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)
Parliament :
  • Parliamentary work is but a minor item of the Congress Programme. T-5-32222
  • The Congress is intended to be a forerunner and prototype of a Parliament. XXV-386
  • When Swaraj comes, different parties will work in the same Swaraj Parliament. XXV-386
Passion :
  • By reckless indulgence in their passions, parents serve for their children as models for unrestrained license. T-2-224
  • To conquer the subtle passions seems to me to be harder by far than the physical conquest of the world by the force of arms. TIG-58
Passive Resistance :
  • Passive resistance is a method of securing rights by personal suffering; it is the reverse of resistance by arms.X-48
  • Passive resistance is a preparation for active resistance of arms. T-8-40
  • 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. MM-164
  • Passive resistance is a misnomer for nonviolent resistance. It is much more active than violent resistance. T-4-141
  • Passive resistance is a negative thing, and it has nothing of the active principle of love. T-4-253
  • Passive resistance, unlike nonviolence, has no power to change men's hearts. MM-157
  • The sword of passive resistance does not require a scabbard. X-51
  • Jesus Christ, Daniel and Socrates represented the purest form of passive resistance or soul force. MM-164
Patience :
  • Patience and perseverance, if we have them, overcome mountains of difficulties. MM-365
  • To lose patience is to lose the battle. T-2-180
  • The khadi spirit means infinite patience. T-2-281
Patient :
  • A doctor who uses his talent to pander to the vices of his patient degrades himself and his patient. TIG-114
Patriotism :
  • My patriotism is not an exclusive thing. It is all embracing and I should reject that patriotism which sought to mount upon the distress or exploitation of other nationalities. T-2-353
  • By patriotism I mean the welfare of the whole people, and if I could secure it at the hands of the English, I should bow down my head to them. X-41
Peace :
  • Peace is unattained by part performance of conditions, even as a chemical combination is impossible without complete fulfillment of the conditions of attainment thereof. TIG-144
  • Peace will not come out of a clash of arms but out of justice lived and done by unarmed nations in the face of odds. T-5-193
  • My heart rebels against any foreigner imposing on my country the peace, which is here, called Pax Britannica. T-2-201
  • A civil resister offers resistance only when peace becomes impossible. T-3-218
  • The very word Islam means peace, which is nonviolence. T-5-172
  • Without prayer there is no inward peace. TIG-42
  • My attempt and my prayer are and will be for an honourable peace between belligerent nations in the least possible time. T-5-188
  • Prayer is the only means of bringing about orderliness, peace and repose in our daily acts. TIG-43
  • Salvation of the Gita is perfect peace. TIG-100
  • An India awakened and free has a message of peace and goodwill for a groaning world. T-2-46
  • Violence is bound, sooner or later, to exhaust itself but peace cannot issue out of such exhaustion. T-7-5
  • If Swaraj is to be had by peaceful methods, it will only be attained by attention to every little detail of national life. T-2-360
  • The man of prayer will be at peace with himself and with the whole world. TIG-43
  • Not to believe in the possibility of permanent peace is to disbelieve in the Godliness of human nature. TIG-144
  • The one condition for fighting for peace and liberty is to acquire self-restraint. XXVI-45
  • The English peace is the peace of the grave. T-2-326
People :
  • A true life lived amongst the people is in itself an object-lesson that must produce its own effect upon immediate surroundings. MM-366
  • A nation's culture resides in the hearts and in the soul of its people. T-5-10
  • An awakened people who rely upon their nonviolent strength are independent in the face of any conceivable combination of the armed powers. T-5-19
Perfect - Perfection :
  • In the characteristics of the perfected man of the Gita, I do not see any that correspond to physical warfare. TIG-97
  • Salvation of the Gita is perfect peace. TIG-100
  • Man will ever remain imperfect and it will always be his part to try to be perfect. T-4-11
  • Krishna of the Gita is perfection and right knowledge personified, but the picture is imaginary. TIG-98
  • Life is an aspiration. Its mission is to strive after perfection, which is self-realization. T-4-33
  • To find Truth completely is to realize oneself and one's destiny, i.e. to become perfect. TIG-3
Picketing :
