Thought for the Day

Saturday 17 February

I claim to be an average man of less than average ability. . . . I have not the shadow of a doubt that any man or woman can achieve what I have, if he or she would make the same effort and cultivate the same hope and faith.

— Mahatma Gandhi

Eknath Easwaran's Commentary

While most people think of ordinariness as a fault or limitation, Gandhi had discovered in it the very meaning of life – and of history. For him, it was not the famous or the rich or the powerful who would change the course of history. If the future is to differ from the past, he taught, if we are to leave a peaceful and healthy earth for our children, it will be the ordinary man and woman who do it: not by becoming extraordinary, but by discovering that our greatest strength lies not in how much we differ from each other but in how much – how very much – we are the same.

This faith in the power of the individual formed the foundation for Gandhi’s extremely compassionate view of the industrial era’s large-scale problems, as well as of the smaller but no less urgent troubles we find in our own lives. One person can make a difference.

The Thought for the Day is today's entry from Eknath Easwaran's Words to Live By.