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)
Rama - Ramanama - Ram Raj :
  • Rama, Allah and God are to me convertible terms. XXVI-288888
  • For me, Rama and Rahim are one and the same deity. T-2-37
  • Rama was not only on the lips of Hanuman. He was enthroned in his heart. He gave Hanuman exhaustless strength. TIG-48
  • My Rama, the Rama of our prayers, is not the historical Rama, the son of Dasharatha, the king of Ayodhya. TIG-1100
  • Hinduism would not have been much of a religion, if Rama had not steeled his heart against every temptation. T-2-150
  • It is the function of God Rama to destroy evil, wherever it occurs and it is equally the function of God Rama to give to his devotees like Bibhishana a free charter of irrevocable self-government.T-2-297-128
  • Ramanama is for the pure in heart and for those who want to attain purity and remain pure. TIG-114
  • Ramanama can be used only for a good, never for an evil end, or else thieves and robbers would be the greatest devotees.T-7-79
  • Ramanama purifies while it cures, and, therefore, it elevates.TIG-114
  • Even Ramanama is by itself lifeless, but it has become a living symbol of the deity because millions of people have consecrated it.T-5-92
  • By Ram Raj I do not mean Hindu Raj. I mean by Ram Raj, Divine Raj, the Kingdom of God. T-2-375555
Rationalism :
  • Rationalists are admirable beings, but rationalism is a hideous monster when it claims for itself omnipotence. TIG-91
Reading :
  • Reading comes before writing, and drawing before tracing the letters of the alphabet. T-3-286
Realization :
  • Freedom from all attachment is the realization of God as Truth. TIG-37
  • Divine knowledge is not borrowed from books. It has to be realized in oneself. TIG-94
Reason :
  • Reason has to be strengthened by suffering, and suffering opens the eyes of understanding. T-2-182
  • In man, reason quickens and guides feelings; in brute, the soul lies ever dormant. T-4-62
  • Faith is a kind of sixth sense which works in cases which are without the purview of reason. MM-64
  • If I know Hinduism at all, it is essentially inclusive and ever-growing, ever-responsive. It gives the freest scope to imagination, speculation and reason. XXV-178
  • Nothing in the Shastras, which is capable of being reasoned, can stand if it is in conflict with reason.T-4-42
  • There is no doubt that our last state will be worse than our first, if we surrender our reason into somebody's keeping.T-2-62
  • Faith becomes lame when it ventures into matters pertaining to reason. T-7-36
  • Islam appeals to people because it appeals also to reason. XXVI-415
  • There can be no Ram Raj in the present state of iniquitous inequalities in which only a few roll in riches, while the masses do not even get enough to eat. T-7-404
  • I have described Swaraj as Ramarajya and Ramarajya is an impossibility unless we have thousands of Sitas. XXVI-367
  • Execution of the constructive programme in its entirety means more than Swaraj. It means Ram Raj, Khudai Sultanat or the Divine Kingdom. T-7-32
  • Even the dog is described by the poet to have received justice under Ramarajya. MM-326
  • My Hinduism teaches me to respect all religions. In this lies the secret of Ramarajya. MM-327
Rebellion :
  • Complete civil disobedience is a state of peaceful rebellion, a refusal to obey every single state-made law. T-2-52
Reform - Reformer :
  • A reformer's business is to make the impossible possible by giving an ocular demonstration of the possibility in his own conduct. XXVI-68
  • A reformer has to sail not with the current, often he has to go against it, even though it may cost him his life. T-7-114
  • Where is the reformer who has not a price put upon his head? T-2-236
  • You cannot achieve durable reform by becoming impatient. XXVI-295
  • Every Reform means awakening. Once truly awakened, the nation will not be satisfied with reform only in one department of life. T-2-227
Regularity :
  • Unless all work is done with clock-work regularity, it is impossible to organise it in a thorough manner. XXV-285
  • No organization is possible without punctilious regard to the observance of agreed time-tables.XXV-285
Religion :
  • Religion is a thing to be lived. It is not merely sophistry. T-7-129
  • Religion is one tree with many branches. As branches, you may say, religions are many, but as a tree, religion is only one. T-3-244
