Christmas approaches we face the constant issue of how to teach a child
the difference between materialism and spiritualism. In
this story, Sarah wants to know who is in charge of Christmas--Santa or
Jesus? G-Ma faces some big challenges trying to tell
her, only to find out that Sarah knows the truest meaning of Christmas.
Enjoy this wonderful story about how children teach adults--the meaning of
The True Meaning of Christmas
“G-Ma, I know, I know, Christmas is the day Santa was born. It’s Santa’s
birthday.” My four-year-old granddaughter’s reply shattered my calmness as
quickly as a
precious Christmas ornament shattering on a tile floor.
“Oh, Sarah, Christmas is the day we Christians celebrate the birth of
not Santa’s birthday. Remember, Jesus’ Mommy Mary?…. and Daddy Joseph?
so very tired and there was no room for them to go inside to rest. So
Jesus was born in
a stable among the sheep and cows.”
I tried not to sound too disappointed my four-year-old granddaughter had
totally blown the question of the day.
“Oh, yes, G-Ma, I ‘member. I know that. But, when is Santa’s birthday
it the next day? Or is it before Jesus’?”
Sarah, known for her theatrics, thrust her mittened hand out of the cozy
blanket wrapped around her as I pushed her in her ‘special’ stroller to
wriggling hand movement was our special signal she wanted me to stop the
stroller so I
could give rapt attention to what she was planning to say of grave import.
time it was my turn to be the one to offer great wisdoms. And, I was well
I crouched next to her with one hand still firmly grasping the bright blue
duct-taped stroller handles. (Sarah’s G-Pa had lengthened the stroller so
better fit his 6- feet four-inch height). I didn’t want to tempt any over
child-nabber to scoot away with my precious granddaughter. (I think I have
many of the new “Missing” TV. shows all about how the FBI chases down
“Sarah, I learned that Santa Claus celebrates his birthday on December 6,
feast day of St. Nicholas. We believe St. Nicholas or Kris Kringle is
There are many different names for Santa Claus in other countries. Do you
remember the story
of St. Nicholas? Your Daddy Joe bought you and Matt a book all about him
Names for Santa Claus
Australia - - - - - - - Santa Claus
British Isles - - - - Father Christmas
China - - - - - - - - Dun Che Lao Ren (dwyn-chuh-lau-oh-run)
Czechoslovakia - - - - Svaty Mikalas
Denmark - - - - - - - Julemanden
France - - - - - - - - Pere Noel or le petit Jsus
Germany - - - - - - - Saint Nicholas or Weihnachtsmann
Greece - - - - - - - - Saint Nicholas or Santa Claus
Iceland - - - - - - - Jolasveinar. (13 of them) Stekkjarstaur,
Giljagaur, Stufur, Thvorusleikir, Pottaskefill, Askasleikir,
Hurdarskellir, Skyrgamur, Bjugnakraekir Gluggagaegir, Gattathefur,
Ketkrokur and Kertasnikir.
Italy - - - - - - - - Babbo Natale
Japan - - - - - - - - Hoteiosho
Mexico - - - - - - - Nino Jesus
Netherlands - - - - - Sinterklaas
Norway - - - - - - - -Julebukk
- - - - - - -Saint Nicholas
Scandinavia - - - - - Julenisse
Spain - - - - - - - - Balthazar
Sweden - - - - - - - -Tomte
Wales - - - - - - - - Mari Ilwyd
United States - - - - Santa Claus
“G-Ma, I know. We have that book, but tell me again who St. Nick-las
is…..pull-eeze.”We were ahead of our “get-to-school-on-time” schedule so I pulled the one
kind stroller over to the side of the sidewalk and sat down on one of the
to Sarah’s school. I decided a mini version of the story of Saint Nick was
Sarah relaxed and fastidiously pulled her thermal blanket up around her
slightly dimpled chin. I had learned from her father the Irish believe a
chin like hers
is one kissed by an angel. Matt, her six –year-old brother, has a definite
was told he was extra special because his dimple was where God pointed at
actually touched him. No chin indentation was evident on Baby Angus,
almost 6 months
old, but he was tickled by God on his cheek instead and sported a “see it
when I grin”
dimple. He grins a lot.
As I tenderly tucked several wisps of Sarah’s wild fly-a-way tresses into
bright pink Hello Kitty hat, I began the tale of St. Nicolas and returned
my arm to its
wondrous place around my little princess’ shoulders.
helping the poor
“Nicholas was a very holy man in Russia who loved children. He performed
deeds and often helped the poor by tossing gold coins down their chimneys.