  • Work achieved through aggressive picketing will be of doubtful worth, while work achieved through loving persuasive pressure will be lasting. T-3-63
Pledge :
  • If you weigh a pledge against a sum of hundreds of thousands, the pledge will be seen to be of greater consequence.XIV-249
  • A religious person will never feel happy in forcing a person to break his pledge or associating himself with such an effort.XIV-249
Poetry :
  • If the poet* spun for half an hour daily, his poetry would gain in richness. T-2-215* The reference here is to poet Rabindranath Tagore
Police :
  • Peace restored with the help of the police and its elder brother, the military, will strengthen the hold of the foreign government and emasculate us still further. T-7-167
Politics - Political :
  • Politics divorced from religion has absolutely no meaning. MM-310
  • Politics are a part of our being; we ought to understand our national institution.MM-310
  • All constructive activity is, in a sense, part and parcel of the politics of the country. T-5-244
  • Remember that no political programme can stand without the constructive programme. T-4-156
  • Human life being and undivided whole, no line could ever be drawn between its different compartments, nor between ethics and politics. T-7-350
  • Nonviolence in politics is a new weapon in the process of evolution. Its vast possibilities are yet unexplored. T-4-205
  • Passive resistance seeks to rejoin politics and religion and to test every one of our actions in the light of ethical principles. X-248
  • To think in terms of the political goal in every matter and at every step is to raise unnecessary dust. T-4-44
  • I would dance with joy if I had to give up politics. T-5-244
  • I have sacrificed no principle to gain political advantage. XXVI-285
  • I draw no hard and fast line of demarcation between political, social, religious and other questions. T-3-187
  • Section 124-A, under which I am happily charged, is perhaps the prince among the political sections of the Indian Penal Code designed to suppress the liberty of the citizen.T-2-100
Pomp :
  • Pomp and pageantry are often synonymous with vulgarity.T-4-170
Poor - Poverty :
  • Let there be no distinction between rich and poor, high and low. XXVI-199
  • To wear torn clothes is a sign of laziness and, therefore, of shame, but to wear patched clothes proclaims poverty or renunciation, and industry. T-7-108
  • My greatest worry is the ignorance and poverty of the masses of India, and the way in which they have been neglected by the classes, especially the neglect of the Harijans by the Hindus. T-4-102
  • The spinning wheel and the spinning wheel alone will solve, if anything will solve, the problem of the deepening poverty of India. XXVI-292
  • Unless all the discoveries that you make have the welfare of the poor as the end view, all your workshops will be no better than Satan's workshops. T-2-272
Possible :
  • We are daily witnessing the phenomenon of the impossible of yesterday becoming the possible of today. XXVI-68
Power :
  • 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
  • Real power does not consist in the ability to inflict capital punishment upon the subjects, but in the will and the ability to protect the subjects against the world. T-2-178
  • There is an indefinable mysterious Power that pervades everything. T-2-312
  • Whilst power, superimposed, always needs the help of the police and the military, power generated from within should have little or no use of them. MM-345
  • God is not a power residing in the clouds. God is an unseen power residing within us and nearer to us than fingernails to the flesh. TIG-19
  • Political power means the capacity to regulate national life through national representatives. MM-345
  • Man has always desired power. Ownership of property gives this power. Man hankers also after posthumous fame based on power. T-2-367
  • No power on earth can subjugate you when you are armed with the sword of ahimsa. T-7-113
  • Khaddar has the greatest organizing power in it because it has itself to be organized and because it affects all India. T-2-256
  • No empire intoxicated with the red wine of power and the plunder of weaker races has yet lived long in this world. T-2-90
  • Steam becomes a mighty power only when it allows itself to be imprisoned in a strong little reservoir, produces tremendous motion and carries huge weights by permitting itself a tiny and measured outlet. T-2-373
  • The moment the cultivators of the soil realize their power, the evil of Zamindari will be sterilized. MM-129
  • How heavy is the toll of sins and wrong that wealth, power and prestige exact from man. MM-219
Prayer :
  • Prayer can come in only when fasting has done its work. It can make fasting easy and bearable. T-7-79
