Is it possible to have so many qualities in a single person? Well yes, Vinayaka Narahari Bhave aka Vinoba Bhave was a man of many talents- a writer, translator, an advocate of non-violence & human rights, and more.
He was fluent in multiple languages (Marathi, Kannada, Gujarati, Hindi, Urdu, English, Sanskrit). He had even translated The Gita into Marathi.
He is the most famous as the originator of the Bhoodan Movement. He is regarded as the National Teacher of India besides being considered the spiritual successor of Mahatma Gandhi.
He bid adieu to the world on November 15, 1982. He declined to consume food or drinks for a few days by accepting “Samadhi-Maran”.
Quick Facts about Vinoba Bhave
- Full Name: Vinayaka Narahari Bhave
- Also Known As: Acharya, Vinoba Bhave, The National Teacher of India
- Famous As: The Originator of the Bhoodan Movement
- Born On: 11 September 1895
- Died On: 15 November 1982
- Birthplace: Gagode, Pen, British India (now Gagode Budruk, Maharashtra, India)
- Parents: Narahari Shambhu Rao (father), Rukmini Devi (mother)
- Profession: Advocate and Philosopher
- Religion: Hindu
- Awards: Ramon Magsaysay Award (1958), Bharat Ratna (1983)
Early Life of the Originator of the Bhoodan Movement
Vinoba Bhave was born in a small village called Gagoji (now Gagode Budruk) in Maharashtra. His father was a trained weaver who worked in Baroda. As a result, he was mainly brought up by his grandfather, Shamburao Bhave. However, he was massively influenced by his religious mother, Rukmini Devi. Also, he felt greatly inspired by the Bhagavad Gita at a very young age.
Education and Turning Point in His Life
Are you aware of the fact that the National teacher of India, Vinoba Bhave does not hold any major degree? Yes, he, in fact, is a school dropout.
The turning point in his life came when he read out about Mahatma Gandhi’s speech at the then newly founded Benaras Hindu University in the newspapers. On his way to Bombay (now Mumbai) to appear for his Intermediate examination, he dropped his school and college certificates into the fire. He then began writing to Gandhi. He first met him on June 7, 1916 following which he left his studies.
He then began working in Gandhi’s ashram, where he engaged himself in teaching, studying, spinning, and improving the lives of the community.
On April 8, 1921, he was sent to Wardha to take control of the ashram there. Two years later, he started the Marathi monthly, Maharashtra Dharma. The monthly soon turned into a weekly and continued for the next three years.
The Career of the National Teacher of India
He was greatly involved in the Indian Independence Movement alongside Mahatma Gandhi. As a result, he was arrested several times during the 1920s and the 1930s and even served five-years jail in the 1940s.
Even such difficult times couldn’t stop him, and he wrote Ishavasyavritti and Sthitaprajna Darshan in jail. He further utilized this time by learning four South Indian languages and creating the script of Lok Nagari. Not only that, but he also had several talks with his fellow prisoners in Marathi on Bhagavad Gita.
Participation in Independent India
He became famous in 1940 when Gandhiji announced that Vinoba would be the first participant in a new nonviolent campaign. Apart from his involvement in the Indian Independence Movement, Vinoba also participated in the Quit India Movement. He was a very religious person, and he had also led the Sarvodaya Movement.
However, he is the most famous for being the originator of the Bhoodan Movement. He walked all across the country and asked the families to consider him their son. Many families gave him one-sixth of their land, which he then gave to the landless poor.
He had walked all across the country for 13 years and established six ashrams. He also got more than 1000 villages under the program Gramdan, where he asked for donations of entire villages from people.
Contributions of Vinoba Bhave
Vinoba Bhave has given it all for the betterment of society.
Here are some of his contributions:
- He has contributed to the Indian Independence Movement and Quit India Movement. Both were aimed towards ending the British rule in India. He led the Sarvodaya Movement as well.
- The Bhoodan Movement: He is the most well-known for giving birth to the Bhoodan Movement, in which he walked across the country and asked for land. He gave this land to the poor to improve their life.
- He also led the Gramdan Movement, under which he asked for donations of entire villages from families. Later he used the villages towards the welfare of society.
