The Mind of Mahatma Gandhi
[ Encyclopedia of Gandhi's Thoughts ]

The Mind of Mahatma Gandhi

(Encyclopedia of Gandhi's Thoughts)

Compiled & Edited by :
R. K. Prabhu & U. R. Rao

Table of Contents

An Introduction
  2. TRUTH
  4. FAITH

About This Book

Compiled & Edited by : R. K. Prabhu & U. R. Rao
With Forewords by: Acharya Vinoba Bhave & Dr. S. Radhakrishnan
I.S.B.N :81-7229-149-3
Published by : Jitendra T. Desai,
Navajivan Mudranalaya,
Ahmedabad - 380 014,
© Navajivan Trust, 1960


Chapter-88: The Gospel of Love

Cohesive Power
THE FORCE of love is the same as the force of the soul or truth. We have evidence of its working at every step. The universe would disappear without the existence of that force.... Thousands, indeed tens of thousands, depend for their existence on a very active working of this force. Little quarrels of millions of families in their daily lives disappear before the exercise of this force. Hundreds of nations live in peace. History does not and cannot take note of this fact. History is really a record of every interruption of the even working of the force of love or of the soul. Two brothers quarrel; one of them repents and reawakens the love that was lying dormant in him; the two again begin to live in peace; nobody takes note of this. But if the two brothers, through the intervention of solicitors or some other reason, take up arms or go to law-which is another form of the exhibition of brute force-their doings would be immediately noticed in the Press, they would be the talk of their neighbours and would probably go down to history. And what is true of families and communities is true of nations. There is no reason to believe that there is one law for families and another for nations. History, then, is a record of an interruption of the course of nature. Soul force, being natural, is not noted in history.

(HS, pp. 77-79)

Scientists tell us that, without the presence of the cohesive force amongst the atoms that comprise this globe of ours, it would crumble to pieces and we would cease to exist; and even as there is cohesive force in blind matter, so must there be in all things animate, and the name for that cohesive force among animate beings is love. We notice it between father and son, between brother and sister, friend and friend. But we have to learn to use that force among all that lives, and in the use of it consists our knowledge of God. Where there is love there is love there is life; hatred leads to destruction.

(YI, 5-5-1920, p. 7)

I believe that the sum total of the energy of mankind is not to bring us down but to lift us up, and that is the result of the definite, if unconscious, working of the law of love. The fact that mankind persists shows that the cohesive force is greater than the disruptive force, centripetal force greater than centrifugal.

(YI, 12-11-1931, p. 355)

Law Of Our Being
Brute force has been the ruling factor in the world for thousands of years, and mankind has been reaping its bitter harvest all along, as he who runs may read. There is little hope of anything good coming out of it in the future. If light can come out of it in the future. If light can come out of darkness, then alone can love emerge from hatred.

(SSA, p. 188)

I have found that life persists in the midst of destruction and, therefore, there must be a higher law than that of destruction. Only under that law would a well-ordered society be intelligible and life worth living. And if that is the law of life, we have to work it out in daily life. Wherever there are jars, wherever you are confronted with an opponent, conquer him with love. In this crude manner, I have worked it out in my life. That does not mean that all my difficulties are solved. Only, I have found that this law of love has answered as the law of destruction has never done.

(YI, 1-10-1931, p.286)

If love or non-violence be not the law of our being,....there is no escape from a periodical recrudescence of war, each succeeding one outdoing the preceding one in ferocity... All the teachers that ever lived have preached that law with more or less vigour. If Love was not the law of life, life would not have persisted in the midst of death. Life is a perpetual triumph over the grave. If there is a fundamental distinction between man and beast, it is the former's progressive recognition of the law and its application in practice to his own personal life. All the saints of the world, ancient and modern, were each according to his light and capacity a living illustration of that supreme Law of our being. That the brute in us seems so often to gain an easy triumph is true enough. That, however, does not disprove the law. It shows the difficulty of practice. How should it be otherwise with a law which is as high as truth itself? When the practice of the law becomes universal, God will reign on earth as He does in Heaven. I need not be reminded that earth and Heaven are in us. We know the earth, we are strangers to the Heaven are in us. If it is allowed that for some the practice of love is possible, it is arrogance not to allow even the possibility of its practice in all t he others. Not very remote ancestors of our4s indulged in cannibalism and many other practice which we would today call loathsome. No doubt in those days too there were Dick Sheppard's who must have been laughed at and possibly pilloried for preaching the (to them) strange doctrine of refusing to eat fellow-men.

(H, 26-9-1936, p. 260)

History is a record of perpetual wars, but we are trying to make new history, and I say this as I represent the national mind so far as non-violence is concerned. I have reasoned out the doctrine of the sword, I have worked out its possibilities and come to the conclusion that men's destiny is to replace the law of the jungle with the law of conscious love.

