Gandhi's Last Words

      for building self-sufficient villages


English version of 『ガンディーの遺言』

Gandhi and Spinning

Why did Gandhi spin?

Because he wanted to realize the nonviolent society.

What is the nonviolent society?

   Priority should be put on the weak.

   Nobody shall be isolated nor excluded.

The society without wars does not necessarily mean the nonviolent society.

Gandhi wrote:

  I dont believe in the principles of the greatest good of the greatest number and survival of the fittest. For man the rule is, the good of all, the progress of all and the weak first. (Gandhi)


The problem caused by machinery.  ①

Machinery saves the manpower. This causes the problem of non-employment.

This brings about the competing society.

We don't need everybody to produce what we need.

Capitalists who own machinery gain power.

The rich becomes richer while the poor becomes poorer.

Thus, we have inequality in society.


The problem caused by machinery.  ② Overproduction

When machine improves, it requires fewer workers.

That's why we pursue economic growth to solve the problem of unemployment.

When we produce much, it requires much energy and resources, which causes scarcity of resources.

Gandhi wrote “Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's needs, but not every man's greed.”(Gandhi)

When we can produce cotton clothes 10 times more, then we need to expand cotton fields 10 times.

We have only one earth. In order to expand the cotton fields, we need to convert the fields we grow food such as wheat, corn, etc. into the cotton fields.  Then we cause the scarcity of food. 

If we grow cotton in a desert by irrigating, we cause another problem.  Water that used to flow into a lake had to be irrigated, thus water level of the lake became lower and lower and finally the lake itself was disappeared and fishermen there lost their livelihood.


Due to our wants and greed, we have built a machinery oriented society.

  Our greed----We want to have more than others.

          We want to have better things. ⇒ Mass production by machinery.

The reason why we cannot build a nonviolent society is not because there are some dictators but because of our greed.


If we want more, we suffer from scarcity.

"Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. …More than machinery we need humanity. More than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness."(The Great Dictator by Charles Chaplin)


Replace greed by love

The attempt to end war or environmental destruction is to cut twigs of the tree which is sustained by the root of greed.

What we should do is to root out the greed and exchange it to love.


It is our mind which causes problems not the system of this society.

Why is Sweden a country rich in social services?

It is not because Sweden adopts such systems. But it is because Swedish people accept that system as something they have to treasure. The Swedes are people who care about each other.  The important thing is not the system but the mind of people.  The Swedes have warm heart.  That's why they can maintain systems rich in social services.

The nation reflects the mind of its people. Therefore, if you want to have a peaceful nation, its people have to have peace in mind.

Therefore reformation of mind must come first before social system is reformed.

Thus, Gandhi said, "Replace greed by love"


Then, what is love?

Love is to be concerned about the needs of others.

Love requires courage.  We have to face everything with a calm readiness and firm resolve.

Don't do evil things even if we are forced to do, and even if we may be killed. For example people in Denmark did not obey the Nazis and saved Jewish people even if it may jeopardize their very lives.


"I will give unto this last, even as unto thee." Matthew 20:14

Let us begin by being considerate of others.

We should accept the weak and share everything equally with them.

Nobody can eat or wear more than enough. 

Even if some can contribute only a little, we should accept their contribution with gratitude.  If we can gather these small contributions, it will be a big one. If we are united into one body, we can do great things.


Don't assign prices to anything and anybody. All are created by God. There is no high and low.

  Everything is priceless.

 60kg rice can sustain a man for one year.  It is equivalent of one person's life for one year.  We can't give price to it.

"There is nothing more disgraceful to man than the principle “buy in the cheapest market and sell in the dearest” (Gandhi Indian Opinion, 20-6-1908)


We should give things to each other.

We are blessed with many things just to share them with others.

If we give, we are given. 

We need to exhale if we want to inhale.


We need to realize how much we are blessed.

One seed gives fruit, some a hundred, some sixty, some thirty times as much.

What is important in life is not how much we get but how we use what we are given.

All the things are gifts from God.


We need to be a producer and we should give up being a consumer.

Money disconnects us from others.

Live without money.

 Look at birds.  They don't earn money.  They don't spend money.

 Still they live.  They build a nest and raise young birds.

Nature gives us everything without asking for money.

What we need is not money but food, water, air and relationship with others.


Spinning a yarn helps us grow spiritually.

We will have peace in mind and understand how enough is enough.

We can live a rich life with very few things.

By doing simple life, it is possible to reduce the cost of living.

Thus, we can give more to those who in need.

That's why we can say "Less is more!"

Gandhi asked those who participated in the salt march to wear Khadi (hand spun and hand woven clothes) because he thought those who could make clothes by themselves had enough patience to endure the suffering.


Be the change you want to see in this world!!

Act today to live up to the ideal you want to have in the future.

Nothing prevents us from spinning today.

We should enjoy the process.  Life is process. 

Change is possible. We could abolish slavery. There is hope here.

Everybody has to die someday; therefore, we may say our ultimate destination is death.  But nobody wants to die as soon as he or she was born.


Quotes from Gandhi

Everyone should follow his or her own inner voice.... In no case should he or she imitate others sheep-like.  Harijan, 29-6-1947

The readiness of one person without self-interest to offer himself for the cause of truth and country always has its effect.  27-7-1916

History shows that all reforms have begun with one person.  2-9-1917

A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history.  Harijan, 19-11-1938


What we should learn from the Earthquake

The most important thing in life is to serve the world by cooperating in the construction of the kingdom of God, (Tolstoy)

Each of us is given a mission. We must fulfill our mission in life.

Repent the past, draw a future that everyone can be happy, and act towards it.


The result is in God's hands.  Men are not a God.

Gandhi was a man of prayer.  Pray to God and rely on Him.

Make the at most effort for the people in the future so that they may live happy lives here on earth.

"All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth." (Bible: Hebrews 11:13)

We are not God.  We don't have to shine like the sun.  All we have to do is to be a small light. 

Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.”(Gandhi)


Quotes from Gandhi.

Without Him not a blade of grass moves...  Mine is but to make the effort.  The result is in God's hands.

Letter to Sir Reginald Maxell  May 21, 1943 

Nature produces enough for our wants from day-to-day, and if only everybody took enough for himself and nothing more, there would be no pauperism in this world, there would be no man dying of starvation in this world.

        Speeches and Writings of Mahatma Gandhi, 4th Edn., pp. 384-85