Letter 44

Acharya Vinoba Bhave

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Vinoba's Holistic Approach

2nd December, 1990

My dear Pranav,

Vinoba always believed in re conciling different view points and different darsans, using the technique of gentle persuasion. "Abhidheyam param samyam" (The aim was to achieve maximum equality) was his motto.

He was a great student of religious literature. Jnaneshwar, Tukaram, Tulsidas, Kabir, Mirabai, Madhav Deva, Thiruvalluvar and many other Bhaktas were his source of inspiration. He learnt Arabic to read the Koran.

One of his important achievements is his edited version of all the great religious texts. He kept the most significant parts of each book, according to his views. He published these books in Marathi and Hindi. Later, they were also translated into other languages. It seems a very simple and easy job. In reality it was not so.

Vinoba summarised Naam Ghosha in 1962 and in 1963 he published "Koran Saar" (summary of Koran) in Marathi. In 1964 he prepared Texts of Manushasanam (summary of Manu Smriti), Vedanta Sudha, Vinayanjali and Gurubodhsar.

In 1967 he completed his book, "Essence of Christianity". In 1968 he published ' Rgveda saar' and in 1969, Ashtadashi (eighteen Upanisads) Chayan. He published 'Samanasutta' (Jain Texts) in 1975.

He had given up his name and started signing as "Ram Hari since 25th August, 1974.

Some religious people consider all these efforts as sacrilegous. But Vinoba was a deeply religious man. His efforts did not give offence to anybody, as he was interested in finding out genuine similarities and was perceptive to good from all sources. His Sarvadharma Prarthana is a classic example of this idea of finding the highest common factor in all religious teachings. It is a string of God's names as believed in by all religions.

In September 1962, Vinoba was allowed access to Assam through East Pakistan, as he was walking on foot for his bhoodan. Pakistan never had good relations with India. Vinoba was in a position to appeal to the heart of East Pakistani farmers as easily as he was in a position to do so everywhere else in India. And they responded equally well.

Vinoba said that his idea of India consisted of A B C as triangle, where A stood for Afghanistan, B for Burma, and C for Ceylon. He considered this landmass or sub-continent as one cultural unit. Its religions may be different, but culture remains the same. It is like a "common European home" for Europe. On 13th September, 1962 he suggested the idea of India-Pakistan Confederation as a solution to the problem of political divisions. He explained this idea in Rangpur in East-Pakistan (now Bangladesh). He wanted it as a first step towards World Confederation or Jai Jagat.

Vinoba's holistic approach and very deep perception is clear in all his minor and major campaigns. His capacity to interpret old idioms in new contexts was remarkable. I have written to you from time to time about it.

With love,


L. N. Godbole

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