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)
War :
  • War knows no law except that of might. T-7-144
  • History is a record of perpetual wars, but we are now trying to make new history. T-4-165
  • People engaged in a war do not lose temper over matters which affect the fortunes of war. T-5-257
  • When there is war, the poet lays down the lyre, the lawyer his law reports, the schoolboy his books. T-2-6
  • It is claimed for satyagraha that it is a complete substitute for violence or war. T-3-260
  • Nonviolence requires more than the courage of the soldier of war. XXV-437
  • The end of nonviolent 'war' is always an agreement, never dictation, much less humiliation of the opponent. T-5-257
  • The author of the Mahabharata has not established the necessity of physical warfare; on the contrary he has proved its futility. TIG-97
  • The science of war leads one to dictatorship pure and simple. The science of nonviolence can alone lead one to pure democracy. T-4-280
  • I have not lost the hope that the masses will refuse to bow to the Moloch of war but they will rely upon their own capacity for suffering to save their country's honour. T-5-171
  • In the characteristics of the perfected man of the Gita, I do not see any to correspond to physical warfare.TIG-97
  • A warrior lives on his wars, whether offensive or defensive. And he suffers a collapse if he finds that his warring capacity is unwanted. T-5-296
  • It is open to a war resister to judge between two combatants and wish success to the one who has justice on his side. T-5-197
  • Exploitation and domination of one nation over another can have no place in a world striving to put an end to all war. T-7-2
  • When a man vowed to nonviolence as the law governing human being dares to refer to war, he can only do it so as to strain every nerve to avoid it. T-8-140
  • Where there are wars, wherever you are confronted with an opponent, conquer him with love.MM-417
  • Whatever may be true of the other modes of warfare, in satyagraha it has been held that the causes for failure are to be sought within. T-5-187
Waste :
  • You may not waste a grain of rice or a scrap of paper, and similarly a minute of your time. It is not ours. It belongs to the nation and we are trustees for the use of it. XXVI-272
Wealth :
  • Let your zeal for the dumb millions be not stifled in the search for wealth. T-2-272
  • A man's true wealth hereafter is the good he has done to his fellowmen. T-7-341
  • For every minute that I spin, there is in me the consciousness that I am adding to the nation's wealth.T-3-5
Welfare :
  • I hold no man to be indispensable for the welfare of the country. T-2-137
Widow- Widowhood :
  • Widowhood imposed by religion or custom is an unbearable yoke and defiles the home by secret vice and degrades religion. T-2-227
  • To coerce widowhood upon little girls is a brutal crime for which we Hindus are daily paying dearly. T-2-227
  • So long as we have thousands of windows in our midst, we are sitting on a mine which may explode at any moment. T-2-227
  • Every widow I have met has recognized in the wheel a dear forgotten friend. T-2-38
  • Khaddar brings a ray of hope to the widow's broken-up home. T-2-256
  • In the name of religion, we force widowhood upon our three lakhs of girl-widows who could not understand the import of the marriage ceremony. T-2-227
  • 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
  • If we would be pure, if we would save Hinduism, we must rid ourselves of this poison of enforced widowhood. T-2-227
Woman :
  • Woman is the incarnation of ahimsa. Ahimsa means infinite love, which again means infinite capacity for suffering. T-5-227
  • Woman is, by habit or nature, queen of the household. She is not designed to organize on a large scale.XXV-153
  • Woman is the embodiment of sacrifice and suffering and her advent to public life should, therefore, result in purifying it, in restraining unbridled ambition and accumulation of property. T-2-367
  • Woman is more fitted than man to make explorations and take bolder action in ahimsa. MM-294
  • Women are special custodians of all that is pure and religious in life. MM-293
  • A woman's intuition has often proved truer than man's arrogant assumption of superior knowledge. T-2-51
  • Every woman will tell the curious that with the disappearance of the spinning wheel vanished India's happiness and prosperity. T-2-38
  • The woman who knows and fulfils her duty realizes her dignified status. MM-294
  • The woman has circumvented man in a variety of ways in her unconsciously subtle ways, as the man has vainly and equally consciously struggled to thwart the woman in gaining ascendancy over him. T-2-367
  • The duty of motherhood, which the vast majority of woman will always undertake, requires the qualities which men need not possess. T-5-227
  • A fearless woman who knows that her purity is her best shield can never be dishonoured. MM-301
  • There is no occasion for women to consider themselves subordinate or inferior to men. MM-297
  • Woman is the companion of man, gifted with equal mental capacities. MM-292
  • If by strength is meant moral power, then woman is immeasurably man's superior. T-3-33
  • If nonviolence is the law of our being, the future is with woman. T-3-33
  • To call women the weaker sex is a libel; it is man's injustice to woman.T-3-33
  • Who can make a more effective appeal to the heart than woman? T-3-33
  • Man is born of woman; he is flesh of her flesh and bone of her bone. T-2-300
  • Man the law-giver will have to pay a dreadful penalty for the degradation he has imposed upon the so called weaker sex. MM-292
  • Men to be men must be able to trust their womenfolk, even as the latter are compelled to trust them.T-2-249
  • Marriage is not an act of services. It is a comfort man or woman seeks for himself or herself.
