Mahatma Gandhi drew inspiration from beliefs in both Hinduism and Jainism (via his devout mother); these included vegetarianism and the ahimsa, “do no harm,” concept. He was also influenced by Buddhism and Christianity.
In terms of texts, he referenced the Bhagavad Gita (including Edwin Arnold's English verse translation) and the "Sermon on the Mount." Gandhi also drew on the foundations of the British legal system, in which he had been trained as an attorney. He was also influenced by several literary figures, including Russia's Leo Tolstoy; England's John Ruskin, particularly his essay "Unto the Last"; and the US transcendentalists, such as Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Although his reading of Henry David Thoreau's essay on civil disobedience influenced his political strategies, Gandhi insisted that he had developed the concept of satyagraha, Sanskrit for "truth-force," before learning of Thoreau's work.