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)
Labour :
  • Capital exploits the labour of a few to multiply itself.MM-339
  • Every labourer is worthy of his hire. No country can produce thousands of unpaid whole-time workers.XXV-485
  • Is not labour, like learning, its own reward? T-3-300
  • Labour has its unique place in a cultured human family. MM-373
  • Labour is priceless, not gold. T-8-97
  • Labour is a great leveler of all distinctions. T-8-97
  • No labour is too mean for one who wants to earn an honest penny. MM-204
  • There is a world-wide conflict between capital and labour, and the poor envy the rich. MM-199
  • The saving of labour of the individual should be the object and honest humanitarian considerations, and not greed, the motive. XXV-252
  • Unless our hands go hand in hand with our heads, we will be able to do nothing whatsoever. XXVI-302
  • Useful manual labour, intelligently performed, is the means par excellence for developing the intellect. MM-379
  • I do not regard capital to be the enemy of labour. T-2-257
  • I call myself a labourer because I take pride in calling myself a spinner, weaver, farmer and scavenger. XXVI-379
  • A labourer cannot sit at the table and write, but a man who has worked at the table all his life can certainly take to physical labour.T-2-63
  • A plea of the spinning wheel is a plea for recognizing the dignity of labour. T-2-63
  • A scavenger who works in His service shares equal distinction with a king who uses his gifts in His name and is a mere trustee. MM-202
  • A true and nonviolent combination of labour would act like a magnet attracting to it all the needed capital. T-8-97
  • A worker's capital is inexhaustible, incapable of being stolen, and bound to pay him a generous dividend all the time. XIV-217
  • Each and every one of you should consider himself to be a trustee for the welfare of the rest of his fellow labourers and not be self-seeking. T-2-297
  • If everybody lives by the sweat of his brow, the earth will become a paradise. MM-200
  • It is a sad thing that our schoolboys look upon manual labour with disfavour, if not contempt. EWE-20
  • Labour, because it chose to remain unintelligent, either became subservient, or insolently believed in damaging the capitalists' goods and machinery or even in killing the capitalists. T-8-97
  • Mere mental, that is, intellectual labour, is for the soul and has its own satisfaction. T-4-36
  • Nothing will demoralize the nation so much as that we should learn to despise labour. EWE-25
  • Our children should not be so taught as to despise labour. EWE-20
  • Obedience to the law of bread labour will bring about a silent revolution in the structure of society. MM-200
  • Employers ganging up against workers is like raising an army of elephants against ants.XX-333
  • The rich cannot accumulate wealth without the co-operation of the poor in society. MM-271
  • This mad rush for wealth must cease and the labourer must be assured not only of a living wage but, also a daily task that is not mere drudgery. T-2-161
  • What the two hands of the labourer can achieve, the capitalist will never get with all his gold and silver. T-7-33
  • Where there are millions upon millions of units of idle labour, it is no use thinking of labour-saving devices. T-4-24
Language :
  • A language is an exact reflection of the character and growth of its speakers. EWE-13
  • Language is at best an imperfect medium of expression. No man can fully express in words what he feels or thinks. T-7-145
  • The language of a people who produce hard workers, literary experts, businessmen and enterprising persons, spreads and is enriched. T-7-51
  • It is rarely that language succeeds as a vehicle of thought. More often than not it conceals thought. Always language circumscribes thought. XX-5
  • There never was a greater superstition, than, that a particular language can be incapable of expansion or expressing abstruse or scientific ideas. EWE-12
  • Man can only describe God in his own poor language. TIG-45
  • If we have listening ears, God speaks to us in our own language, whatever that language be. T-7-110
  • What we start receiving education through our own language, our relations in the home will take on a different character. XIV-20
Law :
  • The law which governs all life is God. T-2-313
  • The law is God. Anything attributed to Him is not a mere attribute. He is Truth, Love, Law and a million things that human ingenuity can name. T-3-250
  • The Law and the Lawgiver are one. T-2-313
  • Affection cannot be manufactured or regulated by law. T-2-100
  • The laws of nature are changeless, unchangeable, and there are no miracles in the sense of infringement or interruption of Nature's law. MM-77