  • Marriage must cease to be a matter of arrangement made by parents for money.MM-298
  • Languages proclaim that woman is half of man, and by parity of reasoning, man is half of woman.MM-297
  • I am the only one, whom you may find it hard to get rid of, for I have always counted myself as a woman.T-7-87
  • I have mentally become a woman in order to steal into her heart. MM-291
  • My own opinion is that, just as fundamentally man and woman are one, their problem must be one in essence. MM-294
  • My quarrel with the advocates of contraceptives lies in their taking for granted that ordinary mortals cannot exercise self-control. MM-289
  • What is it but my ahimsa that draws thousands of women to me in fearless confidence? T-5-291
  • For the courage of self-sacrifice, woman is any time superior to man, as I believe man is to woman for the courage of the brute. MM-294
  • Woman, I hold, is the personification of self-sacrifice, but unfortunately today she does not realise what a tremendous advantage she has over man. MM-291
  • Any young man, who makes dowry a condition to marriage, discredits his education and his country and dishonours womanhood. MM-298
  • Contraceptives are an insult to womanhood. MM-288
  • If you want to play your part in the world's affairs, you must refuse to deck yourselves for pleasing man.T-2-300
  • It is degrading both for man and woman that woman should be called upon or induced to forsake the hearth and shoulder the rifle for the protection of the hearth. T-5-227
  • If we would be pure, if we would save Hinduism, we must rid ourselves of this poison of enforced widowhood. MM-299
  • If what passed as nonviolence did not enable people to protect the honour of women, or if it did not enable women to protect their own honour, it was not nonviolence.T-7-30
  • Why should men arrogate to themselves the right to regulate female purity?MM-29
  • Widowhood imposed by religion or custom is an unbearable yoke and defiles the home by secret vice and degrades religion.MM-229
  • The restoration of spinning to its central place in India's peaceful campaign for deliverance from the imperial yoke gives her women a special status. T-5-206
  • If we all could give our own definitions of God, there would be as many definitions as there are men and women.XXVI-224
  • A smattering of English is worse than useless; it is an unnecessary tax on our women. XIV-464
  • Man has regarded woman as his tool. She has learnt to be his tool and in the end found it easy and pleasurable to be such, because when one drags another in his fall, the descent it easy.T-4-45
Work :
  • The villagers want bread and not butter, and disciplined work - some work that will supplement their agricultural avocation, which do not go of for all the 12 months. XXVI-397
  • Joint work is an impossibility where the workers distrust one another. BUNCH-358
  • Lack of finances never represented a real difficulty to a sincere worker. Finances follow, they dog your foot-steps if you represent a real cause. T-7-26
World :
  • The world easily finds an honourable place for the magician who produces new and dazzling things. T-2-215
  • The world is weary of hate. We see the fatigue overcoming the Western nations. T-2-199
  • The whole world is in the throes of a new birth. Anything done for a temporary gain would be tantamount to an abortion. T-5-273
  • The whole world is like the human body with its various members. Pain in one member is felt in the whole body.T-7-166
  • The most practical, the most dignified way of going on in the world is to take people at their word when you have no positive reason to the contrary. XXV-450
  • Three-fourths of the miseries and misunderstandings in the world will disappear if we step into the shoes of our adversaries and understand their standpoint. T-2-181
  • Buddha renounced every worldly happiness because he 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
  • For a fallen India to aspire to move the world and protect the weaker races is seemingly an impertinence.T-2-327
  • Nonviolence, applied to very large masses of mankind, is a new experiment in the history of the world. T-5-273
  • Nonviolence being the mightiest force in the world and also the most elusive in its working, it demands the greatest exercise of faith. T-5-17
  • Satyagraha is a force that has come to stay. No force in the world can kill it. XXVI-292
  • So long as we fear the outside world, we must cease to think of Swaraj. XXVI-162
  • The greatest menace to the world today is the growing, exploiting, irresponsible imperialism. XXV-19
  • An India awakened and free has a message of peace and goodwill to a groaning world. T-2-46
  • I have made the world's faith in God my own, and as my faith is ineffaceable, I regard that faith as amounting to experience. TIG-4
  • I hold that the world is sick of armed rebellions. XXVI-140
  • I own no property and yet I feel that I am perhaps the richest man in the world. XXVI-561
  • When I see a cow, it is not an animal to eat, it is a poem of pity for me and I worship it and I shall defend its worship against the whole world. XXV-459
  • The golden way was to be friends with the world and to regard the whole human family like the members of one family. T-7-250
  • The man of prayer will be at peace with himself and with the whole world. MM-90
  • Love is the subtlest force in the world. XXV-392
  • The world is changing every moment, and is therefore unreal. It has non permanent existence.
  • That which you look upon as your own you may keep only so long as the world allows you to own it. MM-169
  • The world cannot be successfully fooled for all time. MM-33
  • It is indeed a million times better to appear untrue before the world than to be untrue to ourselves. T-2-85
Worship :
  • Some form of common worship and a common place of worship appear to be a human necessity.
  • God is omnipresent; even a pebble in the Narmada* (a river) can represent Him and serve as an object of worship. XXVI-309
    * cf of a popular saying that all pebbles (Kanakrs) in the Narmada are the Shankars (stones to be worshipped)
Wrong :
  • Wrong has no prescriptive right to exist merely because it is of a long standing. T-7-98