Heart unity is a critical pillar of Gandhi’s system that holds out the vision of unity-in-diversity. Gandhi recognized and cherished unity at the heart or spiritual level of being. He equally valued diversity on the surface level, in differences of race, gender, worldview, and even of status, wealth, and power. This valuation of surface diversity differentiates the spiritually based system of principled nonviolence from more politically grounded approaches to justice that attempt to reach unity by the leveling of such surface differences.
Practically speaking, one achieves heart unity with another when wishing fulfillment and happiness to the other despite, or indeed partly because of, any surface differences. Underlying this state of mind is the belief that there is in fact a solution to all problems that meets the real needs, if not the conditioned wants, of all parties. As Martin Luther King said, “I cannot be what I ought to be unless you are what you ought to be, and you cannot be what you ought to be unless I am what I ought to be.”