Posts by Prof. Michael Nagler

Sumud: Daily Metta

“Satyagraha thrives on oppression till at last the oppressor is tired of it and the object of satyagraha is gained.” ~ Gandhi, Mahatma 6, p.2 One of the words for nonviolence in Arabic is sumud, “patience, determination.” In Latin America, where there have been—and still are—many popular movements against injustice, this same principle was discovered… read more

Moral Law: Daily Metta

“Ahimsa is one of the world’s great principles, which no power on earth can wipe out.” ~ Gandhi, Mind of Mahatma Gandhi, p. 147 In the modern “scientific” age, this is a fact that needs constant repetition, and Gandhi accordingly repeats it: there are unseen, non-physical forces in the universe. They are not abstract, non-living… read more

Voice Within: Daily Metta

“Truth is what the voice within tells you.” ~ Gandhi, Mahatma 3, p.144 Well, truth to tell, it’s not quite that simple. Certain it is that Truth is not what advertisers tell you, or in a way what anyone tells you, because for something to be really true for us we have to experience it… read more

Theory of Action: Daily Metta

“Let the Gita be for you a mine of diamonds, as it has been to me; let it be your constant guide and friend on life’s way.” ~ Gandhi, Mahatma 2, p. 307 A young friend who had been having trouble with her meditation once said to me, “But I still think the Bhagavad Gita… read more

Kindness: Daily Metta

“My experience teaches me that truth can never be propagated by doing violence.” ~ Gandhi, The Mind of Mahatma Gandhi, p. 117 Two things stand out in this short sentence: while he drew heavily from and was greatly inspired by the Gita, the Isha Upanishad, and other scriptures (including the New Testament), Gandhi would accept… read more

Sweat Labor: Daily Metta

“If everyone lives by the sweat of his brow the earth will become a paradise.” ~ Gandhi, The Mind of Mahatma Gandhi, p. 200 Why this emphasis on manual labor? Surely this is an exaggeration? Well, no.  Spiritual as he was, Gandhi felt that the disconnect between the human being and her or his physical… read more

High Standards: Daily Metta

“Still the community stood unmoved; only the weaklings slipped away. But even the weaklings had done their best. Let us not despise them.” ~ Gandhi, Satyagraha in South Africa, p. 206 Our Mahatma treads a fine line between demanding the best of everyone around him and compassion for them when they did not rise to… read more

Virtue: Daily Metta

“All virtue ceases to have use if it serves no purpose in every walk of life.” ~ Gandhi, Harijan, July 26, 1942 p. 248 What Milton called a “cloistered virtue,” or a mere philosophical idea that had no practical outcome in real life, can be at best useless and at worst an ideology that furnishes… read more

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