Mahatma Gandhi is revered the world over as one of history’s most transformative and inspirational figures. Throughout his life in South Africa and India, Gandhi was a fearless campaigner for the rights and dignity of all people, whose constant and unwavering promotion of non-violence as a tool to win over hearts and minds has forever left its mark on the world.
However, the man known today for his calm, courage and compassion in the face of oppression was not always comfortable before the crowds. Born Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi in Porbandar, India in 1869 — he was later nicknamed “Mahatma,” for “great soul” — the spiritual leader and father of Indian independence in fact suffered for much of his life from an acute fear of public speaking. Gandhi’s glossophobia, as it’s known, was so severe that when he faced a judge for his first court case as a young lawyer, he froze and fled from the courtroom in a panic.
Over time, Gandhi managed not only to overcome his fears, but to turn them to his advantage. His unease at speaking made him an excellent listener, whose humility and empathy allowed him to channel the dreams and aspirations of the masses. His hesitancy with words taught him the power of saying more with less — and today, these words, inflected with the heart and wisdom that have made him an international icon, continue to inspire countless millions across the globe.
Here is our selection of Gandhi’s most inspiring quotes.
Top 20 Most Inspiring Gandhi Quotes
Be the change that you want to see in the world.
A man is but a product of his thoughts. What he thinks he becomes.
I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.
Nobody can hurt me without my permission.
Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.
The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is an attribute of the strong.
Your beliefs become your thoughts. Your thoughts become your words. Your words become your actions. Your actions become your habits. Your habits become your values. Your values become your destiny.
An ounce of practice is worth a thousand words.
A coward is incapable of exhibiting love; it is the prerogative of the brave.
Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.
Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.
Service which is rendered without joy helps neither the servant nor the served.
If you want real peace in the world, start with children.
The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.
In a gentle way, you can shake the world.
If I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning.
Hate the sin, love the sinner.
Glory lies in the attempt to reach one’s goal and not in reaching it.
Whenever you are confronted with an opponent, conquer him with love.
An eye for an eye will make the whole world blind.