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The very best quotes by Gandhi | The ones you absolutely need to know!

There are life-changing books… but have you ever found yourself stopped in your tracks by a passage in a book, an idea, a sentence, the words of an author? You know, the kind of quotes you want to make a note of, keep close to hand and reread often. The kind of quotes that follow your throughout your life! Some of the ones that I find really inspiring are quotes by Gandhi. They are full of essential wisdom!

So, here is a compilation of some of Gandhi’s most beautiful words, a man of peace who left his mark on humanity.

gandhi

Why not watch this short video about Gandhi’s autobiography to whet your appetite:

1. Who was Gandhi really? A look back at the life of an extraordinary man

A political and spiritual leader famous throughout the world

Mahatma Gandhi, whose true name was Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, was born in India in 1869, to very pious Hindu parents. He grew up among Hindu values, but his family was very open and tolerant toward other religions. At the age of 14, Gandhi married Kasturbai, following the customs of his caste (the Vayshia), and they remained married until he died.

When he was 19, Gandhi went to England to study law. He stayed there for 3 years. At the age of 24, the young man went to work in South Africa, for an Indian company, as a legal advisor. In that country, in contact with black and Indian people, he realised that they had no civil rights and were victims of intolerance and racism. He began non-violent resistance and non-cooperation with the authorities of South Africa. This fight would continue for more than twenty years.

When he returned to India, during the First World War, Gandhi opposed the British occupants. From this starting point, and for years to follow, he fought for the independence of India, endlessly fighting for the abolition of the caste system and equal of rights for “untouchables”. His main weapon was organising physical resistance and campaigns of civil disobedience. He was arrested several times because of his struggle. He went to prison more than once. Finaly, he died at the age of 78, assassinated by a Hindu fanatic.

A life of struggle through civil disobedience based on non-violence

In 1909, Gandhi exposed his theories about mass civil disobedience and non-violent protest or satyagraha, in a work entitled “Hind Swaraj“.

He went on to share his philosophy of non-violence in a number of different books. Here are the names of some of those books:

Known throughout India, Gandhi, named the “Mahatma” (the Great Soul) became the father of the nation of India after his death. India celebrates its National Day on the day of his birthday, on 2 October. Since 2007, this date is also International Day of Non-violence, after a declaration by the United Nations.

Gandhi’s non-violent struggle to defend human rights had and continues to have an important impact on liberation movements and the defence of civil rights all over the world. It especially influenced the civil rights movement demanding equal rights for African Americans.

2. Gandhi quotes about change

  • “You must be the change you want to see in the world.”
  • “If you change yourself, you will change your world.”
  • “Your beliefs become your thoughts. Your thoughts become your words, your words become your actions, your actions become your habits. And your habits become your values. Your values become your destiny.”
  • “The future depends on what you do today.”

3. Gandhi quotes about life

  • “Life is a mystery to be lived, not a problem to be solved.”
  • “Live as if you were to die tomorrow.  Learn as if you were to live forever.”
  • “To believe in something, and not to live it, is dishonest.”
  • “Live simply, so others may simply live.”
  • “Our life is a long and painful quest for truth.”
  • “He who would sacrifice his life for others has hardly time to reserve for himself a place in the sun.”
  • “Today (and everyday) take responsibility for your words and actions.  Do not blame others for the choices that you make.”
  • “A life of sacrifice is the pinnacle of art, and is full of true joy.”
  • “There is more to life than increasing its speed.”

4. Gandhi quotes about happiness

  • Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”
  • “When your words and actions match, you are on the right track.”
  • “Civilization, in the real sense of the term, consists not in the multiplication, but in the deliberate and voluntary reduction of wants. This alone promotes real happiness and contentment, and increases the capacity for service.”

5. Gandhi quotes about peace

peace

  • “The man who is not at peace with himself will be at war with the whole world.”
  • “Each one has to find his peace from within. And peace to be real must be unaffected by outside circumstances.”
  • “If we are to teach real peace in this world, and if we are to carry on a real war against war, we shall have to begin with the children.”
  • “There are many causes that I am prepared to die for, but no causes that I am prepared to kill for.”
  • “Terrorism and deception are weapons, not of the strong, but of the weak.”
  • “No human being is so bad as to be beyond redemption.”
  • “A principle is the expression of perfection, and as imperfect beings like us cannot practise perfection, we devise every moment limits of its compromise in practice.”
  • “The hymn of hatred does not benefit humanity.”
  • “The hardest heart and the grossest ignorance must disappear before the rising sun of suffering without anger and without malice.”
  • “It has always been a mystery to me how men can feel themselves honoured by the humiliation of their fellow beings.”