He became a
Bishop in our church and wanted to help children and to bring the love of
the baby Jesus
to all those who celebrate His birth. I was told that his love for Jesus
was so great that Jesus allowed him to continue to bring gifts to children
all over the
world every year. Eventually we believed he had so much work to do and so
to visit he needed the help of the elves. So, he opened his workshop.”
“G-Ma, I do ‘member St. Nick-las! His birthday is before Christmas then,
what day, G-Ma?” Sophia treated answers to her questions like a little
bulldog. She crunched her teeth into them and hung fast for the answer no
matter how many curves or detours I might take trying to avoid a direct
answer—especially one I
didn’t know for absolute sure. I, however, did know this one for sure.
“December 6th, little one, the same day as my mommy’s, your
“Oh, yes, GaGa’s up in heaven with dead Mary and Jesus. Jesus had the
bring her up there, right G-Ma”?
I didn’t want to complicate my hopefully simple story of Santa Claus and I
my head and continued. (My 88-year-old mother passed away on September
18th of this
“Yes, dear one, and you are an angel, too, to remember she is up in
used to leave her shoes out on December 6th when she was little so St.
fill them with candy. December 25th was decided on as Christmas for
relaxed and ready
For a long time many people thought Jesus was also born on January 6.
believing in Jesus celebrated the birthday of the sun on December 25, and
on that day
they lit lights. Christians too participated and the church teachers saw
enjoyed the festival, and decided that the true birth-feast be celebrated
on this day.
And so, after awhile the two days of giving, St. Nicholas’ Birthday and
into one day. There are still some children who celebrate both days”.
I thought the reference to the different dates was complicating my story
started to get up to continue our school bound trek. I didn’t want Sarah
to be late for
preschool, and honestly didn’t want to confuse her with dates about such
subject as whose birthday came first, Santa’s or Jesus’. However, bulldog Sarah zoned in on the word “gifts” and grabbed my hand to
“But, G-Ma, Jesus received gifts at Christmas. He got gold and stuff from
kings. So, it’s all right that we get gifts too, right”?
Ooops, I thought, there goes my credibility. I was trapped. Sarah had my
against the wall. My logic for why Christmas is celebrated on December 25
snowflake caught in the shaft of the warm rays of the sun.
Christmas presents had become a sore subject around Sarah’s house. Her mom
dad had asked the family members—brothers, sisters, grandparents, uncles,
etc.—for presents to be kept at a minimal level. The innuendo was there
was “far too
much commercialism,” and the kids were beginning to see Christmas as a
Toys ‘R Us
dump truck backing into their living room brimmed with presents far beyond
to be consumed and appreciated equally.
Sarah’s parents asked for any extra funds to be sent to a special charity
developing nation, and that “family gifts” such a tickets to the Lion King
rather than a cornucopia of gifts to which the children were becoming so
My vigilant daughter and her husband were hoping for the “Less is More”
list. Their goal was to help their children learn that Christmas wasn’t
merely a time
to receive presents but also a time to give.
However, little Sarah
Santa should have been consulted, for the fewer the gifts, the less
important Santa as a
gift-giver became, and, obviously, the fewer the number of gifts Sarah and
would receive. Children think in very simple economics—the more gifts the
I sat back down on the hard and cold step and took Sarah’s little hand in
She and her six-year-old brother, Matt, were adept in adding two and two
and coming up with the right solution in their favor.
“Ah, my smart one, yes, the Three Kings, The Magi, did indeed bring gifts
Jesus. The gifts were gold, frankincense and myrrh. Melchior brought gold
jeweled box to Jesus. Gold was a symbol or sign of royalty and power. You
beautiful gold is?”
“Yes, G-Ma. It’s special." I nodded. “And Gasper brought frankincense, an incense for the holy, like
in a jeweled flask. The oil is like liquid gold, Sarah. It is associated
adoration, consecrated power, nobility and sacrifice. The third king,
brought myrrh in a jeweled cup. Myrrh, is like a special tonic or
medicine, and may be
used to help keep us healthy. It is usually a present for the rich. Both
and myrrh are supposed to help us be spiritually aware, that is, think
more of Jesus.”
“Well, G-Ma, I don’t want any of those presents and I don’t think Matt
either. Didn’t Jesus get any toys? Not even a train or a dinosaur”?