(H, 3-7-1937, p.165)

Where love is, there God is also.

(SSA, p.360)

Love never claims, it ever gives. Love ever suffers, never resents, never revenges itself.

(YI, 9-7-1925, p. 24)

Rule Of Service
The safest rule of conducts to claim kinship when we want to do service, and not to insist on kinship when we want assert a right. Indeed, I have applied this rule of life, which I call the golden rule of conduct, even for inter provincial relations in India..... I know no other method of preserving sweet relations in human affairs and I am fortified in my conclusion by an experience extending over a long period of years that, wherever there is an interruption is the observance of this golden rule, there have been bickerings, quarrels and even breaking of heads.....

(YI, 8-12-1927, p. 407)

Equality Of Treatment [My central aim] is equal treatment for the whole of humanity and that equal treatment means equality of service.

(YI, 12--3-1925, p. 91)

For, though they [men] are not all of the same age, the same height, the same skin, and the same intellect, these inequalities are temporary and superficial, the soul that is hidden beneath this earthly crust is one and the same for all men and women belonging to all climes. . . There is a real and substantial unity in all the variety that we see around us. The word 'inequality' has a bad dour about it, and it has led to arrogance and inhumanities, both in the East and the West. What is true about men is also true about nations, which are but groups of men. The false and rigid doctrine of inequality has led to the insolent exploitation of the nations of Asia and Africa. Who knows that the present ability of the West to prey upon the East is a sign of Western superiority and Eastern inferiority?

(YI, 11-8-1927, p. 253)

The forms are many, but the informing spirit is one. How can there be room for distinctions of high and low where there is this all-embracing fundamental unity underlying the outward diversity? For that is a fact meeting you at every step in daily life. The final goal of all religion is to realize this essential oneness?

(H, 15-12-1933, p. 3)

I believe in the sovereign rule of the law of love which makes no distinctions.

(H, 25-5-1947, p. 165)

I have known no distinction between relatives and strangers, countrymen and foreigners, white and coloured, Hindus and Indians of other faiths, whether Mussalmans, Paris, Christians or Jews. I may say that my heart has been incapable of making any such distinctions. I cannot claim this as a special virtue, as it is in my very nature, rather than a result of any effort on my part, whereas in the case of AHIMSA (non-violence), BRAHMACHARYA (celibacy), APARIGRAHA (non-possession) and other cardinal virtues, I am fully conscious of a continuous striving for their cultivation.

(A, p. 204)

We must widen the circle of our love till it embraces the whole village; the village in its turn must take into its fold the district, the district the province, and so on till the scope of our love becomes co-terminus with the world.

(YI, 27-6-1929, p. 214)

We are living in times when values are undergoing quick changes. We are not satisfied with slow results. We are not satisfied with the welfare merely of our own caste-fellows, not even of our own country. We feel or want to feel for the whole of humanity. All this is a tremendous gain in humanity's search towards its goal.

(H, 30-5-1936, p. 126)

My appeal to you.. is to cleanse your hearts and to have charity. Make your hearts as broad as the ocean. ... Do not judge others lest you be judged. There is that Supreme Judge who can hang you, but He leaves you alive. There are so may enemies within you and around you, but He protects and looks upon you with a kindly eye.

(YI, 1-1-1925, p. 8)

Mutual Toleration
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 angles of vision. Conscience is not the same thing for all. Whilst, therefore, it is a good guide for individual conduct, imposition of that conduct upon all will be an insufferable interference with everybody's freedom of conscience... Even amongst the most conscientious persons, there will be room enough for honest differences of opinion. The only possible rule of conduct in any civilized society is, therefore, mutual toleration.

(YI, 23-9-1926, p.334)

Forgiveness is a quality of the soul, and therefore, a positive quality. It is not negative. 'Conquer anger', says Lord Buddha, 'by non-anger'. But what is that 'non-anger'? it is a positive quality and means the supreme virtue of charity or love. You must be roused to this supreme virtue which must express itself in your going to the angry man, ascertaining from him the cause of his anger, making amends if you have given and cause for offence and then bringing home to him to error of his way and convincing him that it is wrong to be provoked, this consciousness of the quality of the soul, and deliberate exercise of it. Elevate not only the man but the surrounding atmosphere. Of course, only he who has that love will exercise it. This love can certainly be cultivated by incessant striving.

(YI, 12-1-1928, p. 11)

What is true of individuals is true of nations. One cannot forgive too much. The weak can never forgive too much. The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.

(YI, 2-4-1931, p.59)

I refuse to suspect human nature. It will is bound to respond to any noble and friendly action.

