Vinoba Bhave: Wikis


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Vinoba Bhave,( विनोबा भावे ), born Vinayak Narahari Bhave (September 11, 1895 - November 15 1982) often called Acharya (In Sanskrit means teacher), was an Indian advocate of Nonviolence and human rights. He is considered as a National Teacher of India and the spiritual successor of Mahatma Gandhi.[1]


Early life and background

He was born in Gagode, Maharashtra on September 11, 1895 into a pious family of the Chitpavan Brahmin clan. He was highly inspired after reading the Bhagavad Gita, Mahabharat, Ramayan at a very early age. His father was a devout Hindu and his mother, who died in 1918, was a great influence on him. In his memoir, Bhave states that, "there is nothing to equal the part my mother played in shaping my mind". Specifically, his devotion and spirituality.

His two brothers, Balkoba Bhave and Shivaji Bhave, were also bachelors devoted to social work.



Freedom struggle

Vinobha Kutir at Sabarmati Ashram

He was associated with Mahatma Gandhi in the Indian independence movement. In 1932 he was sent to jail by the British colonial government because of his fight against British rule. There he gave a series of talks on the Gita, in his native language Marathi, to his fellow prisoners.

These highly inspiring talks were later published as the book "Talks on the Gita", and it has been translated to many languages both in India and elsewhere. Vinoba felt that the source of these talks was something above and he believed that its influence will endure even if his other works were forgotten.

In 1940 he was chosen by Gandhi to be the first Individual Satyagrahi (an Individual standing up for Truth instead of a collective action) against the British rule. It is said that Gandhi envied and respected Bhave's celibacy, a vow he made in his adolescence, in fitting with his belief in the Brahmacharya principle. Bhave also participated in the Quit India Movement.

Religious and social work

Gandhi and Vinoba

Vinoba's religious outlook was very broad and it synthesized the truths of many religions. This can be seen in one of his hymns "Om Tat" which contains symbols of many religions.

Vinoba observed the life of the average Indian living in a village and tried to find solutions for the problems he faced with a firm spiritual foundation. This formed the core of his Sarvodaya (Awakening of all potentials) movement. Another example of this is the Bhoodan (land gift) movement. He walked all across India asking people with land to consider him as one of their sons and so give him a portion of their land which he then distributed to landless poor. Non-violence and compassion being a hallmark of his philosophy, he also campaigned against the slaughtering of cows.

Literary career

Vinoba Bhave was a scholar, thinker, writer who produced numerous books, translator who made Sanskrit texts accessible to common man, orator, linguist who had excellent command of several languages (Marathi, Hindi, Urdu, English, Sanskrit), and a social reformer. He wrote brief introductions to, and criticisms of, several religious and philosophical works like the Bhagavad Gita,works of Adi Shankaracharya, the Bible and Quran. His criticism of Dnyaneshwar's poetry as also the output by other Marathi saints is quite brilliant and a testimony to the breadth of his intellect. A university named after him Vinoba Bhave University is still there in the state of Jharkhand spreading knowledge even after his death.

Later life and death

Vinoba spent the later part of his life at his ashram in Paunar, Maharashtra. He controversially backed the Indian Emergency imposed by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, calling it Anushasana Parva (Time for Discipline).

He fell ill in November 1982 and decided to end his life. He died on November 15, 1982 after refusing food and medicine for a few days. Some Indians have identified this as sallekhana. It is the Jain religious ritual of voluntary death by fasting.


V. S. Naipaul has given scathing criticism of Bhave in his collection of essays citing his lack of connection with rationality and excessive imitation of Gandhi. Even some of his admirers find fault with the extent of his devotion to Gandhiji. Much more controversial was his support, ranging from covert to open, to Congress Party's Govt under Indira Gandhi which was fast becoming unpopular.