  • A satyagrahi cannot go to law for a personal wrong. XXV-163
  • Where death without resistance or death after resistance is the only way, neither party should think of resorting to law-courts or help from the government. XXV-138
  • The recognition of the golden rule of never taking the law into one's own hands has no exceptions.T-8-103
  • Independence means voluntary restraint and discipline, voluntary acceptance of the rule of law.T-8-100
  • When there is war, the poet lays down the lyre, the lawyer his law reports, the schoolboy his books. T-2-62
Leaders :
  • An institution that suffers from a plethora of leaders is surely in a bad way. T-7-218
Learning :
  • Learning takes us through many stages in life but it fails us utterly in the hours of danger and temptation. XXVI-28
  • Is not labour, like learning, its own reward? T-3-300
  • Persistent questioning and healthy inquisitiveness are the first requisites for acquiring learning of any kind. MM-377
  • In a democratic scheme, money invested in the promotion of learning gives a ten-fold return to the people, even as a seed sown in good soil returns a luxuriant crop. T-8-165
Legislatures :
  • Truth and nonviolence are both the means and the end, and given the right type of men, legislatures can be the means of achieving concrete pursuit of truth and nonviolence. T-4-161
Liberation :
  • All Indian scriptures have certainly preached incessantly liberation as an immediate aim, but we know that "activity in the lower worlds" being abandoned. X-247
Liberty :
  • Liberty is a dearly bought commodity and prisons are factories where it is manufactured. XXV-212
  • Liberty never meant the license to do anything at will. T-8-100
  • A rose will smell as sweet by any other name, but it must be the rose of liberty that I want and not the artificial product.T-3-129
  • We dare not enter the kingdom of liberty with mere lip homage to truth and non-violence. T-2-85
  • No power on earth can resist the lovers of liberty who are ready not to kill opponents, but be killed by them. T-7-326
  • Individual liberty is allowed to man only to a certain extent. He cannot forget that he is a social being and his individual liberty has to be curtailed at every step. T-5-120
  • Individual liberty and interdependence are both essential for life in society. T-7-37
  • The one condition for fighting for peace and liberty is to acquire self-restraint. XXVI-45
  • In my dream, in my sleep, while eating, I think of the spinning wheel. The spinning wheel is my sword. To me it is the symbol of India's liberty.XXV-351
Life :
  • A life without vows is like a ship without an anchor or like an edifice that is built on sand instead of a solid rock. T-2-364
  • Life is greater than all art. MM-56
  • Life becomes livable only to the extent that death is treated as a friend, never as an enemy. T-8-205
  • Life is an aspiration. Its mission is to strive after perfection which is self-realization. T-4-33
  • A life of sacrifice is the pinnacle of art, and is full of true joy. MOG-21
  • Human life is a series of compromises, and it is not always easy to achieve in practice what one has found to be true in theory. MM-39
  • Our life is a long and arduous quest after Truth, and the soul requires inward restfulness to attain its full height. TIG-61
  • The music of life is in danger of being lost in the music of the voice. T-7-27
  • A true life lived amongst the people is in itself an object-lesson that must produce its own effect upon immediate surroundings. MM-366
  • What is life worth without trials and tribulations which are the salt of life. T-3-4
  • The Enlightened one has told you in never-to-be-forgotten words that this little span of life is but a passing shadow, a fleeting thing. T-2-295
  • I believe in God, not as a theory but as a fact more real than that of life itself.XXVI-233
  • I want to realize brotherhood and identify not merely with the beings called human, but I want to realize identity with all life, even with such beings that crawl on earth. T-2-253
  • If I were over full of pity for the cow, I should sacrifice my life to save her but not take my brother's. X-30
  • My dharma teaches me to give my life for the sake of others without even attempting to kill. XXV-437
  • My faith in truth and nonviolence is ever growing, and as I am ever trying to follow them in my life, I too am growing every moment. T-4-154
  • My religion and my patriotism derived from my religion, embrace all life. T-2-353
  • Let the Gita be to you a mine of diamonds, as it has been to me, let it be your constant guide and friend in life's way. T-2-307
