Richard G. Petty, MD

Remembering Mahatma Gandhi

On this day in 1869, in the town of Porbandar, Gujurat State, India, a child named Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born. His life has been written about in hundreds of books and articles, and nobody can deny that he, and his non-violent resistance, changed the world in the most extraordinary way.

Yet we all still have much more to learn about what he tried to teach.

Starting life as an English-trained lawyer, he read widely, drawing inspiration from such sources as the Bhagavad-Gita, John Ruskin, Leo Tolstoy, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Henry David Thoreau, and his personal philosophy underwent significant changes.

It was not until later in life that he became known as "Mahatma," or Great Soul.

Not only did he leave a profound political and philosophical legacy, but he left us an extraordinary number of sayings and quotations. Here are a few of of my favorites.



“A "No" uttered from deepest conviction is better and greater than a "Yes" merely uttered to please, or what is worse, to avoid trouble.”

“A coward is incapable of exhibiting love, it is the prerogative of the brave”

“A faith gained in strength only when people were willing to lay down their lives for it.”

“A genuine fast cleanses the body, mind, and soul. It crucifies the flesh and to that extent sets the soul free.”

“A life of sacrifice is the pinnacle of art, and is full of true joy.”

“A living faith cannot be manufactured by the rule of majority.”

“A vow is fixed and unalterable determination to do a thing, when such a determination is related to something noble which can only uplift the man who makes the resolve.”

“Action alone is just that does not harm either party to a dispute.”

“Adaptability is not imitation. It means power of resistance and assimilation."

“An eye for an eye will only serve to make the whole world blind”

“Anger and intolerance are the enemies of correct understanding”

“Be the change you want to see in the world.”

“Both heaven and hell are within us.”

“Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need, but not every man’s greed.”

“Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong”

“Freedom is not worth having if it does not connote freedom to err.”

“God alone is the judge of true greatness because he knows men’s hearts.”

“God answers prayer in His own way, not ours.”

“God forbid that India should ever take to industrialism after the manner of the west… keeping the world in chains.  If [our nation] took to similar economic exploitation, it would strip the world bare like locusts.” 

“God is not a person…God is the force. He is the essence of life. He is pure and undefiled consciousness. He is eternal. And yet, strangely enough, all are not able to derive either benefit from or shelter in the all-pervading living presence.”

“God turns his back on those who quarrel amongst themselves.”

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”

“How can I, who knows the body to be perishable and the soul to be imperishable, mourn over the separation of body from soul?”

“Human life is a series of compromises, and it is not always easy to achieve in practice what one has found to be true in theory.”

“I am painfully conscious of my imperfections, and therein lies all the strength I possess, because it is a rare thing for a man to know his own limitations.”

“I am part and parcel of the whole and cannot find God apart from the rest of humanity.”

“I am prepared to die, but there is no cause for which I am prepared to kill.” 

“I believe in what Max Muller said years ago, namely, that truth needed to be repeated as long as there were men who disbelieved it.”

“I believe that the sum total of the energy of mankind is not to bring us down but to lift us up, and that is the result of the definite, if unconscious, working of the law of love. The fact that mankind persists shows that the cohesive force is greater than the disruptive force, centripetal force greater than centrifugal.”

“I claim to be no more than an average person with less than average ability. I have not the shadow of doubt that any man or woman can achieve what I have, if he or she would make the same effort and cultivate the same hope and faith.”

“I do feel that spiritual progress does demand, at some stage, that we should cease to kill our fellow creatures for the satisfaction of our bodily wants.”

“I first learned the concepts of non-violence in my marriage.”

“I have also seen children successfully surmounting the effects of an evil inheritance. That is due to purity being an inherent attribute of the soul.”

“I have found that life persists in the midst of destruction, and therefore there must be a higher law than that of destruction.”

“I have learned through bitter experience the one supreme lesson to conserve my anger, and as heat conserved is transmitted into energy, even so our anger controlled can be transmitted into a power that can move the world.”

“I hope there is no pride in me. I feel I recognize fully my weakness. But my faith in God and His strength and love is unshakable. I am like clay in the Potter’s hands. I shall continue to confess blunders each time the people commit them. The only tyrant I accept in this world is the ‘still small voice’ within me. And even though I have to face the prospect of a minority of one, I humbly believe I have the courage to be in such a hopeless minority. I believe in the supreme power of God. I believe in Truth and, therefore, I have no doubt in the future of this country or the future of humanity.”

