quintessential quotes

Quintessential Quotes is a beautiful collection of words and wisdom by the great people of our great planet including such notable American leaders like John F. Kennedy, Eleanor Roosevelt and Martin Luther King. Our collection of quotes also contains words to remind us of the need to be active and maintain, without question, our resolve for peace. No one is alone. To believe is only the beginning. Please feel free to send us your favorite quotes!

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Last Updated: January 11, 2007


What the World Needs Now...

Through violence you may murder a murderer, but you can't murder murder.
Through violence you may murder a liar, but you can't establish truth.
Through violence you may murder a hater, but you can't murder hate.
Darkness cannot put out darkness. Only light can do that….

— Martin Luther King, Jr.

The task of the leader is to get his people from where they are to where they have not been.

— Henry A. Kissinger

He abused me, he beat me, he defeated me, he robbed me,"
in those who harbour such thoughts hatred is not appeased.
"He abused me, he beat me, he defeated me, he robbed me,"
in those who do not harbour such thoughts hatred is appeased.
Hate is not overcome by hate; by loving kindness alone is hate appeased.
This is an eternal law.

— Gotama Buddha

The function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers.

— Ralph Nader

This hour in history needs a dedicated circle of transformed nonconformists. Our planet teeters on the brink of atomic annihilation; dangerous passions of pride, hatred and selfishness are enthroned in our lives; and men do reverence before false gods of nationalism and materialism. The saving of our world from pending doom will come, not through the complacent adjustment of the conforming majority, but through the creative maladjustment of a nonconforming minority.

— Martin Luther King, Jr.

Try to develop a good heart, a warm heart, a compassionate heart. This is very important for society as well as for one's own health and peace of mind. To reject belief in formal institutionalized relgion is perfectly alright, but to reject a good heart is destructive to oneself and others.

— The Dalai Lama

Peace has its price: your head and heart; less than that is war.

— Yogi Bhajan

My religion is simple. My religion is kndness.

— The Dalai Lama

The light of a lamp does not flicker in a windless place.

— Sri Krishna, speaking in the Bhagavad-Gita

The reality today is that we are all interdependent and we have to co-exist on this small planet. Therefore, the only sensible and intelligent way of resolving differences, whether between individuals, peoples or nations, is through a political culture of non-violence and dialogue.

— The Dalai Lama

Your first duty is to find the peace in you. If you root yourself in your peace and then lend your hand, you will certainly bring peace. If not, you will only add more and more to the peaceless condition.

Violence cannot stop violence. A war can never really be won be violence alone. The mind must be changed. A violent victory only means that you have handicapped your enemy. He is still your enemy and the peace is only temporary. You have covered the fire so it doesn't show now, but it is still inside and one day it will flare up again.

When you win a war with your power, your enemy simply retreats and waits for an opportunity to strike back at you. You have won the war but not the heart. Real victory is to win the heart, not just the land or the political power.

Yoga tells you that your own peaceful thoughts will bring results. In the name of Yoga, we try to collect the mind and send out peaceful vibrations. A sincere thought will travel all over the world. It is more than an atomic bomb, it's more than a missile.

Even if you don't believe in God or prayer, sit and say, "Let there be peace. Let the minds of the people who want war be changed." We believe in thought force. Because it is the very same thought force that creates war. Remember that. It is the human mind that creates all these bombs, all these wars.

If you still want a war, fight it against undesirable thinking, not against a nation of people. And to fight such a war, you have to send out beautiful thoughts. Make every thought a powerful anti missile. Sit quietly and send out powerful peaceful thoughts. I'm not joking—it is possible. Even one minute spent in peace is valuable. Don't think, "When our brother are dying, how can we sit quietly and think of peace?" This crazy world is, in a way, stabilized because of people sitting for a few minutes in meditation every day. Know that.

Don't ever think that by raising your hand or throwing a bomb or shouting something you can help the situation. Do it in a nonviolent way. Don't hurt anybody, don't hate anybody. As long as you have hatred in your mind, you are unfit to talk of peace."

— Sri Swami Satchidananda, excerpt from Beyond Words

It is time to fill the world with strong and powerful deeds. It is common knowledge that no great captain in the world has ever destroyed all of his enemies and lived with a sense of satisfaction. If one enemy is killed, two more will appear. It is important we cultivate love and compassion to all the sentient beings which is the way to bring peace to all. Not understanding the suffering inflicted on others is opposed to compassion and hence peace. Even our enemies are the same and want happiness. It is important to understand and differentiate the sin and the sinner. It is time to overcome negative feelings towards others and start doing good deeds when the world is already filled with too much negative deeds.

