Thus Spake Gandhi

Select quotations by Mahatma Gandhi


God of the Poor

DARIDRANARAYAN IS one of the millions of names by which humanity knows God who is unnamable and unfathomable by human understanding, and it means God of the poor, God appearing in the hearts of the poor. (YI, 4-4-1929, p. 110)


For the poor the economic is the spiritual. You cannot make any other appeal to those starving millions. It will fall flat on them. But you take food to them and they will regard you as their God. They are incapable of any other thought. (YI, 5-5-1927, p. 142)


With this very hand I have collected soiled pies from them, and tied tightly in their rags. Talk to them of modern progress. Insult them by taking the name of God before them in vain. They will call you and me friends if we talk about God to them. They know if they know any God at all, a God of terror, vengeance, a pitiless tyrant. (YI, 15-9-1927, p. 313)


I am working for winning Swaraj...for those soiling and unemployed millions who do not get even a square meal a day and have to scratch along with a piece of stale roti and a pinch of salt. (YI, 26-3-1931, p. 53)


Message of God

I dare not take before them the message of God. I may as well place before the dog over there the message of God as before those hungry millions, who have no luster in their eyes and whose only God is their bread. I can take before them a message of God only by taking the message of sacred work before them.

It is good enough to talk of God whilst we are sitting here after a nice breakfast and looking forward to a nicer luncheon. But how am I to talk of God to the millions who have to go without two meals a day? To them God can only appear as bread and butter. Well, the peasants of India were getting their bread from their soil. I offered them the spinning wheel in order that they may get butter and, if I appear my loin-cloth, it is because I come as the sole representative of those half-starved, half-naked dumb millions. (YI, 15-10-1931, p. 310)


I claim to know my millions. All the 24 hours of the day I am with them. They are my first care and last because I recognize no God except that God that is to be found in the hearts of the dumb millions. They do not recognize His presence; I do. And I worship the God that is Truth or Truth which is God through the service of these millions. (H, 11-3-1939, p. 44)