions. T-3-270
  • The Brahmin's duty is to look after the sanitation of the soul, the bhangi 's that of the body of society. T-4-104
  • Where is the real Brahmin today, content with a bare living and giving all his time to study and teaching?T-5-97
  • I have the highest reverence for Brahminism, under which a class has been set apart from generation to generation for the exclusive pursuit of divine knowledge and consigned to voluntary poverty. T-3-195
  • I would not have the non-Brahmins to rise on the ruin of the Brahmins. XXVI-331
  • Swear all you are worth, if you like, against Brahmins, but never against Brahminism. T-2-283
  • The ideal bhangi of my conception would be a Brahmin par excellence, possibly even excel him.T-4-104
Brave-Bravery :
  • Bravery is not man's monopoly. MM-297
  • Bravery is not a quality of the body, it is of the soul. MM-61
  • Nonviolence is the summit of bravery. T-2-131
  • Bravery on the battlefield is impossible for us. Bravery of the soul still remains open to us. T-5-128
  • I see neither bravery nor sacrifice in destroying life or property for offence or defence. T-6-67
  • Mere brave speech without action is letting off useless steam. T-2-325
  • True paurusha, true bravery, consists in driving out the brute in us. XV-157
  • Unexampled bravery, born of nonviolence, coupled with strict honesty shown by a fair number of Muslims, was sure to infect the whole of India. T-8-176
  • The art of dying bravely and with honour does not need any special training, save a living faith in God.MM-302
  • For thousands to do to death a few hundreds is no bravery. It is worse than cowardice. It is unworthy of nationalism, of any religion. T-4-252
  • Active nonviolence of the brave puts to flight thieves, dacoits, murderers, and prepares an army of volunteers ready to sacrifice themselves in quelling riots, in extinguishing fires and feuds, and so on. T-4-257
  • Nonviolence is not a weapon of the weak. It is a weapon of the strongest and the bravest. T-4-253
  • There can be no friendship between cowards, or cowards and brave men. XXV-436
  • The man or the woman who can display this nonviolence of the brave can easily stand against an external invasion. T-5-298
  • Those who are truthful, nonviolent and brave do not cease to be so because of the stupidity of their leader. T-5-128
  • Ahimsa is an attribute of the brave. Cowardice and ahimsa don't go together any more than water and fire. T-5-189
  • Ahimsa is the highest ideal. It is meant for the brave, never for the cowardly. T-7-128
  • The history of the world is full of instances of men who rose to leadership by sheer force of self-confidence, bravery and tenacity. T-3-23
  • A straight fight in an equal battle takes some bravery, but braver is he who, knowing that he would have to sacrifice ninety-five as against five of the enemy, faces death. T-5-111
  • Far better than emasculation would be bravery of those who use physical force. T-4-237
British : See Englishman :

Brother - Brotherhood :
  • All the great religions of the world inculcate the equality and brotherhood of mankind and the virtue of toleration. T-3-257
  • I want to realize brotherhood or identity not merely with the beings called human. But I want to realize identity for the purpose of weaning him from the evil habit. T-2-353
  • A teetotaler would regard it as his duty to associate with his drunkard brother for the purpose of weaning him from the evil habit. XXVI-65
  • The khadi spirit means fellow feeling with every human being on earth. T-2-282
  • I have never in my life regarded anyone as my servant, but as a brother or a sister. T-2-279
Brute - Brute Force :
  • Unrestricted individualism is the law of the beast of the jungle. T-5-105
  • The only thing that separates us from the brute, with which we have so much in common, is the capacity to distinguish between right and wrong. T-4-158
  • The spirit lies dormant in the brute, and he knows no law but that of physical might. T-2-5
  • True paurusha, true bravery, consists in driving out the brute in us. XV-157
  • We are no better than the brutes until we have purged ourselves of the sins we have committed against our weaker brethren. T-2-3
  • 'Tit for tat' is the law of the brute of the unregenerate man. T-8-14
  • To answer brutality with brutality is to admit to one's moral and intellectual bankruptcy. T-7-399
  • Human nature will only find itself when it fully realizes that to be human it has to cease to be beastly or brutal. T-4-279
  • The Germans were defeated not because they were necessarily in the wrong, but because the allied powers were found to possess greater brute strength. T-2-20
  • Brute is the only test the West has hitherto recognized. T-2-20
Buddha - Buddhism :
  • Buddha never rejected Hinduism, but he broadened its base. He gave it a new life and a new interpretation. T-2-292
  • Buddha renounced every worldly happiness because be wanted to share with the whole world his happiness which was to be had by men who sacrificed and suffered in the search for truth. T-2-295
  • Buddha emphasised and re-declared the eternal an unalterable existence of the moral government of this universe. He unhesitatingly said that the law was God Himself. T-2-293
  • For Asia to be not for Asia but the whole world, it has to re-learn the message of the Buddha and deliver it to the world. MM-433
  • I know that Buddhism is to Hinduism what Protestantism is to Roman Catholicism, only in a much stronger light, in a much greater degree. T-2-352
  • I do not believe that "My philosophy " is an indifferent mixture of Tolstoy and Buddha. XXVI-140
  • If there was any teacher in the world who insisted upon the inexorable law of cause and effect, it was Gautama, and yet my friends, the Buddhists outside India, would, if they could, avoid the effects of their own acts.T-2-293
  • Buddhism is one long prayer. T-5-148