  • Domestic matters are trifles for us. But they occupy the principal part of my life. They teach me to know my limitations. XXV-302
  • The only praise I would like and treasure is the promotion of the activities to which my life is dedicated. T-5-176
  • The first condition of nonviolence is justice all round, in every department of life. T-5-278
  • Absolute calm is not the law of ocean. And it is the same with the ocean of life. T-7-190
  • Healthy, well-informed, balanced criticism is the ozone of public life. T-4-206
  • If love was not the law of life, life would not have persisted in the midst of death. TIG-18
  • It is as clear to me as daylight that life and death are but phases of the same thing, the reverse and obverse of the same coin. T-3-4
  • Every single act of one who would lead a life of purity should be in the nature of yajna. MOG-19
  • The secret of a happy life lies in renunciation. Renunciation is life. MM-192
  • Man is sent into the world to perform his duty even at the cost of his life. T-7-155
  • To know music is to transfer it to life. T-2-230
  • The whole existence of man is a ceaseless duel between the forces of life and death. T-7-143
  • Every calamity should lead to a thorough cleansing of individual as well as social life. T-3-258
  • Does not the history of the world show that there would have been no romance in life if there had been no risks?MM-166
  • This earthly existence of ours is more brittle that the glass bangles that ladies wear. TIG-23
  • Let us each one live our life, and if ours is the right life, where is the cause for hurry? It will react of itself? T-2-295
  • Let us give today first the vital things of life and all the grace and ornaments of life will follow. T-2-162
  • Dignity of human nature requires that we must face the storms of life. T-3-130
  • Individual liberty and interdependence are both essential for life in society. T-7-37
  • Every reform means awakening. Once truly awakened, the nation will not be satisfied with reform only in one department of life. T-2-227
  • 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
  • Ahimsa is no mere theory with me, but it is a fact of life based on extensive experience. T-7-402
  • Celibacy is a great help inasmuch as it enables one to lead a life of full surrender to God. XXV-2
  • That Law which governs all life is God. TIG-7
  • One man cannot do right in one department of life whilst he is occupied in doing wrong in any other department. Life is one indivisible whole.MM-440
Lions :
  • Can it be ever dangerous for a lion to tell a number of other lions, who in their ignorance, consider themselves to be merely lambs, that they, too, are not lambs but lions? X-249
Literacy :
  • Literacy in itself is no education. MM-379
  • Literacy is not the end of education, nor even the beginning. EWE-22
  • Literacy must be one of the many means for intellectual development, but we have had in the past intellectual giants who were unlettered. T-4-145
  • Literature, full of the virus of self-indulgence, served out in attractive forms, is flooding this country from the West, and there is the greatest need for our youth to be on their guard. T-2-319
Lokamanya Tilak :
  • The Lokmanya spoke more eloquently from the Mandalay fortress than through the columns of the printed Kesari. T-2-77
  • With Lokmanya (Tilak) alive, I had only him to convert or to be converted by him. T-2-145
  • I am but the heir of Lokmanya and if I do not add to the patrimony he has left me, I would not be a worthy son of a worthy father. T-2-263
  • Ram Mohan Roy would have been a greater reformer, and Lokmanya Tilak would have been a greater scholar, if they had not to start with the handicap of having to think in English and transmit their thoughts chiefly in English. EWE-9
Love :
  • Love and ahimsa are matchless in their effect. TIG-57
  • Love and exclusive possession can never go together. T-4-11
  • Love based upon indulgence of animal passion, is at best a selfish affair, and likely to snap under the slightest strain. T-2-225
  • Love can never express itself by imposing sufferings on others. It can only express itself by self-suffering, by self-purification. T-3-221
  • Love in the sense of ahimsa has only a limited number of votaries in the world. T-3-144
  • Love is a rare herb that makes a friend even of a sworn enemy and this herb grows out of nonviolence. XIV-209
  • Love is no love which asks for a return. XIV-402
  • Love is the basis of our friendship as it is of religion. MM-404
  • The law of love knows no bounds of space or time. MM-398
  • Love is the subtlest force in the world. XXV-392
  • The law of love will work, just as the law of gravitation will work, whether we accept it or not. T-3-112
