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"I Am Moved By Love." --Vinoba, posted by Meghna on Jul 14, 2011
am a man who belongs to another world than this, one that may seem very strange. For I claim that I am moved by love, that I feel it all the time. I do not deal in opinions, but only in thought, in which there can be give and take. Thought is not walled in or tied down, it can be shared with people of goodwill; we can take their ideas and offer them ours, and in this way thought grows and spreads. This has always been my experience, and therefore I do no accept any kind of label for myself. It is open to anyone whatever to explain his ideas to me and convince me, and anyone is free to make my ideas his own in the same way. There is nothing so powerful as love and thought- no institution, no government, no scripture, no weapon. I hold that there, love and thought, are the only sources of power. You should not expect me therefore to have any fixed opinions, only ideas. I am a man who changes every moment. Anyone can make me his slave by putting his ideas vigorously before me and convincing me that they are right. But no one, however hard he tries, can get me to accept his authority without first convincing me of the soundness of his thought. I have ideas, but no permanently settled views. In fact I am so unreliable that I do not hesitate to express one view today and another tomorrow. I am not the same today as I was yesterday. I think differently every moment and go on changing all the time. -Vinoba Bhave (From his book ‘Moved By Love’)  ...

Walking with Vinoba, posted by Madhusudan on Apr 19, 2014
dada left home when he was just 19 and together with Meera ba connected with Vinoba Bhave during the Bhoodan movement and have ever since lived a life in service. During our conversation with ba and dada I noticed two things – first, everytime they both spoke, the room was filled with ripples of joy. Second, between these conversations there were moments of stillness – quiet and peaceful, full of connection. I asked about this internal state of being and the external manifestation, what was it, how was it happening. Meera ba shared something beautiful that I am still soaking in. She said that Vinoba always spoke of ‘nihspandit hona’ – it is difficult to explain nihspand in English but I will try – Spandit hona is a verb which means ‘to vibrate’. Therefore Nihspandit hona would mean ‘to be still’. See more here, reflections from Jignasha Pandya...

Four Short Stories Of Vinoba-ji, posted by Jaimit Vaidya on Mar 31, 2018
we were on our way to Golden temple last week, Arun Dada shared few stories of his first hand stories with Vinoba-ji ... On Sleep:Vinoba often spoke about three kinds of sleep. First is the state of Su-Swapna, where we indulge into dreams that gives pleasure. Second is Du-Swapna where we experience dreams of fear, anger or some kind of conflict. And third is the state of Ne-Swapna where there are no dreams. This is the deepest and healthiest state of sleep, the closest to Brahmalok As soon as Vinobaji use to wake up, without the use of his alarm clock, he would check his watch. Upto to 2 minutes late, he used to forgive himself for "sleeping in". Beyond that, he used to scold himself for sleeping extra -- which he considered a sin to body. On Samatvam (Equanimity): A group of about 20 people joined Arun Dada, who was on his way to meet Vinoba-ji. One woman among them joined with an intention of seeking blessings from Vinoba-ji so she can conceive a child. After reaching the destination, that woman made an offering of a coconut to Vinobaji. Vinobaji took that coconut and put on his head and said, "If you conceive a child, then be sure to maintain your equilibrium. And if you don't, then also maintain your equilibrium. Whatever the condition, Samatvam is the highest blessing." Practice of A-Swad: Vinoba-ji had a strict and measured diet because of his stomach ulcer. Dada shared how he use to chew each morsel for 20-25 times, be it Cheno (kind of sweet) or castor oil. In both the conditions, the expression on his face use to be the same. Inspired by Vinoba-ji's practice, Arun, to this day, doesn't swallow medicines with water. Instead, he lets the medicine be in his mouth to thaw. Broadcast vs Deepcast: Someone asked Vinoba...