  • All religions were, at bottom, one, though they differed in detail and outward form like the leaves on a tree. T-8-285
  • Even as a tree has a single trunk, but many branches and leaves, there in one religion, but any number of faiths. TIG-65
  • The essence of true religious teaching is that one should serve and befriend all. T-7-385
  • Religions are different roads converging to the same point. X-29
  • Religion is the tie that binds one to one's Creator, and whilst the body perishes, as it has to, religion persists even after death. T-4-41
  • God-given religion is beyond all speech. TIG-65
  • Religion should be dearer than life itself. T-8-153
  • Religion taught us to return good for evil. T-8-120
  • Religion all the world over offers God as the solace and comfort for all in agony. T-2-212
  • Religion to be true must satisfy what may be termed humanitarian economics, that is, where the income and the expenditure balance each other. T-2-268
  • A religious act cannot be performed with the aid of the bayonet or the bomb. T-4-314
  • Religion of nonviolence is not meant merely for the rishis and saints. T-2-5
  • Religion is entirely a personal matter. Each one can approach their Creator as they like. T-8-51
  • Religion is not like a house or a cloak which can be changed at will. T-4-41
  • All religions teach that two opposite forces act upon us and the human endeavour consists in a series of eternal rejections and acceptances. T-2-45
  • All the great religions of the world inculcate equality and brotherhood of mankind and the virtue of tolerance. T-3-257
  • Purest religion is highest expediency. Many things are lawful but they are not all expedient. XX-58
  • Religion is no test of nationality, but a personal matter between man and his God. MM-103
  • All religions enjoined worship of the One God who was all-pervasive. He is present even in a drop of water or in a tiny speck of dust. T-7-115
  • Unity among different races and different communities belonging to different religions of India is indispensable to the birth of national life. XXVI-241
  • Religions are not for separating men from one another, they are meant to bind them. MM-68
  • All religions are branches of the same mighty tree, but I must not change over from one branch to another for the sake of expediency. T-7-283
  • All religions of the world describe God pre-eminently as the Friend of the friendless, Help of the helpless, and Protector of the weak. T-3-192
  • No religion taught man to kill fellowmen because he held different opinions or was of another religion.T-7-204
  • That religion and that nation will be blotted out of the face of the earth which pins its faith on injustice, untruth or violence.
  • It is a tragedy that religion for us means, today, nothing more than restrictions on food and drink, nothing more than adherence to absence of superiority and inferiority. T-3-280
  • A religion cannot be sustained by the number of its lip-followers denying in their lives its tenets.T-3-220
  • The highest fulfillment of religion requires a giving up of all possessions. MM-191
  • To befriend the one who regards himself as your enemy is the quintessence of true religion. T-7-385
  • The external is in no way the essence of religion, but the external often proclaims the internal.T-2-273
  • True material welfare is never inconsistent with performance of religious obligations. T-3-225
  • A man without a religion is like a ship without a rudder. T-3-223
  • To change one's religion under the threat of force is no conversion but rather cowardice.T-7-274
  • It is not part of religion to breed buffaloes or, for that matter, cows. T-2-267
  • Hypocrisy and distortion are passing currently under the name of religion. T-7-128
  • 'Physician, heal thyself' is more true in matters religious than mundane. T-2-132
  • It is a travesty of true religion to consider one's own religion as superior and other's as inferior.T-7-115
  • It is impossible that God, who is the God of Justice, could have made the distinctions that men observe today in the name of religion. T-3-236
  • Where there is fear, there is no religion. T-2-230
  • I cannot picture to myself a time when all mankind will have one religion. XXVI-285
  • I believe that religious education must be the sole concern of religious associations. EWE-30
  • I desire no honour if I have to conceal my religious beliefs in order to have it. XIV-235
