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.
--| Gandhi on Non-Violence |---
> The first principle of non-violence is the non-compliance with
everything that is humiliating.
> Belief in non-violence is based on the assumption that
human nature in its essence is one and therefore unfailingly
responds to the advances of love. (I-175)
> Mankind has to get out of violence only through non-violence.
Hatred can be overcome only by love. Counter-hatred only increases
the surface as well as the depth of hatred. (II-97)
> Human dignity is best preserved not by developing the capacity to
deal destruction but by refusing to retaliate. If it is possible to
train millions in the black art of violence, which is the law of the
Beast, it is more possible to train them in the white art of
non-violence, which is the law of regenerate man. (I-228)
> Principles of Non-Violence (I-111) :
- Non-violence implies as complete self-purification
as is humanly possible.
- Man for man the strength of non-violence is in exact proportion
to the ability, not the will, of the non-violent person to inflict violence.
- The power at the disposal of a non-violent person is always greater than
he would have if he were violent.
- There is no such thing as defeat in non-violence.
> The truly non-violent action is not possible unless it springs from
a heart of belief that he whom you fear and regard as a robber...
and you are one, and that therefore it is better that you should die
at his hands than that he, your ignorant brother, should die at yours.
> So long as one wants to retain one's sword, one has not attained
complete fearlessness. (II-38)
> If non-violence does not appeal to your heart, you should discard it.
> A 'No' uttered from deepest conviction is better and greater than
a 'Yes' merely uttered to please, or what is worse, to avoid trouble.
> COWARDICE IS WHOLLY INCONSISTENT WITH NON-VIOLENCE...
NON-VIOLENCE PRESUPPOSES THE ABILITY TO STRIKE. (I-59)
> A non-violent man or woman will and should die without retaliation,
anger or malice, in self-defense or in defending the honour of their
womenfolk. This is the highest form of bravery. If an individual or
group of people are unable or unwilling to follow this great law of life,
retaliation or resistance unto death is the second best, though a long
way off from the first. Cowardice is impotence worse than violence.
The coward desire revenge but being afraid to die, he looks to others,
maybe to the government of the day, to do the work of defense for him.
A coward is less than a man. He does not deserve to be a member of a
society of men and women. (II-148).
> Non-violent resistors will calmly die wherever they are
but they will not bend the knee before the aggressor. (I-398)
> Those who die unresistingly are likely to still the fury of violence
by their wholly innocent sacrifice. (I-278)
> If the people are not ready for the exercise of the non-violence of
the brave, they must be ready for the use of force in self-defense.
There should be no camouflage... It must never be secret. (II-146)
> No doubt the non-violent way is alawys the best, but where
that does not come naturally the violent way is both necessary
and honourable. Inaction here is rank cowardice and unmanly.
It must be shunned at all cost. (I-402)
> He who cannot protect himself or his nearest and dearest or their honour
by non-violently facing death, may and ought to do so by violently
dealing with the oppressor. He who can do neither of the two is a burden.
> Satyagraha is always superiour to armed resistance. This can only be
effectively proved by demonstration, not by argument... (II-60)
> It is permissible for, it is even the duty of, a believer in Ahimsa
to distinguish between the agressor and the defender. Having done so,
he will side with the defender in a non-violent manner, i.e., give his
life in saving him. (I-238)
> While you will keep yourself aloof from all violence, you will not
shirk danger. You will rush forth if there is an outbreak of an
epidemic or a fire to be combated and distinguish yourself by your
surpassing courage and non-violent heroism. (I-189)
> Ahimsa is one of the world's great principles which no force on earth
can wipe out. Thousands like myself may die in trying to vindicate the
ideal, but ahimsa will never die. And the gospel of ahimsa can be
spread only through believers dying for the cause. (II-96)
> To lay down one's life for what one considers to be right is the very
core of satyagraha. (II-59)
> Just as one must learn the art of killing in the training for violence,
so one must learn the art of dying in the training for non-violence.
