Posts by Prof. Michael Nagler

Heart-prayer: Daily Metta

“Worship or prayer is not to be performed with the lips but with the heart.” ~ Gandhi, Mind, p. 78 The hallmark of mysticism wherever it arises is its recognition of inner realities, the priority of states of mind over outward acts (though no one disputes their importance). What we call principled nonviolence actually springs… read more

Social Networks: Daily Metta

“Man is a social being. Without inter-relation with society he cannot realize his oneness with the universe or suppress his egotism.” ~ Gandhi, Young India, March 21, 1929 [swap man for “a person” and he or his for “she” or “her” where you see fit.] Much of what Gandhi said, based on his own awareness,… read more

Tender Toward Others: Daily Metta

“Whilst we may attack measures and systems we may not, must not, attack men. Imperfect ourselves, we must be tender toward others and slow to impute motives.” ~ Gandhi, Young India Sept. 29, 1921 It is interesting that this statement of the core principle of nonviolence (and the reasoning behind it) occurs a little less… read more

One Reality: Daily Metta

“All religions enjoined worship of the One God who was all-pervasive. He is present in a drop of water or even in a tiny speck of dust. ~ Gandhi, Mahatma, 7. P. 115 Our Mahatma is seeing past the all-too-common misuses of religions to the One Vision shared by their great founders: that God is… read more

Bread Labor: Daily Metta

“The idea [of bread labour] is that every healthy individual should labour enough for his [or her] food, and his [or her] intellectual faculties should be exercised not in order to earn a living or amass a fortune but only in the service of mankind.” ~ Gandhi, Ashram Observances in Action, p. 32 Gandhi certainly… read more

Small Things: Daily Metta

“To serve one’s neighbor is to serve the world.” ~ Gandhi, Ashram Observances in Action, p. 37 And he goes on, “Indeed, it is the only way open to us  of serving the world.” We who wish to help the world very commonly judge our effectiveness by quantitative criteria: how many people reached, how many… read more

Potential: Daily Metta

“(Religion) is not a thing that is alien to us, but which has to be evolved out of us.” ~ Gandhi, Ashram Observances in Action, p. 76 By “religion” Gandhi here does not mean what you can gain by “reading the scriptures,” he explains, but a “heart-awareness” of the divine in things and people—and ourselves!… read more

Love: Daily Metta

“Love is not love which asks for a return.” ~ Gandhi, CWMG XIV, p. 402 Whether or not Gandhiji is paraphrasing Shakespeare here (“Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds,” Sonnet 116), the rhetoric is common to these experts on love—for such Gandhi and Shakespeare were—precisely because there is so much misunderstanding… read more

Truly Human: Daily Metta

“Fortunately for humanity non-violence pervades human life and is observed by men [and women] without special effort. If we had not borne with one another, mankind would have been destroyed long ago  Ahimsa would thus appear to be the law of life, but we are thus far not entitled to any credit for observing it.”… read more

Acts of Service: Daily Metta

“Ahimsa must express itself through acts of service of the masses.” ~ Gandhi, Mahatma, vol. 8., p. 81 Among other ways. But it seems that today, no less than in the India still impoverished by colonial exploitation in Gandhi’s day, fiendish systems of exploitation force a billion people worldwide into dire and unnecessary poverty. Of… read more