  • I know of no religion or sect that has done or is doing without its house of God, variously described as a temple, a mosque, a church, a synagogue or agiari. T-3-194
  • 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
  • By religion I have not in mind fundamental ethics but what goes by the name of denominationalism. EWE-31
  • In matters concerning religion, I consider myself not a child but an adult with 35 years of experience.XIV-74
  • I claim to represent all the cultures, for my religion, whatever it may be called, demands the fulfillment of all the cultures. T-5-272
  • I do regard Islam to be a religion of peace in the same sense as Christianity, Buddhism and Hinduism are. TIG-80
  • It was through the Hindu religion that I learnt to respect Christianity and Islam. XIV-74
  • Mine is not a religion of the prison-house. It has room for the least among God's creation. XX-159
  • My religion is a matter solely between my Maker and myself. MM-116
  • My religion has no geographical limits. T-2-6
  • My knowledge of the letter of the Shastras is better, but of true religion they are able to give me but little. Bunch-108
  • My religion enables me, obliges me to imbibe all that is good in all the great religions of the earth. MM-100
  • My religion is based on truth and nonviolence. Truth is my God. Nonviolence is the means of realizing Him. XXV-558
  • My religion teaches me that a promise once made or a vow once taken for a worthy object may not be broken. T-2-154
  • My personal religion peremptorily forbids me to hate anybody. MM-183
  • My religion forbids me to belittle or disregard other cultures, as it insists, under pain of civil suicide, upon imbibing and living my own. EWE-19
  • My religion says that only he who is prepared to suffer can pray to God. T-2-152
  • My religion teaches me that whenever there is distress which one cannot remove, one must fast and pray. T-2-148
  • My religion teaches me that I should, by my personal conduct, instill into the minds of those who might hold different views the conviction that cow killing is a sin. XXV-518
  • My respectful study of other religions has not abated my reverence for or my faith in the Hindu scriptures. T-2-230
  • My life is dedicated to the service of India through the religion of nonviolence which I believe to be the root of Hinduism. T-2-6
  • My Hindu instinct tells me that all religions are more or less true. T-2-132
  • My politics and all other activities of mine are derived from my religion. MM-102
  • Fasting and prayer are common injunctions in my religion. T-2-152
  • To me the Mahabharata is a profoundly religious book, largely allegorical, in a way meant to be a historical record. TIG-95
  • Hindu religious literature, indeed all religious literature, is full of illustrations to prove the truth.XXVI-158
  • Hinduism has become a conservative religion and, therefore, a mighty force because of the swadeshi spirit underlying it. MM-410
  • Hinduism is not a codified religion. T-2-285
  • Hinduism is not an exclusive religion. In it there is room for the worship of all the prophets in the world. MM-92
  • Hinduism with its message of ahimsa is, to me, the most glorious religion in the world. MM-93
  • Hinduism has absorbed the best of all the faiths of the world and in that sense Hinduism is not an exclusive religion. T-8-120
  • Hinduism would not have been much of a religion if Rama had not steeled his heart against every temptation. T-2-150
  • Hindu dharma is like a boundless ocean teeming with priceless gems. TIG-85
  • If we would be pure, if we would save Hinduism, we must rid ourselves of this poison of enforced widowhood. MM-299
  • We cry for cow protection in the name of religion, but we refuse protection to the human cow in the shape of the girl-widow. T-2-227
  • Calling them devadasis, we insult God Himself in the name of religion. T-2-280
  • In the name of religion, we force widowhood upon our three lakh girl-widows who could not understand the import of the marriage ceremony. T-2-227
  • It is no religion to have for one's wife a girl who is fit only to sit in one's lap, it is the height of irreligion. T-2-273
  • Widowhood imposed by religion or custom is an unbearable yoke and defiles the home by secret vice and degrades religion. T-2-227
  • It is difficult for me to regard anyone who obeys no moral principle in his conduct to be a religious man.XXVI-58
