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September 1998
Satyagraha: The Power of NonViolence

From Gandhi: Lifelines



Truth (satya) implies love,
and firmness (agraha)
serves as a synonym for force.
I thus began to call the Indian movement satyagraha;
that is to say, the force which is born of truth and love,
or non-violence

It is my wife who taught me non-violence.
Her obstinate resistance, on one handm
and her serene acceptance of the suffering
my stupidity inflicted on her
made me stop believing that nature had given me a right
to dominate her.
From that moment onward,
she became my teacher of satyagraha.

In my humble opinion, non-cooperation with evil
is as much a duty as is cooperation with good.
Non-violence implies voluntary submission
to the penalty for non-cooperation with evil.

Non-violence and cowardice go ill together....
Possession of arms implies an element of fear, if not cowardice.
But true non-violence is an impossibility
without the possession of utter fearlessness.

If all the mice in the world
resolved that they would no more fear the cat
but instead all ran into her mouth,
the mice would live.

Gandhi: Lifelines edited and illustrated by Beatrice Tanaka (New York: Four Walls, Eight Windows, 1998) $13.00 paperback 48 pages

This little pocket book of Gandhi's sayings is stunningly illustrated with black and white drawings. Included in the book are reflections on civil disobedience, love, religion, interdependence, village democracy and the meaning of satyagraha (see above). -M.R.


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