— The Dalai Lama

Either war is obsolete or men are.

— R. Buckminster Fuller

The evil lot who did that thing on September 11 did it because they wanted to create a war between America and Islam. And by invading Iraq, we gave them what they hoped for.

— Billy Bragg

Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.

— Albert Einstein

Everybody today seems to be in such a terrible rush; anxious for greater developments and greater wishes and so on; so that children have very little time for their parents; Parents have very little time for each other; and the home begins the disruption of the peace of the world.

— Mother Terresa

Children copy their parents, friends, and teachers. They will develop the habits of the people around them. So if you want your child to be honest, peaceful and happy you should be that way first.

— Baba Hari Dass

The more we sweat in peace the less we bleed in war.

— Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit

By running away from the world no one can get peace. Anywhere you go the problems will go with you, because the problems are inside you and not outside. Outside is simply a projection of inside.

— Baba Hari Dass

For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind.

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

A peace is of the nature of a conquest; for then both parties nobly are subdued, and neither party loser.

— William Shakespeare

Many people fear nothing more terribly than to take a position which stands out sharply and clearly from the prevailing opinion. The tendency of most is to adopt a view that is so ambiguous that it will include everything and so popular that it will include everybody. Not a few men who cherish lofty and noble ideas hide them under a bushel for fear of being called different.

— Martin Luther King, Jr.

The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits.

— Albert Einstein

Enemies publish themselves. They declare war. The friend never declares his love.

— Henry David Thoreau

It is impossible to understand me, because to understand me you will have to drop your memory. Your memory interferes. Drop your memory...Consciousness is a continuous river...When I say drop your memory, I mean psychological memory: I don't mean factual memory. Buddha [in this story] remembers perfectly that yesterday this man spat on him, but he also remembers that [today] neither is this man the same nor is he—Buddha—the same. That chapter is closed; it is not worth carrying it your whole life. But you go on carrying. Somebody has said something to you ten years before and you are still carrying it. Your mother was angry when you were a child and you are still carrying it. Your father slapped you when you were just small and you are still carrying it, and you may be seventy years old. These psychological memories go on burdening you. They destroy your freedom, they destroy your aliveness, they encage you.

— Osho

As soon as a man stands up and says he is right or his church is right, and all others are wrong, he is himself all wrong. He does not know that upon the proof of all the others depends the proof of his own. Love and charity for the whole human race, that is the test of true religiousness. I do not mean the sentimental statement that all men are brothers, but that one must feel the oneness of human life.

— Swami Vivekananda

If the human race wishes to have a prolonged and indefinite period of material prosperity, they have only got to behave in a peaceful and helpful way toward one another.

— Winston Churchill

In the earlier days of history, kings and leaders went to the battlefield with their men; but today, those who determine that a nation will go to war remain safely behind. The next time leaders talk of warring, all the people should get together and send those leaders to the front lines. Give them a big arena with wonderfully effective ammunition, and the war will be finished in a day

— Parmahansa Yogananda, January 17, 1943

That truth which you swallow from others will not be yours...you have to realize truth and work it our for yourself according to your own nature...All must struggle to be individuals—strong, standing on your own feet, thinking your own thoughts, realizing you own Self. No use swallowing doctrines others pass on—standing up together like soldiers in jail, sitting down together, all eating the same food, all nodding their heads at the same time. Variation is the sign of life. Sameness is the sign of death.

— Swami Vivekananda

If it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?

— Alexsandr Solzhenitsyn, exiled Russian novelist

Fighting for peace is like f**king for virginity.

— graffiti

One day we must come to see that peace is not merely a distant goal we seek, but that it is a means by which we arrive at that goal. We must pursue peaceful ends through
peaceful means.

— Martin Luther King, Jr.

Peace is not the absence of conflict; it's the absence of inner conflict.

— unknown

instead of tug o' war, let's play hug o' war

— Shel Silverstein

But peace does not rest in the charters and covenants alone. It lies in the hearts and minds of all people. So let us not rest all our hopes on parchment and on paper, let us strive to build peace, a desire for peace, a willingness to work for peace in the hearts and minds of all of our people. I believe that we can. I believe the problems of human destiny are not beyond the reach of human beings.

— John F. Kennedy

The opposite of war is not peace, it's creation.

— Jonathan Larson Rent

A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.

— Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

What luck for the rulers that men do not think.

