My dear Pranav,
As Vinoba was greatly influenced by the Gita, he used to say
that Vinoba as a human body would vanish, but Gitai, perhaps would
remain. His humility was remarkable. He does not say that Gita
Pravachane or the Gitai Chintanika will remain. They are his
commentaries or interpretations. They are his darsanas. The reality is
Gita. And Gitai is its translation. Even amongst his Gita books he
wants to be remembered for his translation of the Gita. Such small
glimpses of a person makes him small or big in the eyes of others.
In his early years Vinoba was a hard-headed thinker. He was like an uncut
diamond. He mellowed after his bhoodan padayatra. He used to be very
abrasive and curt in his communication with others. In later years,
his intellect remained sharp but his expression mellowed. His sutra
was : Satya (truth), Prem (love) and Karuna (compassion).
Annual literary conference of Marathi used to depend on the donation
of the rich, and therefore these annual conferences were irregular. The
Ashadhi Yatra was an ancient event where all the saint poets of
Maharashtra used to assemble. This Yatra of Pandharpur has taken
place with clock-work precision for the last two thousand years.
People observe a fast on Mahaekadashi. They go to Pandharpur on foot
and on empty stomachs. This yatra was actually a literary conference
where saint poets would meet each other.
In order to highlight the dependence of modern literary conferences on
donors and their irregularity compared to the clock-work regularity of
the Maha Ekadashi Yatra, Vinoba expressed his views in one sentence.
He said that modern conferences are based on rice, while Ashadhi is
based on fasting. Ashadhi therefore meets regularly. The real pungency
of Vinoba's sentence can be felt only in Marathi.
At the end of his talks on Gita Vinoba used a beautiful simile. As
long as a man is searching for meaning in his life he continues
talking of "I", (or "main" in Hindi). He goes on calling "Main,
Main" like a living goat. He is full of this ego or pride in
himself. But as he approaches nearer the ultimate reality (Brahman),
and dies, he discards this body as "I". Like the same proverbial
goat he starts calling "tuhi" "tuhi", "you" "you" (twam, twam) only.
The intestines of the goat when used for musical sitar the same goat
changes the tune from "Main", "Main" to "Tuhi", "Tuhi". Pranav, when
you read this in the Indian context in Hindi or Marathi, you will
realise how beautifully Vinoba has played on the words "Main" and "tuhi".
He took this quote from Dadu, a saint poet in Hindi (1).
He ended his talks on that note. That again is the Mahavakya of
Shankaracharya and Adwait philosophy : "Tat Twan Asi" "That thou art".