  • Prayer is a confession of one's unworthiness and weakness. TIG-48
  • Prayer is a sign of repentance, a desire to become better, purer. T-4-34
  • Prayer is an impossibility without a living faith in the presence of God within. TIG-55
  • Prayer is either petitional or, in its wider sense, inward communion. TIG-41
  • Prayer is the key of the morning and the bolt of the evening. MM-87
  • Prayer is no mere exercise of words or of the ears, it is no mere repetition of empty formula. TIG-42
  • Prayer is the only means of bringing about orderliness and peace and repose in our daily acts. TIG-43
  • Prayer presupposes faith. No prayer is in vain. Prayer is like any other action. T-8-25
  • A prayerful study and experience are essential for a correct interpretation of the scriptures. MOG-13
  • Our prayer is a heart search. It is a reminder to ourselves that we are helpless without His support. TIG-44
  • Prayer is not an old woman's idle amusement. Properly understood and applied, it is the most potent instrument of action. T-7-94
  • True prayer is not a prelude to inaction. T-4-35
  • Undoubtedly, prayer requires a living faith in God. Successful satyagraha is inconceivable without that faith. T-7-965
  • Virtue lies in being absorbed in one's prayers in the presence of din and noise. T-2-13
  • Without prayer there is no inward madness. XXV-38
  • Worship or prayer is not to be performed with the lips, but with the heart. MM-78
  • My greatest weapon is mute prayer. T-5-21
  • My attempt and prayer are and will be for an honorable peace between belligerent nations in the least possible time. T-5-188
  • My austerities, fasting and prayers are, I know, of no value if I rely upon them for reforming me. My penance is the prayer of a bleeding heart for forgiveness for sins unwittingly committed. XXV-200
  • The meaning of prayer is that I want to evoke that Divinity within me. T-5-147
  • Prayer has been the saviour of my life. Without it I should have been a lunatic long ago. T-3-110
  • Prayer has not been a part of my life in the sense that truth has been. T-3-110
  • Fasting and prayer are common injunctions in my religion. T-2-152
  • A personal selfish prayer is bad whether made before an image or an unseen God. TIG-90
  • A man of prayer regards what are known as physical calamities as divine chastisement.T-4-34
  • Begin your day with prayer, and make it so soulful that it may remain with you until the evening.TIG-43
  • Close the day with prayer so that you may have a peaceful night free from dreams and nightmares.TIG-43
  • Empty prayer is as 'sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal'. T-2-149
  • You are not going to know the meaning of God or prayer, unless you reduce yourself to a cipher. T-5-149
  • A complete fast is a complete and literal denial of self. It is the truest prayer. MM-35
  • Buddhism in one long prayer. T-2-256
  • God answers prayer in His own way, not ours. MM-91
  • Just as a prayer may be merely a mechanical intonation as of a bird, so may a fast be a mere mechanical torture of the flesh. T-2-85
  • Let us, by praying, purify ourselves and we shall not only remove untouchability but shall also hasten the advent of Swaraj. XXV-515
  • A congregational prayer is a means for establishing essential human unity though common worship. T-7-64
  • The man of prayer will be at peace with himself and with the whole world. MM-90
  • The mundane use of the Gayatri*, its repetition for healing the sick, illustrates the meaning we have given to prayer.TIG-51* A Vedic prayer
  • The sky may be overcast today with clouds, but a fervent prayer to God is enough to dispel them. T-4-29
Preaching :
  • Preaching jars on me and has no appeal for me, and I get suspicious of missionaries who preach. TIG-72
  • I cannot say what to preach, but I can say that a life of service and utmost simplicity is the best preaching. TIG-72
Prison :
  • Our triumph consists in thousands being led to the prisons like lambs to the slaughter-house. T-2-52
  • Our triumph consists in being imprisoned for no wrong whatsoever. T-2-52
  • By noiselessly going to prison a civil resister ensures a calm atmosphere. T-2-53
Progress :
  • In our progress towards the goal, we ever see more and more enchanting scenery. T-5-174
  • Friends are friends only when they help one to progress in life. T-7-295
  • To be dissatisfied with the slowness of progress betrays ignorance of the way in which reform works. T-7-154
  • All education in a country has got to be demonstrably in promotion of the progress of the country in which it is given. MM-381
