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Gandhi Ji Quotes - A Collection of Quotes and Teachings of Mahatma Gandhi

Gandhi Ji quotes are from books, magazines and newspapers. This collection of quotes and teachings of Mahatma Gandhi have been done over a period of 12 years.

The problem with lying is that one has to remember one’s lies.

There are times when you have to obey a call which is the highest of all that is the voice of conscience even though such obedience may cost many a bitter tear and even more, separation from friends, from family, from the state to which you may belong, from all that you have held as dear as life itself. For this, obedience is the law of our being.

Man must choose either of the two courses, the upward or the downward; but as he has the brute in him, he will more easily choose the downward course than the upward, especially when the downward course is presented to him in a beautiful garb. Man easily capitulates when sin is presented in the garb of virtue.

 A Collection of Quotes and Teachings of Mahatma Gandhi

Knowledge comes spontaneously to a bhakta. He does not have to wade through big volumes. But he who believes that he will acquire knowledge first and cultivate bhakti afterwards will fail miserably in his aim. No one can acquire knowledge in that way. Such knowledge breeds, if anything, pride. But he who lovingly cultivates devotion for the Lord and constantly thinks of Him gets knowledge without any special effort to that end.

But desirelessness or renunciation does not come for the mere talking about it. It is not attained by intellectual feat. It is attainable only by a constant heart churn. Right knowledge is necessary for attaining renunciation. Learned men posses a knowledge of a kind. They may recite the Vedas from memory, yet they may be steeped in self indulgence. In order that knowledge may not run riot, the author of the Bhagavad Gita has insisted on devotion accompanying it and has given it the first place. Knowledge without devotion will be like a misfire. Therefore, says the Gita, “Have devotion, and knowledge will follow.” Therefore, says the Gita, “Have devotion and knowledge will follow.” 

To forget how to dig the earth and tend the soil is to forget ourselves.

Just as one must not receive, so must one not posses anything which one does not really need. It would be a breach of this principle to possess unnecessary foodstuffs, clothing or furniture. For instance, one must not keep a chair if one can do without it. In observing this principle one is led to a progressive simplification of one’s own life.

Individual liberty and interdependence are both essential for life in society.

Satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment. Full effort is full victory.

It does not require money to be neat, clean and dignified.

Absolute calm is not the law of the ocean. And it is the same with the ocean of life.

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, and if your realize the nothingness of all that appears before your eyes, the nothingness of this material case that we see before us ever changing, then indeed there are treasures for you up above, and there is peace of you down here, peace which passeth all understanding, and happiness to which we are utter strangers. It requires an amazing faith, a divine faith and surrender of all that we see before us.

The distinguishing characteristic of modern civilization is an indefinite multiplicity of human wants. The characteristic of ancient civilization is an imperative restriction upon and a strict regulating of these wants.

Life is greater than all art. I would go even further and declare that the man whose life comes nearest to perfection is the greatest artist; for what is art without the sure foundation and framework of a noble life?

Literacy must be one of the many means of intellectual development, but we have had in the past intellectual giants who are unlettered.

Only he can take great resolves who has indomitable faith in God and has fear of God.

Friendship that insists upon agreement on all matters is not worth the name. Friendship to be real must ever sustain the weight of honest difference, however sharp they be.

Prayer is not an old woman’s idle amusement. Properly understood and applied, it is the most potent instrument of action.

Old as I am in age, I have no feeling that I have ceased to grow inwardly or that my growth will stop at the dissolution of my flesh.

I am realizing every day that the search for truth is vain unless it is founded upon love. To injure a single human being is to injure those divine powers within us, and thus the harm reaches not only that one human being but with him the whole world.

We must be the change we wish to see in the world.

Let us fear God and we shall cease to fear man.

When one is free from attachment of wealth, reputation, family, body and surrenders himself to God, fearlessness will come of its own accord.

The only fear permissible is the fear of God and fear of doing evil and that is really fearlessness.

Fearlessness is essential for the acquisition of all other noble qualities. Truth, love and ahimsa will be absent without fearlessness.

Fearlessness is possessed more often by the so called bodily weak, the poor, the not so healthy and the not so learned. It is a spiritual force. It is characteristic of the soul and not of the body.

God as Truth has been for me a measure beyond price; may He be so to every one of us.

Devotion to Truth is the sole justification for our existence. But it is impossible for us to realize perfect Truth so long as we are imprisoned in this mortal frame. We can only visualize it in our imagination. We cannot, through the instrumentality of this ephemeral body, see face-to-face Truth, which is eternal. That is why in the last resort one must depend on faith.

