Posts by Prof. Michael Nagler

Action: Daily Metta

“Nonviolent action, without the cooperation of the heart and the head, cannot produce the desired result.” ~ Gandhi, Mahatma 5.132 The second time (of many) that I saw Sir Richard Attenborough’s epic Gandhi it was with a peace-movement friend who turned to me after a moment or two of stunned silence when it was over… read more

Devotion: Daily Metta

“Without devotion, action and knowledge are cold and dry and may even become shackles.”  ~ Gandhi, Message of the Gita, p. 261933 The Bhagavad Gita, the “spiritual reference book” for Gandhi, and millions of others, presents and is even built on the three classic paths to self-realization: bhakti yoga, the way of devotion; karma yoga,… read more

Undue Haste: Daily Metta

“The principle of ahimsa is hurt by every evil thought, by undue haste, by lying, by hatred, by wishing ill to anybody.” ~ Gandhi, Truth is God, p. 36 OK, but “undue haste?” As readers of Daily Metta we’re well aware that lying and hatred tear the fabric on ahimsa, but “undue haste” often looks,… read more

Distrust: Daily Metta

“Distrust is a sign of weakness and Satyagraha implies the banishment of all weakness and therefore of distrust, which is clearly out of place when the adversary is not to be destroyed but to be won over.”  ~ Gandhi, Satyagraha in South Africa, p. 302 What a rich sentence! For now, let’s just savor the… read more

That Which is: Daily Metta

“The world rests upon a bedrock of satya or truth. Asatya or untruth also means non-existent, and satya or truth also means that which is. If untruth does not so much as exist, its victory is out of the question.  And truth being that which is can never be destroyed. This is the doctrine of… read more

Elevation of Humanity: Daily Metta

“…there was a continuous stream of pilgrims who ‘retired from the household life to the houseless one.’” ~ Gandhi, Satyagraha in South Africa, p. 263 As with his famous quote on satya, Gandhi here shows how vividly he saw the eternal, or religious significance of everything he was doing both in South Africa and later… 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 We sense that Gandhi is here speaking from “bitter personal experience,” as he said elsewhere.… read more

Supporting Others: Daily Metta

“Society is sustained by several services. The bhangi (scavenger) constitutes the foundation of all services.” ~ Gandhi, Mahatma, 4.104 Disunity, especially prejudice or disrespect of another caused Gandhi personal pain. Because widows in traditional society were feared and rejected he would write: “God created nothing finer than the Hindu widow.” He of course strove with… read more

Freedom & Agency: Daily Metta

“There would be no one to frighten you if you refuse to be afraid.” ~ Gandhi, Mahatma, 2. 302 Because of his spiritual orientation, Gandhi was often able to reorient us; for we constitutionally look at the outer world—other people, difficult circumstances—as inhibiting us. But however dire they may be, he discovered, we are always… read more