By November 2, 2011 Read More →

Gandhi Quotes

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“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” — Mahatma Gandhi

This is a collection of my favorite Mohandas Gandhi quotes.  When I think of Gandhi, I think of non-violence, compassion, conviction, truth, service and sacrifice.  He set the gold standard for leading with heart.

Gandhi may not be with us in body, but he’s with us in spirit as his life was his message.  His words of wisdom continue to ring true …

Top 10 Gandhi Quotes

  1. “Imitation is the sincerest flattery.”
  2. “In a gentle way, you can shake the world.”
  3. “I suppose leadership at one time meant muscles; but today it means getting along with people.”
  4. “In matters of conscience, the law of the majority has no place.”
  5. “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”
  6. “My life is my message.”
  7. “Nobody can hurt me without my permission.”
  8. “Satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment, full effort is full victory.”
  9. “There is more to life than increasing its speed.”
  10. “Truth stands, even if there be no public support. It is self-sustained.”

Action

  • “A man is but the product of his thoughts what he thinks, he becomes.”
  • “A man who was completely innocent, offered himself as a sacrifice for the good of others, including his enemies, and became the ransom of the world. It was a perfect act.”
  • “Action expresses priorities.”
  • “Action is no less necessary than thought to the instinctive tendencies of the human frame.”
  • “Always aim at complete harmony of thought and word and deed. Always aim at purifying your thoughts and everything will be well.”
  • An ounce of practice is worth more than tons of preaching.”
  • “Glory lies in the attempt to reach one’s goal and not in reaching it.”
  • “Satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment, full effort is full victory.”
  • “The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world’s problem.”
  • “The moment there is suspicion about a person’s motives, everything he does becomes tainted.”
  • “To give pleasure to a single heart by a single act is better than a thousand heads bowing in prayer.”
  • “Unwearied ceaseless effort is the price that must be paid for turning faith into a rich infallible experience.”

Anger

  • “Anger and intolerance are the enemies of correct understanding.”
  • “Anger is the enemy of non-violence and pride is a monster that swallows it up.”
  • “Man should forget his anger before he lies down to sleep.”

Compassion, Love, and Heart

  • “A coward is incapable of exhibiting love; it is the prerogative of the brave.”
  • “Culture of the mind must be subservient to the heart.”
  • “In prayer it is better to have a heart without words than words without a heart.”
  • “Justice that love gives is a surrender, justice that law gives is a punishment.”
  • “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.”
  • ““The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
  • “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”
  • “There is a sufficiency in the world for man’s need but not for man’s greed.”
  • “We may have our private opinions but why should they be a bar to the meeting of hearts?”
  • “Where there is love there is life.“

Conviction and Will

  • “A ‘No’ uttered from the deepest conviction is better than a ‘Yes’ merely uttered to please, or worse, to avoid trouble.”
  • “Everyone who wills can hear the inner voice. It is within everyone.”
  • “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”
  • “I am prepared to die, but there is no cause for which I am prepared to kill.”
  • “It is any day better to stand erect with a broken and bandaged head then to crawl on one’s belly, in order to be able to save one’s head.”
  • “Nearly everything you do is of no importance, but it is important that you do it.”
  • “Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.”
  • “The human voice can never reach the distance that is covered by the still small voice of conscience.”
  • “The only tyrant I accept in this world is the still voice within.”
  • “To believe in something, and not to live it, is dishonest.”

Flaws, Faults, and Errors

  • “An error does not become truth by reason of multiplied propagation, nor does truth become error because nobody sees it. “
  • “Confession of errors is like a broom which sweeps away the dirt and leaves the surface brighter and clearer. I feel stronger for confession.”
  • “I claim to be a simple individual liable to err like any other fellow mortal. I own, however, that I have humility enough to confess my errors and to retrace my steps.”
  • “I look only to the good qualities of men. Not being faultless myself, I won’t presume to probe into the faults of others.”

Fear

  • “Fear has its use but cowardice has none.”
  • “Fear of death makes us devoid both of valour and religion. For want of valour is want of religious faith.”

Freedom

  • “Freedom is never dear at any price. It is the breath of life. What would a man not pay for living?”
  • “Freedom is not worth having if it does not connote freedom to err.”
  • “You can chain me, you can torture me, you can even destroy this body, but you will never imprison my mind.”

