Posts by Prof. Michael Nagler

Resolute: Daily Metta

“The Indians for whom I speak are comparatively poor and inferior in numbers, but they are resolute unto death.” ~ Gandhi, Satyagraha in South Africa, p. 210. We are in London, in 1910. Gandhi is on his second deputation, accompanied by Sheth Haji Habib, who represents a wealthier and more numerous section of the Indians… read more

Non-cooperation: Daily Metta

“Non-cooperation in an angry atmosphere is an impossibility.” ~ Gandhi, Mahatma, 2, p. 12 In this apparently puzzling observation we have once again a reminder, which we seem to need so often in our present culture, that intention, state of mind, is what determines the significance, and effectiveness, of our actions. If we withdraw our… read more

Nonviolence of the Strong: Daily Metta

“He who has a living faith in God will not do evil deeds with the name of God on his lips.” ~ Gandhi, Mahatma 4, p. 252 There is so much violence being done today in the name of religion that this law Gandhi identifies is if anything more relevant than it was even in… read more

Invisible Force: Daily Metta

“A violent man’s activity is most visible, while it lasts. But it is always transitory… Hitler, Mussolini, and Stalin are able to show the immediate effectiveness of violence… But the efforts of Buddha’s non-violent action persist and are likely to grow with age. And the more it is practiced, the more effective and inexhaustible it… read more

Independence: Daily Metta

“Your difficulty is not numerical inferiority but the feeling of helplessness that has seized you and the habit of depending on others.”  ~ Gandhi, Mahatma 7.255 Gandhi was accused of using the term swaraj for India’s “freedom” because of its very deep spiritual significance. His response was, so to speak, “guilty as charged.” He had… read more

Humility: Daily Metta

“The humility of a satyagrahi knows no bounds. He does not let slip a single opportunity for settlement, and he does not mind if any one therefore looks upon him as timid.” ~ Gandhi, Satyagraha in South Africa, p. 265 What Gandhi is actually getting at here is the tendency to take it personally, or… read more

Regeneration of Humanity: Daily Metta

“In battling against untouchability, and in dedicating myself to that battle, I have no less an ambition than to see a full regeneration of humanity.” ~ Gandhi, Mahatma, p. 126 Untouchability is, or was, perhaps the most extreme example of racism and dehumanization still existing in a modern society. Gandhi knew that India could claim… read more

Action: Daily Metta

“Nonviolent action, without the cooperation of the heart and the head, cannot produce the desired result.” ~ Gandhi, Mahatma 5.132 The second time (of many) that I saw Sir Richard Attenborough’s epic Gandhi it was with a peace-movement friend who turned to me after a moment or two of stunned silence when it was over… read more

Devotion: Daily Metta

“Without devotion, action and knowledge are cold and dry and may even become shackles.”  ~ Gandhi, Message of the Gita, p. 261933 The Bhagavad Gita, the “spiritual reference book” for Gandhi, and millions of others, presents and is even built on the three classic paths to self-realization: bhakti yoga, the way of devotion; karma yoga,… read more