Letter 38

Acharya Vinoba Bhave

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Ten Tyakten Bhujitha (Enjoy in renouncing wealth)


14th October,1990

My dear Pranav,

Sampattidan, jeevandan and trusteeship were some of the other ideas propounded by Vinoba. As a matter of fact, Mahatma Gandhi first stated the idea of trusteeship. The upnishadic injunction "Ten tyakten bhunjitah ma gradha kasya chiddhamanam" is found in the Isopanisad. It is a part of daily prayer in many ashrams of Gandhiji and Vinoba. It means enjoy in renouncing wealth. Don't be acquisitive.

All great religions have preached this idea. Gandhi wanted those who have wealth or possessions to use them for the benefit of others. They should take least for themselves. Vinoba did not want to collect money from the people. He said : Keep your money with you. Only announce that a certain portion of your yearly income would be spent for others. This you will do on your own, without force and without fail. Vinoba did not want to collect money, keep accounts and build organisations and structures for that purpose. He wanted it to be done by those who owned wealth. In his Sampattidan (wealth gift ) he wanted the claim of Daridranarayan to be willingly accepted as a duty, out of self-conviction and not by force.

Those who have no wealth, may have physical or mental strength. They must give part of that for others. He firmly believed that no one was a "have-not". He did not want human relations to be built only on some as 'givers', and others as 'takers'. He wanted everyone to be a giver. Each one has something to give to others. Everyone must learn to give. He did not want a society to be of 'donors' and 'beggars'. As children of God, all must give and all must take. Then only will there be a society of equals.

Jeevandan, giving life for public purposes, was a similar idea. Jayaprakash Narayan was the first Jeevandaani. Vinoba became the second. Pleasure in giving, pleasure in distributing what you have, pleasure in sharing is a higher form of pleasure.

Daan does not mean alms. It is not begging, Sankaracharya said, "Daanam samavibhajanam" (Gifting is equal distribution ). By his bhoodan movement Vinoba did not want people to be permanent clients or receivers. They must also give. Everyone must give, because everyone is a 'have'.

This classless concept was not acceptable to the intellectuals. Those who believed in class war, class hatred and class annihilation went on merrily with State power, repression, violence and misery for many, with pleasure, perhaps for few rulers. In the name of the poor and the exploited, they exploited others more rapaciously!

Vinoba wanted everybody to give. He was not happy only with donations of their wealth and possessions. He considered people's talent also as wealth. He wanted everyone to be a trustee for others. Trusteeship must start with you. It is not an armchair philosophy to be advocated for others, excluding yourself. It must start with you.

With love,


L. N. Godbole

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