Dr. Maria Montessori met Mahatma Gandhi in the beginning of October, 1931 in
Dr. Montessori was also in attendance. The following is the text of Gandhi’s Speech, which was published in the weekly newspaper, Young
Madame, you have overwhelmed me with your words. It is perfectly true, I must admit it in all humility, that however indifferently it may be, I endeavor to represent love in every fiber of my being. I am impatient to realize the presence of my Maker, Who to me embodies Truth, and in the early part of my career I discovered that if I was to realize Truth I must obey, even at the cost of my life, the law of love. And having been blessed with children, I discovered that the law of Love could be best understood and learned through little children.
Were it not for us, their ignorant poor parents, our children would be perfectly innocent. I believe implicitly that the child is not born mischievous in the bad sense of the term. If parents would behave themselves whilst the child is growing, before it is born and after, it is a well-known fact that the child would instinctively obey the law of Truth and the law of Love.
And when I understood this lesson in the early part of my life, I began a gradual but distinct change in life. I do not propose to describe to you the several phases through which this stormy life of mine has passed, but I can only, in truth and in perfect humility, bear witness to the fact that to the extent that I have represented Love in my life, in thought, word and deed I have realized the “peace that passeth understanding”. I have baffled many of my friends when they have noticed in me peace that they have envied, and they have asked me for the cause of that priceless possession. I have not been able to explain the cause by saying that, if my friends found that peace in me, it was due to my attempt to obey this, the greatest law of our being.
It was in 1915 when I reached
I had taken care to learn something about these little
children. I had a foretaste of what I saw here, in
We are conducting an experiment amongst the poorest of the
The greatest lessons in life if we would but stoop and humble ourselves, we would learn not from grown-up learned men, but from the so-called ignorant children. Jesus never uttered a loftier or a grander truth than when he said that wisdom cometh out of the mouths of babes. I believe it; I have noticed it in my own experience that, if we would approach babes in humility and in innocence, we would learn wisdom from them.
I must not take up your time. I have simply given you what
is, at the present moment, agitating me, namely, the delicate problem,
considered in human terms, of drawing out the best from these millions of
children of whom I have told you. But I have learned this one lesson - that what
is impossible with man is child's play with God and, if we have faith in that
Divinity which presides over the destiny of the meanest of His creation, I have
no doubt that all things are possible and in that final hope I live and pass my
time and endeavor to obey His will. Therefore, I repeat that even as you, out of
your love for children, are endeavoring to teach those children, through your
numerous institutions, the best that can be brought out of them, even so I hope
that it will be possible not only for the children of the wealthy and the
well-to-do, but for the children of paupers to receive training of this nature.
You have very truly remarked that if we are to reach real peace in this world
and if we are to carry on a real war against war, we shall have to begin with
children and if they will grow up in their natural innocence, we won't have the
struggle, we won't have to pass fruitless idle resolutions, but we shall go from
love to love and peace to peace, until at last all the corners of the world are
covered with that peace and love for which, consciously or unconsciously, the
whole world is hungering.
[On or before
her, said, “We are members of
the same family”.
“I bring you the
greetings of children,” said Madame Montessori.
you have children I have children too. Friends in
MADAME MONTESSORI: As
I am asking my own children to assimilate the heart of Gandhiji. I know that
feeling for me over there in your part of the world is deeper than here.
you have the largest number of adherents in