Posts by Prof. Michael Nagler

Scriptures: Daily Metta

“The Scriptures of the Christians, Mussalmans, and Hindus are all replete with the teaching of ahimsa.” ~ Gandhi, CWMG, xxv. 522 As are those of the Jains, Buddhists, Jews, etc. The differences are only of degree, with the Jain scriptures (and practices) carrying their ahimsa teaching to the furthest and most demanding degree. This should… read more

Faith and Reason: Daily Metta

“Faith . . . must be enforced by reason. The two are not antagonistic as some think.” ~ Gandhi, The Wit and Wisdom of Gandhi, p. 41 The great appeal of the Vedanta (India’s collective spiritual wisdom), or one of them, is the way it avoids many of our “either-or” dilemmas. If the role of… read more

No Rancor: Daily Metta

“It is the acid test of nonviolence that in a nonviolent conflict there is no rancor left behind, and in the end the enemies are converted into friends.” ~ Gandhi, Mahatma, 4.291 Does this seem naive? Strangely enough, it was the British historian, Arnold Toynbee, who said of Gandhi that “he made it impossible for… read more

Sufficiency: Daily Metta

“Even in a most perfect world, we shall fail to avoid inequalities, but we can and must avoid strife and bitterness.” ~ Gandhi, Young India October 7, 1926. When Gandhi said this 90 years ago, he decidedly did not mean that we must put up with gross inequalities and obscene poverty. He means that striving… read more

Decentralization: Daily Metta

“Khadi mentality means decentralization of the production and distribution of the necessities of life.” ~ Gandhi, Mind of Mahatma Gandhi, p. 406 Once again we see how khadi (cotton spinning) was iconic for the entire program of economic uplift for India—and her freedom. Imagine the freedom and security it would bring us, or anyone, if… read more

Power of Acting: Daily Metta

“To have a conviction that there is violence or sin in a certain course of conduct is one thing; to have the power of acting up to such a conviction is quite another.” ~ Gandhi, Satyagraha in South Africa, p. 230 In the Bhagavad Gita the warrior prince Arjuna, representing you and me, asks Sri… read more

Strength: Daily Metta

“Terrorism and deception are weapons not of the strong but of the weak.” ~ Gandhi, Mahatma, 2.20.1919 The conception one has of strength and power in nonviolence is often quite the reverse of how we conceive of them in ordinary parlance. There are numerous stories in the Indian epics of heroes who, when they need… read more

Person-oriented: Daily Metta

“The movement . . . has been conceived so as to minimize the evil wrought by the craze for amassing large fortunes through the use of dead tools in order to avoid having to deal with very sensitive human tools.” ~ Gandhi, Village Industries, p.6 Gandhi saw everything he touched on—in this case khadi and… read more

All Creation: Daily Metta

Cow protection is “a practical application of the belief in the oneness and, therefore, the sacredness of all life.” ~ Gandhi, Hindu Dharma, p.8.36 A religion, it is said, is like a path through the jungle: if no one treads on it, it gets overgrown. Cow-protection in India is a classic example. Having sometimes become… read more

Silent Revolution: Daily Metta

“Obedience to the law of bread labour will bring about a silent revolution in the structure of society.” ~ Gandhi, Mahatma, 4.36 A “silent revolution” of this kind exemplifies the power of Constructive Programme. Why did Gandhi place so much hope in this one of its 18 projects? Because it would reground the economy in… read more