(YI, 4-8-1920, p. 5)

There is no distrust of men and mankind in me. They will answer before God, so why should I worry? But where my own mission is concerned, my thought is active, and I try to wish everyone well in spite of doubts and mistrust. I will suffer the agony if that is to be my lot. But I may not unnerve myself while I can struggle against evil.

(Sp. 6-3-1942)

Mutual trust and mutual love are no trust and no love. The real love is to love them that hate you, to love your neighbour even though you distrust him. I have sound reasons for distrusting the English official world. If my love is sincere, I must love the Englishman in spite of my distrust. Of what avail is my love, if it be only so long as I trust my friend? Even thieves do that. They become enemies immediately the trust is gone.

(H, 3-3-1946, p. 28)

From Mouths Of Babes
Believe me, from my experience of hundreds, I was going to say thousands, of children, I know that they have perhaps a finer sense of honour than you and I have. The greatest lesson in life, if we would but stoop and humble ourselves, we would learn not from grown-up learned men, but from the so-called ignorant children. Jesus never uttered a loftier or a gander truth than when he said that wisdom cometh out of the mouth so babes. I believe it. I have noticed it in my own experience that, if we would approach babes in humility and in innocence, we would learn wisdom from them. World Peace I have learned this one lesson-that what is impossible with man is child's play with God and if we have faith in that Divinity which presides on the destiny of the meanest of His creation, I have no doubt that all things are possible; and, in that final hope, I live and pass my time and endeavour to obey His will.

..If we are to reach real peace in this world and if we are to carry on a real war against war, we shall have to begin with children; and if they will grow up in their natural innocence, we won't have to struggle, we won't have to pass fruitless, idle resolutions, but we shall go from love to love and peace to peace, until at last all the corners of the world are covered with that peace and love for which, consciously or unconsciously, the whole world is hungering.

(YI, 19-11-1931, p. 361)

Every moment of my life I realize that God is putting me on my trial.

(A, p. 326)

If I could popularize the use of soul-force, which is but another name for love-force, in place of brute-force, I know I could present you with an India that could defy the whole world to do its worst. In season and out of season, therefore, I shall discipline myself to express in my life this eternal law of suffering, and present it for acceptance to those who care, and if I take part in any other activity, the motive is to show the matchless superiority of that law.

(ibid, p. 331)

Having flung aside the sword, there is nothing except the cup of love which I can offer to those who oppose me. It is by offering that cup that cup that I except to draw them close to me. I cannot think of permanent enmity between man and man, and believing as I do in the theory of rebirth, I live in the hope that, if not in this birth, in some other birth, I shall be able to hug all humanity in friendly embrace.

(YI, 2-4-1931, p. 54)

Mission Of Love
It is perfectly true, I must admit it in all humility, that however indifferently it may be, I endeavour to represent love in every fibre of may being. I am impatient to realize the presence of my Maker, who to me embodies Truth, and, in the early part of my career, I discovered that, if I was to realize Truth, I must obey, even at the cost of my life, the law of love. And having been blessed with children, I discovered that the law of Love could be best understood and learned through little children. Were it not for us, their ignorant poor parents, our children would be perfectly innocent. I believe implicitly that the child is not born mischievous in the bad sense of the term. If parents would behave themselves whilst the child is growing, before it is born and after, it is a well-known fact that the child would instinctively obey the law of Truth and the law of Love. And when I understood this lesson in the early part of my life, I began a gradual but distinct change in life.

I do not propose to describe to you the several phases through which this stormy life of mine has passed; but I can only, in truth and in perfect humility, bear witness to the fact that to the extent that I have represented Love in my life, in thought, word, and deed, I have realized the 'Peace that passed understanding' I have baffled many of my friends when they have noticed in me peace that they have envied, and they have asked me for the cause of that priceless possession. I have not been able to explain the cause save by saying that, if my friends found that peace in me, it was due to an attempt to obey this, the greatest law of our being.

(YI, 19-11-1931, p. 361)

I am trying every moment of my life to be guided by AHIMSA, by love. I am essentially a lover of peace. I do not want to create dissensions. And I assure those who oppose me that I shall not do a single thing which I know may be contrary to truth and love.

(H, 12-1-1934, p. 8)

I have no weapon but love to wield authority over anyone.

(BC, 9-9-1942)

My goal is friendship with the world and I can combine the greatest opposition to wrong.

(YI, 10-3-1920, p. 5)

I have that implicit faith in my mission that, if it succeeds-as it will succeed, it is bound to succeed-history will record it as a movement designed to knit all people in the world together, not as hostile to one another but as parts of one whole.

(H, 26-1-1934, p. 8)