Every time we love we give, posted by Swara Pandya on Dec 17, 2012
would your life look like, if you decided at the age of 5 that your only goal was Self-Realization? What would it look like if you dedicated the last Sixty years in the service of humanity? The answers to some of these questions might be found in the life of Pravina Tai, from the Vinoba Ashram at Pavnar. The mind races when we are posed with the thought of meeting such a Service Icon. But surprisingly, in the presence of Pravina Tai, you find them melting away. At once, you are drawn in through her simplicity and openness, and you feel like you have known her for years. Such is the beauty of Pravina Tai, who at the age of 25 decided to walk with the likes of Vinoba Bhave during the Bhoodan Movement. She then spent the next 8 years of her life at the Vinoba Ashram in Assam. For the last forty years, she has touched the lives of millions as she was welcomed in thousands of villages, sharing her insights on the Gita, and how it can be applied to our journey in service. When asked ‘Why the Gita?’ she replies with a beaming smile and explains that her central purpose was to help people understand that it isn’t applicable only to a Hindu. In fact, she says that a good Hindu would appreciate the Bible and Quran and a good Catholic or Muslim, the Gita. “We must trust that we always belong to the whole, even though we may spend our lives in a part of that whole.” “Everytime we Love, we Give – and true service is to hold that pure intention in every thought, word and deed.” ...

Ram Hari - reflections from Paunar, posted by Madhusudan Agarwal on Oct 4, 2014
film from my recent visit to the Brahma Vidya Mandir (a community for women founded by Vinoba) at Paunar :)...

Gujarati Interview of Gopal-Dada, posted by Harshida on Apr 3, 2011
Freedom Fighter now into environment movement 86 year old Gopaldada is still keeping alive Vinoba Bhave's movement of PEACE. With the daily routine of keeping 7 steets in Unjha clean, Gopaldada is additionally also paying his dues to Nature by watering 40 trees regularly. In the Fight For Freedom, Vinoba Bhave's Peace Core had shown a new direction to many many youths. Inspired by the work of this Peace Army, Gopalbhai Patel from Unjha had resigned from his job as a teacher and got into serving the people. Currently 86 year old Gopaldada is working like a ONE Man Army . For last 4 decades he has been nurturing trees around the reservoir in Unjha all by himself and as a result over 200 trees are flourishing here. Currently he is drawing water from the reservoir regularly and watering over 40 trees behind the Police Station. Inspired by the work of Late Sri Ishwarbhai Patel in the field of cleanliness and Gandhian Sri Narayanbhai Patel, Gopaldada is currently cleaning seven residential areas on a daily basis and in that sense, Gopaldada is fighting in the favour of people today also the same way he did against armed foces of British government in 1942.Translation coming soon! :)...

Arun Dada Lands In America! :), posted by Nipun Mehta on Mar 17, 2019
a joy to receive Arun Dada and Jignasha in America today! See some photos here. He arrived with first-class karma (courtesy of Jiggy insisting on him using a wheelchair :)). Audrey raced up to go touch his feet (later, at dinner, he gave a new name to Audrey -- "OldTree"). Bradley offered him a hand-made heart pin! We all hugged, bowed, laughed, and felt so grateful. Ari came by with his own version of a pin for Arun Dada and Jignasha that read: Love is the Answer. We did a parikrama of Banyan Grove, while remembering Pancho (who is on a pilgrimage as we speak!) and the beloved Pandya Sisters. Guri had prepared a royal Gujarati feast, where Arun Dada told me to save some for tomorrow LOL -- until he himself joined the party and went for second round of dessert (specifically inquiring about the ingredients!). We heard profound Vinoba stories at every encounter, with Jiggy's context peppered in between (like how she had just watched Deven and Simmu in a movie on Auroville, on the plane!) Between Arun Dada tasting his first-ever Avocado and the end of the dinner, the stories went to another level. "Oh, so Vinoba was into masti too?" Audrey asked at one point. Arun Dada laughed his silent laugh and gave another sweet story affirming the case. :) Jignasha was beaming her mischievous smiles all day, like that TA who already knows all the answers before the teacher even asks the question. What a delight, and a particular honor to welcome Arun Dada and his Gandhian lineage on this land -- for the very first time. It's only been a couple hours (and we have lot more masti planned :)) but we're already all smiles. :) At this point, the main questions we're holding is -- will Arun Dada wake up at 3:30AM tomorrow? :) Thank you, a...

A Servant of Peace, posted by Lahar Mehta on Sep 3, 2013
a servant of peace, Gopal Dada dedicated the last several decades of his to the work of bringing peace to his community. After walking with the likes of Vinoba Bhave in the Bhoodan Movement, Gopal dada moved to his community in Unjha, where he has been working with children and within them imbibing simple human values of Truth, Love and Compassion.  Here is a video of him singing about the unity in nature :)   ...

