How he Met Gandhi And Devoted Himself to Ashram

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Acharya Vinoba Bhave’s life journey was quite an interesting one. Vinoba Bhave’s original name was Vinayak Narahari Bhave. He was born on September 11, 1895, in a Chitpav Brahmin family in Gagoda village of the Konkan area of Maharashtra. His mother Rukmani Bai was a wise woman and had a strong effect on him. He was sharp from childhood, and he got his devotion to God and spirituality from his mother. As far as his brilliance in maths, science, unique thinking and rationality were concerned, his father was credited for each of those attributes.

Vinayak, in the company of his mother, was exposed to religious teachings since his childhood. He was closest to his mother among all the siblings and used to support all the religious works of his mother. His mother narrated the tales of Guru Ramdas, Sant Gyaneshwar, Tukaram, Naamdev, and Shankaracharya. Not just that, the mother would often narrate stories from Ramayan and Mahabharat, as well as the philosophy of ‘Upanishads. All this made Vinoba hungrier for knowledge and spirituality.

In high school, his father wanted him to learn French while his mother insisted on Sanskrit. He chose French at high school and learnt Sanskrit at home. He went to the library to read rare books besides the French literature he also studied Vedas and Upnishads. Vinoba once sat on the train going to Mumbai for his class 12 exams but followed his heart and left the journey in the middle and took another train for a spiritual journey to the Himalayas. He roamed around but stayed in Kashi for a long time. Reading about Gandhi in papers, he thought of him being his guide. At the time Gandhi had just returned from South Africa.

He wrote a letter to Gandhi in response to which he was invited to Ahmedabad. The two met each other on June 7, 1916. Vinoba had two wishes — one to do penance on Himalaya and to meet the revolutionary of Bengal. On meeting Gandhi, he felt that both the wishes were fulfilled. He devoted himself to Gandhi’s ashram. His Marathi magazine Maharashtra Dharma was also very famous. After Gandhi’s death, he continued his legacy but in his way, that is spiritual. The Bhoodan protest of 1951 in Maharashtra made him world-famous. Vinoba was never a political person. He established Sarvodaya Samaj. On November 15, 1982, he left water-food and took Samadhi Maran.

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