by Robert Wilkinson
66 years ago today a violent fundamentalist's bullet assassinated the One about whom Einstein once said ""Generations to come will scarce believe that such a one as this walked the earth in flesh and blood." Today we take a moment to remember this Saint of Non-Violence and Soul Force.
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, a.k.a “The Mahatma,” or “Great Spirit,” was no theoretical dreamer or fuzzy idealistic thinker. He was the Master of non-violent resistance (“Ahimsa”) to those who abuse power, or would keep us enslaved to denigrating systems that rob us of our human dignity and ability to live a happy and peaceful life.
One of the most effective politicians in history, he demonstrated the practical truth that the way of applied Soul force (“Satyagraha”) using non-violent techniques is the most powerful political tool we have. A man of enormous vision, heart strength, selfless compassion, and Soul Force, his tactics of Soul powered non-violent non-cooperation with authoritarian systems have been used globally to win human and civil rights, and continue to inspire the world to this day.
As I gave you in his 2007 birthday celebration
Though many think of him as a caricature of a kindly old man, or a hopelessly naive advocate for a non-violence believed impossible to achieve, Mohandas Gandhi, a.k.a. "the Mahatma" (Great Spirit) gave us all the only sane technique for restoring peace in our ridiculously divided and aggressive world. Today we take a new look at some of his great quotes, among them: "Gandhi was once asked what he thought about western civilization. His response was: 'I think it would be a good idea.'"
A man of deep wisdom and universally respected for his compassion (except by his assassin), he was a political giant in our present world of emotional, intellectual, and moral pygmies. Thank you for being here, "maha-atma," Great Spirit. May your words come alive in this century.
So today, on the anniversary of his death, we remember his wit and wisdom with a few quotes. He was truly one for the ages!
Democracy and violence can ill go together. Evolution of democracy is not possible if we are not prepared to hear the other side.
Hatred ever kills, love never dies; such is the vast difference between the two. What is obtained by love is retained for all time. What is obtained by hatred proves a burden in reality for it increases hatred.
You assist an evil system most effectively by obeying its orders and decrees. An evil system never deserves such allegiance. Allegiance to it means partaking of the evil. A good person will resist an evil system with his or her whole soul.
Nonviolence is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind. It is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of man.
Whether humanity will consciously follow the law of love, I do not know. But that need not disturb me. The law will work just as the law of gravitation works, whether we accept it or not. The person who discovered the law of love was a far greater scientist than any of our modern scientists. Only our explorations have not gone far enough and so it is not possible for everyone to see all its workings.
However much I may sympathize with and admire worthy motives, I am an uncompromising opponent of violent methods even to serve the noblest of causes.
Power is of two kinds. One is obtained by the fear of punishment and the other by acts of love. Power based on love is a thousand times more effective and permanent then the one derived from fear of punishment.
Nonviolence and cowardice are contradictory terms. Nonviolence is the greatest virtue, cowardice the greatest vice. Nonviolence springs from love, cowardice from hate. Nonviolence always suffers, cowardice would always inflict suffering. Perfect nonviolence is the highest bravery. Nonviolent conduct is never demoralizing, cowardice always is.
Every murder or other injury, no matter for what cause, committed or inflicted on another is a crime against humanity.
Man's nature is not essentially evil. Brute nature has been known to yield to the influence of love. You must never despair of human nature.
It is the law of love that rules mankind. Had violence, i.e. hate, ruled us we should have become extinct long ago. And yet, the tragedy of it is that the so-called civilized men and nations conduct themselves as if the basis of society was violence.
Faith... must be enforced by reason... when faith becomes blind it dies.
For more, here are a few links to other posts quoting the Mahatma.
For your consideration, Gandhi's "Seven Deadly Social Sins:"
More great quotes here.
This man was and is the gold standard for non-violent non-cooperation with beings and systems that oppress any part of humanity. While all of the tactics may not work all the time with fascists and other authoritarians, it's still the hope of the world. As the Mahatma famously once said, "An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind." Something to consider as we walk the walk of striving to bring forth the best within and without.
May Gandhi’s example inspire all of us as we navigate a turbulent time in human history!
© Copyright 2014 Robert Wilkinson