“Not that we know of, little one. But, I think it’s okay to imagine Jesus
with toys. I don’t think He had a toy train or dinosaur. I know toy trains
made at that time. But He probably had toys. Remember, His Daddy, Joseph,
Sarah’s sweet smile returned as she nodded her Little Kitty-capped head.
happy Baby Jesus got presents and had toys. Baby Angus will get presents
Nick comes to our house. Did you know, G-Ma, the Three Kings had to travel
a long time
to find Baby Jesus? And Santa has to travel all over the world. They all
must be hard
workers, right G-Ma”?
The Magi, vigilant in
“Right, sweet girl, hey, we must get a-walking. We don’t want Sister Lucy
irritated because we are late. Wow, I just thought of something, Sarah.
Angus will be
6 months old on Christmas.”
I was in support of my daughter’s attempt to limit the gift-giving with
children living in their crowded one-bedroom New York City apartment. She
was trying to
teach them selflessness and at the same time, be practical in her
approach. Both she
and her husband had spent time doing service in promoting social justice
in some of the
third world countries. Everyone knew the people there would have great
respect for any gift sent their way.
I stood and re-arranged Sarah’s blanket around her. I picked up my pace as
pushed Sarah toward her Catholic-Montessori preschool. I didn’t want to
have the nuns
angry at me for delivering Sarah late.
“ I think your mommy and daddy just don’t want you and Matt to get too
about getting gifts from Santa and from Grampa Joe, Nana, G-Pa and me,
plus from all your uncles
and aunts. She is worried you wouldn’t think of the real meaning of
it’s more about giving than getting presents.”
“G-Ma, I know about Jesus and I know
about Santa Claus and his other
told me. I know some kids don’t get Christmas gifts and we have to share
is a special box at our school to bring in a present for them, and…. I
know mommy wants
peoples to give to the village in Guatemala. I know.”
Pointing out the
True Meaning of the Holidays
Matt, Sarah and now little Angus are fortunate to have compassionate
help out in a homeless shelter and assist in preparing and delivering food
homeless on a regular basis. The kids regularly go with their parents to
the shelter and
are friendly with many of the other workers as well as many of the needy
Sarah began to sing. Kids have a way of shifting from “A” to “Z” with such
I was envious. Their minds are fertile fields, eager to sprout as much
possible in the shortest period of time.
As I listened to Sarah practice singing her religious Christmas song the
the way to school, (she was preparing for the school’s annual Christmas
party where all
the classes sing songs to the parents), I smiled thinking of her comments
on “Peace to
the World.” Once or twice a week, she and I took off our GMA and
Granddaughter hats and
became YaYa Sisters. We launched into serious discussions as though we
two girls talking, discussing, learning from one another. I was always
her input as well as her patience with my questions and lesson-stories. A
ago she touched my heart as only my sweet butterfly can. Again we were in
Square area near 14th Street where Midtown and Lower Manhattan separate.
“Sarah, during the Holidays we don’t just sing about Jesus, or Frosty the
or Rudolph or Jingle Bells. We wish “Peace to the World” and sing songs
about peace as
well. Do you know who is called the “Prince of Peace?”
Gandhi, "The Great
“Well, G-Ma, it must be Gandhi. He doesn’t look like a prince but he is
Union Square, so there must be peace in the world now. ‘Member when we
him again. Then we did.” She laughed. “He was hiding in the middle of the
booths? You said to me “Oh dear, Sarah, here we go again. Where’s Gandhi?
Gandhi” and I said “let’s go look for him.” We did and we found him.”
The Gandhi statue at Union Square had been removed almost a year before
major renovation of Union Square. Sarah and I waited for his return as the
construction stretched on and on. I was so touched when we finally saw him
back in his
“garden of peach” and recall Sarah’s strident Voice shouting “G-Ma, he’s
No sooner did he appear but only to once again “disappear.” We lost him
few days ago when the Christmas booths were assembled on the open space of
It seemed a legion of Christmas vendors had made camp, Bedouins of
Commercialism stacked red and white stripped tent next to red and white
stripped tent so
the whole Square was now a shopping center for seasonal ‘knick- knacks’,
glassware, trinkets and other “quick gifts.”
We played “detective” and Sarah soon located him stuffed in the middle of
shopping area, his spindly legs well hidden by a variety of tents hawking
It was ironic that simple profound Gandhi, was overshadowed by the sounds
Charge machines slamming receipts for wares, and vendors counting their
noon and night. I’m sure he wouldn’t feel comfortable, but as usual, his
protestation” demeanor would not allow him to complain.
