Swamiji commenting on a talk about the non-violence [ahimsa] of Sri Mohandas (Mahatma) Gandhi:
Whether you knock somebody’s nose off or retaliate, non-violence is far from that. Because there are many ways in which you can retaliate. The first retaliation is to have bad feeling towards someone. And here you find from the beginning Gandhi did not have any bad feeling, but referred all his feelings to God. ‘God, Thou art there. And if You are there, then what business do I have to take action?’ The next way you can retaliate is by taking a man to court. Because a man may not be able to [physically] retaliate but he can go and get his lawyers to involve the police and arrest the person. But Mahatma Gandhi was not prepared to do any one of these things.
He was prepared to be hurt and shed his own blood with the attitude of tapasya – sacrifice. He was not prepared to hurt anyone else’s feeling or harm them bodily – in any way, whatsoever.
His truthfulness in my opinion stands out very well. He represents non-violence in thought, word and deed. It’s a unique feature in the life of an Indian. Because he stood by the greatest scripture, the Bhagavad Gita and practised every bit of it.
He fought – but he fought with non-violence. Make no mistake. He fought – but he fought with the instrument called?...non-violence. Can you put that instrument, non-violence, into operation? Then you are the greatest yogi.