Posts by Prof. Michael Nagler

A Presence: Daily Metta

“My presence acted as a check upon petty bickerings.” ~ Gandhi, Satyagraha in South Africa, p. 216 There is a famous sutra in The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, a classic text on meditation and its effects from somewhere around the Second Century BCE, that states (and I paraphrase): “In the presence of one in whom… read more

Self-respect: Daily Metta

“I cannot conceive of a greater loss to a man than the loss of his self-respect . . .” ~ Gandhi, Satyagraha in South Africa, p. 266 Gandhi goes on, “and it is a matter of deep satisfaction to me that the labourers have realized this fundamental principle.” This conversation took place during the later… read more

Leadership: Daily Metta

“It has been my constant experience that much can be done if the servant actually serves and does not dictate to the people.” ~ Gandhi, Satyagraha in South Africa, p. 268 In this US election year, nothing could be more restorative and more challenging than Gandhi’s concept—and actual practice—of “servant leadership.” Of course, you have… read more

Love Shower: Daily Metta

“It is a heavy downpour of rain that drenches the soil to fullness, likewise only a profuse shower of love overcomes hatred.” ~ Gandhi, Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi xiv, p. 402 Beneath this truism lies an important and often overlooked fact of nonviolence: that it is a force, and like all forces, physical or… read more

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