There is an indefinable mysterious power that pervades everything. I feel it, though I do not see it. It is this unseen power which makes itself felt and yet defies all proof, because it is so unlike all that I perceive through my senses.

What a joy it would be when people realize that religion consists not in outward ceremonial but an ever growing inward response to the highest impulses that man is capable of.

I can say without the slightest hesitation, and yet in all humility, that those who say that religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion means.

To give pleasure to a single heart by a single act is better than a thousand heads bowing in prayer.

God has no religion.

When the mind has been thoroughly cleansed, the body also will be all right. There is a saying that if the mind is pure the Ganga flows at your door step. In other words, if the mind is steady and sattvic the body must become so.

Consciously or unconsciously, every one of us does render some service or another. If we cultivate the habit of doing this service deliberately, our desire for service will steadily grow stronger, and it will make not only for our own happiness, but that of the world at large.

The present means our duty at the moment. If we put all our strength into doing our duty, as we know it at this moment, we shall have made the highest human effort. Sorrow springs from dreaming of the future and from lamenting the past. Hence one who concerns himself with the present and does his duty has neither birth nor death.

In the attitude of silence the soul finds the path in a clearer light, and what is elusive and deceptive resolves itself into crystal clearness.

Silence of the sewn-up lips is no silence. One may achieve the same result by chopping off one’s tongue, but that too would not be silence. He is silent who, having the capacity to speak, utters no idle word.

Not till the spirit is changed can the form be altered. The form is merely an expression of the spirit within. We may succeed in seemingly altering the form but the alteration will be a mere make-believe if the spirit within remains unalterable.

In the march towards Truth, anger, selfishness, hatred, naturally give way, for otherwise truth would be impossible to obtain. A man who is swayed by negative emotions may have good enough intentions, may be truthful in word, but he will never find the truth.

I have nothing new to reach the world. Truth and nonviolence are as old as the hills. All I have done is to try experiments in both on a vast a scale a I could. In doing so, I have sometimes erred and learnt by my errors. Life and its problems have thus become to me so many experiments in the practice of truth and nonviolence.

I have learnt through bitter experience the one supreme lesson: to conserve my anger, and as heat conserved is transmuted into energy, even so our anger controlled can be transmuted into a power which can move the world.

Joy lies in the fight, in the attempt, in the suffering involved, not in the victory itself.

I can easily put up with the denial of the world, but any denial by me of God is unthinkable. I know that I can do nothing. God can do everything. O God, make me Thy fit instrument and use as thou wilt!

I have not seen Him, neither have I known Him. 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. However, as it may be said that to describe faith, as experience is to tamper with truth, it may perhaps be more correct to say that I have no word for characterizing my belief in God. Yet I am surer of His existence than of the fact that you and I are sitting in this room. Then I can also testify that I may live without air and water but not without Him. You may pluck out my eyes, but that cannot kill me. You may chop off my nose, but that will not kill me. But blast my belief in God, and I am dead.

I believe that we can all become messengers of God, if we cease to fear man and seek only God’s Truth. I do believe I am seeking only God’s Truth and have lost all fear of man...I have no special revelation of God’s will. My firm belief is that He reveals Himself daily to every human being, but we shut our ears to the ‘still small voice’.  Some of my correspondents seem to think that I can work wonders. Let me say as a devotee of truth that I have no such gift. All the power I may have comes from God. But He does not work directly. He works through His numberless agencies.

The word satya (Truth) is derived from Sat which means ‘being’. Nothing is or exists in reality except Truth. That is why Sat (Truth) is perhaps the most important name of God. On deeper thinking, it will be realized that Sat is the only correct and fully sign fact name for God.

And where there is Truth, there is also is knowledge which is true. Where there is no Truth, there can be no true knowledge. That is why the word Chit (knowledge) is associated with the name of God. And where there is true knowledge, there is always bliss (Ananda). Devotion to this Truth is the sole justification for our existence.

All our activities should be centered on Truth. Generally speaking, observation of the law of Truth is understood merely to mean that we must speak the Truth. But there should be truth in thought, truth in speech, and truth in action. To the man who has realized this truth in its fullness, nothing else remains to be known, because all knowledge necessary is included in it.  

Truth should be the very breath of our life. When once this stage in the pilgrim’s progress is reached, all other rules of correct living will come without effort, and obedience to them will be instinctive. Without Truth, however, it is impossible to observe any principles or rules in life.

The seeker after Truth should be humbler than the dust.

The world crushes the dust under its feet, but the seeker after Truth should so humble himself that even the dust could crush him. Only then, and not till then, will he have a glimpse of Truth.