  • Civilizations have come and gone and, in spite of our vaunted progress, I am tempted to ask again and again, 'To what purpose?' T-2-295
Prohibition :
  • I would rather have India reduced to a state of pauperism than have thousands of drunkards in our midst. T-2-280
  • I would rather have India without education, if that is the price to be paid for making it dry. T-2-280
  • Prohibition will remain a far cry if the Congress is to count the cost as a matter of first-class national importance. T-4-173
  • Drink is not a fashion in India as it is in the West. T-2-228
  • The demand for total prohibition must go hand in had with the demand for reduction in the military expenditure. T-2-227
  • Only those women who have drunkards as their husbands know what havoc the drink devil causes in homes that once were orderly and peace giving. T-3-33
  • A snake can only destroy the body, but the curse of drink corrupts the soul within. T-2-297
  • It reflects the greatest credit on the determined minority in America that, by sheer force of its moral weight, it was able to carry though the prohibition measure, however short-lived it was. T-4-173
Promise :
  • If the promise inscribed on a promissory note is not honoured, the promissory note is worth nothing and fit only to be burnt to pieces and thrown away. T-7-118
Propaganda :
  • Practice is the best speech and the best propaganda. XXV-451
  • No language can spread through mere propaganda. T-7-51
  • Black flags and noisy slogans and hurling of stones and shoes have no place in educative and instructive propaganda. T-5-159
Prophets :
  • Prophets live and die but their doctrines often fructify after centuries. T-7-279
Public Opinion :
  • Creation of effective public opinion depends on the cultivation of true courage, born of truthfulness and nonviolence. T-8-11
  • Performance of one's duty should be independent of public opinion. T-2-320
  • The only force at the disposal of democracy is that of public opinion. T-8-100
  • In concrete form, what pure suffering, wholly one-sided, does, is to stir public opinion against a wrong. MGCG-301
  • The satyagrahi strives to reach the reason through the heart. The method of reaching the heart is to awaken public opinion. XXVI-327
  • All satyagraha and fasting is a species of tyaga (renunciation). It depends, for its effects, upon expressions of wholesome public opinion shorn of all bitterness.T-5-54
Punishment :
  • Punishment is God's, who alone is the infallible Judge. T-4-299
  • My creed of nonviolence does not favour punishment of thieves and dacoits and even murderers. T-3-62
  • Experience gained in two schools under my control has taught me that punishment does not purify, if anything, it hardens children. T-2-218
  • No sin, no breach of nature's law, goes unpunished. T-2-226
Pure - Purity- Purification :
  • Pure motives can never justify impure or violent action. XXV-442
  • Never own defeat in a sacred cause and make up your minds henceforth that you will be pure and that you will find a response from God. TIG-58
  • The purer I try to become, the nearer I feel to be to God. TIG-9
  • Purification being highly infectious, purification of oneself necessarily leads to the purification of one's surroundings. TIG-57
  • Purification is never for the selfishly idle, it accrues only to the selflessly industrious. T-4-35
  • To a pure heart all hearts are pure. XXV-509
  • Waiting on God means increasing purity. XXV-515
  • Temple going is for the purification of the soul. TIG-86
  • A spirit is not necessarily purer, because it is disembodied. T-2-366
  • Confession of one's guilt purifies and uplifts. Its suppression is degrading and should always be avoided. T-8-245
  • It is necessary first to purify the drunken and dissolute worshippers in charge of some of these temples. T-2-261
  • God can never be realized by one who is not pure of heart. TIG-57
  • Every single act of one who leads a life of purity should be in the nature of yajna. MOG-19
  • Civil disobedience can only lead to strength and purity. T-2-7
  • A resolute and wise refusal to take part in festivities will be an incentive for introspection and self-purification.T-8-179
  • Like the watch, the heart needs the winding of purity, or the Dweller ceases to speak. MOG-17
  • Ramanama is for the pure at heart and for those who want to attain purity and remain pure. TIG-144
  • Tulsidas's Ramayana is a notable book because it is informed with the spirit of purity, pity and piety. MOG-14
  • I should wish to die if a man who is impure should parade his purity in front of me. XXV-508
  • I would beseech you not only to be pure beyond suspicion but I would ask you to combine with stainless purity, great wisdom and great ability. T-2-352