Nvc and the Legacy of Gandhi Nonviolence –Ahimsa and Satyagraha – positive meaning, transcending any inner limitations to opening our hearts


Remembering the humanity of everyone, including our opponents – understanding human beings in terms of their needs



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3. Remembering the humanity of everyone, including our opponents – understanding human beings in terms of their needs.

  • The humankind is one big family.” (Harijan 22-10-1938, Non Violent Resistance p.363)

  • For a nonviolent person, the whole World is one family. She/he will thus fear none, nor will others fear her/him.” (Gandhi the Man p. 115)

  • All of us are one.  When you inflict suffering on others, you are bringing suffering on yourself.” (Gandhi the Man p. 56)

  • The whole world is like the human body with its various members. Pain in one member is felt in the whole body.” (Mahatma Vol 2, p.215).

  • I have no weapon but love to wield authority over anyone, and I can combine the greatest love with the greatest opposition to wrong.” (Everyman’s, September 7 – Thus Spake Mahatma Gandhi)

  • Although noncooperation is one of the main weapons in the armory of satyagraha, it should not be forgotten that it is, after all, only a means to secure the cooperation of the opponent consistently with truth and justice... Avoidance of all relationship with the opposing power, therefore, can never be a satyagrahi's object, but transformation or purification of that relationship." South Africa 1914 (Gandhi the Man p. 158)

  • During the Satyagraha offered in South Africa, employees of the Durban Municipality went on strike.  It was, however, a part of the Satyagraha that employees whose duties included caring for the sick or providing sanitation (i.e. jobs that if left undone would have harmful consequences for the society) should continue their work.  The distinction was clearly made that the protest was against the unjustness of the system – not the people within it.

  • A Satyagrahi never yields to panic or hesitancy, neither does she/he think of humiliating the other party, of reducing it to an abject surrender. She/he may not swerve from the path of justice and may not dictate impossible terms. He may not pitch them too low.” (Young India. Mar 19th, 1931)

  • In every step he takes, the Satyagrahi is bound to consider the position of his adversary.” Satyagraha in South Africa, p. 295

  • A student and follower of Gandhi describes the regard he always held for his opponents: “It was not forgiveness, buy whole-hearted acceptance by him of their standpoint as their truth which for the time being held the same place in their growth as his truth in his own, and thus entitled to equal respect.” (In Gandhiji’s Mirror, p. 10)

  • Both of Gandhi's letters to Hitler are addressed to "my friend". This is the starting of the second one: "Dear Friend, That I address you as a friend is no formality. I own no foes. My business in life has been for the past 33 years to enlist the friendship of the whole of humanity by befriending mankind irrespective of race, colour or creed." (Letter in Mani Bhavan Musuem, Mumbai)

  • In the times to come the people will not judge us by the creed we profess or the label we wear or the slogans we shout but by our work, industry, sacrifice, honesty and purity of character.” (Mahatma, Vol.8, p.8)

  • “’Hate the sin and not the sinner’ is a precept which, though easy enough to understand is rarely practiced, and that is why the poison of hatred spreads in the World. …Ahimsa is the basis of the search for truth.” (An Autobiography or The Story of my experiments with truth. p.337)

  • Every Congressman will cultivate personal friendship with persons representing faiths other than his own. He should have the same regard for the other faiths as he has for his own.” (Constructive Programme: It’s meaning and place.)

  • The Swaraj [independence] of my –our- dreams recognizes no race or religions distinctions. Nor is it to be the monopoly of lettered persons nor yet of money men. Swaraj is to be for all, including the former, but emphatically including the maimed, the blind, the starving toiling millions. A stout-hearted, honest sane, illiterate man may well be the first servant of the nation.” (Young India. May 1st, 1930)

  • I hold myself to be incapable of hating any being on Earth. By a long course of prayerful discipline, I have ceased for over forty years to hate anybody. I know that this is a big claim. Nevertheless, I make it in all humility. But I can and I do hate evil wherever it exists. I hate the system of Government that the British people have set up in India. I hate the domineering manner of Englishmen as a class in India. I hate the ruthless exploitation of India even as I hate from the bottom of my heart the hideous system of untouchability for which millions of Hindus have made themselves responsible. But I do not hate the domineering Englishmen as I refuse to hate the domineering Hindus. I seek to reform them in all the loving ways that are open to me.” (CWMG Vol. 32, Jun 17th, 1925)





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