Humanity and Goodness

  • “There is no principle worth the name if it is not wholly good.”
  • “To deprive a man of his natural liberty and to deny to him the ordinary amenities of life is worse then starving the body; it is starvation of the soul, the dweller in the body.”
  • “We win justice quickest by rendering justice to the other party.”
  • “You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.”

Living

  • “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”
  • “I do not want to foresee the future. I am concerned with taking care of the present. God has given me no control over the moment following.”
  • “If I had no sense of humor, I would long ago have committed suicide.
    Imitation is the sincerest flattery. “
  • “It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.”
  • “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”
  • “Man falls from the pursuit of the ideal of plan living and high thinking the moment he wants to multiply his daily wants. Man’s happiness really lies in contentment.”
  • “Nearly everything you do is of no importance, but it is important that you do it.”
  • “Providence has its appointed hour for everything. We cannot command results, we can only strive.”
  • “Purity of personal life is the one indispensable condition for building up a sound education.”
  • “Rights that do not flow from duty well performed are not worth having.”
  • “The main purpose of life is to live rightly, think rightly, act rightly. The soul must languish when we give all our thought to the body.”
  • “Those who know how to think need no teachers.”
  • “We do not need to proselytize either by our speech or by our writing. We can only do so really with our lives. Let our lives be open books for all to study.”

Peace, Gentleness, and Non-Violence

  • “An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind.“
  • “Each one has to find his peace from within. And peace to be real must be unaffected by outside circumstances.”
  • “Gentleness, self-sacrifice and generosity are the exclusive possession of no one race or religion.”
  • “It is better to be violent, if there is violence in our hearts, than to put on the cloak of nonviolence to cover impotence.”
  • “Non-violence and truth are inseparable and presuppose one another.”
  • “Non-violence is not a garment to be put on and off at will. Its seat is in the heart, and it must be an inseparable part of our being.”
  • “Non-violence 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.”
  • “Non-violence requires a double faith, faith in God and also faith in man.”
  • “Non-violence, which is the quality of the heart, cannot come by an appeal to the brain.”
  • “Peace is its own reward.”
  • “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.“

Religion and Faith

  • “All the religions of the world, while they may differ in other respects, unitedly proclaim that nothing lives in this world but Truth.“
  • “Each one prays to God according to his own light.”
  • Every formula of every religion has in this age of reason, to submit to the acid test of reason and universal assent.”
  • “Faith is not something to grasp, it is a state to grow into.”
  • “Faith… must be enforced by reason… when faith becomes blind it dies.”
  • “I believe in the fundamental truth of all great religions of the world.”
  • “I reject any religious doctrine that does not appeal to reason and is in conflict with morality.”
  • “In prayer it is better to have a heart without words than words without a heart.”
  • “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. The other is mere business.”
  • “One’s own religion is after all a matter between oneself and one’s Maker and no one else’s.”
  • “Spiritual relationship is far more precious than physical. Physical relationship divorced from spiritual is body without soul.”
  • “The essence of all religions is one. Only their approaches are different.”

Service

  • “Man becomes great exactly in the degree in which he works for the welfare of his fellow-men.”
  • “Service which is rendered without joy helps neither the servant nor the served. But all other pleasures and possessions pale into nothingness before service which is rendered in a spirit of joy.”
  • “That service is the noblest which is rendered for its own sake.”
  • “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”

Truth

  • “Even if you are a minority of one, the truth is the truth.”
  • “I have nothing new to teach the world. Truth and Non-violence are as old as the hills. All I have done is to try experiments in both on as vast a scale as I could.”
  • “In matters of conscience, the law of the majority has no place.”
  • “The pursuit of truth does not permit violence on one’s opponent.”
  • “Truth is by nature self-evident. As soon as you remove the cobwebs of ignorance that surround it, it shines clear.”
  • “Truth never damages a cause that is just.”
  • “What is true of the individual will be tomorrow true of the whole nation if individuals will but refuse to lose heart and hope.”

Please share your favorite insight, quote, or lesson from Gandhi.

Posted in: Leadership, Quotes

54 Comments on "Gandhi Quotes"

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  1. Winter nostalgia | eljaygee | March 7, 2013
  1. Gandhi was an incredible person, one of my idols.
    Thank you for sharing all of these tips from him, it is important that his legacy is past on, it was a good legacy!

