Mahatma Ghandi: On Western Culture & Knowledge of the Self

From Introduction to My Religion, 1959:

”The Western man can accomplish great feats which according to other nations can be accomplished only by God. But he cannot do one thing. He cannot look into his inner self. This fact alone is enough to prove the worthlessness of the false glitter of modern culture”.

If Western culture has led the Europeans to indulging in wine and sex, it is because they are bent upon forgetting and wasting their ‘self’ instead of seeking it. Most of their great and heroic achievements and even their good deeds are the outcome of their forgetting themselves. The practical ability of the Western man to make discoveries, inventions and provision of war equipment, originates from his escape from ‘self’ and not from his extraordinary self-control. If man loses his soul, what is the use of his conquering the world?


“There exists only one truth in the world and that is the knowledge of self. He who knows himself, knows God and all others. He who does not know himself, does not know anything. In this world there exist one force, one freedom and one justice, and that force is that of ruling over oneself. In this world there exists only one virtue, and that is the virtue of liking others as much as one likes oneself. In other words, we should look upon others as we look upon ourselves. All other questions are imaginary and non-existing”.


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