The instruments for the quest of Truth are as simple as they are difficult. They may appear quite impossible to an arrogant person, and quite possible to an innocent child.

The deeper the search in the mine of truth the richer the discovery of the gems buried there.

All that appears and happens about and around is uncertain, transient. But there is a Supreme Being hidden therein as a Certainty.

Love and exclusive possession can never go together.

While admitting that man actually lives by habit, I hold that it is better for him to live by the exercise of will.

It is only because we try to keep up the permanent with the impermanent aspects of religious teachings that there is so much distortion in religious practice today.

A man can only exercise perfect love and be completely dispossessed, if he is prepared to embrace death and renounce his body for the sake of human service.

All truth goes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Then, it is violently opposed. Finally, it is accepted as self-evident.

The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.

It is far easier to conquer others than to conquer oneself, because the former can be attained by recourse to outside means, while the latter can be achieved only with one’s own mind.

Experience has taught me that silence is part of the spiritual discipline of a votary of truth. Proneness to exaggerate, to suppress or modify the truth, wittingly or unwittingly, is a natural weakness of man and silence is necessary in order to surmount it.

To call woman the weaker sex is a libel; it is man’s injustice to woman. If by strength is meant brute strength, then, indeed, is woman less brute than man. If by strength is meant moral power, then woman is immeasurably man’s superior. Has she not greater intuition, is she not more self-sacrificing, has she not greater powers of endurance, has she not greater courage? Without her, man could not be. If nonviolence is the law of our being, the future is with woman. Who can make a more effective appeal to the heart than woman?

Gandhiji on the Importance of Bhagavad Gita


The Gita is the universal mother. She turns away nobody. Her door is wide open to anyone who knocks. A true votary of the Gita does not know what disappointment is…

When disappointment stares in the face and all alone I see not one ray of light, I go back to the Bhagavad Gita. I find a verse here and a verse there, and I immediately begin to smile in the midst of overwhelming tragedies – and my life has been full of external tragedies – and if they have left no visible, no indelible scar on me, I owe it all to the teaching of the Bhagavad Gita.

Gandhiji Quotes on Non-Violence

Nonviolence is complete innocence. Complete nonviolence is complete absence of ill will against all that lives. Nonviolence is innocence in its active form, goodwill towards all life. It is pure love.
Have no fear. He who fears, hates; he who hates kills. Break your sword and throw it away. So fear shall not touch you. I have been delivered from fear and desire in such a way that I know the power of God.

Mahatma Gandhi on Desires

We have within us both good and bad desires. It is our duty to cultivate the former and to suppress or eradicate the latter.

Heart’s earnest and pure desire is always fulfilled.

Everyone grows old with the passage of time, desire alone remains ever youthful.

Desire is of various kinds – good, bad and feasible. The mind should harbor only that which is good and possible of realization.

Hinduism

Hinduism believes in the oneness not of merely all human life but in the oneness of all that lives.

Gandhiji Quotes on Virtue
Just as the nature of water is to flow downward, so also vice drags man downwards and is, therefore, undoubtedly easy. Virtue takes a man upwards and so appears to be rather difficult.

Gandhiji Quotes on Anger
Conquest of anger does not mean that, while it is not outwardly manifest, the heart is full of it. Deliberately casting out anger, root and branch, constitutes real conquest.

Mahatma Gandhi on Idol Worship


Idolatry is bad, not so idol worship.

An idolater makes a fetish of his idol. An idol worshipper sees God even in a stone and therefore takes the help of an idol to establish his union with God.

Every Hindu child knows that the stone in the famous temple in Benares is not Kashi Vishwanath. But he believes that the Lord of the Universe does reside specially in that stone. This play of the imagination is permissible and healthy.

Every edition of the Gita on a book-stall has not that sanctity which I ascribe to my own copy. Logic tells me there is no more sanctity in my copy than in any other. The sanctity is in my imagination. But that imagination brings about marvelous concrete results. It changes men’s lives.

I am of opinion that, whether we admit it or not, we are all idol worshippers or idolaters, if the distinction I have drawn is not allowed. A book, a building, a picture, a carving are surely all images in which God does reside, but they are not God. He who says they are errs.

Mahatma Gandhi on Confession and repentance

Confession of errors is like a broom that sweeps away the dirt and leaves the surface cleaner than before.

A clean confession, combined with a promise never to commit sin again, when offered before one who has the right to receive it, is the purest type of repentance.

The moment we repent and ask God for forgiveness for our lapse, we are purged of our sin and new life begins for us. True repentance is an essential prerequisite of prayer.