All Men Are Brothers: Life and Thoughts of Mahatma Gandhi as Told in His Own Words

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CHAPTER IV
AHIṃOR THE WAY OF NON-VIOLENCE

Non-violence is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind. It is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of man. Destruction is not the law of the humans. Man lives freely by his readiness to die, if need be, at the hands of his brother, never by killing him. Every murder or other injury, no matter for what cause, committed or inflicted on another is a crime against humanity.1

The first condition of non-violence is justice all round in every department of life. Perhaps, it is too much to expect of human nature. I do not, however, think so. No one should dogmatize about the capacity of human nature for degradation or exaltation.2

Just as one must learn the art of killing in the training for violence, so one must learn the art of dying in the training for non-violence. Violence does not mean emancipation from fear, but discovering the means of combating the cause of fear. Non-violence, on the other hand, has no cause for fear. The votary of non-violence has to cultivate the capacity for sacrifice of the highest type in order to be free from fear. He recks not if he should lose his land, his wealth, his life. He who has not overcome all fear cannot practise ahiṃ to perfection. The votary of ahiṃ has only one fear, that is of God. He who seeks refuge in God ought to have a glimpse of the Atma that transcends the body; and the moment one has a glimpse of the imperishable Atma one sheds the love of the perishable body. Training in non-violence is thus diametrically opposed to training in violence.

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