My dear Pranav,
Vinoba had a strong belief in the strength of words, in the strength
of ideas. He was not much in favour of creating institutions or
structures. He did not set much store by the capacity of
governments to bring about changes in society.
He believed that a person inspired by an idea can be a
change agent. He can create his temporary structure, use it and
discard it when the time comes. He wanted Sarvodaya workers to be on
the move, open to new ideas and capable of changing themselves. His
greatest attraction was for the formless, structure less realm of ideas.
After all, that is what Brahman is all about. Each one has to
search on his own for Brahman.
Vinoba often quoted Kakasaheb Kalelkar, another contemporary and leading
Gujarati author equally at home in Marathi, who once said that
A-Sarkari (non-governmental) work alone is Asarkari (effective). He
believed in voluntary action of the people. He wanted Sarvodaya
people to spread out, move and sprout throughout the length and
breadth of India. "This work of ours is not of a sectarian nature.
We should not even call ourselves 'the Sarvodaya Group, because that
also gives a wrong impression. Let us think of ourselves as
human-beings and nothing else. Otherwise, even this Sarvodaya Samaj,
with all its freedom from institutionalism, will little by little
become a sect, a narrow group in which we will be separated from
others. Let us never allow our tongues to slip into labeling people
as 'socialist', congresswala' or 'sarvodayawala'. Such terms will of
course continue to be used, because there are many who wish to work
under party names and find them useful. But we belong to no party.
We are 'the third power'...the third power (is) the power which is
opposed to power of violence, distinct from the power of the
state...This third power is inherent in man, and we seek to realize
it on the widest possible scale. And therefore it is not for us to
form a separate sect, it is for us to identify ourselves with the
common run of humanity and to work among men simply as fellow human
Vinoba's emphasis on not having institutions was very fundamental. After all,
we only 'experience' life as individuals. Group, family, caste, religion,
country, nation, union, company are all theoretical constructs. They are
all concepts the reality which we experience is only the individual.
It is the individual who has to change himself to change society.
If a man is not changed, nothing changes.
A man can be changed only by changing his thoughts. This can be achieved only by the spread of
ideas. It needs continuous "deep-casting." It is not done in a day,
but you should go on doing it every day. Then alone lasting changes
can come about. Vinoba's idea was to concentrate on changing the
ideas, the thoughts or the inner core or heart of the individual. It
was called hridaya parivartan (change of heart) by Gandhiji. Changing
the core of man's being is the message of all religions, but more so
of Samatana Dharma.