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)
Faith :
  • Faith becomes lame, when it ventures into matters pertaining to reason. T-7-36
  • A faith gained in strength only when people were willing to lay down their lives for it. T-7-386
  • Faith is like the Himalaya mountains which cannot possibly change. T-3-244
  • Faith is not a delicate flower which would wither away under the slightest stormy weather. T-3-244
  • Robust faith in oneself and brave trust of the opponent, so called or real, is the best safeguard. T-8-133
  • Exercise of faith will be the safest where there is a clear determination summarily to reject all that is contrary to truth and love. T-2-313
  • A living faith cannot be manufactured by the rule of majority. MM-341
  • What is faith worth if it is not translated into action? T-5-180
  • If you have faith in the cause and the means and in God, the hot sun will be cool for you. T-2-182
  • It is poor faith that needs fair weather for standing firm. That alone is true faith that stands the foulest weather. XXV-337
  • Nothing can be more hurtful to an honourable man than that he should be accused of bad faith.XX-160
  • Faith is not imparted like secular subjects. It is given through the language of the heart. TIG-70
  • Every living faith must have within itself the power of rejuvenation if it is to live. TIG-73
  • Work without faith is like an attempt to reach the bottom of a bottomless pit. MM-5
  • A man with a grain of faith in God never loses hope, because he ever believes in the ultimate triumph of Truth. XXV-188
  • A man of faith does not bargain or stipulate with God. XXV-88
  • Just as the body cannot exist without blood, so the soul needs the matchless and pure strength of faith. TIG-112
  • Nonviolence succeeds only when we have a real living faith in God. T-5-14
  • A satyagrahi should have a living faith in God. T-5-92
  • The Gita is not for those who have no faith. T-2-2
  • I am a seasoned soldier of nonviolence, and I have evidence enough to sustain my faith. T-5-222
  • I have made the world's faith in God my own and as my faith is effaceable, I regard that faith as amounting to experience. TIG-4
  • I know nothing of the science of astrology and I consider it to be a science, if it is a science, of doubtful value, to be severely left alone by those who have any faith in Providence. T-2-314
  • It is the faith and perseverance and single-mindedness with which Hitler has perfected his weapons of destruction that commands my admiration. T-5-291
  • God's word is: 'He who strives never perishes'. I have implicit faith in that promise. TIG-4
  • My effort should never be to undermine another's faith but to make him a better follower of his own faith. T-2-343
  • My faith in non-co-operation is as bright as ever. XXV-336
  • My faith is brightest in the midst of impenetrable darkness. MM-132
  • My faith runs so very much faster than my reason that I can challenge the whole world and say, 'God is, was and ever shall be'. TIG-13
  • The only tyrant I accept in this world is the 'still small voice' within. MM-14
  • My implicit faith in nonviolence does mean yielding to minorities when they are really weak. MM-343
  • Nonviolence is the first article of my faith. It is also the last article of my creed. T-2-97
  • Whether one or many, I must declare my faith that it is better for India to discard violence altogether even for defending her borders.T-5-178
  • With me the connection between the cosmic phenomena and human behaviour is a living faith that draws me nearer to God, humbles me and makes me readier for facing Him. T-3-251
  • Without a belief in my programme and without an acceptance of my condition, you will ruin me, ruin yourselves and ruin the cause. T-5-265
  • All faiths constitute a revelation of Truth, but all are imperfect and liable to error. TIG-65
  • Tolerance implies a gratuitous assumption of the inferiority of other faiths to one's own. TIG-64
  • What faith can you place in a general or a soldier who lacks resolution and determination, who says, 'I shall keep guard as long as I can'? T-2-365
  • Can a general fight on the strength of soldiers, who, he knows, have no faith in him? T-5-266
  • Decency requires that when a programme is approved by the majority, all should carry it out faithfully. T-5-2244
  • Even as a tree has a single trunk, but many branches and leaves, there is one religion but any number of faiths. TIG-65
  • He who would in his own person test the fact of God's presence can do so by a living faith. T-2-213
  • If you have no character to lose, people will have no faith in you. T-3-34
  • Khaddar is an activity that can absorb all the time of all available men and women and grown-up children, if they have faith. XXV-365
  • Legal imposition avoids the necessity of honour or good faith. XXVI-162
  • The khadi spirit means an equally illimitable faith. T-2-282
  • Prayer is an impossibility without a living faith in the presence of God within. TIG-55
  • The renunciation of the Gita is the acid test of faith. T-2-310
