Posts by Prof. Michael Nagler

Tolerance & Study: Daily Metta

“Mutual tolerance is a necessity for all time and for all races.” ~ Gandhi,  Mind of Mahatma Gandhi, p. 401 There could hardly be a more needed message for our day. But Gandhi will go beyond mere “tolerance” and argue that every child must be given a “reverential study” of all the world’s major faiths.… read more

A Higher Court: Daily Metta

“There is a higher court than courts of justice and that is the court of conscience. It supercedes all other courts.” ~ Gandhi, Quotes of Gandhi, UBS Publishers, New Delhi, (1995) p. 34 When it works to redress a wrong—one of the best-known applications of nonviolence—it awakens the conscience of the wrongdoer or the “reference… read more

Untouchability: Daily Metta

The removal of untouchability is one of the highest expressions of ahimsa. ~ Gandhi, Mahatma 4:239 Gandhi, like Jesus and Buddha before him, felt that animal sacrifice and the human pattern it encoded, scapegoating, was the most violent and dangerous social institution. Do we not call the destruction of the Jews in Europe the “Holocaust”… read more

Superiority/Inferiority: Daily Metta

“The varna system implies the obliteration of all distinctions of high and low.” ~ Gandhi, Ashram Observances in Action (1955), p. 50 Varna, literally “color,” means essentially “caste.” It often comes as a surprise that Gandhi did not favor eliminating the caste system, but rather purging it of its connotations of superiority/inferiority. This because he… read more

Love Power: Daily Metta

“Power based on love is a thousand time more effective and permanent than the one derived from fear of punishment.” ~ Gandhi, CWMG, 26:563 Nonviolence is a science. It is subject to prediction and control, like any natural force.  That we understand it less well than other forces says nothing about the force itself, only… read more

Ability to Surrender: Daily Metta

“A definite forgiveness would mean a definite recognition of our strength.” ~ Gandhi, Mahatma 2:5 In 1925, Gandhi was released from prison to find that a majority of his Congress Party supporters had gone back on a position he considered essential. To everyone’s surprise (and the dismay of many) he joined them, saying that they… read more

Suffering: Daily Metta

“In concrete terms, what pure suffering, wholly one-sided, does is stir public opinion against a wrong.” ~ Gandhi, Mahatma Gandhi: Correspondence with the Government (1959), p. 301 When Martin Luther King said “unearned suffering is redemptive” he was referring to the same effect. It is the “secret weapon” of satyagraha, the core dynamic of active… read more

Defy Fear: Daily Metta

“The truth is that cowardice itself is violence of a subtle type and therefore dangerous and far more difficult to eradicate than the habit of physical violence.” ~ Gandhi, CWMG, 25:437 That cowardice is a form of violence can be counterintuitive. I have had people tell me that they ran away from a fight: wasn’t… read more

Depth of Access: Daily Metta

“But I can boldly declare, and with certainty, that so long as there is even a handful of men true to their pledge, there can only be one end to the struggle, and that is victory.” ~ Gandhi, Satyagraha in South Africa, p. 99 The forces that govern the outcome of human events are as… read more

Full Control: Daily Metta

“Means must determine ends and indeed it’s questionable in human affairs whether there is an end. The best we can do is to make sure of the method and examine our motive.” ~ Ronald Duncan, Selected Writings of Mahatma Gandhi, p. 14 No matter where you cut him, Gandhi is close to what he called… read more