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 are 20 Mahatma Gandhi quotes that will inspire you:
If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. We need not wait to see what others do.
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.
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 we are to teach real peace in this world, and if we are to carry on a real war against war, we shall have to begin with the 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.
Permanent good can never be the outcome of untruth and violence.
The future depends on what you do today.
To give pleasure to a single heart by a single act is better than a thousand heads bowing in prayer.
Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs, but not every man’s greed.
It’s the action, not the fruit of the action, that’s important. You have to do the right thing. It may not be in your power, may not be in your time, that there’ll be any fruit. But that doesn’t mean you stop doing the right thing. You may never know what results come from your action. But if you do nothing, there will be no result.
Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.
You don’t know who is important to you until you actually lose them.
I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent.
You may never know what results come of your actions, but if you do nothing, there will be no results.
I cannot conceive of a greater loss than the loss of one’s self-respect.
You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is like an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.