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BK Blog Post
Posted by Michael Nagler.
Michael is founder and president of the Metta Center for Nonviolence and the author of Our Spiritual Crisis and The Search for a Nonviolent Future, which received a 2002 American Book Award and has been translated into several languages.
“The Indians for whom I speak are comparatively poor and inferior in numbers, but they are resolute unto death.” ~ Gandhi, Satyagraha in South Africa, p. 210.
We are in London, in 1910. Gandhi is on his second deputation, accompanied by Sheth Haji Habib, who represents a wealthier and more numerous section of the Indians in South Africa. Gandhi has just translated for the British representative, “word for word,” the Sheth’s acceptance of a compromise offer, which Gandhi and his satyagrahis utterly reject. We have here what we at Metta Center call the third stage of the escalation curve, when even satyagraha has not “worked” and if failure is not an option you must be ready to risk even your life. This has great power, and often enough does not require that you actually die to have its effect. The present case was no exception. And were the satyagrahis fools to take such a risk? No, because they knew that a far greater power than numbers and wealth was at work: “They had full faith in God, in their cause, and in the righteousness of the means they had selected to promote it. They were confident that great is Truth and it shall prevail in the end.” (ibid. p. 207)
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Stephanie Van Hook, the Metta Center’s executive director, launched Daily Metta in 2015 as a way to share Gandhi’s spiritual wisdom and experiments with nonviolence.
Our 2016 Daily Metta continues with Gandhi on weekdays. On weekends, we share videos that complement Michael Nagler’s award-winning book, The Search for a Nonviolent Future: A Promise of Peace for Ourselves, Our Families, and Our World. To help readers engage with the book more deeply, the Metta Center offers a free PDF study guide.