Vinoba Bhave: “Bhagavat Geeta is my life’s breath”

Vinoba Bhave (b. 11 Sep 1895 ― d. 15 Nov 1982) was an advocate of non-violence and human rights. Bhave was born in a Brahmin family at the village of Gogade, Kolaba (now Raigad), district of Maharashtra. He was raised in a typical Brahmin family named as Vinayak Rao Bhave, and took his last breath in Pavnar, Wardha, India.

Vinoba Bhave's writing place.
Vinoba Bhave's writing place.

The man who brought Bhagavat Geeta in Marathi (Geetai) to every Marathi lovers. He was the one who transformed himself completely from its teaching not only but perspective of life different way.
Indians considered him a national teacher of India, being a spiritual successor of Mahatma Gandhi, MK Gandhi himself accepted his estimate and assumption of being Vinoba’s father.

The man who always crave for good and good things around him, the source of positivity from every corner of his body and fragrance. Moreover, he used to stand for the truth and always stood against evil people and its karma.

Vinoba was an ocean of knowledge who could easily available to every ordinary people, indeed, he was a man of living his life for ordinary men.
Bhave was not only a brilliant student but also a great source of combination of learning, spirituality and compassion for plebeians.
This exceptional man took the biggest U turn in his life when he met Gandhi when he was searching for Kashi (now it is called Banaras) and Himalayas.

Their first meeting happened at Kochrab Ashram (the ashram was gifted to Gandhi by his friend Jivanlala Desai). The meeting was occurred after few exchanges of letters between Gandhi and Vinoba. At that time MK Gandhi was impressed by Mr. Bhave and his intuitive conversations.

Vinoba Bhave wrapped in blanket.
Vinoba Bhave wrapped in blanket.

The below letter was written at his Sabarmati Ashram, Feb 1918. After reading this small piece, one could feel how the friendship between them was on the verge of becoming stronger and deeper.
There was great expectation from Vinoba, Gandhi wanted Bhave should surpass him in all the aspects of his life as he was considered Vinoba as his son.

It is a curious phenomenon that God has made the hearts of the poor, rich and those of the rich, poor.

One of the letters of Gandhi to Vinoba Bhave is here

I do not know in what terms to praise you. Your love and your character fascinate me and so also your self-examination. I am not fit to measure your worth. I accept your estimate and assume the position of a father to you. You seem almost to have met a long-felt wish of mine.

In my view a father is, in fact, a father only when he has a son who surpasses him in virtue. A real son, likewise, is one who improves on what the father has done; if the father is truthful, firm of mind and compassionate, the son will be all this in a greater measure.

This is what you have made yourself. I don't see that you owe your achievement to any effort of mine. Hence, I accept the role you offer to me as a gift of love. I shall strive to be worthy of it; and, if ever I become another Hiranyakashipu, oppose me respectfully as Prahlad, who loved God, disobeyed him.
It is true as you say that, though outside the Ashram, you have scrupulously observed its rules.

“I never doubted that you would return. Besides, I had, your written messages, read out by Mama. May God grant you long life, and use you for the uplift of India.
I don't see any need for changes in your diet just yet. Do not give up milk for the present. On the contrary, increase the quantity, if necessary.
About the railways, no Satyagraha is required.”

“What is wanted is intelligent workers to carry on propaganda. In the issue in Kheda District, Satyagraha may have to be offered. I am something of a tramp these days. In a day or two, I shall have to leave for Delhi.
More when you arrive. Everyone is looking forward to seeing you.”

Geetai Mandir in Wardha
Geetai Mandir in Wardha

Geetai Mandir in Wardha is a house where Vinoba Bhave’s photogenic exhibition displayed and his writings in Marathi (Geetai chapters) wrote on the special different types of granite collected from the different regions of India placed in the garden.

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Those sculptured stones in zigzag lines are nothing but the pages of eighteen chapters of Geetai (talks on Geeta is available on Amazon in EnglishThe Heartfulness Way Series) from the archives of Vinoba Bhave’s writing (translation of Bhagavat Geeta in Marathi).

Also Read: The soul scrubbing poem, Vrukshavalli Amha Soyari by Saint Tukaram