Old As The Hills

May 11, 2015

Every week, we feature excerpts by Gandhi that lend insight into his values and personal practices.

Although Gandhi set a new bar for applying spiritual values to large scale social problems, he often reminded people that his methods were not new. In this excerpt below, he shares this insight alongside the importance of nuancing the means and ends:

July 07, 1946

"The atom bomb brought an empty victory to the Allied arms but it resulted for the time being in destroying the soul of Japan. What has happened to the soul of the destroying nation is yet too early to see. Forces of nature act in a mysterious manner. We can but solve the mystery by deducing the unknown result from the known results of similar events. A slaveholder cannot hold a slave without putting himself or his deputy in the cage holding the slave." [...]

The moral to be legitimately drawn from the supreme tragedy of the bomb is that it will not be destroyed by counter-bombs even as violence cannot be by counter-violence. Humankind has to get out of violence only through nonviolence. Hatred can be overcome only by love. Counter-hatred only increases the surface as well as the depth of hatred. I am aware that I am repeating what I have many times stated before and practiced to the best of my ability and capacity. What I first stated was itself nothing new. It was old as the hills. Only I recited no copy-book maxim but definitely announced what I believed in every fibre of my being. Sixty years of practice in various walks of life has only enriched the belief which experience of friends had fortified. It is however the central truth by which one can stand alone without flinching. I believe in what Max Muller said years ago, namely, that truth needed to be repeated as long as there were people who disbelieved it."

Poona, July 1, 1946

Source: “Atom Bomb and Ahimsa”, Harijan. CWMG, Vol 91, p. 221

Be The Change

This week recall moments in your life where you have witnessed how hatred was overcome by love and share the stories with your loved ones.