Union square is a regular stop on Sarah’s and my way to her school. We
her six-year-old brother, Matt at his school and, weather permitting, walk
stroller through Union Square. I push Sarah on the swing for a quick ten
leaving to proceed to her school. It’s our private G-Ma/Granddaughter
Lately, I’ve been giving her a little history lesson on the lives of the
in the park. We’ve covered Abraham Lincoln and George Washington (Sarah
George Washington’s name with George W. Bush whose picture is in her
"His legs look
At present, we are ‘discussing’ Gandhi. Sarah’s comment re Gandhi was “His
look like sticks”. At the time, I laughed. She always marvels at the
flowers around his neck and says “G-Ma, peoples must love Gandhi
so-o-o-o-o much to give
him so many flowers all the time.”
With the Christmas theme swirling about, Sarah used her fertile
bring Gandhi into the Santa-Jesus conversation. “G-Ma, Gandhi is a great man. He is more important than Santa even. My
told me that. She goes to the bank across the street so we can come here
to visit his
statue. Mommy was so-o -o -o –o glad to see him back too.”
I actually hadn’t known that much about Gandhi so I decided to look up
information. My daughter and her husband are firm believers and proponents
nonviolence. Gandhi’s nonviolent philosophies were used by Martin Luther
King in the
1950’s and 60’s during the civil rights movements. Gandhi worked to remedy
injustice in South Africa. During the Boer War he formed an ambulance
service. He was
called “The Great Soul.” He preached nonviolence but died violently (was
shot by his
I selected some of Gandhi’s words that I think best illustrate his love
peace, and have listed them below. I was glad Sarah knew who he was and
that he was a
symbol of a man of peace, just as are Santa and, even more so, Jesus.
I deposited Sarah at school on time, but I know I haven’t answered her
question—who is in charge of Christmas—Santa or Jesus? Now, she hasn’t
question directly, but I assume deep in her mind is the question who is
important—the spiritual or the commercial, the idealism of peace or the
milk and cookies
left for Santa so he won’t get angry and leave a lump of coal instead of
wrapped gifts for being “such a good girl” all year.
I leave our special stroller at Sarah’s school for my return to pick her
around 1:30. In the time gap, I went home and searched the web, Google,
information that might help me answer any lingering questions Sarah has
sharpened for me
about Santa and Jesus.
On our way back home from school the sun is shining and Sarah doesn’t
the blanket to keep warm. I’m waiting for her big question—a final
who’s the Big Gun at Christmas, Santa or Jesus. Instead, she throws me a
illuminating the fresh fallen snow
“G-Ma, look, there’s one of those candle things in our park!”
Sarah was leaning forward in the stroller excitedly pointing at the
erected Menorah. I talked to both Sarah and Matt about the fact that all
people did not
celebrate Christmas as Christians did. I reminded them that Christians
one third of all the world’s religions, and many people have different
that’s okay. I pointed out the nine-branched candle- holder was one of the
symbols of the Jewish faith.
“G-Ma, that’s the Christmas tree for the peoples who don’t believe in
“Well,” I corrected, “They don’t not believe in Jesus as a great person,
They just don’t believe He is the Son of God. They believe the Son of God
is still to
come, and that Jesus was kind of like Gandhi, a great person, but not the
important one in the whole world.
“Oh,” Sarah said. “They’re waiting for their own Jesus?”
“That’s right. “
Sarah was surprisingly ecumenical at such an early age. She wasn’t upset
hearing about other peoples’ beliefs and practices that differed from her
husband and I agreed it was the Religious Vigilance of her parents that
allowed her to
be respectful of all views.
“That’s called the Menorah, little angel. Good job in recognizing it.
families observe an eight-day, two-thousand-year-old holiday called
Hanukkah, or the
Festival of Lights. It is a very old ceremony and celebrates the victory
of the Jews
over their enemies, and is a symbol of the freedom Jews enjoy today. Their
people who wished to hurt them—took over their temples, churches, and all
The Jews were able to fight and defeat their enemy. The flames of the
miraculously burned for eight days and today the Jewish people light
candles for eight
days in a row and exchange gifts to celebrate.”
The minute the word ‘gift’ was out of my mouth, I wanted to reel it back
erase it from Sarah’s ears. I didn’t want to get back on the “gift track”
and Jesus were wrestling for dominance over December 25. I was afraid that
outweigh Jesus in a showdown with my four-year-old referee. My fears
groundless. Sarah proved she is her ‘mother’s daughter’ with her next set
“G-Ma, but Gandhi brought peace to the world. So did Jesus. Why were the
‘Jewish’ and their enemies still fighting?”