The Passing of our Beloved Gopal Dada, posted by Siddharth Sthalekar on Nov 19, 2013
than fifty years ago, Vinoba Bhave's Land-Gift movement happened to pass through the small town in North Gujarat. Several hundred people had gathered to hear the great Vinoba Bhave share his wisdom through stories from their movement that was sweeping the country in a wave of love. As people huddled into a small school class-room in the town of Unjha, Vinoba began to speak. It was then that he shared the concept of the 'Shanti Sena' - the 'Warriors of Peace'. At a time when the Cold War had just begun, Vinoba Bhave spoke of the need of holding peace within ourselves as a means to battle arms. He said - 'If every community had just 1 person who would dedicate his life to non-violence, we would see True Peace. Not a peace held in place by agreements and nuclear treaties, but one that honours the humanity within us all.'  That one person in the community, dedicated to non-violence was known as a 'Shanti-Sainik'. If violence was to break out anywhere in the country, Shanti Sainiks would drop everything they held important and offer themselves non-violently to take on the Karma of the offenders. As Vinoba spoke, the excitement in the crowd became palpable. No one had ever heard of something as radical as this - it seemed like the only solution to true peace. Yet, who would be courageous enough to offer their lives to others in this way?  Inspired by Vinoba, a young gentleman called Gopal chose to apply. As he wrote out the application form, he wondered what the use was, he was simply a Tea Merchant  and there were several Doctors, Lawyers and Accountants who were so much more qualified in his community. Nevertheless, he sent in his application along with hundreds of others. Vinoba lifted the first paper out of the pile, and to his surprise, he said out...

Sakal Lok Ma Saune Vande, posted by Sanchi Chandna on Mar 6, 2018
been 100 years since Gandhi-ji founded Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad. Today there are several schools in this vicinity who have kept alive the spirit of Gandhian Values. This short film (by Harish and Jarna Devnani, and Madhu-bhai) takes us in a journey from Gandhi-ji, Parikshit-bhai, Vinoba-ji and Ishwar-Dada to share the values of prayers, kindness, importance of girls education and sanitation. ...

Gautam Dada's Stories From Bhoodan Movement, posted by Smita Navare on Apr 16, 2018
few of us met Gautam Dada and Usha tai in Mumbai this week. Sharing a few pearls ... "Bhoodan movement was started for all -- not merely to take from haves and give to have nots. Everyone could take a dip in this Ganga. The rich weren't asked to give their 'excess' land. This was not a call for 'charity' but an act of sacrifice 'yagn'. It was about inner transformation." When he was young, he was in charge of paper work as a 'karyakarta' for the Bhoodan movement. Below are some incidents that he narrated. One very poor man wanted to give a part of his land, but he servers dissuaded him. Still, he insisted, so they took him to Vinobaji. Vinobaji said that in 'yagn' all can participate. Then he told the man, "Daan sweekarta hoon lekin prasad rup jo bhi doonga woh tumko sweekarna hai.' (I will accept your donation but whatever I give you as prasad you too have to accept.) He then received all this land, and then returned it back to him as prasad. On another occasion, a married man wanted to give one sixth of his land as Bhoodaan. He completed the paper work and went home. But he soon returned, saying, "I did not get food at home today." Gautam Dada thought his wife must have been upset that he gave away one sixth of his land. On the contrary, the man's wife said, "Why did you just give your one sixth of the land? Only you earn the merits of generosity? Please give my share as well, only then I'll give food!" One night a man came at 1AM in the night in a bullock cart. When they came to the gate, he said, "I'd like to offer my land to the movement." When asked why he came so late at night, he said, "I am blind, so I need my friend's bullock cart to...