Achievements of Acharya Vinoba Bhave
- Vinoba Bhave became the first person to be awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership in 1958.
- He won the Bharat Ratna posthumously in 1983.
Lesser-Known Facts about Vinoba Bhave
- While Vinoba Bhave’s Bhoodan Movement is quite popular, not many know that he had walked across the country for 13 years, mainly the period from 1951 until 1964.
- On October 5, 1940, Vinoba Bhave became the first person to be selected by Mahatma Gandhi as an individual ‘Satyagrahi’.
- The Bhoodan Movement grew in a village in Telangana which is now known as Bhoodan Pochampally.
- He started the Toofan Yatra in 1965 which continued until 1969. During this journey he travelled thousands of miles.
- Vinoba Bhave remained a Brahmachari for his entire life. He took the vow for celibacy in his adolescence itself and followed it.
Books Written by Vinoba Bhave
Vinoba Bhave was a great writer and orator. Not only that, but he was fluent in multiple languages as well.
Here are a few of his works:
- He translated Geeta into Marathi which he named Geetai.
- Sthitaprajna Darshan
- Teesri Shakti or The Third Power in which he shared his views on the political life of India.
- Bhoodan Ganga
- Moved by Love
Later Years, Death and Legacy
He spent his later years at the Brahma Vidya Mandir ashram in Paunar, Maharashtra. He died on November 15, 1982, after declining to consume food or drinks for a few days by accepting “Samadhi-Maran”. Indira Gandhi, who was the then Prime Minister of India cut her visit to Moscow short to attend his funeral.
On November 15, 1983, a commemorative postage stamp on Acharya Vinoba Bhave was released by the Government. Also, Vinoba Bhave University, which falls under the Hazaribagh district of Jharkhand, is named after him.
He will always be remembered for the great writer and activist he was and his efforts towards the welfare of the society.
Famous Quotes by Vinoba Bhave
“It is only when our life proceeds within bounds and in an accepted, disciplined way, that the mind can be free.”
“Though the names karma yoga and sannyasa are different, the truth at the heart of both is the same.”
“Human life is full of the play of samskaras – tendencies developed by repeated actions.”
“In nonviolence you must go full steam ahead, if you want the good to come speedily you must go about it with vigor.”
“It is a curious phenomena that God has made the hearts of the poor, rich and those of the rich, poor.”
“If we wish our nature to be free and joyous, we should bring our activities into same order.”
“A country should be defended not by arms, but by ethical behavior.”
“Life does not mean mere karma or mere bhakti or mere jnana.”
“When a thing is true, there is no need to use any arguments to substantiate it.”
“When a king speaks, the armies move. But when a wise man speaks, only the beard shakes.”
“In this world of chance and change and mutability, the fulfillment of any resolve depends on the will of the Lord.”
“Do not allow yourself to imagine that revolutionary thinking can be propagated by governmental power.”
“A sword in hand is a sure sign of a violent mind; but one does not become non-violent merely by throwing the sword away.”
“We cannot even recollect the actions of our infancy, our childhood is like something written on a slate and rubbed off.”
“All revolutions are spiritual at the source. All my activities have the sole purpose of achieving a union of hearts.”
“Innumerable actions are going on through us all the time. If we started counting them, we should never come to an end.”
“The river flows at its own sweet will, but the flood is bound in the two banks. If it were not thus bound, its freedom would be wasted.”
“If a man achieves victory over this body, who in the world can exercise power over him? He who rules himself rules over the whole world.”
“The natural movement of one’s soul is upwards. But just as any object is dragged down when a heavy weight is tied to it, the burden of the body drags down the soul.”
“We have seen from experience that, if we are in the habit of walking regularly on the same road, we are able to think about other things while walking, without paying attention to our steps.”
“If we could only snap the fetters of the body that bind the feet of the soul, we shall experience a great joy. Then we shall not be miserable because of the body’s sufferings. We shall become free.”
“In the Bhagavad Gita, there is no long discussion, nothing elaborate. The main reason for this is that everything stated in the Gita is meant to be tested in the life of every man; it is intended to be verified in practice.”