“I simply  want to tell the story of my numerous experiments with truth, and as my life consists of nothing but these experiments, it is true that the story will take the shape of an autobiography.”

“What I want to achieve – what I have been striving and longing to achieve these thirty years – is self-realization.”

“…truth is the sovereign principle…This truth is not only truthfulness in word, but truthfulness in thought also, and not only the relative truth of our conception, but the Absolute Truth, the Eternal Principle, that is God.”

“But I worship God as Truth only.  I have not yet found Him, but I am seeking after Him.”

“The seeker after truth should be humbler than the dust.”

“Today I regard the Ramayana of Tulasidas as the greatest book in all devotional literature.”

“Experience has taught me that silence is part of the spiritual discipline of a votary of truth.”

“My young mind tried to unify the teachings of the Gita, The Light of Asia and the Sermon on the Mount.  That renunciation was the highest form of religion appealed to me greatly.”

“Supplication, worship, prayer are no superstition;  they are acts more real than the acts of eating, drinking, sitting or walking.  It is no exaggeration to say that they alone are real, all else is unreal.”

“Prayer needs no speech.”

“There must, therefore, be ceaseless striving after perfection.  For one gets the Guru one deserves.  Infinite striving after perfection is one’s right.  It is its own reward.  The rest is in the hands of God.”

“They were prepared secretly to evade the prohibition, but it went against the grain with me to do a thing in secret that I would not do in public.”

“Never again shall I place myself in such a false position, never again shall I try to exploit friendship in this way, I said to myself, and since then I have never been guilty of a breach of that determination.  This shock changed the course of my life.”

“Redress for wrongs I should seek only to the extent that would be necessary for the removal of the color prejudice.”

“I should not think of embracing another religion before I had fully understood my own.”

“Gandhi, I have learnt one thing, and it is this, that if we take care of the facts of a case, the law will take care of itself.” [Mr. Pincutt]

“I had learnt to find out the better side of human nature and to enter men’s hearts…I lost nothing thereby – not even money, certainly not my soul.”

“Tolstoy’s The Kingdom of God Is Within You overwhelmed me.”

“I felt that this class should be claimed as our own.  Was this the meaning of Christianity?  Did they cease to be Indians because they had become Christians?”

“Thus God laid the foundations of my life in South Africa and sowed the seed of the fight for national self-respect.”

“But all my life through, the very insistence on truth has taught me to appreciate the beauty of compromise.”

“It has always been a mystery to me how men can feel themselves honored by the humiliation of their fellow-beings.”

“I had made the religion of service my own, as I felt that God could be realized only through service.”

“Yet even differences prove helpful, where there are tolerance, charity and truth.”

“Service which is rendered without joy helps neither the servant nor the served.”

“My experience has shown me that we win justice quickest by rendering justice to the other party.”

“I have no doubt that the ideal is for public institutions to live, like nature, from day to day.  The institution that fails to win public support has no right to exist as such.”

“How heavy the toll of sins and wrongs that wealth, power and prestige exact from man!”

“I think it is wrong to expect certainties in this world, where all else but God that is Truth is an uncertainty. All that appears and happens about and around us is uncertain, transient. But there is a Supreme Being hidden therein as a Certainty, and one would be blessed if one could catch a glimpse of that Certainty and hitch one’s waggon to it. The quest for that Truth is the summum bonum of life.”

“It is quite proper to resist and attack a system, but to resist and attack its author is tantamount to resisting and attacking oneself.  For we are all tarred with the same brush, and are children of one and the same Creator, and as such the divine powers within us are infinite.  To slight a single human being is to slight those divine powers, and thus to harm not only that being but with him the whole world.”

“The brute by nature knows no self-restraint.  Man is man because he is capable of, and only in so far as he exercises, self-restraint.”

“A cowardly teacher would never succeed in making his boys valiant, and a stranger to self-restraint could never teach his pupils the value of self-restraint.  I saw therefore, that I must be an eternal object-lesson to the boys and girls living with me.  They thus became my teachers, and I learnt I must be good and live straight, if only for their sakes.  I may say that the increasing discipline and restraint I imposed on myself at Tolstoy Farm was mostly due to those wards of mine.”

“I knew the difference of status between an Indian and an Englishman, but I did not believe that we had been quite reduced to slavery.  I felt then that it was more the fault of individual British officials than of the British system, and that we could convert them by love.

“A devotee of Truth may not do anything in deference to convention.  He must always hold himself open to correction and whenever he discovers himself to be wrong he must confess it at all cost and atone for it.”

“As a student I had heard that the lawyer’s profession was a liar’s profession.  But this did not influence me, as I had no intention of earning either position or money by lying.”

“Is this not a threat? he asked.  And do you think a powerful Government will yield to threats?”
“This was no threat, I had replied.  It was educating the people.  It is my duty to place before the people all the legitimate remedies for grievances.  A nation that wants to come into its own ought to know all the ways and means to freedom.  Usually they include violence as the last remedy.  Satyagraha, on the other hand, is an absolutely non-violent weapon.  I regard it as my duty to explain its practice and its limitation.  I have no doubt that the British Government is a powerful Government, but I have no doubt also that Satyagraha is a sovereign remedy.”

“I hold it to be an utter delusion to believe that a large number of delegates is in any way a help to the better conduct of the business, or that it safeguards the principle of democracy…To safeguard democracy the people must have a keen sense of independence, self-respect and their oneness, and should insist upon choosing as their representative only such persons as are good and true.”

[Farwell Chapter] “My uniform experience has convinced me that there is no other God than Truth…To see the universal and all-pervading Spirit of Truth face to face one must be able to love the meanest of creation as oneself.  And a man who aspires after that cannot afford to keep out of any field of life.  That is why my devotion to Truth has drawn me into the field of politics;  and 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.”


copyright:  The Navajivan Trust, 1927