Posts by Prof. Michael Nagler

Within & Among: Daily Metta

“Independence of my conception means nothing less than the realization of the ‘Kingdom of God’ within you and on this earth.” ~ Gandhi, The Mind of Mahatma Gandhi, p. 314 Gandhi was accused of using the word swaraj, which means freedom and/or self-rule, because it had a spiritual significance. He answered, in effect, “guilty as… read more

Self-purification: Daily Metta

“Love can never express itself by imposing suffering on others. It can only express itself by self-suffering, by self-purification.” ~ Gandhi, Mahatma, 3, p. 221 We have often had occasion to comment on self-suffering, so I would like to land on “self-purification.” What does it mean? People often view Gandhi as an ascetic who sought… read more

Democracy: Daily Metta

“Evolution of democracy is not possible if we are not prepared to hear the other side.” ~ Gandhi, Mind of Mahatma Gandhi, p. 342 Gandhi did not believe that we have yet achieved true democracy (and certain election campaigns of the present year would bear him out!). Democracy was much more than a vote-counting system… read more

Gospel of Love: Daily Metta

“In my opinion [the Gita] is a book which can be put into the hands of a child. It teaches the gospel of love in the place of that of hate. It replaces violence with self-sacrifice. It pits soul force against brute force.” ~ Gandhi, Young India in January 1921 on Hind Swaraj or Indian… read more

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