Posts by Prof. Michael Nagler

Compromise: Daily Metta

“Human life is a series of compromises, and it is not always easy to achieve in practice what one has found to be true in theory.” ~ Gandhi, Mind of Mahatma Gandhi, p. 39 The ability to compromise was one of Gandhi’s remarkable, if not baffling, characteristics.  While it often alarmed his friends, in most… read more

Sacrifice Trap: Daily Metta

“Western civilization may or may not be good, but Westerners wish to stick to it… They have shed rivers of blood for its sake… It is therefore too late for them now to chalk out a new path for themselves.” ~ Gandhi, Satyagraha in South Africa, p. 84. If it seemed “too late” in this… read more

Person-Oriented Society: Daily Metta

“I am clear that whilst this machine age aims at converting men into machines, I am aiming at reinstating man-turned-machine to his original estate.” ~ Gandhi, CWMG, 62:145 As Martin Luther King said, “We must rapidly begin the shift from a ‘thing-oriented’ civilization to a ‘person-oriented’ civilization.” Not only is dehumanization the main cause and… read more

Tolerance & Study: Daily Metta

“Mutual tolerance is a necessity for all time and for all races.” ~ Gandhi,  Mind of Mahatma Gandhi, p. 401 There could hardly be a more needed message for our day. But Gandhi will go beyond mere “tolerance” and argue that every child must be given a “reverential study” of all the world’s major faiths.… read more

A Higher Court: Daily Metta

“There is a higher court than courts of justice and that is the court of conscience. It supercedes all other courts.” ~ Gandhi, Quotes of Gandhi, UBS Publishers, New Delhi, (1995) p. 34 When it works to redress a wrong—one of the best-known applications of nonviolence—it awakens the conscience of the wrongdoer or the “reference… read more

Untouchability: Daily Metta

The removal of untouchability is one of the highest expressions of ahimsa. ~ Gandhi, Mahatma 4:239 Gandhi, like Jesus and Buddha before him, felt that animal sacrifice and the human pattern it encoded, scapegoating, was the most violent and dangerous social institution. Do we not call the destruction of the Jews in Europe the “Holocaust”… read more

Superiority/Inferiority: Daily Metta

“The varna system implies the obliteration of all distinctions of high and low.” ~ Gandhi, Ashram Observances in Action (1955), p. 50 Varna, literally “color,” means essentially “caste.” It often comes as a surprise that Gandhi did not favor eliminating the caste system, but rather purging it of its connotations of superiority/inferiority. This because he… read more

Love Power: Daily Metta

“Power based on love is a thousand time more effective and permanent than the one derived from fear of punishment.” ~ Gandhi, CWMG, 26:563 Nonviolence is a science. It is subject to prediction and control, like any natural force.  That we understand it less well than other forces says nothing about the force itself, only… read more

Ability to Surrender: Daily Metta

“A definite forgiveness would mean a definite recognition of our strength.” ~ Gandhi, Mahatma 2:5 In 1925, Gandhi was released from prison to find that a majority of his Congress Party supporters had gone back on a position he considered essential. To everyone’s surprise (and the dismay of many) he joined them, saying that they… read more

Suffering: Daily Metta

“In concrete terms, what pure suffering, wholly one-sided, does is stir public opinion against a wrong.” ~ Gandhi, Mahatma Gandhi: Correspondence with the Government (1959), p. 301 When Martin Luther King said “unearned suffering is redemptive” he was referring to the same effect. It is the “secret weapon” of satyagraha, the core dynamic of active… read more