Posts by Prof. Michael Nagler

Long Term: Daily Metta

“A truthful man (or woman) cannot long remain violent. He will perceive in the course of his search that he has no need to be violent…” ~ Gandhi, Young India, May 20, 1925 One of Gandhi’s startling—and when you think about it, inspiring—characteristics was his ability to accept, even insist upon, others finding their own… read more

Highest Dharma: Daily Metta

“The only thing that separates us from the brute, with which we have so much in common, is the ability to distinguish between right and wrong.” ~ Gandhi, Mahatma vol. 4, 158 And, we might add, the ability to choose between them once distinguished. Not that we always find it easy to exercise that critical… read more

People of Faith: Daily Metta

“A man (or woman) of faith will remain steadfast to truth even though the whole world might appear to be enveloped in falsehood.” ~ Gandhi, Mind of Mahatma Gandhi, p. 47 Please note: might appear to be enveloped in falsehood. That’s where the faith comes in: that despite all appearances, Truth cannot ever be destroyed,… read more

Inner Eyes: Daily Metta

“What the eyes are for the outer world, fasts are for the inner.” ~ Gandhi, Mahatma, vol. 2, 218 Not having myself much experience with fasting (aka virtually none) and not having the context of this remark in front of me, I will take it that what he means is that fasts can cause or… read more

Decentralization: Daily Metta

“Khadi mentality means the decentralization of the production and distribution of the necessities of life.” ~ Gandhi, Mind of Mahatma Gandhi, p. 406 Everywhere the progressive world is struggling today to come up with alternative forms of organization to the hierarchical, top-down model that has been followed by practically every institution in the modern, corporate… read more

Redressing Grievances: Daily Metta

“I do not believe in the accepted Western form of democracy, with its universal voting for parliamentary representatives.” ~ Gandhi, in Louis Fischer’s A Week With Gandhi, p. 56 Well, that’s a shocker. What did he believe in? First of all, a polity informed by the spirit of nonviolence, as we have seen several times… read more

Technology: Daily Metta

“I would not shed a tear if there were no railroads in India.” ~ Gandhi, in Louis Fischer’s A Week With Gandhi, p. 55 We keep saying that Gandhi was not a Luddite, but he could veer pretty close, especially in conversation with friends he wanted to shake up a bit. What Gandhi wanted to… read more

Live and Move: Daily Metta

“We have to live and move and have our being in nonviolence even as Hitler does in violence.” ~ Gandhi, Harijan, July 21, 1940 In practical terms, “live and move and have our being” would mean that our education (including its most powerful form, the mass media), our economy, our judicial system, and in short… read more

Dictators: Daily Metta

“Dictators have always found ready response to the violence they have used.” Not just dictators, but violent extremists. Imagine what would have resulted after 9/11 if this country (and others) had gone in for a thorough-going nonviolent response instead of the rage for revenge and paranoia for “security” we followed.  The extremists (whoever they were,… read more

Ahimsa: Daily Metta

“Ahimsa means the eradication of the desire to injure or to kill.” ~ Gandhi, CWMG, XIV, 463 Once again, intuition, spiritual insight, outruns scientific knowledge. Gandhi could not have known that a-hiṃsā is most probably what linguists call a desiderative based on the root √han, “injure, strike, slay,” i.e. that is indicates the desire or… read more