“I implicitly believe in the truth of the saying that not a blade of grass moves but by His will. He will save it (my life) if He needs it for further service in this body. None can save it against His will.”

“I know of your capacity to do great things, but I have yet to discover your capacity to do little things.”

“I own no enemy on earth. That is my creed.”

“I suppose leadership at one time meant muscles; but today it means getting along with people.”

“If I had no sense of humor, I would long ago have committed suicide.”

“If we reach the heart of our own religion, we also reach the heart of other religions.”

“If your heart acquires strength, you will be able to remove blemishes from others without thinking evil of them.”

“In doing something, do it with love or never do it at all”

“In matters of conscience, the law of majority has no place.”

“In the attitude of silence the soul finds the path in an clearer light, and what is elusive and deceptive resolves itself into crystal clearness. Our life is a long and arduous quest after Truth.”

“. . . in the midst of death life persists . . .”

“In this age of the rule of brute force, it is almost impossible for anyone to believe that any one else could possibly reject the law of the final supremacy of brute force.”

“Indolence is a delightful but distressing state; we must be doing something to be happy. Action is no less necessary than thought to the instinctive tendencies of the human frame.”

“It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.”

“It is knowledge that ultimately gives salvation.”

“It is the quality of our work which will please God and not the quantity.”

“It is unwise to be too sure of one’s own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err.”

“Just think out for yourselves, if a man who was good yesterday has become bad after having come in contact with me, is he responsible that he has deteriorated or am I? … It is well to take the blame sometimes.”

“Keep your thoughts positive, because your thoughts become your words.
Keep your words positive, because your words become your behavior.
Keep your behavior positive, because your behavior becomes your habits.
Keep your habits positive, because your habits become your value system.
Keep your values positive, because your values become your destiny.”

“Life becomes livable only to the extent that death is treated as a friend, never as an enemy.”

“Life is an aspiration. Its mission is to strive after perfection, which is self-realization.”

“Life is greater than all art.”

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”

“Love and exclusive possession can never go together.”

“Love can never express itself by imposing sufferings on others. It can only express itself-suffering, by self-purification.”

“Love is no love which asks for a return.”

“Man’s destined purpose is to conquer old habits, to overcome the evil in him and to restore good to its rightful place.”

“Men often become what they believe themselves to be. If I believe I cannot do something, it makes me incapable of doing it. But when I believe that I can, then I acquire the ability to do it even if I didn’t have it in the beginning.”

“My life is my message”

“No culture can live, if it attempts to be exclusive.”

“Non-violence, which is the quality of the heart, cannot come by an appeal to the brain.”

“Nonviolence is not a garment to be put on and off at will. Its seat
is in the heart, and it must be an inseparable part of our being.”

"Nonviolence which is a quality of the heart, cannot come by an appeal to the brain."

“Not to have control over the senses is like sailing in a rudderless ship, bound to break to pieces on coming in contact with the very first rock.”

“Peace will not come out of clash of arms but out of justice lived and done by unarmed nations in the face of odds.”

“Personally, I hold that a man, who deliberately and intelligently takes a pledge and then breaks it, forfeits his manhood.”

“Prayer is a confession of one’s own unworthiness and weakness.

“Prayer is not asking. It is a longing of the soul. It is daily admission of one’s weakness. It is better in prayer to have a heart without words than words without a heart.”

“Prayer is the key of the morning and the bolt of the evening.

“Prayer is the only means of bringing about orderliness, peace and repose in our daily acts.”

“Real sacrifice lightens the mind of the doer and gives him a sense of peace and joy”

“Service has no meaning unless one takes pleasure in it”

“Silence is a great help to a seeker after truth. In the attitude of silence the soul finds the path in a clearer light and what is elusive and deceptive resolves itself into crystal clearness. Our life is a long and arduous quest after Truth, and the soul requires inward restfulness to attain its full height.”

“Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.

“The control of the palate is a valuable aid for the control of the mind.”

“The Difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world’s problems.”

“The dignity of man requires obedience to a higher law, to the strength of the spirit.”

“The future depends on what we do in the present.”

“The golden rule of conduct.. is mutual toleration, seeing that we will never all think alike and we shall always wee Truth in fragment and from different angles of vision.”