Arun Dada's Stories on Vinoba, posted by Rahul Mehta on Apr 17, 2015
few of us had the privilege of spending some quality time with ArunDada -- and felt blessed by the stories he shared of his teacher, Vinoba.  Below are some of the stories we heard.] (1) Touchstone of spiritual progress (Mar 17, 2015 : 10 am session at Hridaykunj) : At one point, Arundada mentioned, that the touchstone of spiritual progress, was whether there was an underlying stream of prassannata (happiness, loosely translated) in our lives. This prassannata meant every-moment acceptance and joy. He was singing the eternal Kabir bhajan 'Haman hain ishq mastana' at Hridaykunj on a pleasant morning - what a space! what a man! what a song! ...gives me goosebumps - and this was stated while explaining the beautiful line 'Jo chalna raah naazuk hain, haman sarboj bhaari kya' (2) Patience, dear friend (Mar 16, 2015 : Breakout session at Maitri Hall) : While explaining the virtue of patience, Arundada told us a story of him and Meerabaa trekking in the Himalayan terrains. Meerabaa would have difficulty negotiating the inclines. And Arundada would sing this to inspire her in her efforts : "bai re! jarikaj jo vadhu veTHe aa rahyu enu makaan DHukDu, aa ahi aagaL tarbheTe jyaathi taari dheeraj khuTi, tyaathi jarikaj chheTe" (The crazy cases above is not of a dysfunctional keyboard but to help rightly pronouce the Indian words e.g. ganpati is typed as gaNpati) loosely translated as "Dear friend, just a little more if you exert, His home is just here. At the next crossing... From the point where you lose your patience, just a little bit ahead of that." I joked that it takes the likes of Meerabaa to feel encouraged hearing this song. If I was with him, panting on the Himlayan slopes, I would feel irritated that he ...

We Remember You And We Feel Grateful!, posted by Swara Pandya on Jan 31, 2019
note was originally written to Rev. Heng Sure.] Dear Service Space monks and pilgrims, Every single day we think of you, your pilgrimage, your songs and your photography :-). Today only we were thinking of how the path that we are walking has been a pilgrimage path from hundreds of years. There is a strong context here which makes our journey easier. We feel Rev. Heng Sure, Nipun bhai, Guri di and many others made a unique path by "walking it yourself" as the title of their pilgrimage stories suggest. Because we are walking we have been able to slow down in many ways. At times the mind races and we see that our normal walking speed either exceeds or slows down with it. And few glimpses of awareness puts our feet back to normal motion. In the evening when our feet hurts we think of how it would be to bow down after every three steps :-) We hear the dedication of merit while walking and try to imbibe that as a practice. When we feel scarce, Trupti says especially around food:), we sing we have enough, we are grateful, let’s share the blessings. :-) In our first few days, we observed that we would stop to rest and not remove food till there were people around. And around the same time Trupti and I felt something off about it. And in the next stop, we just put the bag of groundnuts in the centre. It was shared with kids, women, men around. It felt so wholesome and abundant. And we felt it’s so true that in giving we receive. It has stayed with us. Post that as both of us left that place we were singing loudly. I have enough, I am grateful, Share the blessings hallelujah. May all be fed, may all beings flourish, may all awaken, bodhiswaha :-) We have been seeing so many birds, big old trees, river streams, hills, sky full o...

Finding those three magical words, posted by Swara Pandya on Nov 4, 2014
weeks ago, a few of us visited an elderly Gandhian couple in Baroda -- Arun Dada and Mira Ba. Now in their 80s, their entire life has been rooted in generosity. As students of Vinoba, they have never put a price tag on their labor. Their presence speaks to a life-long practice of equanimity, trust and compassion. And so do their stories. "Nine years ago, we were gifted this house," Arun Dada told us. The week they moved in, they discovered that their neighbor was a drunkard, prone to fits of violence. Just a couple days after their move, they noticed that their front-yard was filled with food items and alcohol. It turned out that the neighbor also ran a catering business, and thought he could use Arun Dada's front yard for storage space. Arun Dada naturally protested. "Sir, this is our home now, we don't drink or take non-vegetarian food, and this is inappropriate." Somehow he managed to convince the catering staff of their error. But that night, at 12:30AM, the gates of his bungalow shook violently. "Who is Arun Bhatt?" a loud voice screamed. Mira Ba is wheelchair bound and immobile, but she woke up and looked out the window. Arun Dada put on his glasses and walked out to the gate. "Hi, I'm Arun," he said while greeting the ominous drunk man. Immediately, the man grabbed 73-year-old Arun Dada by his collar and said, "You sent my staff back this morning? Do you know who I am? " It was the next-door neighbor bent on inflicting fear and punishment. While cursing vehemently, he struck Arun Dada's face, knocking his glasses to the ground -- which he then tossed into a nearby creek. Undeterred by the violent actions, Arun Dada compassionately held his ground. "My friend, you can take out m...

