Gandhi discusses Tolerance, Forgiveness and Trust


Mutual Toleration

The golden rule of conduct … is mutual toleration, seeing that we will never all think alike and we shall always see Truth in fragment and from different angles of vision. Conscience is not the same thing for all. Whilst, therefore, it is a good guide for individual conduct, imposition of that conduct upon all will be an insufferable interference with everybody’s freedom of conscience… Even amongst the most conscientious persons, there will be room enough for honest differences of opinion. The only possible rule of conduct in any civilized society is, therefore, mutual toleration. (YI, 23-9-1926, p.334)

Forgiveness is a quality of the soul, and therefore, a positive quality. It is not negative. ‘Conquer anger’, says Lord Buddha, ‘by non-anger’. But what is that ‘non-anger’? it is a positive quality and means the supreme virtue of charity or love. You must be roused to this supreme virtue which must express itself in your going to the angry man, ascertaining from him the cause of his anger, making amends if you have given and cause for offence and then bringing home to him to error of his way and convincing him that it is wrong to be provoked, this consciousness of the quality of the soul, and deliberate exercise of it. Elevate not only the man but the surrounding atmosphere. Of course, only he who has that love will exercise it. This love can certainly be cultivated by incessant striving. (YI, 12-1-1928, p. 11)

What is true of individuals is true of nations. One cannot forgive too much. The weak can never forgive too much. The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong. (YI, 2-4-1931, p.59)


I refuse to suspect human nature. It will is bound to respond to any noble and friendly action.
(YI, 4-8-1920, p. 5)

There is no distrust of men and mankind in me. They will answer before God, so why should I worry? But where my own mission is concerned, my thought is active, and I try to wish everyone well in spite of doubts and mistrust. I will suffer the agony if that is to be my lot. But I may not unnerve myself while I can struggle against evil. (Sp. 6-3-1942)

Mutual trust and mutual love are no trust and no love. The real love is to love them that hate you, to love your neighbour even though you distrust him. I have sound reasons for distrusting the English official world. If my love is sincere, I must love the Englishman in spite of my distrust. Of what avail is my love, if it be only so long as I trust my friend? Even thieves do that. They become enemies immediately the trust is gone. (H, 3-3-1946, p. 28)

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Mohandas Gandhi

“Gentleness, self-sacrifice and generosity are the exclusive possession of no one race or religion.”