“The history of the world is full of men who rose to leadership, by sheer force of self-confidence, bravery and tenacity.”

“The law of love knows no bounds of space or time.”

“The man of prayer will be at peace with himself and with the whole world.”

“The mice which helplessly find themselves between the cats’ teeth acquire no merit from their enforced sacrifice.”

“The music of life is in danger of being lost in the music of the voice.”

“The only devils in this world are those running around in our own hearts, and that is where all our battles should be fought.”

“The only tyrant I accept in this world is the still voice within.”

“The pure unadulterated love of one can nullify the hatred of millions.”
“The seven social sins:

  1. Knowledge without character,
  2. Science without humanity,
  3. Wealth without work,
  4. Commerce without morality,
  5. Politics without principles,
  6. Pleasure without conscience,
  7. Worship without self-sacrifice.”

“The still small voice within you must always be the final arbiter when there is a conflict of duty.”

“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong”

“The wise are unaffected either by death or life. These are but faces of the same coin.”

“. . . there are chords in every human heart. If we only knew how to strike the right chord, we would bring out the music.”

“There are innumerable definitions of God because his manifestations are innumerable.”

“There are people in the world so hungry that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread”

“There are subjects where reason cannot take us far and we have to accept things on faith. Faith then does not contradict reason but transcends it. Faith is a kind of sixth sense which works in cases which are without the purview of reason.”

“There comes a time when an individual becomes irresistible and his action becomes all-pervasive in its effects. This comes when he reduces himself to zero.”

“There is a soul force which if we permit it, will flow through us, producing miraculous results”

“There is a sufficiency in the world for man’s need but not for man’s greed.” 

“There is more to life than increasing its speed.” 

“There is no god higher than truth.”

“There is nothing that wastes the body like worry, and anyone who has any faith in God should be ashamed to worry about anything whatsoever”

“Though I cannot claim to be a Christian in the sectarian sense, the example of Jesus suffering is a factor in the composition of my undying faith in non-violence which rules all my actions, worldly and temporal.”

“To forget how to dig the earth and to tend the soil is to forget ourselves.”

“To give pleasure to a single heart by a single act is better than a thousand heads bowed in prayer.”

“To my mind, I hold that the more helpless a creature, the more
entitled it is to protection by man from the cruelty of man.”

“To see the universal and all-pervading Spirit of Truth face to face one must be able to love the meanest of creation as oneself.”

“True beauty consists of purity of heart.”

“Truth never damages a cause that is just.”

“Unity to be real must stand the severest strain without breaking.”

“We have no evidence whatsoever that the soul perishes with the body.”

“. . . we have to learn to use that force (love) among all that lives, and in the use of it consists our knowledge of God. Where there is love there is life; hatred leads to destruction.”

“We may never be strong enough to be entirely nonviolent in thought, word and deed. But we must keep nonviolence as our goal and make strong progress towards it. The Attainment of freedom, whether for a person, a nation or a world, must be in exact proportion to the attainment of nonviolence for each.”

“We must be the change we wish to see.”

“What is faith worth, if it is not translated in to action?”

“Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.”

“When his duty is to face danger and he flees, it is cowardice.”

“When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible but in the end, they always fall — think of it, ALWAYS!”

“Whenever you are in doubt or when the self becomes too much with you, try the following experiment: Recall the face of the poorest and most helpless person you have ever seen and ask yourself if the step you contemplate is going to be for any use to him or to her . . . Then you will find your doubts and your self melting away.”

“Where there is love there is life.”

“Wherever you are confronted with an opponent, conquer him with love.”

“Without prayer there is no inward peace.”

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world”

“Your capacity to keep your vow will depend on the purity of your life.”

About Richard G. Petty, MD
Dr. Richard G. Petty, MD is a world-renowned authority on the brain, and his revolutionary work on human energy systems has been acclaimed around the globe. He is also an accredited specialist in internal and metabolic medicine, endocrinology, psychiatry, acupuncture and homeopathy. He has been an innovator and leader of the human potential movement for over thirty years and is also an active researcher, teacher, writer, professional speaker and broadcaster. He is the author of five books, including the groundbreaking and best selling CD series Healing, Meaning and Purpose. He has taught in over 45 countries and 48 states in the last ten years, but spends as much time as possible on his horse farm in Georgia.

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