  • Love is needed to strengthen the weak; love becomes tyrannical when it exacts obedience from an unbeliever. T-2-62
  • Ahimsa means infinite love, which again means infinite capacity for suffering. MM-295
  • Ahimsa and love are one and the same thing. TIG-19
  • If love was not the law of life, life would not have persisted in the midst of death. TIG-18
  • Where love is, there God is also. MM-418
  • Where there is love, there is life; hatred leads to destruction. MM-417
  • The only way love punishes is by suffering. T-2-87
  • Whenever there are wars, whenever you are confronted with an opponent, conquer him with love. MM-417
  • Though God may be Love, God is Truth, above all. T-3-144
  • Power based on love is a thousand times more effective and permanent than the one derived from fear of punishment. MM-344
  • Mutual trust and mutual love are no trust and no love. MM-421
  • If light can come out of darkness, then alone can love emerge from hatred. MM-417
  • My fast is, among other things, meant to qualify me for achieving that equal and selfless love. T-2-151
  • My freedom from hatred - I would even claim for myself individually, my love - for those who consider themselves to be my enemies, does not make me blind to their faults. T-2-199
  • My goal is friendship with the world and I can combine the greatest love with the greatest opposition to wrong. MM-424
  • My love of nationalism is that my country may become free, and if need be, the whole of the country die, so that the human race may live. T-2-200
  • My nonviolence demands universal love, and you are not a small part of it. T-5-295
  • My only sanction is the love and affection in which you hold me. But it has its weaknesses, as it has its strengths. T-5-260
  • My religion teaches me to love all equally. XXV-202
  • I cannot think of permanent enmity between man and man. MM-422
  • True ahimsa should wear a smile even in a death-bed state brought about by an assailant. It is only with that ahimsa that we can befriend our opponents and win their love. T-5-243
  • I can see that in the midst of death life persists, in the midst of untruth truth persists, in the midst of darkness light persists. Hence I gather that God is Life, Truth, Light, He is Love. He is the supreme Good. T-2-313
  • Having flung aside the sword, there is nothing except the cup of love which I can offer to those who oppose me. MM-422
  • It is my great misfortune that I have to measure your love by the money gifts you give for Daridranarayana. T-2-354
  • For me the only certain means of knowing God is non-violence, ahimsa, love. T-2-126
  • Free, open love I have looked upon as dog's love. Secret love is, besides, cowardly. T-5-196
  • 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
  • Of what avail is my love if it be only so long as I trust my friend? MM-421
  • The Law is God. Anything attributed to Him is not a mere attribute. He is Truth, Love, Law and million things that human ingenuity can name. T-3-250
  • Exercise of faith will be the safest where there is a clear determination, summarily, to reject all that is contrary to Truth and Love. TIG-9
  • God is Light, not darkness. God is love, not hate. God is Truth, not untruth. God alone is Great. XXV-479
  • Hatred can be overcome only be love. Counter-hatred only increases the surface as well as the depth of hatred. T-7-144
  • True ahimsa should mean a complete freedom from ill-will and anger and hate and an overflowing love for all. T-2-318
  • It is a heavy downpour of rain which drenches the soil to fullness; likewise only a profuse shower of love can overcome hatred. XIV-402
  • Jesus lived and died in vain if He did not teach us to regulate the whole of life by the eternal Law of Love. T-5-18
  • When you want to find Truth as God, the only inevitable means is love, that is nonviolence. T-3-144
  • One who hooks his fortune to ahimsa, the law of love, daily lessens the circle of destruction and to that extent promotes life and love. T-4-33
  • Our peaceful non-co-operation must be constructive, non-destructive. Poison should not emerge from the throes of love. XXV-139
  • Power based on love is a thousand times more effective and permanent than the one derived from fear of punishment. XXV-563
  • Power is of two kinds. One is obtained by the fear of punishment and the other by acts of love. XXV-563
  • Retaliation is counter-poison, and poison breeds more poison. The nectar of love alone can destroy the poison of hate. T-5-241
  • A seeker after truth, a follower of the law of Love, cannot hold anything against tomorrow.MM-188
  • The call of the spinning wheel is the noblest of all. Because it is the call of love. And love is Swaraj. T-2-63