A Beautiful Gathering in Baroda, posted by Sheetal Vaidya Trivedi on Nov 26, 2013
was an incredible gathering with the Baroda family on Saturday, November 23rd. The space of Vinoba Ashram with its magical energy encompassed all of us in the spirit of love and service. Words of wisdom from Jagdishdada and Ba flowing from years of surrender and service made me reflect on their innocence and acceptance and allowance of being in the flow. The day offered so many gifts in form of prayers, lunch in silence, spirited talks, some hands activity, gratitude letters and much more happening within too. A random person walking in engaged Madhu in understanding what 'Moved By Love' is and before you know it, he decided to attend the next local Awakin circle.   Another group from Bombay came up to our hugging saint Chintan with the same question and were hugged with a bright smile and some sharing. Chintan now wishes to go out and hug random people at Porbandar (Gandhiji's birth place) which is a small town where hugging is not a part of the culture. Ratanben and her husband who made food for all of us were moved by the Ashram space so much that they are thinking of spending two days a month in a space like Vinoba Ashram. Madhviben who serves at the Ashram and who provided us with everything we could possibly need for the gathering invited all of us to come again and spend more time next time.    As we were departing Jagdishdada's words touched me when he said "when you follow your heart and serve, the heart smiles and that is the most genuine appreciation you can get as your heart never lies..rest as Vinobaji and Gandhiji said is "shunya"', or 'emptiness'.   As we walked home, we all held gratitude for the commitment of the Pandya Sisters - Trupti, Jignasha and Swara&nbs...

Surrendering to the emergence, posted by Neerad Trivedi on Aug 7, 2017
weekend we had the wonderful opportunity to spend some time with Shri. Babulal Gandhi, a living legend. Babulalji, now 90 years old ,has had the good fortune to be a part of the Bhoodan movement and walk with Vinoba throughout the journey. Babulal ji was sitting at the gate waiting for us when we walked into his beautiful lush green organic 100 acre farm that he has developed over the last 50 years in a small town and rain shadow region called Phaltan, in the interiors of Maharashtra. The conversation we had with him has left a deep impact on me. Because here is someone like me who strives to explore his so called ‘Individuality’, sitting opposite a man who has lived his life for the society. Once Vinoba ji and others were in a camp where people were coming to join the Bhoodan movement. One of the senior members asked Babulal ji, do you think you can dedicate the rest of the life for the society? Without a second thought, he took out a piece of paper, wrote on it that he is surrendering for life and gave it to him. That’s it. Since then he has never looked back; serving the society continuously ever since.  I asked him “Babulal ji, How can you surrender so effortlessly?” He replied saying, “where there is effort, there is resistance so it has to be spontaneous when your heart is ready.” I was immediately reminded of Sahajta that Jaideep brought out on the call. The question I am holding since then is, what are the foundational pillars of Sahajta? How do we cultivate this spontaneity with complete surrender to the emergence? What must be our heart quality and our connection for us to be able to make choices that we never regret?  As we were holding these questions and a few of us sharing our journ...

Foot Yatra: Travelogue of a Foot Soldier, posted by Agastya Kapoor on May 22, 2015
Posted by Agastya Kapoor]I was first introduced to the concept of walking in school. I read about the "Salt March" by our Father of Nation -- Mahatma Gandhi; somewhere in 1930s. I was quite indifferent to this march but always very inquisitive about the idea.  While growing up, I often saw people walking in large numbers to pay visit  to the shrine of a popular messenger of God - Sai Baba. Much later in life, I heard about a great saint and leader – Acharya Vinoba Bhave who walked all around India for several years (like more than 20 years) to collect land for poor and neglected communities. I really thought that these men had lost their minds but I always had a pinch in my heart about the whole concept of walking for a cause. Who knew I had to wait for more than 30 years for someone to come and shake my whole life up. Someone, actually two of them, who made me realise that I may re-work my entire 33 years of life!   "FootYatra" is a travelogue of my walking pilgrimage (with Yogeshbhai Mathuria) in 2015.  It was an experiment for inner transformation and to check the existence "Guest is God" attitude in India; in the modern times. I walked around 340 kilometers (without money) with three friends. I witnessed the best and worst of human behavior; in me and others.  This short e-book is a humble attempt to narrate the story through my eyes and words. I've tried my best to keep the book simple and very visual. ​ ...

