Acharya Vinoba Bhave – a great spiritual leader and a social reformer

Om Tat Sat Shri Narayan Tu, Purushottam Guru tu…

Siddha Buddha Tu, Skand vinayak Savita Pavak tu..

We all know this Universal prayer, in fact we all must have recited it at least once during our school years but do you know who has written this  meaningful-melodious-magnificent hymn??? Vinoba Bhave – a great spiritual leader and a social reformer of modern India.

Acharya Vinoba Bhave PC – from Internet

Vinoba-Vinayak Narhari Bhave was born in a Brahmin family of Maharashtra(India) in September 1895. He was the eldest son of Narahari Shambu Rao and Rukmini Devi. Since childhood he showed great interest to work for the freedom of India and thats why he was greatly attracted towards courage, dedication and sincerity. He was also fond of literature and philosophy. He was hardly interested in the world affairs. Vinoba gave up the college education and went to Varanasi (Banaras) in 1916 – at the age of twenty,  to study Sanskrit,Philosophy and world literature. He learned different languages only to understand religious literature of the world. He knew all the major Indian languages like Hindi-Marathi-Gujarati-Kannada-Telgu etc other than Sanskrit, Arabic, Pali, English, French, German. He studied all the major world religions too.

Once Vinoba’s mother listened to the talks on Bhagwat Gita given by some scholar but couldn’t follow hence she asked Vinoba to translate Bhagwat Gita into Marathi-his mother tongue. Later Vinoba translated Bhagwat Gita verse by verse in Marathi and he named it “Gitai-Mother Gita.” The first edition was published on 14th July 1932 when Vinoba was in Dhule jail.

Vinoba was inspired by Mahatma Gandhiji’s speech at the Banaras Hindu university and later he met Gandhi and that meeting changed the course of Vinoba’s life. Vinoba was a follower and a close associate of Mahatma Gandhi. In fact Vinoba was considered as a spiritual successor of Mahatma Gandhi. He was not a politician but an innovative  social reformer of modern India. Throughout his life he worked on Gandhian lines but he had his special personality and unique approach. Gandhi chose Vinoba to be the first Satyagrahi i.e Non-Violent resister. He was imprisoned several times from 1920 to 1940. Once India got Independence, Vinoba started out on his extraordinary movement  “Bhoodan Movement” (Land-Gift) Over a period of thirteen years Vinoba walked through the length and breadth of India persuading landowners to give some of their land to poor and give them a chance  to live a dignified life. Vinoba Bhave was known as “Acharya” (teacher). Acharya Vinoba Bhave the founder of many movements and hermitages became a world figure as “Walking Saint” soon after Bhoodan movement.

On the bank of river Dham, few km away from Wardha- at Paunar, Vinoba established his ashram in the year 1934. He stayed in Paunar ashram from 1969 till his death. In Paunar ashram he successfully  conducted different projects and one of them was establishing Brahma vidya mandir.  Women’s spiritual liberation is the motto of this mandir (temple). He has written number of books and “Talks on Gita” (Gita Pravachane)  is one of his many famous books.

In November 1982 Vinoba fell seriously ill and on 15th November 1982 the great social reformer, spiritual leader of india passed away.

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Vinoba Bhave has given a great and an important message to the world that, the days of Religion are over. World will be a family. Now we are in the era where service to our fellow humans should be considered as service to God.

Below are some of the thoughts expressed by Vinoba —

Self control, fearlessness and independence of thinking these are three tests of education. Only that country is educated where these three qualities find expression. 

These days absence of war is regarded as peace. But peace really connotes absence of fear. These would be peace only when no part of the world is afraid of or exploited by any other part.

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