— Adolf Hitler

Intellect may arrive at certain inferences, but intellect is an unconsicous phenomenon. You are almost behaving sleepily. Intelligence is awakening, and unless you are fully awake, whatsoever you decide is bound to be wrong somewhere or other.

— Osho

I am not only a pacifist, but a militant pacifist. I am willing to fight for peace. Nothing will end war unless the people themselves refuse to go to war.

— Albert Einstein

I was once asked why I don't participate in anti-war demonstrations. I said that I will never do that, but as soon as you have a pro-peace rally, I'll be there.

— Mother Teresa

The greatest calamity will fall on humanity the day all the dreamers disappear.

— Nietzsche

You can succeed only with God, never against him. You can succeed only with the whole, never against it.

— Osho

With a fervent belief in God, and a working knowledge of the fact that any populace represents naïveté, one can successfully control the nation......The receptivity of the masses is extremely limited, their intelligence very small, but their power of forgetting is enormous.......The art of successfully controlling a nation lies in understanding the emotional ideals of the great masses; then finding, through a psychologically correct method, the way to their attention and thence to their heart.......All truly effective leadership must be limited to expounding a very few points and must harp on these slogans until the last member of the public understands what it is they believe.

— Adolf Hitler (from Mein Kampf, 1926)

You can say anything you want in a debate, and 80 million people hear it. If reporters then document that you spoke untruthfully, so what? Maybe 200 people read it, or 2,000, or 20,000.

— The press secretary of Vice President George H. W. Bush speaking to reporters after a 1984 debate with his then vice presidential opponent

Naturally the common people don't want war... but after all it is the leaders of a country who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in every country.

— Hermann Goering, 1893-1946 (a leader of the Nazi Party and one of the primary architects of the Nazi police state in Germany)

Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal.

— Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

It's amazing I won. I was running against peace, prosperity, and incumbency.

— George W. Bush
(...speaking to Swedish Prime Minister Goran Perrson on June 14, 2001, unaware that a live television camera was still rolling.)

It is better to light a candle than to complain about the darkness.

— R. Herzoge

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction....The chain reaction of evil--hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars--must be broken, or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.

— Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., (from Strength to Love, 1963)

I have found that life persists in the midst of destruction. Therefore there must be a higher law than that of destruction. Only under that law would well-ordered society be intelligible and life worth living.

If that is the law of life we must work it out in daily exisitance. Wherever there are wars, wherever we are confronted with an opponent, conquer by love. I have found that the certain law of love has answered in my own life as the law of destruction has never done.

— Mahatma Ghandhi

Violence multiplies violence.

— Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

All they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.

— The Bible

When the people fear the government you have tyranny...when the government fears the people you have liberty.

— Thomas Jefferson

The sole meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.

— Nelson Henderson

Nonviolence has come among men and it will live. It is the harbinger of the peace of the world.

— Mahatma Ghandhi

There are two ways of meeting difficulties: you alter the difficulties, or you alter yourself to meet them.

— Phyllis Bottome

Keep up, and you will be kept up.

— Yogi Bhajan

The best political, social, and spiritual work we can do is to withdraw the projection of our shadow onto others.

— Carl Jung

Resort to force in the Great War (I) failed to bring tranquillity. Victory and defeat alike were sterile. That lesson the world should have learned.

— Franklin D. Rosevelt

The more weapons of violence, the more misery to mankind. The triumph of violence ends in a festival of mourning.

— Lao-Tzu

The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good.

— Samuel Johnson

People are sick of being told what to believe. This is not so much about making a statement to the government, but making a statement to the people so that if you believe in peace, you are not alone.

— Woman at the L.A. rally on February 15th, 2003

Quotes from the American Collective

One man with courage makes a majority.

— Andrew Jackson

Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.

— Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Peace, like charity, begins at home.

— Franklin D. Roosevelt, U.S. President

At times our scientific power outruns our common sense. We have guided missiles and misguided men.

— Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force; like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master. Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action.

— George Washington, first U.S. President & Military General

I like to believe that people in the long run are going to do more to promote peace than our governments. Indeed, I think that people want peace so much that one of these days governments had better get out of the way and let them have it.

— Dwight D. Eisenhower, U.S. President & Military General

Whether you think that you can, or that you can't, you are usually right.

— Henry Ford

Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path
and leave a trail.

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

Peace is a daily, a weekly, a monthly process, gradually changing opinions, slowly eroding old barriers, quietly building new structures.

— John F. Kennedy

There never was a good war or a bad peace.

— Benjamin Franklin

It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog.