Bhaav Yatra update: at Maharashtra, posted by Sheetal Vaidya on May 30, 2014
reaching Maharashtra I am hosted at a place that resembles Safai vidyalaya. Here’s a family who has dedicated their lives in area of environment and sanitation. Shri Shrikant Naverkar runs a place by the name of Nirmal gram. They organize sanitation training programs and also engaged in organic farming. Following their father’s footsteps they live Gandhian values of simplicity, discipline and service to others. Before evening meal the entire family gathers for an all religion prayer followed by a reading from Vinoba ji’s book. This is their daily routine since past couple of decades. Shrikant ji’s sister Neelu Tai who has stayed for a long time at Vinobaji’s Ashram at Pavnar, shared the story of her father Bhausaheb, who participated in Bhoodan movement and wished to dedicate his life to sanitation. He had an option of taking up a pensionable job and supporting his family, instead he chose to serve people and so he was offered land by govt. to create a sanitation centre. For this work of sanitation he gave away his most dear art form known as scissor cutting, Bhau Saheb was an artist of cutting paper to create beautiful designs, some of his designs are so intricate that you wonder whether it is paper cutting. He passed away before he could set up sanitation space so NeeluTai and Shrikantji decided to surrender to their father’s dream and built Nirmal gram brick by brick as they had nothing in all literal sense except that piece of land. Upon asking what made them surrender so easily to such a herculean task she replied that it was a deep inner calling and so they never gave mind a chance to meddle with it. Staying and praying with them offered much solace and clarity to follow heart’s path. The next week was spent...

Servant of Peace, posted by Madhu on Aug 29, 2011
Gopaldada, a true mystic and servant of humanity. An 86-year-young teacher, singer, activist, and philosopher, he was born in a small village of Gujarat, India called Unjha. Although he was brought up within a large traditional Gujarati family, he was never interested in pursuing a profession in business. From the beginning, he was attuned to nature and living outdoors. At the age of 16, when he was a young student, he was very inspired by Gandhiji and that led him to work with Vinoba Bhave, a disciple of Gandhiji at the Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad, India. He worked with Vinobaji as a Shanti Sainik (Servant of Peace) and for the Bhoodan Movement, which encouraged the volunteer gifting by wealthy landowners a percentage of land to their low caste landless laborers. Gopaldada continues to support Vinobaji’s ideas about Gram Swaraj (village self-rule), a pivotal concept in Gandhiji’s philosophy to encourage a positive change in our society. In spite of difficult circumstances, he started his own Balwadi (preschool) with no finances. He taught children through songs, stories, and by encouraging them to lead cleanliness projects€”not charging anyone a penny. His joyous laughter, his clear thinking, his simplicity, and his energy are infectious and inspirational not only to humanity, but to all of nature’s creatures. He attracts love and simplicity wherever he goes. Even today, he travels from village to village passing along the message of Gram Swaraj. You will see him take a broom and clean the village roads, or sitting and discussing issues with village elders. Don’t be surprised if you see this young man going to the balwadis and dancing amongst children and teachers, singing: “Avo wala reet bataun jeev vun kem! (Com...

Pradeep... Pradeep... Pyaar, posted by Kishan Gopal on Jun 29, 2014
Wednesday I was fortunate to spend some time with Jayesh bhai at one of the most humble space in the world i.e.Safai Vidyalay. After the morning prayer and sharing, people from very diverse background started visiting, in few hours there were students, parents came for assistance in education, health related issues, high court lawyers, district collector, businessman, lokshilpis (grassroot leaders), in charge of a blind school, an old man and a child chirping joyfully and showing her marksheet to Jayeshbhai with gusto and zeal. Last year, she was struggling for admission and a year after she had one of the most joyous smile while showing her mark sheet to Jayesh bhai. In the afternoon, I encountered one of the most inspiring person... He came and sat beside Jayesh bhai. Jayesh bhai called his name with love- Pradeep, he smiled, he laughed and he rhymed his name thrice following Jayesh bhai - Pradeep, Pradeep, Pradeep :) and started patting Jayesh bhai's back with immense Pyaar (love). Intrigued I was, asked Jayesh bhai, so much love just on calling someone's name !!! And as an incentive for the curiosity I had, Jayesh bhai shared the story of this amiable name Pradeep, Pradeep...Pyaar (love). 4 – 5 years back, as a practice Jayesh bhai used to traverse between two pilgrimages Manav Sadhna and Safai Vidyalay through Gandhi Ashram. On the way, he made it a practice to spend time at Hridaya Kunj (Gandhiji's abode), Vinoba hut, prayer place at Sabarmati Ashram. He would act as a guide to foreigners, to people coming across India, would share stories of Gandhi at Sabarmati, would pick garbage on the way, would exchange smiles with children and what not, in pursuit to serve through small acts of kindness and to express gratitude. One day, he saw a pers...