  • The fragrance of religious and spiritual life is much finer and subtler than that of the rose. TIG-72
  • Religion of our conception, thus imperfect, is always subject to a process of evolution and re-interpretation. TIG-65
  • If we import compulsion in matters of religion, there is no doubt that we shall be committing suicide. XXVI-270
  • Dharma is one and one only, Ahimsa means Moksha, and Moksha is the realization of truth. MOG-17
  • Ahimsa is the height of Kshatriya dharma as it represents the climax of fearlessness. XXV-563
  • Belief in one God is the cornerstone of all religions.MM-67
  • Dharma is that which is enjoined by the holy books, followed by the sages, interpreted by the learned and which appeals to the heart. MM-65
  • Even a little of dharma saves one from many a pitfall. T-2-89
  • Truth is my religion and ahimsa is the only way of its realization. T-4-250
  • Politics bereft of religion is absolute dirt, ever to be shunned. MM-102
  • The final goal of all religions is to realise the essential oneness. MM-419
  • True religion being the greatest thing in life and in the world, has been exploited the most.BINCH-42
  • To benefit by others' killing and to delude oneself into the belief that one is being very religions and nonviolent is sheer self-deception. MM-429
  • To reject the necessity of temples is to reject the necessity of God, religion and earthly existence. T-3-195
  • "Do not worry in the least about yourself, leave all worry to God," this appears to be the commandment in all religions. MOG-19
  • Passive resistance seeks to rejoin politics and religion and to test all our actions in the light of ethical principles. XX-201
  • No Indian who aspires to follow the way of true religion can afford to remain aloof from politics.XX-201
  • Love is the basis of our friendship as it is of religion. MM-398
  • God, who is the embodiment of Truth and Right and Justice, can never have sanctioned a religion or practice which regards one-fifth of our vast population as untouchables. T-3-280
  • Conversion without a clean heart is a denial of God and religion. T-4-79
  • The practice of truth and nonviolence melted religious differences, and we learnt to see beauty in each religion. T-5-225
  • Any imposition from without means compulsion. Such compulsion is repugnant to religion. T-8-61
  • Every person, as every institution, and, above all, every religion is to be judged not by the amount of atrocities or the wrong committed but by the right conduct. T-8-25
Renunciation :
  • Renunciation is everyone's prerogative. XXVI-361
  • Renunciation means absence of hankering after fruit. T-2-310
  • Renunciation to the Gita is the acid test of faith.T-2-310
  • Renunciation which is natural does not herald its coming by the blowing of trumpets. It comes in imperceptibly without letting anyone notice it.XXVI-361
  • The secret of a happy life lies in renunciation. Renunciation to life. MM-192
  • Renunciation made for the sake of service is an ineffable joy of which none can deprive anyone, because that nectar springs from within and sustains life. T-7-66
  • Knowledge and devotion, to be true, have to stand the test of renunciation of the fruits of action. T-2-309
  • 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-2-311
  • Renunciation is the central Sun, round which devotion, knowledge and the rest revolve like planets.T-2-308
  • He who gives up action falls. He who gives up the reward rises. But renunciation of fruit in no way means indifference to the result. T-2-310
  • That parrot's non-co-operation with the cage, with its master, will live for ever because it looks upon renunciation, non-co-operation, as a joy. XXV-445
  • The secret of happy life lies in renunciation. T-7-66
  • Let it be granted that, according to the letter of the Gita, it is possible to say that warfare is consistent with renunciation of fruit. T-2-312
  • An ideal sanctified by the sacrifices of such master spirits as Lenin cannot go in vain, the noble example of their renunciation will be emblazoned for ever and quicken and purify the ideal as time passes. T-2-333
  • Desirelessness or renunciation does not come for the mere talking about it. TIG-99
Repose :
  • Prayer is the only means of bringing about orderliness, peace and repose in our daily life. TIG-43
Repression :
  • Ridicule is like repression. Both give place to respect when they fail to produce the intended effect. T-2-9
