Posts by Prof. Michael Nagler

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

Unseen Power: Daily Metta

“God is not a power residing in the clouds. God is an unseen power residing within us, and nearer to us than fingernails to the flesh.” ~ Gandhi, Truth is God, p. 19 In speaking thus of the radical externalization of “God” that had come to characterize most religious thinking in the West, and offering… read more

Empire: Daily Metta

“…the British people will have to beware that, if they do not want to do justice, it will be the bounded duty of every Indian to destroy the Empire.” ~ Gandhi, Young India, 1919-1922 (New York, Huebsch, 1924), p. 846 If we were tempted still to regard nonviolence as something shy and retiring, we can… read more

Blow-forward: Daily Metta

“Thus the lynching ultimately proved to be a blessing for me, that is, for the cause. It enhanced the prestige of the Indian community in South Africa, made my work easier, and the experience prepared me for the practice of Satyagraha.” ~ Gandhi, My Early Life 1869-1914, Mahadev Desai, Ed. (Oxford, 1949) “Blowback” is a… read more

Stealth Action: Daily Metta

“[Unless we] rid ourselves of our dirty habits and have improved latrines, swaraj can have no value for us.” ~ Gandhi, Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, vol.14, pp. 56-58 A well-known and highly unfortunate aspect of prejudice against a given group is that the group itself tends to take on the low opinion of it… read more

Unity, the Goal: Daily Metta

“Nonviolence does not signify that man must not fight against the enemy, [meaning] the evil which men do, not human beings themselves.”  ~ Gandhi, Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, vol. 8, p. 281 This is a core principle of nonviolence and Gandhi repeated it often (as we have seen). On more than one occasion he… read more

Within & Among: Daily Metta

“Independence of my conception means nothing less than the realization of the ‘Kingdom of God’ within you and on this earth.” ~ Gandhi, The Mind of Mahatma Gandhi, p. 314 Gandhi was accused of using the word swaraj, which means freedom and/or self-rule, because it had a spiritual significance. He answered, in effect, “guilty as… read more

Self-purification: Daily Metta

“Love can never express itself by imposing suffering on others. It can only express itself by self-suffering, by self-purification.” ~ Gandhi, Mahatma, 3, p. 221 We have often had occasion to comment on self-suffering, so I would like to land on “self-purification.” What does it mean? People often view Gandhi as an ascetic who sought… read more

Democracy: Daily Metta

“Evolution of democracy is not possible if we are not prepared to hear the other side.” ~ Gandhi, Mind of Mahatma Gandhi, p. 342 Gandhi did not believe that we have yet achieved true democracy (and certain election campaigns of the present year would bear him out!). Democracy was much more than a vote-counting system… read more

Gospel of Love: Daily Metta

“In my opinion [the Gita] is a book which can be put into the hands of a child. It teaches the gospel of love in the place of that of hate. It replaces violence with self-sacrifice. It pits soul force against brute force.” ~ Gandhi, Young India in January 1921 on Hind Swaraj or Indian… read more