6. Gandhi quotes about non-violence

  • “We may never be strong enough to be entirely nonviolent in thought, word and deed. But we must keep nonviolence as our goal and make strong progress towards it.”
  • “Victory attained by violence is tantamount to a defeat, for it is momentary.”
  • “Our struggle consists in showing that our nonviolence is neither a cloak to hide our violence or hatred, nor a preparation for violence in the near or distant future.”
  • “I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent.”
  • “Nonviolence is the law of our species as violence is the law of the brute.  The spirit lies dormant in the brute, and he knows no law but that of physical might.  The dignity of man requires obedience to a higher law – to the strength of the spirit.”
  • “Nonviolence is the first article of my faith.  It is also the last article of my creed.”
  • “Non-violence is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind.  It is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of man.”
  • “My method of nonviolence can never lead to loss of strength.”
  • “I am not a visionary. I claim to be a practical idealist. The religion of nonviolence is not meant merely for the Rishis and saints.  It is meant for the common people as well.”

7. Gandhi quotes about love

love

  • “Love is the strongest force the world possesses and yet it is the humblest imaginable.”
  • “The law of love could be best understood and learned through little children.’
  • “The law of love knows no bounds of space or time.”
  • “Love never claims, it ever gives; love never suffers, never resents, never revenges itself. Where there is love there is life; hatred leads to destruction. “
  • “Replace greed with love and everything will be in its rightful place.”
  • “Whatever the crisis, the fire of love will melt it.”
  • “To give pleasure to a single heart by a single act is better than a thousand heads bowing in prayer.”
  • “A coward is incapable of exhibiting love. It is the prerogative of the brave.”
  • “Power based on love is a thousand times more effective and permanent then the one derived from fear of punishment.”
  • “Hatred ever kills, love never dies.”
  • “Hate the sin, love the sinner.”
  • “Love is the strongest force the world possesses and yet it is the humblest imaginable.”
  • “When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall…  think of it, always.”
  • “The day the power of love overrules the love of power, the world will know peace.”

8. Gandhi quotes about perseverance, will and action

  • “Satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment.  Full effort is full victory.”
  • “Whatever you do in life will be insignificant, but it is important that you do it.”
  • “Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.”
  • “One step at a time is enough for me.”
  • “The difference between the possible and the impossible lies in a man’s determination.”
  • “A conscious, awake and standing individual is more dangerous to the power in place than 10,000 sleepy and frightened individuals.”
  • “How can we learn to know ourselves? Never through meditation, but through action.”
  • “Strength of numbers is the delight of the timid. The Valiant in spirit glory in fighting alone.”
  • “It’s easy to stand in the crowd. It takes courage to stand alone”

9. Gandhi quotes about work

  • “If I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning.”
  • “May the work of your hands be a sign of gratitude and reverence to the human condition.”
  • “If all laboured for their bread and no more, then there would be enough food and enough leisure for all.”
  • “Work gives a man his dignity.”

10. Gandhi quotes about possessions, poverty and wealth

  • The Seven Sins are: Wealth without work. Pleasure without conscience. Knowledge without character. Commerce without morality. Science without humanity. Religion without sacrifice. Politics without principle.
  • “There can be no rule of God in the present state of iniquitous inequalities in which a few roll in riches and the masses do not get enough to eat.” “If each retained possession of only what he needed, no one would be in want, and all would live in contentment.”
  • “The less you possess, the less you want.”
  • “No one has ever suggested that grinding pauperism can lead to anything else than moral degradation.”
  • “There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.”
  • “There’s enough on this planet for everyone’s needs but not for everyone’s greed.”
  • “Poverty is the worst form of violence.”
  • “The rich should take the initiative in dispossession with a view to a universal diffusion of the spirit of contentment.”
  • “If you aren’t greedy, the Earth has enough to fulfil your needs.”

11. Gandhi quotes about freedom

  • “The moment the slave resolves that he will no longer be a slave, his fetters fall.”
  • “No society can possibly be built upon a denial of individual freedom. It is contrary to the very nature of man.”
  • “Freedom is not worth having if it does not connote freedom to err.”
  • “In the democracy which I have envisaged, a democracy established by non-violence, there will be equal freedom for all. “
  • “Everyone who wills can hear the inner voice. It is within everyone.”