> THE ART OF DYING FOR A SATYAGRAHI CONSISTS OF FACING DEATH CHEERFULLY
IN THE PERFORMANCE OF ONE'S DUTY. (II-63)
> The virtues of mercy, non-violence, love and truth in any man can be
truly tested only when they are pitted against ruthlessness, violence,
hate and untruth. (II-85)
> The sword of the satyagrahi is love, and the unshakable firmness
that comes from it. (II-60)
> The training of satyagraha is meant for all, irrespective of age or sex.
The more important part of the training here is mental, not physical.
There can be no compulsion in mental training. (II-60)
> IN NON-VIOLENCE THE MASSES HAVE A WEAPON WHICH ENABLES A CHILD, A WOMAN,
OR EVEN A DECPIT OLD MAN TO RESIST THE MIGHTIEST OF GOVERNMENT SUCCESSFULLY.
IF YOUR SPIRIT IS STRONG, MERE LACK OF PHYSICAL STRENGTH CEASES TO BE A
> To me it is a self-evident truth that if freedom is to be shared equally
by all--even physically the weakest, the lame and the halt--they must be
able to contribute an equal share in its defense. How can that be possible
when reliance is placed on armaments, my plebian mind fails to understand.
I therefore sear and shall continue to swear by non-violence, i.e., by
*satyagraha*, or soul force. In it PHYSICAL INCAPACITY IS NO HANDICAP,
AND EVEN A FRAIL WOMAN OR A CHILD CAN PIT HERSELF OR HIMSELF ON EQUAL
TERMS AGAINST A GIANT ARMED WITH THE MOST POWERFUL WEAPONS. (II-35)
> Undoubtedly prayer requires faith in God. Successful satyagraha is
inconcievable without that faith. God may be called by any other name
so long as it connotes the living Law of Life--in other words, the Law
and the Lawgiver rolled into one. (II-78)
> [To a Chinese-1939-re Japan] In a position of hopeless minority, you
may not ask your people to lay down their arms unless their hearts are
changed and by laying down their arms they feel the more courageous and
brave. But while you may not try to wean people from war, you will in
your person live non-violence in all its completeness and refuse all
participation in war. YOU WILL DEVELOP LOVE FOR THE JAPANESE IN YOUR
HEARTS... YOU MUST BE ABLE TO LOVE THEM IN SPITE OF ALL THEIR MISDEEDS.
If you have that love for the Japanese in your hearts, you will proceed
to exhibit in your conduct that higher form of courage which is the true
hallmark of non-violence (I-189)
> There is no half way between truth and non-violence on the one hand and
untruth and violence on the other. We may never be strong enough to be
entirely non-violent in thought, word and deed. But we must keep
non-violence as our goal and make steady progress towards it.
The attainment of freedom, whether for a man, a nation or the world,
must be in exact proportion to the attainment of non-violence by each. (I-58)
- Exerpts taken from: Ganhdi, Non-Violence in Peace and War,
Volumes I and II. Navajivan Publishing House, Ahmedabad, 1948.
- The Official Mahatma Gandhi Site
- The Gandhi Page
- The Gandhi Institute for Non-Violence
- Gandhi - His Life, Work and Philosophy
--| Martin Luther King |---
The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral,
begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing
evil, it multiplies it... Through violence you may murder the hater,
but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate...
Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper
darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive
out hate; only love can do that. (Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.)
The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of
comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and
controversy. The true neighbour will risk his position, his prestige
and even his life for the welfare of others. In dangerous valleys and
hazardous pathways, he will lift some bruised and beaten brother to a
higher and more noble life.
(Martin Luther King Jr., *Strength to Love*, 1963)
--| Jesus on Non-Violence |---
Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for
a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall
smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.
And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him
have thy cloke also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with
him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of
thee turn not thou away.
Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and
hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, LOVE YOUR ENEMIES, BLESS THEM THAT
CURSE YOU, DO GOOD TO THEM THAT HATE YOU, AND PRAY FOR THEM WHICH
DESPITEFULLY USE YOU, AND PERSECUTE YOU; That ye may be the children of
your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil
and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the
publicans do the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more
than others? do not even the publicans so?