“Perhaps none of Gandhi’s followers, have created so many worshippers of Truth & Non-violence, so many genuine workers as has Vinoba Bhave. In Vinoba, as in very others, thought, speech & action work in harmony, so that Vinoba’s life is like a melodious song”.
MAHADEV DESAI (Gandhi’s intimate co-worker & help-mate)
Vinoba Bhave was one of the great spiritual leaders & reformers of modern India, whose work & personal example moved the hearts of countless Indians. Born in 1895, at the tender age of ten, Vinoba took a vow life-long celibacy & selfless service to others searching for a way of life that would synthesize both spiritual Truth & practical action. Vinoba discovered Gandhi, & joined in Gandhi’s work for the regeneration & freedom of India. As Vinoba himself put it: “ I experienced with Gandhi the peace of the Himalayas the revolutionary spirit. Peaceful revolution, revolutionary peace, the two streams united in Gandhi in a way that was altogether new.” Gandhi also wrote to Vinoba’s father, “At a tender age, Vinoba has acquired a degree of spirituality & ascetism that took me years of patient labour.”
In 1940 Gandhi chose Vinoba to be the first Satyagrahi i.e. non-violent resister, to offer non-violent resistance to the British regime. Vinoba’s social ativvism was founded on a lifetime’s study of the other major world religions. Vinoba’s life ,reveals the harmony of the inner & outer life of a great man, who had an unwavering commitment to the practice of non-violence, to an engaged spirituality, & to the universal power of love.
After India had independence, Vinoba started out on his extraordinary & unprecedented in recorded history, the Bhoodan (Land-Gift) Movement. Over a period of twenty years, Vinoba walked through the length & breadth of India persuading land-owners & land-lords to give their poor & downtrodden neighbours a total of four million acres of land.