It was a period of intense agitation of 1932. Many patriots and saintly men were gathered together in the Dhule jail. The jail life is marked with excitement and uncertainty. Nobody would have thought then that these talks delivered in the jail would reach the whole nation through all of its languages. But, ultimately, what happens is what the Lord wills. I or Sane Guruji, who wrote down these talks could have been shifted to another jail, as some of the inmates were. But this did not happen, and the talks could be through.
‘Talks on the Gita’ should be carefully read and assimilated. Its style is not that of the scriptures; it is for the general public. There are instances of repetition also. Like a singer I have harped again and again on the tune that I like most. In fact, I had no idea that these talks could ever be published. Had a man of pure heart like Sane Guruji who could do ‘short-hand’ writing in long hand were not there, these talks could have remained confined to the speaker and the listeners. And for me, that was enough. It was for my own sake that I delivered these talks; for me, it was like reciting the sacred Name of the Lord. What actually happened was beyond imagination. That is why one feels that it was His will.
Bhagavad-Gita was told in the battlefield; and that is why it is something different and no other treatise can match her. The Lord Himself told the Gita again, which is known as the Anugita. But it is a pale shadow of the original. My writings and talks on the Gita elsewhere would not have the magic touch that these ‘Talks’ have, as these were delivered in jail, which, for us, was a battlefield, before the soldiers in the freedom struggle. Those who heard these talks can never forget those moments. The atmosphere of the jail at that time was charged with a spiritual élan.
It is a matter of satisfaction for me that, by the grace of God, these talks on the Gita are proving to be of great use to social workers and spiritual seekers in purifying their minds. There are individuals who have read them hundreds of times. When selfless workers derive inspiration from these talks, that enhances their potency. Thousands have thus derived strength from these talks and have, in turn, contributed to the enhancement of their potency.
As this book became a vehicle for the Bhoodan (land-gift) movement, it was translated into all the Indian languages and thousands of its copies reached the people. This book has brought about revolutionary changes. Wherever it has reached, it has been instrumental in removing the veil of ignorance and delusions.
I cannot describe in words the state of my being while delivering these talks. If it could be assumed that God does speak at times through human beings, then these are such words. While delivering these talks, I had no awareness that ‘I am talking’ and the listeners too did not feel that it was Vinoba who was talking. The individual delivering the talks was merely instrumental. Both the speaker and the listeners felt that some different power was speaking through his lips.
It was God’s grace that I could have an opportunity to offer this humble service to the Gita. The place of the Gita in my life is unique. She is always there to help me in need. I have strived in these talks to explain the meaning of the Gita as I have understood it.
Here, I have not concerned myself with the literal meaning of the verses; rather, there is reflection on the essence of every Chapter. The use of scientific terminology has been kept to the minimum even while retaining the scientific approach. You will not find herein any academic discourse unrelated to life. I am confident that even ordinary labourers could find solace and peace herein.
Wherever these talks have reached, they have motivated people to purify their minds and transform their lives. I would like to see them being read, heard and reflected upon in every home.
The ‘Talks on the Gita’ is the story of my life, and it is also my message.