Acharya Vinoba Bhave occupies an important place in the galaxy of the great personalities that have adorned the firmament of India’s history. Born on September 11, 1895, in Raigarh district in Maharashtra, Acharya Bahve launched the Bhoodhan Yojna is 1951. he traveled over 64,000 kilometres on foot and collected more than 80,000 hectares of land from landlords to be distributed among the landless poor. Notable among his achievements was the surrender of 20 ferocious dacoits from the traditionally terror-stricken areas of Bhind and Morena districts of Madhya Pradesh in 1960.
He was perhaps the last great disciple of mahatma Gandhi, who endeavoured upto the last breath of his life to wipe tears from the eyes of every one of those who have suffered outrageous poverty through centuries. A symbol of service and sacrifice, practitioner of the ideals of non-violence and love and goodwill for all, Vinobaki was described by Mahatma Gandhi as “one of the few pearls in his Sabarmati Ashram.” This gem of India’s great spiritual tradition was snatched away from out midst by the cruel hands of death on the auspicious day of Deeapawali November 15, 1982.
Vinobahji undertook trips to several parts of India on foot to morally motivate the Indian people, especially the rich. He and the workers wanted to bring about a change of hearts and donation of land, property, village or even life was the outer manifestation of that change Vinobaji’s greatness lies in the fact that he did bring about that desired change in many. Donation of thousands of acres of land by the landlords could never be brought about by any law, howsoever, ingeniously framed. Moral revolution must precede any other revolution if it is to be effective. His Bhoodan movement was an attempt to bring that about.
Vinobaji regarded the great epic the Bhagwat Gita as his mother. His mother inculcated great love for Gita in him. When his mother died, she left him in the lap of the mother Gita a happy reconciliation was achieved between Gyan, Bhakti and Karma in his life. The Gita taught him that all life is one. Bhakti transformed it into Sarvodaya which cannoted good of everyone and not good of a few or some. Vinobaji’s socialism was in spirit different from any brand of the western socialism. Gandhiji’s and for that matter Vinobaji’s socialism could be described by one word ‘Sarvodaya’ which contemplated the good of every member of the society.
Vinobha’s freedom concept was unique in itself. He told that fear and freedom can never go hand in hand. He advised people to conquer fear in order to be fee. He had full faith in the existence of God. For Vinobaji, the very existence of God was more than the lamp of light placed before us. For him, every existing creature whether an animal or a plant or a human being, was the manifestation of God.
Vinobaji was named the first representative of Mahatma Gandhi in the Civil Disobedience movement in the year 1940. Though he was sent to jail many times yet he didn’t budge from his determination to serve the country. He was rightly chosen as the ‘First Satyagrahi’ by Gandhiji in 1941. Mahatma Gandhiji described Vinobaji as one of the finest pearls in his Sabarmati Ashram. For Vinobaji, his life was the indication of his message to the people. He lived a very simple life and gave up all his other worldy desires and ambitions. Vinobaji felt like a criminal to posses or consume more than what is absolutely necessary for sustaining life, particularly when large number of people in the society do not have enough food, clothing and shelter to survive themselves. Vinobaji made simplicity as the principle of his life. He said that equality could be achieved only through ideal simplicity in life. He always wore khadi. For him, Ram Rajya could be ushered in India through adoption of khadi, simplicity in life and small scale industries.