  • Those who are lacking in bhakti (devotion), lacking in faith, are ill qualified to interpret the scriptures. TIG-96
Fast - Fasting :
  • Fasting and prayer are common injunctions in my religion. T-2-152
  • Fasting for light and penance is a hoary institution. T-3-165
  • A pure fast, like duty, is its own reward. T-8-247
  • Fasting is an institution as old as Adam. It has been resorted to for self-purification or for some ends, noble as well as ignoble. T-5-61
  • A complete fast is a complete and literal denial of self. It is the truest prayer. MM-35
  • A genuine fast cleanses the body, mind and soul. It crucifies the flesh and to that extent sets the soul free. MM-35
  • Fasts should not be undertaken out of anger. Anger is a short madness. T-8-5
  • All fasting and all penance must, as far as possible, be secret. T-2-86
  • What the eyes are for the outer world, fasts are for the inner. T-2-218
  • A fast to be true must be accompanied by a readiness to receive pure thoughts and determination to resist all Satan's temptations. TIG-52
  • When a man fasts, it is not the gallons of water he drinks that sustains him, but God. T-8-108
  • My fast is, among other things, meant to qualify me for achieving that equal and selfless love. T-2-151
  • My fast is a matter between God and myself. T-2-150
  • My religion teaches me that whenever there is distress which one can not remove, one must fast and pray.T-2-148
  • My austerities, fasting and prayers are, I know, of no value, if I rely upon them for reforming me. TIG-153
Fear - Fearless :
  • Fear is a disease worse than malaria or kalaazar; these diseases kill the body, fear kills the soul. T-2-304
  • Fear of disease kills more men than disease itself. T-7-110
  • A fear-stricken person can never know God, and one who knows God will never fear the mortal man. T-2-304
  • The fear of the judge within is more terrible than that of the one without. T-2-47
  • Where there is fear, there is no religion. T-2-230
  • There is always the fear of self-righteousness possessing us, the fear of arrogating to ourselves a superiority that we do not possess. T-5-243
  • It is weakness which breeds fear, and fear breeds distrust. T-2-133
  • There would be no one to frighten you if you refuse to be afraid. T-2-302
  • The man who fears man falls from the estate of man. Fear God alone. T-2-302
  • The greatest help you can give me is to banish fear from your hearts. T-7-260
  • External fears cease of their own accord when once we have conquered these traitors within the camp. MM-60
  • For a nonviolent person the whole world is one family. He will thus fear none, nor will others fear him. T-5-304
  • Power is of two kinds. One is obtained by the fear of punishment and the other by acts of love. XXV-563
  • Power based on love is a thousand times more effective and permanent than the one derived from fear of punishment. XXV-563
  • A man who throws himself on God ceases to fear man. T-2-369
  • Running away for fear of death, leaving one's dear ones, temples or music to take care of themselves, is irreligion, it is cowardice. XXV-138
  • It needs more than a heart of oak to shed all fear except the fear of God. T-4-33
  • You will find that God is always by the side of the fearless. Therefore, we should fear Him alone and seek His protection. T-7-273
  • The golden rule is to act fearlessly upon what one believes to be right. MM-60
  • Fearlessness presupposes calmness and peace of mind.MM-60
Fight :
  • I am convinced that the masses do not want to fight if the leaders do not. MM-400
  • My fight against untouchability is a fight against the impure in humanity. T-3-168
Fire :
  • An incendiary uses fire for destructive and nefarious purposes, a housewife makes daily use of it in preparing nourishing food for mankind. MM-448
Flag :
  • A national spirit is necessary for national existence. A flag is a material aid to the development of such a spirit. >XXVI-544
Flattery :
  • Flattery and anger are the two sides of weakness, one the obverse, other the reverse. The reverse - anger - is worse than the obverse - flattery. XXV-574
Force :
  • Love is the subtlest force in the world. XXV-392
  • The force of nonviolence is infinitely more wonderful and subtle than the material forces of nature, like electricity. T-3-112
  • The force generated by nonviolence is infinitely greater than the force of all the arms invented by man's ingenuity. T-5-281
  • The truth is that God is the force. He is the essence of life. He is pure and undefiled consciousness. He is eternal. TIG-84
  • To conquer subtle passions, seems to me, to be harder by far than the physical conquest of the world by the force of arms. TIG-58
  • Older men should yield with grace what will be taken from them by force if they do not read the signs of the times.T-2-371
  • The more efficient a force is, the more silent and the more subtle it is. XXV-392
Foreign Cloth :
  • Love of foreign cloth has brought foreign domination, pauperism and, what is worst, shame to many a home. T-2-55
  • Untouchability of foreign cloth is as much a virtue with all of us as untouchability of the suppressed classes must be a sin with every devout Hindu. T-2-53