In 1958 Vinoba was the first recipient of the international Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership.[2] He was awarded the Bharat Ratna posthumously in 1983.[3]


  • Geeta Pravachane (in all Indian languages)
  • Vichar Pothi (in Marathi, Hindi, Gujarati and also translated into English by Vasant Nargolkar.)
  • Sthitapragnya Darshan (Marathi, Hindi, Gujarati also translated in English)
  • Madhukar (collection and compilation of his articles written over the years (before freedom was achieved.)
  • Krant Darshan (as no. 4)
  • Teesri Shakti or The Third Power (his views on political life of the nation)
  • Swarajya Shastra (his political treatise)
  • Bhoodan Ganga - in 9/10 volumes, (in Marathi, Hindi) collection and compilation of his speeches from 18 April 1951)
  • Manushasanam, (his selections from Manusmruti,
  • Moved By Love: The memoirs of Vinoba Bhave


  • "All revolutions are spiritual at the source. All my activities have the sole purpose of achieving a union of hearts."
  • "Peace is something mental and spiritual. If there be peace in our (personal) life, it will affect the whole world"
  • "Jai Jagat! — Victory to the world!"
  • "It is a curious phenomena that God has made the hearts of the poor rich, and those of the rich poor."
  • "What we should aim at is the creation of people power, which is opposed to the power of violence and is different from the coercive power of state."
  • "A country should be defended not by arms, but by ethical behavior."
  • "We cannot fight new wars with old weapons."
  • "When a thing is true, there is no need to use any arguments to substantiate it."
  • "There is no need for me to protest against the government’s faults, it is against its good deeds that my protests are needed."
  • "Do not allow yourself to imagine that revolutionary thinking can be propagated by governmental power."
  • "I beg you not to adopt any "go slow" methods of nonviolence. In nonviolence you must go full steam ahead, if you want the good to come speedily you must go about it with vigor. A merely soft, spineless ineffective kind of nonviolence will actually encourage the growth of the status quo and all the forces of a violent system which we deplore."

See also

Further reading

  • Vinoba Bhave: The Man and His Mission, by P. D. Tandon. Published by Vora, 1954.
  • India's Walking Saint: The Story of Vinoba Bhave, by Hallam Tennyson. Published by Doubleday, 1955.
  • Acharya Vinoba Bhave, by Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, India, Published by Publications Division, Government of India, 1955.
  • India's Social Miracle: The Story of Acharya Vinoba Bhave and His Movement for Social Justice and Cooperation, Along with a Key to America's Future and the Way for Harmony Between Man, Nature, and God, by Daniel P. Hoffman. Published by Naturegraph Co., 1961.
  • Sarvodaya Ideology & Acharya Vinoba Bhave, by V. Narayan Karan Reddy. Published by Andhra Pradesh Sarvodaya Mandal, 1963.
  • Vinoba Bhave on self-rule & representative democracy, by Michael W. Sonnleitner. Published by Promilla & Co., 1988. ISBN 818500210X.
  • Struggle for Independence : Vinoba Bhave, by Shiri Ram Bakshi. Published by Anmol Publications, 1989.
  • Philosophy of Vinoba Bhave: A New Perspective in Gandhian Thought, by Geeta S. Mehta. Published by Himalaya Pub. House, 1995. ISBN 817493054X.
  • Vinoba Bhave - Vyakti Ani Vichar (a book in Marathi) by Dr Anant D. Adawadkar, Published by Jayashri Prakashan, Nagpur.


  1. ^ The King of Kindness (Vinoba Bhave, Bhoodan, Gramdan, Sarvodaya, Gandhi Movement)
  2. ^ Online biography of Vinoba Bhave on accessed in January 2010
  3. ^ List of Bharat Ratna Awardees recipients on accessed in January 2010

External links

Simple English

Vinoba Bhave (1895-1982), was a philosopher and revolutionist of India. He was a pupil of Mahatma Gandhi (1869~ 1948), who was called "Mahatma", meaning a great sage. Vinoba Bhave also lived following the doctrine of ahimsa, which means nonviolence. His ideas were also influenced by his grandfather, father, and mother. His grandfather taught him about the purity of spirit. He got the Bharat Ratna award by Indian government in 1983. His father, who was yoga ascetic, taught him how to think scientifically. His mother taught him what a faith is.

There are a lot of accomplishments he made. The most famous thing is "Budan", which is an idea of sharing lands with the poor. He argued that land is not something that can be occupied. He insisted that land owners should donate their one sixth of their land to people who do not have land. He campaigned to give rice to hungry people. And he also did a campaign of self-supporting and self-sufficient. These worked successfully and he became a great man of India.


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