Martin Luther King on Love
The Metropolitan Opera is currently performing Philip Glass’ Grand Opera “Satyagraha“, which depicts Mahandas Gandhi’s work for civil rights in South Africa during the the early Twentieth Century. During that time, Gandhi developed and employed “Satyagraha” (Sanskrit for “Truth Force”) to help oppressed minorities through acts of civil disobedience.
In his autobiography, Martin Luther King observed:
Like most people, I had heard of Gandhi, but I had never studied him seriously. As I read I became deeply fascinated by his campaigns of nonviolent resistance. I was particularly moved by his Salt March to the Sea and his numerous fasts. The whole concept of Satyagraha (Satya is truth which equals love, and agraha is force; Satyagraha, therefore, means truth force or love force) was profoundly significant to me. As I delved deeper into the philosophy of Gandhi, my skepticism concerning the power of love gradually diminished, and I came to see for the first time its potency in the area of social reform. … It was in this Gandhian emphasis on love and nonviolence that I discovered the method for social reform that I had been seeking.
In the Glass heroic opera, MLK is depicted as one of the three ideal spirits (along with Tolstoy and Tagore) looking down upon the action.