“Oh, my sweet love, ‘bad people’ wanted to hurt the Jews and took away
temples and churches…and their menorahs. The Jews were forced to fight to
enemy. We are sad when our enemies die. We never want to fight or be in
wars but some
countries are forced into war. Countries fight to keep safe, to continue
lives and not be afraid – to be free. The teachings of Gandhi and Jesus,
as well as
many others, help us to believe that we should always work hard to try to
have peace in
our world. We must try to talk over issues, not to fight, and…”
“Have cooperation, G-Ma I know. I’m so glad we aren’t at wars and don’t
people hurting us.” Sarah hopped out of the stroller and moved closer to
“I’m happy the ‘Jewish’ have their lights back on. Hey, let’s swing,
As I took the hand of my innocent precious Christmas angel to guide her
the swing area, I thought of furthering our discussion to the immediate
was imminently possible with Iraq. We would all do well, I thought, to
listen to the
words of Gandhi and Jesus, two Princes of Peace. I thought of little girls
in far off lands, innocent children huddled in blown out holes in the
ground, trying to
not be victims of a battle. I decided war was far too heavy a
something better left for her parents to discuss.
I decided my “partner, buddy, and pal” Sarah and I, would simply enjoy the
of the day. But I was ready for Sarah if she prodded the issue of war, for
like the near future held a dark cloud over peace. I prayed the sun would
Sarah threw open the park gate and galloped over the sand toward the
Her Voice reverberated through the stillness. My Marine Corps Vietnam Vet
have described its shattering of the silence to the sound of a mortar
on the sand dunes against an Iraqi weapons bunker.
“Girls Rule, G-Ma! Girls Rule!”
As I pushed Sarah in the swing, I thought heavily about the issue of peace
war. I knew there was a great chance that this Christmas could be a bloody
every “t” wasn’t crossed, or every “i” dotted by the Iraqis being hounded
by the U.N.
Weapons Inspectors. Rather than a White Christmas, this could be a Blood
I realized every interaction a Parent of Vigilance has with his or her
reflect peace—the kind both Gandhi and Jesus and other great icons of
non-violence have offered for centuries.
There are many ways throughout each day that vigilant parents,
uncles, aunts, and other caretakers can express to a child as a means of
building up their defenses against the horrors of war that smolder on the horizon.
Sarah and Matt (and I’m sure Angus will be as well) are shining examples
children taught by vigilant parents how to live in peace with the universe
and to help
others live the same way. Unity, cooperation (as Sarah expounded),
most of all love are vital elements of protecting and preserving peace.
To a third of the six billion people on this earth, Christmas symbolizes
coming of Christ, the Prince of Peace, the Light of the world. To the
hopefully represents a great leader, a Man of Peace who left marvelous
teachings such as
Buddha or Mohammed did.
In our Western Judeo-Christian culture, we light the Menorah, our Jewish
of peace and prosperity for all. On the Christian side, our children hang
on Christmas Eve in hopes Santa will fill them with shiny, new toys.
are decorated and cities gleam in festive illumination; vigil lights are
lit in honor of
peacekeepers such as Gandhi or for those who perished on Nine Eleven.
December 25th is
a time when the world takes a break from war and anger and resentment and
puts down the
swords of discontent. For one, brief day, we all become one.
As a Vigilant Grandmother I believe Sarah, Matt and baby Angus are Lights
Vigilance, shining upon the world. So are the 2 billion other young
children around the
I am proud of my lovely Christmas elf, Sarah, concerning herself more
peace in the world than receiving Christmas presents. Christmas is a
Vigilance, a time to look for ways to become one of many rather than to
idea that our way is the “right way,” and everyone who doesn’t follow our
path must be
Even though our enemies think our way of life is wrong, and that the idea
commercialize Christmas is just one more example of the emptiness of
capitalism, and a
symbol of our soul’s vacuous nature, Jesus and Gandhi remind us to turn
cheek—that is, to not become our enemy by casting rocks at their disdain
for us. Even
when such disdain results in a vicious attack on thousands of innocent
people in a World
Trade Center holocaust, or a suicide bomber blasting innocent people in a
Our teachers, the Jesus’ and Gandhis, are reminders that good will and
will pervade. They are joined by other great teachers such as Mohammed and
They are the Religious Sentinels of Vigilance, those who believe with
their lives that
the children of the earth, and their children’s children deserve the great
peace and prosperity.
