It looks like this is from the poet Tulsidas and later quoted by Gandhi.
And the full quote is "Of religion, pity or love is the root, as egotism of the body. Therefore we should not abandon pity so long as we are alive."
From what I can tell, it's a pretty dense, hard to read text and I've not read enough of the rest of Gandhi's work to know exactly what his point is. (I could make a few guesses, but they'd probably either lead you in the wrong direction or confuse you more.) It seems like something to ask your philosophy professor.