  2. farouk says:

    i always like your quote collections JD
    good job :)

  3. Vishal says:

    Really thanks for this quote
    He is persone who made India (My Country) to stand !!
    Thankx a Lot !!

  4. Galen Pearl says:

    What an inspiring list. I’m going to print it so it is always at hand. Thank you for compiling this list.

  5. Dia says:

    Hi JD,

    What a list of inspiring quotes you have here. I’m a big fan of Gandhi. Thanks for sharing my friend

  6. Sibyl says:

    I love, love, love this post and bookmarked it. Thank you so much for passing along so many great quotes. I am always so inspired by great quotes and it was so great of you to collect so many good ones and pass them along.

  7. Raghunath says:

    Hello JD,

    This is indeed an excellent collection of Gandhi’s words. He was a real hero. He taught us (indians) to unite for struggling for freedom. His principles like Non-violence, Sacrifices were really an eye opener for world leaders post second world war. His principles will be cherished forever by the world.

  8. JD says:

    @ Daniel — He is profound. It’s as if he was enlightened, and used his clarity and principles to lead people to a new level.

    @ Farouk — Thank you. Organizing Gandhi’s quotes actually helped me see Gandhi in an even deeper way. I very clearly see key themes now and how his words embodied timeless principles.

    @ Vishal — My pleasure. Gandhi did some amazing lifting in his gentle way. The least I could do is share his words in a way that hopefully helps people more easily see his wisdom at a glance.

    @ Galen — Thank you. I had great material to work with, so hats off to Gandhi. His legacy continues.

    @ Dia — I was actually amazed by how many of my favorite sayings turned out to be Gandhi. The more I learn about him the more amazing his story is. It’s like an onion with many layers.

    @ Sibyl — Thank you. The beauty is Gandhi has so many more quotes than what I shared here. I tried to shape this collection around his core themes, and to light up some of his big ideas in a simple way. For example, I more fully appreciate now, how he inspired “non-voilence” and gave it new meaning.

    @ Raghunath — Very well put. The more I learn about Gandhi, the more I respect and appreciate his message and his depth.

  9. Jk Allen says:

    J.D. – great collection! I read through them all but must say that the first one strikes me the most at this very moment:

    “Imitation is the sincerest flattery.”

    I sometimes get annoyed and sometimes minorly offended when I’m imitated. But in reality, it’s something to be honored by – because it’s flattering.

    Great stuff! Thank you for sharing this collection.

  10. As usual JD an inspiring selection from the main man himself and beautifully categorised! :-)

  11. Keith Davis says:

    Wow JD
    Not really a collection – more of a small book. LOL

    Thanks for presenting them in such a useful format.

  12. I am a huge fan of Gandhi JD. I remember watching the Gandhi movie starring Ben Kingsley. I watched that when I was a teenager I believe and I became an instant fan of his spirit and courage.

  13. That is a great list of quotes, and so many!

  14. What a thorough collection of quotes, JD! I only know Gandhi’s story and history superficially, but these quotes have helped me truly understand him and his philosophy better. My absolute favorite is: “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” That’s how I want to live!

  15. JD says:

    @ Jk — Thank you. I think it’s a great twist for dealing with copy cats. Now, rather than fight the immitation, we can embrace it, and enjoy the flattery full-force.

    On another level, I think people are wired for immmitation. We have a lot of “mirror cells” and that’s what helps us learn with empathy. That’s why surrounding yourself with great people to model from is a fast track to changing your game.

    @ Amit — Thank you. Gandhi really created an amazing legacy and I’m glad his words (and ideas) live on.

    @ Keith — I actuall had a hard time getting the buckets right, but in the end, I like how it turned out. With a quick scan, the headings tell the story, while the quotes elaborate and bring the ideas to life.

    @ Justin — I actually haven’t seen the movie — now you got me curious and I need to check it out.

    @ David — Thank you.

    @ Samantha – I really like what we can learn about somebody from their quotes. Themes definitely show up. Word choices express focus and beliefs.

    It really puts a nice spin on learning.