Research :
  • All research will be useless if it is not allied to internal research. T-2-272
Resolution :
  • Mere promises mean nothing if there is not an unalterable resolution behind them. XXV-530
  • To shirk taking of vows betrays indecision and want to culture. T-2-365
Responsibility :
  • Responsibility will mellow and sober the youth and prepare them for the burden they must discharge. T-2-371
  • Every person in a will-ordered state is fully conscious of both his responsibility and girls. XXV-420
Restraint :
  • Moral results can only be produced by moral restraints. MM-285
  • Let India become alive by self-purification, that is, self-restraint and self-denial, and she will be a boon to herself and mankind. T-2-56
Retaliation :
  • Retaliation is counter-poison and poison breeds more poison. The nectar of love alone can destroy the poison of hate. T-5-241
Retirement :
  • 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
Revolutionary :
  • Impatience will blur the revolutionary's vision and lead him astray. XXVI-141
  • All criticism is not intolerance. I have criticized the revolutionary because I have felt for him. He has the same right to hold me to be in error as I believe him to be in error. XXVI-141
Reward :
  • No past services, however brilliant, should be counted to distributing the present employments.T-2-137
Rich :
  • Justice should become cheap and expeditious. Today it is the luxury of the rich and the joy of the gambler. T-4-182
  • Let there be no distinction between rich and poor, high and low. XXVI-119
  • I own no property and yet I feel that I am perhaps the richest man in the world. XXVI-561
Ridicule :
  • Ridicule is like repression. Both give place to respect when they fail to produce the intended effect. T-2-9
Right :
  • Rights of true citizenship accrue only to those who serve the State to which they belong. MM-135
  • The true source of rights is duty. T-2-179
  • If we all discharge our duties, rights will not be far to seek. XXV-564
  • No people have risen who thought only of rights. Only those did so who thought of duties. XXV-573
  • Out of the performance of duties flow rights, and those that knew and performed their duties came naturally by their rights. XXV-573
  • A man can give up a right, but he may not give up a duty without being guilty of a grave dereliction. T-2-324
  • There being no absolute and universal standard of right, terrorism must be held to be wrong in every case. XXV-442
  • As soon as I arrogate to myself the exclusive title to being in the right, I usurp the function of the Deity. XXV-442
  • Might of members or of the sword shall not be right. Right is the only true might, appearances to the contrary notwithstanding. T-8-65
  • If all simply insist on rights and no duties, there will be utter confusion and chaos. T-8-31
  • If leaving duties unperformed we run after rights, they will escape us like a will-o'-the wisp.TIG-152
  • 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
  • Passive resistance is a method of securing rights by personal suffering; it is the reverse of resistance by arms. X-48
  • The safest rule of conduct is to claim kinship when we want to do service and not to insist on kinship when we want to assert a right. T-2-300
  • Satan's snares are mostly subtly laid and are the most tempting when the dividing line between right and wrong is so thin as to be imperceptible. T-2-55
  • The only things 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
  • Violence becomes imperative when an attempt is made to assert rights without any reference to duties. T-4-13
  • Swaraj would be real Swaraj only when there would be no occasion for safeguarding any rights. T-3-92
Right Angle :
  • An insignificant right angle will make all the difference between ugliness and elegance, solidity and shakiness of a gigantic structure.T-2-365
  • If I have the definition of a right angle, I can make whatever angle I need. T-3-289
Risk :
  • If we want to overtake the storm which is about to burst upon us, we must take bolder risks and sail full steam ahead. T-2-286
Rome :
  • Rome's decline began long before it fell. MM-349
Rose :
  • The fragrance of religious and spiritual life is much finer and subtler than that of the rose. TIG-72
  • A rose does not need to preach. It simply spreads its fragrance. The fragrance is its own sermon.TIG-72