My dear Pranav,
All said and done, the name of Vinoba is linked in the minds of
people with bhoodan. His other contributions, which are mainly in the
field of ideas did not get adequate exposure. Even bhoodan was
treated as a Gandhian fad. Nobody could understand what it meant.
Vinoba was a Sarvodayi. He believed in the development of all (sarva). He was
not a champion of class or of any one part of society. Poor or
rich, worker or owner everyone needs to develop. Vinoba wanted the
all-round development of everyone. And his ideas were not restricted
to monetary or material prosperity. A man must develop his own
'self'. He must enlarge it and cover the universe, bringing all
living beings into it.
Any movement, therefore, Vinoba could
consider as ultimately aimed at this self-realisation, this Atmajnana.
Seeing this connexion of the self (atma) to the Universe (Brahman)
was his aim from the beginning.
Vinoba was therefore in a position to
see all the basic assumptions differently. He did not divide the
people into categories of 'haves' and 'have-nots'. He treated all as
'haves'. He did not, therefore,look at people as classes or as parts
of society. He did not believe in class conflict, class-war or 'party
politics'. He was for all.
Once you start looking for the good
of all, the method of thinking in terms of majority / minority is not
adequate for social decisions. Sarva Seva Sangh therefore used to
take decisions on unanimity. This approach proved inadequate when
emergency divided the Sarvodaya movement into two camps. Still, the
validity of unanimity or at least a consensus in decision-making does
not become irrelevant. Even today, in the competitive, party-ridden
political system, within a party decisions are taken by consensus. The
concept of polarisation, antagonism and adversorial relations is
essentially a western Darshana. In China and Japan, harmony is
considered more important than justice. To divide issues, people or
ideas into yes / no, right / wrong, and generally in categories is a
western way of thinking.
Japanese Management differs from American
Management on this basic assumption. We see it in every sphere.
Productivity is inspired and not extracted. Unity of interest is
established and nurtured. There are many applications and uses of
this Darsana in our day-to-day life.
This innate Indianness was a special aspect of Vinoba's ideas. He
did not insist on anything. He was busy sowing ideas and spreading
ideas. Many people were inspired by their innate strength. They
succeeded or failed according to their strength.
Vinoba put his emphasis on the
concept of Sarvodaya in all walks of life. In his life, for thirteen
years of Bhoodan-Yatra and another four years on foot, he gave almost
20,000 talks. And what were his Sarvodaya topics? Vinoba put it
beautifully,; "When you build a house, you keep a bed-room, a study
and a kitchen, but do you keep a separate room for air? You need
air everywhere. similarly, Sarvodaya needs no separate room, it is
everywhere. It has a place in every sphere and walk of life. I am
moving for a total revolution. Nothing short of total revolution will
do for me. Each and every aspect of life has to be touched with
the alchemy of Sarvodaya to achieve total revolution (1).
More in my next letter.