Let Me Hug All of You in Love and Friendship
By M. K. Gandhi
Having flung aside the sword, there is nothing except the cup of love I can offer to those who oppose me. It is by offering that cup that I expect to draw them close to me. I cannot think of permanent enmity between man and man, and believing as I do in the theory of rebirth, I live in the hope that if not in this birth, in some other birth, I shall be able to hug all humainty in friendly embrace. Love is the strongest force the world possesses and yet it is the humblest imaginable. Love has the special quality of attracting abundance of love in return.
Ahimsa means the largest love, the greatest charity. As a follower of ahimsa, I must love my enemy. I must apply the same rules to the wrongdoer who is my enemy or a stranger to me, as I would to my wrongdoing father or son. This active necessarily includes truth and fearlessness.
As man cannot deceive loved ones, he does not fear or frighten them. Gift of life is the greatest of all gifts; a man who gives it disarms all hostility. He has paved the way for an honorable understanding. And none who is fearful can bestow that gift. He must, therefore, be himself fearless. A man cannot practice ahimsa and be a coward at the same time. The practice of ahimsa calls for the greatest courage.
Never has anything been done on this earth without direct action. I reject the word 'passive resistance', because of its insufficiency and its being interpreted as a weapon of the weak.
What was the larger 'symbiosis' that Buddha and Christ preached? Gentleness and love. Buddha fearlessly carried the war into the enemy's camp and brought down an arrogant priesthood. Christ drove out the moneychangers from the temple of Jerusalem. Both were for intensely direct action. But even as Buddha and Christ chastised, the showed unmistakable love and gentleness in every act of theirs.
My creed of non-violence is an extremely active force. It has no room for cowardice or even weakness. There is hope for a violent man to be some day non-violent, but there is none for a coward.
I believe that non-violence is infinitely superior to violence, forgiveness is more manly than punishment. Forgiveness adorns the soldier. But abstinence is forgiveness only when there is the power to punish; it is meaningless when it pretends to proceed from a helpless creature. But I do not believe India to be helpless. I do not believe myself to be a helpless creature. Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.
The spiritual weapon of self-purification, intangible as it seems, is the most potent means of revolutionizing one's environment and loosening external shackles. It works subtly and invisibly; it is an intense process though it might often seem a weary and long-drawn one.
It is the straightest way to liberation. The surest and quickest and no effort can be too great for it. What it requires is faith.
Compiled from www.mkgandhi.org
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