,(विनोबा भावे ), born Vinayak Narahari Bhave
(September 11, 1895 - November 15 1982) often called Acharya
), was an Indian freedom fighter. He is considered as a National Teacher of India
and the spiritual successor of Mahatma Gandhi
He was born in Gagode
on September 11
into a pious family of the Chitpavan Brahmin
clan. He was highly inspired after reading the Bhagavad Gita
at a very early age.
His two brothers, Balkoba Bhave and Shivaji Bhave, were also bachelors devoted to social work.
He was associated with Mahatma Gandhi
in the Indian independence movement
. In 1932 he was sent to jail by the British colonial government because of his fight against British rule
. There he gave a series of talks on the Gita, in his native language Marathi
, to his fellow prisoners.
These highly inspiring talks were later published as the book "Talks on the Gita", and it has been translated to many languages both in India and elsewhere. Vinoba felt that the source of these talks was something above and he believed that its influence will endure even if his other works were forgotten.
In 1940 he was chosen by Gandhi to be the first Individual Satyagrahi (an Individual standing up for Truth instead of a collective action) against the British rule. Bhave also participated in the Quit India Movement.
Religious and social work
Vinoba's religious outlook was very broad and it synthesized the truths of many religions. This can be seen in one of his hymns "Om Tat" which contains symbols of many religions.
Vinoba observed the life of the average Indian living in a village and tried to find solutions for the problems he faced with a firm spiritual foundation. This formed the core of his Sarvodaya (Awakening of all potentials) movement. Another example of this is the Bhoodan (land gift) movement. He walked all across India asking people with land to consider him as one of their sons and so give him a portion of their land which he then distributed to landless poor. Non-violence and compassion being a hallmark of his philosophy, he also campaigned against the slaughtering of cows.
Vinoba's literary genius
Vinoba was a scholar, thinker, writer who produced numerous books, translator who made Sanskrit texts accessible to common man, orator, linguist who had excellent command of several languages (Marathi, Hindi, Urdu, English, Sanskrit), and a social reformer. He wrote brief introductions to, and criticisms of, several religious and philosophical works like Geeta, Vedaanta, works of Adi Shankaracharya, Bible, Quran. His critic of Dnyaneshwar's poetry as also the output by other Marathi saints is quite brilliant and a testimony to the sweep of his intellect.
Later life and death
Vinoba spent the later part of his life at his ashram
in Paunar, Maharashtra. He controversially backed the Indian Emergency
imposed by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi
, calling it Anushasana Parva
(Time for Discipline
He fell ill in November 1982 and decided to end his life. He died on November 15, 1982 after refusing food and medicine for a few days. Some Indians have identified this as sallekhana or Praayopaveshan (renouncing life by refusing food and water).
V. S. Naipaul
has given scathing criticism of Bhave in his collection of essays citing his lack of connection with rationality and excessive imitation of Gandhi. Even some of his admirers find fault with the extent of his devotion to Gandhiji. Much more controversial was his support, ranging from covert to open, to Congress Party's Govt under Indira Gandhi which was fast becoming unpopular.
In 1958 Vinoba was the first recipient of the international Ramon Magsaysay Award
for Community Leadership. He was awarded the Bharat Ratna
posthumously in 1983.
- Geeta Pravachane (in all Indian languages)
- Vichar Pothi (in Marathi, Hindi, Gujarati and also translated into English by Vasant Nargolkar.)
- Sthitapragnya Darshan (Marathi, Hindi, Gujarati also translated in English)
- Madhukar (collection and compilation of his articles written over the years (before freedom was achieved.)
- Krant Darshan (as no. 4)
- Teesri Shakti or The Third Power (his views on political life of the nation)
- Swarajya Shastra (his political treatise)
- Bhoodan Ganga - in 9/10 volumes, (in Marathi, Hindi) collection and compilation of his speeches from 18 April 1951)
- Manushasanam, (his selections from Manusmruti,
- "All revolutions are spiritual at the source. All my activities have the sole purpose of achieving a union of hearts."
- "Peace is something mental and spiritual. If there be peace in our (personal) life, it will affect the whole world"
- "Jai Jagat! — Victory to the world!"
- "It is a curious phenomena that God has made the hearts of the poor rich, and those of the rich poor."
- "What we should aim at is the creation of people power, which is opposed to the power of violence and is different from the coercive power of state."
- "A country should be defended not by arms, but by ethical behavior."
- "We cannot fight new wars with old weapons."
- "There is no need for me to protest against the government’s faults, it is against its good deeds that my protests are needed."
- "Do not allow yourself to imagine that revolutionary thinking can be propagated by governmental power."
- "I beg you not to adopt any "go slow" methods of nonviolence. In nonviolence you must go full steam ahead, if you want the good to come speedily you must go about it with vigor. A merely soft, spineless ineffective kind of nonviolence will actually encourage the growth of the status quo and all the forces of a violent system which we deplore."