12. Gandhi quotes about forgiveness

  •  “Sweet mercy is nobility’s true badge.”
  • “Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”
  • “Abstinence is forgiveness only when there is the power to punish.”
  • “I believe that nonviolence is infinitely superior to violence, forgiveness is more manly than punishment. Forgiveness adorns a soldier.”

13. Gandhi quotes about women

India Women

  • “To call woman the weaker sex is a libel; it is man’s injustice to woman.”
  • “There is no occasion for women to consider themselves subordinate or inferior to men.”
  • “Fundamentally, man and woman are one; their problems must be in one essence. The soul in both is the same. Each is a complement of the other. The one cannot live without the other’s active help.”
  • “If nonviolence is the law of our being, the future is with women.” “Who can make a more effective appeal to the heart than woman? “
  • “I was once a slave holder myself, but Ba proved an unwilling slave and thus opened my eyes to my mission.”

14. Gandhi quotes about friendship

  • “The good man is the friend of all living things.”
  • “The golden way is to be friends with the world and to regard the whole human family as one.”
  • “With every true friendship, we build more firmly the foundations on which the peace of the whole world rests. “
  • “It is easy enough to be friendly to one’s friends. But to befriend the one who regards himself as your enemy is the quintessence of true religion.”

15. Gandhi quotes about tolerance

  • “The golden rule of conduct is mutual toleration, seeing that we will never all think alike and we shall always see Truth in fragment and from different points of vision.”
  • “Tolerance does not mean indifference towards one’s own Faith, but a more intelligent and pure love for it.”
  • “Anger and intolerance are the enemies of correct understanding.”
  • “I do not like the word tolerance, but could not think of a better one.”
  • “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”

16. Gandhi quotes about spirituality and faith

  • “Prayer is not asking. It is a longing of the soul. It is daily admission of one’s weakness, it is better in prayer to have a heart without words than words without a heart.”
  • “Prayer is the key of the morning and the bolt of the evening.”
  • “I have come to the conclusion that all religions are true.” “Faith is the strength by which a shattered world shall emerge into the light.” “Don’t talk about it. The rose doesn’t have to propagate its perfume. It just gives it forth, and people are drawn to it.”
  • “Faith is a kind of sixth sense which works in cases which are without the purview of reason.”
  • “The greatest traveller is not the one who has made 10 trips around the world, but the one who did it once around himself.”

17. Gandhi quotes about God and religion

  • “God has no religion.”
  • “In reality, there are as many religions as there are individuals.”
  • “Religion is a matter of the heart.”
  • “Religions are different roads converging to the same point. What does it matter that we take different road, so long as we reach the same goal.”
  • “If there is no principle, there is no true north, nothing you can depend upon.”
  • “Where there is fear there is no religion.”
  • “Faith is like the Himalaya mountains which cannot possibly change.” “It is better in prayer to have a heart without words than words without a heart.”
  • “Today, as it was 2,000 years ago, the Kingdom of God is within each of us. It is not within a church, a temple, a mosque or synagogue.” “There is an indefinable mysterious Power that pervades everything. I feel it, though I do not see it.”
  • “There is force in the universe, which, if we permit it, will flow through us and produce miraculous results.”  “God, as Truth, has been for me a treasure beyond price.”

18. Gandhi quotes about animals

  • “I do feel that spiritual progress does demand at some stage that we should cease to kill our fellow creatures for the satisfaction of our bodily wants.”
  • “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way in which its animals are treated.
  • I hold that the more helpless a creature, the more entitled it is to protection by man from the cruelty of man.”
  • “Man’s supremacy over lower animals meant not that the former should prey upon the latter, but that the higher should protect the lower.”
  • “To my mind, the life of a lamb is no less precious than that of a human being.” “I hold that the more helpless a creature, the more entitled it is to protection by man from the cruelty of man.”

19. Gandhi quotes about the law and justice

  • “An unjust law is itself a species of violence.”
  • “Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is.”
  • “When a law is unjust, it is only right to disobey.”
  • “It is beneath human dignity to lose one’s individuality and become a mere cog in the machine.”
  • “There is a higher court than courts of justice and that is the court of conscience.”

Nelson Mandela or Martin Luther King

With his ideas, Gandhi successfully influenced the greatest leaders the world has known, like Nelson Mandela or Martin Luther King. Through his actions and his teachings, he contributed to many changes in the world. Today people share his philosophy all over the planet. Many authors write about Gandhi, and Facebook, Twitter and the other global networks pass on his messages. They are an invitation to change.

What about you? What Gandhi quote inspires you the most? Which one is your favourite quote? Feel free to share in the comments and tell us about the impact they have had on your life!

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