  16. Mads Singers says:

    Outstanding, some good inspiration there ;)

  17. Alik Levin says:

    “Action expresses priorities”
    Whoa! Short but too deep and so true. I can hear folks saying blah and blee but what they *actually* do speaks louder than what they say.
    Loved this one ton, timely and speaks deeply to my heart.

  18. JD says:

    @ Mads — Gandhi was a powerful source of inspiration.

    @ Alik — That is among my favorites. It’s punchy and precise, and it is very much like the classic, “actions speak louder than words.”

  19. Patricia says:

    You’ve done it again…Thank you…
    I so enjoy your favorite quotes pages…and I Googled another one you did recently and you were in the #1 position on my page…:)

    Hey! I know this great guy! you make my day better – always

  20. JD says:

    @ Patricia — Thank you. I find strength, insight, and inspiration in quotes, and I want to share that with as many people as I can.

  21. Hilary says:

    Hi JD .. Gandhi is extraordinary as he stretched across many earth worlds – Africa, England and India … he even asked for help – that is a sign of a great and humble man .. he asked it of Emily Hobhouse (two posts) .. she’s a relative by marriage – Jenny inherited her correspondence. I love how you set these quotes out for us .. by Gandhi and by other leaders in the world … thanks JD – appreciate these .. Hilary

  22. JD says:

    @ Hilary — He laid a great foundation to stand on … truth, peace, and compassion. It’s interesting how much commonality there is, in the vocabulary of leaders. The common themes are always about a vision of a better future, and a path to get there. It’s the leadership way.

  23. Gandhi was a genius of nonviolence and all practitioners of nonviolence stand on his shoulders. The next step in our evolution as a species is nonviolent sacrifice on the indivdual, national and planetary levels when necessary. Unless we take this crucial step to nonviolence, we as a species and most life on our planet will become extinct.

  24. Gary Delome says:

    My sincere respect go’s out to this hero. May your spirit reign forever. Gary

  25. Mln redy says:

    Great quotes of father of india.

  26. Ron says:

    Do you know if this quote (below) is a Gandhi quote? I have found it cited as a quote from him, but I’m not sure how to verify it.

    Thanks,
    -Ron.

    A man who was completely innocent, offered himself as a sacrifice for the good of others, including his enemies, and became the ransom of the world. It was a perfect act.

  27. Mamaye says:

    Hi JD.

    It was so inspirational, thanks for sharing!

  28. K.Srinivasu says:

    Gandhi experimented with truth and satisfied with its zenith and its absoluteness and its necessity of application to our lives,societies,nations for its value.
    Gandhi who taught may be nothing new but taught its(truth&non-violence) application which given results to our cognizance of its value and inevitability its need to human kind modern societies.

    We might have not seen rushis like valmeeki,vyasa but seen Gandhi
    as live example for rushi who lived with his principles which brought practical results who taught the old truths who did put in practice
    showned their universality not only to his contemporary but also to his future generations.
    Truth is not only a scientific principle but also human life principle.
    Like a Scientist he relied upon its proven results on his experimental scale of test retest .

  29. twig says:

    he inspired me to stand up for what is right

  30. David WachterNemoblatster says:

    Thank you for this site. I’m going through a rough patch in my life right now and I’m looking for truth and inspiration.These quotes from Gandhi, so many of them, have helped to give me some peace.Thanks again!

  31. nigel brooks peer says:

    one amazing channel , love the insight , of words …

  32. RAJENDRA GUPTA says:

    Great collection. I am also looking for another quote from Gandhi that was something like:

    You do not keep my photos (or something like this), but I will be happy if you keep my ideas.

    I will appreciate if some one can provide me with exact quote from Gandhi at gupta.rajendra@gmail.com

  33. John says:

    I found a quote on a french site :
    ” It is an error to consider inevitably false what we do not understand “.

    Was it really said by Gandhi ?

  34. Rasheed Pro says:

    Nice One.. I like it…

    Great PPL living in the world right ..

    ThankQ

    &
    Nice website ..!

  35. Kaustubh says:

    Thanks a lot for this collection! Every single line is inspirational. Each quote is soothing & bestows strength. My favorite is –

    “Each one has to find his peace from within. And peace to be real must be unaffected by outside circumstances.”

  36. Michael says:

    “Fear has its uses but cowardice has none.”

  37. Al says:

    GREAT STUFF!!

    Here is what he said about one of his heroes and mentors Now there is a man you should read about, too.