Shuchita Sangam Retreat -2 (Jan 30 -1st Feb 2015), posted by Madhusudan Agarwal on Feb 6, 2015
shunyata samuhik purnata", we often hear these words of Vinoba, and now through our retreats I am am able to relate with them. In our moved by love retreats, we hold space for lot of first time friends and as a volunteer it requires to be fully present to co-create and hold sacred space for others. In this space I feel the above words become relevant, how do we dissolve our individual needs and identity so that we can serve others who are present. Coming to an MBL retreat is not so much about what I am going to get but it is a reminder for me to ask myself how do I share what I have received till now in my life. Who I am and have become is not an isolated process, and if I have any virtues it is because of with the help of noble friends, friends who are too in the path of service to others. And yet there are moment when I feel the need to be nourished, I need to drink from the same well which we offer to others, and often when these two needs gets mixed up, unbalance occurs. Thus with this need what naturally emerged was our recent retreat 'shuchita sangam'. Shuchita means purity and Sangam means to come together, an effort to come together in the process of connecting with our own inner purity. This purity for me is not the moral values established by society, but the values which dissolves the separation within us and outside with others. In two days we are mostly in silence observing seven practices. Prarthna - Prayer- To connect with divinity Addhyan - Reading / Self Study- to connect with our lineage Dhyan - Silence - To connect with ourselves Safai - Manual Labor- to connect with soil and nature Sangath - sharing - to connect with each other Lekhan - Writing - To express our thoughts Satsang - Music / Film etc - To connect with...

Gramshilpi Retreat, posted by Kishan Laddha on Apr 25, 2014
three day retreat was organised by moved by love volunteers at Sughad especially for the Gramshilipis. “Gramshilipis” as the word says are the architects of a village who serve in villages which are highly underdeveloped and in need of basic facilities like roads, primary education, electricity, sanitation etc. The nine gramshilips had qualification ranging from bachelors in Education to Masters in Social work from Gujarat Vidhyapeeth, founded by Mahatma Gandhi. Keeping ladder ship in mind, Gramshilpis brought young leaders studying in 10th and 12th grade who are serving the village. Each day was focused on themes – “Dosti-Disha-Drasti” which means Friendship-Direction and Vision with a message of oneness as Vinoba Bhave says, "I am in everybody and in me I have everybody". In the introduction session on the first day it was interesting to know stories from different Gramshilpis about how they ended up in a village where they have never been before and offered their services full time by staying there in the village, understanding the whole eco-system and then taking up steps in order to dissolve blocks and enhance each ones journey by supporting them in taking small steps. Ashok bhai, joined Neelam bhai in Khoba village near Gujarat-Maharastra border, where one has to walk for at least 10 kms to reach that village from the last bus stop. Both choose to be in a village where there were no basic facilities like roads, transport, electricity, school, medical facilities etc. Even though they did not have enough food or any infrastructure for children to stay or to educate them, they opened up their living place as a hostel and school and started teaching them value education through games, stories and daily activities and ...

30 Days, 30 Ways: A Fellowship Driven By Inner Transformation, posted by Audrey Lin on Jan 6, 2014
the Gandhi Ashram, we’ve been fortunate to encounter streams of individuals who are “being the change” in their own contexts and ways. On top of that, in the last year, through Awakin gatherings, Seva Cafés and Karma Kitchens, decentralized smile events, and Moved By Love retreats, we’ve noticed more and more people looking for ways to go deeper in inner transformation. 30 Days, 30 Ways is a month-long program for these individuals to witness, explore, and engage with the service journeys of diverse folks from the Gandhi Ashram ecosystem while simultaneously engaging in daily practices that nurture the values of kindness, gratitude, inner and outer sanitation, stillness and simplicity, and small acts with great love. By holding space to go deeper within, this 30-day program will be a laboratory in which five participants will experiment with selfless service through the lens of inner transformation. In the wider scope of the Moved By Love ecosystem and emerging generosity incubators, this 30-day experiment can also help inform designs on ‘leading with inner transformation’ in various contexts (business, non-profit, education, etc). Overall Idea To facilitate the journey within, we can make use of various tools around external stimulation as well as inner reflection. So, on one hand, the participants will spend time learning from a range of inspiring folks (‘mentors’), do acts to cultivate kindness (via a 30-day Kindness Challenge) and gratitude in themselves, and also engage in a service project. And, on the other hand, the participants will also engage in silence/meditation, sharing, self-study, etc. In terms of program structure, the first half of the month will focus on daily acts,...

