My dear Pranav,
The Gita had a great influence on Vinoba. It has been commented
upon by many people in India and abroad. Shankaracharya wrote his
commentary on it. So did Lokmanya Tilak, Mahatma Gandhi and Vinoba.
Each one interpreted it in his own way. The influence of the Gita
on Vinoba was manifold.
Vinoba rated the Gita on par with his mother. In Marathi alone
there are 65 translations of it. Vinoba's mother wanted to have one
done by him. He could not complete it in her lifetime. He published
his translation, in samashloki (the same meter) in 1931. He called it Gitai
(Mother Gita). The most important part of it is its
Introduction. Vinoba says," Gitai is like my mother. I am her child
who does not know. She picks me up as and when I stumble and cry."
Vinoba;s is the most simple and direct translation of the Gita
giving the full rich meaning of the original. This is Gitai, the
largest selling Marathi Book to date. It was not translated into any
other languages till Vinoba's death. It is a standard text book in
all his six ashrams and his students learned it in Marathi.
The second important book by Vinoba on the Gita is the Gita-Pravachane or
(Talks on Gita). It has been translated into almost all the
languages of India and in English. This a very lucid and logical
interpretation of the Gita, with remarkable precision. It is a record
of Pravachans (talks) Vinoba gave to jail mates in Dhule jail from
February 1932 to June 1932, on every Sunday. It was taken down
verbatim by Sane Guruji. It has a very remarkable, directly appealing
and simple style of its own. Vinoba gives here his interpretation of
the Gita. The most important concept he expounds in it is akarma
(non-action). That is his personal contribution. Pranav, you must read
this whole book when you can. It will make a lasting impression on
you. It has changed the course of many lives in India. Both Gitai
and Gita Pravachane were considered as finite works and Vinoba did
not change them.
Vinoba's third book on the Gita is Gitai Shabdarth. (Literal meanings
of words in the Gitai) is a compilation, where he has gone deep
into the implications of many key words.
The last book on Gita is Gitai Chintanika. This is a remarkable
book. It was continuously evolving. Vinoba used to create many new
interpretations and ideas on the Gitai virtually every day. This was
the book of a man who was continuously evolving, ever changing, yet
essentially the same. From the viewpoint of the study of Vinoba as
an individual this is an important book
So Pranav, you will eventually see
Vinoba as fully immersed by the Gita. The Mahabhashya of
Shankaracharya, the Gitarasya of Tilak, Aurobindo's commentary, the
Jnaneshwari of jnandeva were all a staple diet for him. Still, he
tackled the Gita in four different ways.
Gita is a veritable treasure-house
of distilled wisdom from the Upanisads. It has influenced many lives.
Vinoba's life was one illustrious example of that influence.