    Mahatma Gandhi, statement published in “Young India”, 1924:

    “I wanted to know the best of the life of one who holds today an undisputed sway over the hearts of millions of mankind… I became more than ever convinced that it was not the sword that won a place for Islam in those days in the scheme of life. It was the rigid simplicity, the utter self-effacement of the Prophet the scrupulous regard for pledges, his intense devotion to his friends and followers, his intrepidity, his fearlessness, his absolute trust in God and in his own mission. These and not the sword carried everything before them and surmounted every obstacle. When I closed the second volume (of the Prophet’s biography), I was sorry there was not more for me to read of that great life.”

  38. Profound. Sustaining words, filled with values and blessings that will hopefully remain flawless until the end of time.

  39. jane says:

    I only read through several of these quotes and immediately found two that were not originally said by him. One by Emerson: “Imitation is the most sincerest form of flattery.” One by Eleanor Roosevelt: “Noone can hurt you without your permission.”

  40. JD says:

    @ Jane — Eleanor wrote, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

    Emerson wrote, “Imitation is suicide”, and “Insist on yourself; never imitate.” Jack Paar, Peyton Manning, Charles Caleb Colton wrote about imitation as flattery.

  41. claude ruzigande ruzic says:

    am realy happy for getting this quotes from ghandhi actually, i only knew his histry without knowing his quotes and thise quotes make me love him more.

  42. Anna says:

    i love reading quotes by Gandhi. They cut through the bull and get to the heart of any matter.
    My favorite Gandhi quote is the one the col in the new a-team movie uses.. I don’t remember exactly, it goes something like violence is acceptable if in the heart, but doing nothing to cover for impudence is not.

  43. rajiv says:

    Thank you, Today In Houston TX, we are observing the annual shrdhhanjali a memorial service to honor Mahatma Gandhi, i will be using some of your Quotes in my speech. thank you again, Rajiv

  44. Duane Gines says:

    Wonderful collection of Gandhi quotes. He would have been my selection for “Greatest man of the 20th century” but I think Time gave that to Albert Einstein, also a great man. May I suggest my personal favorite Gandhi quote:

    “My life is an indivisible whole and all my activities run into one another and they all have their rise in my insatiable love of mankind.”

  45. Al Shivji says:

    Hi Everyone……..great collection. Thankyou JD. To quote Gandhi back at you: “A drop in the ocean joins the greatness of the ocean”. Please keep on adding to these words of wisdom. Maybe one day, they’ll penetrate the cloud of ignorance(the act of ignoring) that prevades so much of our world today. With love…………Al

  46. john says:

    Gandhi… such a great man with a great legacy. Through us he shall live on and through us hes words will never be forgotten. I like to write but i dont believe i could ever compare to such a great man.

  47. bunny rabbit says:

    this is really helpful! Gandhi is very inspirational!

  48. taruvinga says:

    Man iam from Africa. But Ghandi was truly inspirational. Thank you for your website. In your own small way you are really contributing towards the propagation of the useful and pure. More such effort will not be amiss in this sad sad world of ours. Once again thanks JD. God bless

  49. Angel says:

    The new pope(he doesn’t deserve a capital letter) said
    :”The natural order and the facts show us that man is the being for politics by excellence; the Scriptures show us that the woman is always the support of the thoughtful man and doer, but nothing more than that”.

    whereas Gandhi’s words were:

    “To call woman the weaker sex is a libel; it is man’s injustice to woman. If by strength is meant brute strength, then, indeed, is woman less brute than man. If by strength is meant moral power, then woman is immeasurably man’s superior. Has she not greater intuition, is she not more self-sacrificing, has she not greater powers of endurance, has she not greater courage? Without her, man could not be. If nonviolence is the law of our being, the future is with woman. Who can make a more effective appeal to the heart than woman?”

    He is a legendary figure, with one of the brightest minds. It makes me sad that the world can not think the same way as he did, but I’m also delighted to find there are many who agree and think about it. I believe in his words. I believe that we can change the world. He gives us hope…

  50. Gandhi is very inspirational!

    I always follow his great writings.

    Thank u for sharing that interesting quotes with us.

  51. aubrey says:

    These are best quotes ever

  52. mansabdar jappa says:

    i salute to gandhi for his greate and positive thinking