— Mark Twain

Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

The non-violent approach does not immediately change the heart of the oppressor. It first does something to the hearts and souls of those committed to it. It gives them a new self-respect; it calls up resources of strength and courage that they did not know they had. Finally it reaches the opponent and so stirs his conscience that reconcilation becomes a reality.

— Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each person's life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.

— Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

All the world is full of suffering, it is also full of overcoming it.

— Helen Keller

Life's most urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?'

— Martin Luther King, Jr.

Nothing can bring you peace but yourself.

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

I am a majority of one.
— Henry David Thoreau

Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth.

— John F. Kennedy

This earth is our mother. Whatever befalls the earth, befalls the sons and daughters of the earth. This we know. All things are connected like the blood which unites one family. All things are connected. Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons and daughters of the earth. We did not weave the web of life, we are merely a strand in it. Whatever we do to the web we do to ourselves.

— Chief Seattle

God doesn't make orange juice, God makes oranges.

— Jesse Jackson

A man who has to go to the village to get the news hasn't heard from himself in a long time.

— Henry David Thoreau

You have been telling people that this is the Eleventh Hour. Now you must go back and tell the people that it is the Hour. And there are things to be considered: Where are you living? What are you doing? Are you in the right relations? Where is your water? Know your garden. It is time to speak your truth! Create your community. Be good to each other. And do not look outside your self for the leader! This could be a good time. The river is flowing very fast. It is so great and swift that there are those who will be afraid. They will try to hold on to the shore. They will know they are being torn apart and will suffer greatly. Know the river has its destination. The elders say we must let go of the shore, push off into the middle of the river, keep our eyes open and our heads above water. And I say, see who is there with you and celebrate! At this time in history, we are to take nothing personally, least of all our selves. For the moment that we do, our spiritual growth and journey comes to a halt.

— A Hopi Elder

Quotes from the World Collective

War is much too serious a matter to be entrusted to the military.

— Georges Clemenceau

If we all practice an eye for an eye, pretty soon the whole world will be blind.

— Mahatma Ghandhi

Whether we call ourselves communists or capitalists, Hindus or Buddhists, Moslems or Christians, whether we are blind, lame, well or happy, this earth is ours...not somebody else's...it is not only the rich man's earth, but our earth...yours and mine.

— J. Krishnamurti

I have found that life persists in the midst of destruction. Therefore there must be a higher law than that of destruction. Only under that law would well-ordered society be intelligible and life worth living.
If that law is the law of life we must work it out in daily existance. Wherever there are wars, wherever we are confronted with an opponent, conquer by love. I have found that the certain law of love has answered in my own life as the law of destruction has never done.

— Mahatma Ghandhi

It is only through inner peace that we can have true outer freedom.

— Sri Chinmoy

Keep my words positive. Words become my behaviors. Keep my behaviors positive. Behaviors become my habits. Keep my habits positive. Habits become my values. Keep my values positive. Values become my destiny.

— Mahatma Ghandhi

No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friends or thine own were; any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

— John Donne

Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go.

— T.S. Elliot

When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bonds; Your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction, and you find yourself in a new, great and wonderful world. Dormant forces, faculties and talents become alive, and you discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamed to be.

— Patanjali

It is possible to move a mountain by carrying away small stones.

— Chinese proverb

The heart is wiser than the mind. There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle, the other is as if everything is.

— Albert Einstein

In this life, we can not do great things. We can only do small things with great love.

— Mother Teresa

The key to your universe is that you can choose.

— Carl Frederick

You communicate for a better tommorow, not to spoil today.

— Yogi Bhajan

Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.

— Confucius

Those who say it can not be done should not interrupt those doing it.

— Chinese proverb

We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts we make the world.

— Buddha

Human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind.

— William James

Your imagination is your preview of lifeís coming attractions.

— Albert Einstein

You must be the change you wish to see in the world.

— Mahatma Gandhi

To be wronged is nothing unless you continue to remember it.

— Confucius

It is easier to go down a hill than up, but the view is from the top.

— Arnold Bennett

The only real valuable thing in life is intuition.

— Albert Einstein

The sole meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.

— Nelson Henderson

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are born to make manifest the glory of god that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

— Nelson Mandela

Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.

— Goethe

There should be less talk; a preaching point is not a meeting point. What do you do then? Take a broom and clean someone's house. That says enough.

— Mother Teresa

There are no warlike people, just warlike leaders.

— Ralph Bunche (American diplomat who won the 1950 Nobel Peace Prize for his work on the United Nations Palestine Commission)