They believe all children are lights in the world and can be vigilant
peacekeepers of the world. They believe the kids are our beacon of hope
for the future.
Jesus, Prince of
Peace, knocking on the door of the United Nations
As I watched Sarah swing and her eyes glisten in the warm sunlight, I knew
wasn’t going to ask me any more questions about who was the king of
I saw in her eyes the recognition of the great gift she had—the one that
only be given by parents, grandparents and loved ones. I knew that she
knew her great
Christmas present was that of family love—love from a family of Vigilance
While Santa and Jesus and Gandhi and Mohammed might be important, they
the ones who answered her questions, or took her to the park, or swung
her, or tucked
her in at night with a story and a hug and a love, or told her how great
she was from
the inside out, or knelt down next to her to listen with respect to her
Sarah knew who was in charge of Christmas.
Sarah knew it was Family Love.
Mohandas Karamachand Gandhi, one of the most influential figures in
modern social and political activism considered these traits to be the
most spiritually perilous to humanity.
Wealth without Work
Pleasure without Conscience
Science without Humanity
Knowledge without Character
Politics without Principle
Commerce without Morality
Worship without Sacrifice
Following are some of Gandhi's teachings:
Peace will not come out of a clash of arms but out of justice lived and
done by unarmed nations in the face of odds.
Democracy and violence can ill go together.
Evolution of democracy is not possible if we are not prepared to hear the
A coward is incapable of exhibiting love; it is the prerogative of the
Hatred ever kills, love never dies; such is the vast difference between
two. What is obtained by love is retained for all time. What is obtained
hatred proves a burden in reality for it increases hatred.
Non-cooperation with evil is a sacred duty.
You assist an evil system most effectively by obeying its orders and
An evil system never deserves such allegiance. Allegiance to it means
partaking of the evil.
A good person will resist an evil system with his or her whole soul.
Nonviolence is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind. It is
mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity
It may be long before the law of love will be recognized in international
affairs. The machinery's of government stand between and hide the hearts
one people from those of another.
To forgive is not to forget. The merit lies in loving in spite of the
knowledge that the one that must be loved is not a friend.
What kind of victory is it when someone is left defeated?
You must be the change you wish to see in the world.
Whether humanity will consciously follow the law of love, I do not know.
But that need not disturb me. The law will work just as the law of
gravitation works, whether we accept it or not.
The person who discovered the law of love was a far greater scientist than
any of our modern scientists.
Only our explorations have not gone far enough and so it is not possible
for everyone to see all its workings.
Violent means will give violent freedom.
However much I may sympathize with and admire worthy motives, I am an
uncompromising opponent of violent methods even to serve the noblest of
Power is of two kinds. One is obtained by the fear of punishment and the
other by acts of love. Power based on love is a thousand times more
effective and permanent then the one derived from fear of punishment.
Man and his deed are two distinct things. Whereas a good deed should call
forth approbation, and a wicked deed disapprobation, the doer of the deed,
whether good or wicked always deserves respect or pity as the case may be.
Hate the sin and not the sinner is a precept which though easy enough to
understand is rarely practiced, and that is why the poison of hatred
spreads in the world.
Nonviolence and cowardice are contradictory terms. Nonviolence is the
greatest virtue, cowardice the greatest vice. Nonviolence springs from
love, cowardice from hate. Nonviolence always suffers, cowardice always
inflicts suffering. Perfect nonviolence is the highest bravery.
Nonviolent conduct is never demoralizing, cowardice always is.
Destruction is not the law of humans. Man lives freely only by his
readiness to die, if need be, at the hands of his brother, never by
Every murder or other injury, no matter for what cause, committed or
another is a crime against humanity.
Man's nature is not essentially evil. Brute nature has been known to yield
to the influence of love. You must never despair of human nature.
Nonviolence is not a garment to be put on and off at will.
Its seat is in the heart, and it must be an inseparable part of our being.
It is good to see ourselves as others see us. Try as we may, we are never
able to know ourselves fully as we are, especially the evil side of us.
This we can do only if we are not angry with our critics but will take in
heart whatever they might have to say.
It is the law of love that rules mankind. Had violence, i.e. hate, ruled
we should have become extinct long ago. And yet, the tragedy of it is that
the so-called civilized men and nations conduct themselves as if the basis
of society was violence.
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