  • In burning my foreign cloths, I burn my shame. T-2-64
Forgiveness :
  • Forgiveness is the quality of the brave, not of the cowardly. MM-473
  • Forgiveness is a quality of the soul and therefore a positive quality. MM-420
  • The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong. MM-421
  • A definite forgiveness would mean a definite recognition of our strength. T-2-5
  • Abstinence is forgiveness only when there is power to punish; it is meaningless when it pretends to proceed from a helpless creature. T-2-4
  • A mouse hardly forgives a cat when it allows itself to be torn to pieces by her. T-24
  • Forgiveness adorns a soldier. T-4-2
  • With enlightened forgiveness must come a mighty wave of strength in us, which would make it impossible for a Dyer and a Frank Johnson to heap affront on India's devoted head. T-2-4
Freedom :
  • Freedom of a nation cannot be won by solitary acts of heroism, though they may be of the true type, never by heroism so called. T-2-333
  • Freedom is like a birth. Till we are fully free, we are slaves. MM-311
  • Freedom of worship, even of public speech, would become a farce if interference became the order of the day. T-8-132
  • Freedom received though the efforts of others, however benevolent, cannot be retained when such effort is withdrawn. T-5-276
  • Freedom battles are not fought without paying heavy prices.T-5-57
  • No charter of freedom will be worth looking at which does not ensure the same measure of freedom for the minorities as for the majority. T-5-201
  • No government on earth can make men, who have realized freedom in their hearts, salute against their will. T-7-113
  • No society can possibly be built on a denial of individual freedom. MM-312
  • When freedom is in jeopardy, non-co-operation may be a duty and prison may be a palace. XXV-393
  • God demands nothing less than complete self - surrender as the price for the only real freedom that is worth having. TIG-57
  • Is it not possible for us all to realize that the masses will never mount to freedom through murder? T-5-258
  • True ahimsa should mean a complete freedom from ill-will, anger and hate and an overflowing love for all. T-2-318
  • Bomb-throwers have discredited the cause of freedom, in whose name they threw the bombs. T-2-357
  • There is nothing but nonviolence to fall back upon for retaining our freedom, even as we had to do for gaining it. T-7-95
  • Freedom from all attachment is the realization of God as Truth. TIG-37
  • Freedom of India will demonstrate to all the exploited races of the earth that their freedom is very near. TIG-7-2
  • India's freedom will not be won by violence but only by the purest suffering without retaliation. XXV-277
  • There is every reason for being cautious about founding new universities till India has digested the newly acquired freedom. EWE-29
  • We want freedom for our country, but not at the expense or exploitation of others, not so as to degrade other countries. T-2-200
  • I do not want my house to be walled in on all 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. EWE-11
  • If any Englishman dedicated his life to securing the freedom of India, resisting tyranny and serving the land, I should welcome that Englishman as an Indian. X-41
  • I would far rather that India perished than that she won freedom at the sacrifice of truth. T-3-133
  • I would not sell the vital interests of the untouchables for the sake of winning freedom for India. T-3-113
  • My interest in India's freedom will cease if she adopts violent means, for their fruit will not be freedom but slavery in disguise. T-2-126
  • For my own part, I do not want the freedom of India if it means extinction of England or the disappearance of Englishmen. T-2-200
  • Through realization of freedom of India, I hope to realize and carry on the mission of brotherhood of man. T-2-353
  • It will be hard to find a parallel in history in which unarmed people have represented the urge for freedom, turning their armlessness into the central means for deliverance. T-5-193
  • Though we are politically free, we are hardly free from the subtle domination of the West. EWE-28
  • Nothing depends upon the death of an individual, be he ever so great, but much depends upon the freedom of India. T-2-314
  • A slave has not the freedom even to do the right thing. T-2-6
  • A slave-holder, who has decided to abolish slavery, does not consult his slaves whether they desire freedom or not. T-5-201
Friends - Friendship :
  • Friends to be friends are not called upon to agree even on most points. T-2-214
  • Death is no fiend, he is the truest of friends. He delivers us from agony. T-2-237
  • With me marriage is not a necessary test of friendship even between husband and wife, let alone their respective clans. XXVI-285
  • It is the acid test of nonviolence that in a nonviolent conflict there is no rancour left behind, and in the end the enemies are converted into friends. T-4-291
  • My attitude towards the English is one of utter friendliness and respect. XXVI-52