Grateful for it all - MBL Retreat October 2015, posted by Aditi Bhatt on Nov 7, 2015
wonder how legends are made. What inspires people to say stories of great warriors and unconditional love. What was it that inspired the story of Robin Hood? Why do stories of Santa Claus, guardian angels, fairies and elves exist? Last weekend, 40 of us gathered at the ESI campus in Sughad with different questions of our own. The opening circle was filled with stories of gratitude and love. Aabha Didi shared about the day she accidentally found her keys down a manhole and how grateful she was that strangers all around her jumped in to solve her problem. Sheetal Bhai followed with his warming story about a couple who took him in and what inspired him to start Urban Ashram. Dnyan shared about his yatra across India and how a family in Kashmir took him in, treated him like family and throughout Kashmir, he didn’t have to worry about food and rest. He was completely taken care of. Pavani shared how a blind man came to the Gandhi ashram everyday and picked up shoes and smelled them. Not understanding what was happening, she asked the blind man if he needed help finding his shoes. The man smiled and replied, that he was putting the shoes to the side so that no one would trip over them. Deven bhai shared how he was thankful to children and how children are the perfect example of paying it forward. That afternoon, after a short presentation, Sheetal Bhai went on to explain the ‘Tree of Life’ exercise and what we were to think about while doing it. Told to think about something we hadn’t in the past, we sat around and in reminiscent of our pasts, took a blank sheet of paper and started drawing our souls in the shape of trees. As time passed, I noticed how the smiles bloomed on each of our faces as more and more of our spirits became clear to us. ...

A Morning with Kantidada, posted by Audrey Lin on Feb 12, 2014
part of our 30-day “in-turnship” a group of us have been visiting different elders and friends in the community to learn about their service journeys, perspectives, and life values and philosophies. Last week, we visited Kantidada, a seasoned yet simple sculptor in his late eighties with glowing eyes, electrifying white hair, and an incredible lightness of spirit. Born in Indonesia, he was influenced by the values of Gandhi in his early childhood and moved to Ahmedabad at the age of nine. In his adulthood, he created many statues of Gandhi, including one that now stands in New York City’s Union Square. His life carries the rhythm of the clay he molds—grounded in a simplicity that unveils the beautiful “game” of existence, an undeniable sense of oneness, and the ebb and flow of the human spirit. Today, the path to his studio is bordered by an elementary school on the far side, and a vibrant fruit orchard. You arrive at his doorstep wondering what kind of sanctuary you’ve just entered, in the midst of the bustling city of Ahmedabad. When the door opens and you step inside, towering clay and bronze statues of various figures throughout history instantly greet you. For two hours, he graciously sat with us, answering our hodgepodge of questions about life and divinity, Gandhi and Vinoba, fear, joy, and many things in-between. Below are some highlights from the conversation, including a catchy song that many of us find ourselves singing throughout the week. Swara: We’ve only heard of Gandhi. And we’ve read about Gandhi. So how was your experience when you spent your time with him? I was only 19 at the time, so I didn’t think much about it. But I was feeling very happy to stay with Gandhi. When I saw...

On Laddership, posted by Siddharth Sthalekar on Jul 10, 2012
to be returning back to India from a 4 day retreat in Phoenix, USA with the Service Space gang. About 40 individuals from across the world got together to share how they were trying to be Ladders, not Leaders i.e facilitators for people they served and not implementers!    What really stayed with me though, was this passage on Servant Leaders, by Vinoba Bhave from the monthly magazine - 'Maitri'. I thought it resonated deeply with a lot that was discussed back in Phoenix :) More Here.. ...

Last Scene Of The Drama :), posted by Nipun Mehta on Mar 22, 2019
share gratitude on behalf of many in America, who are grateful for Arun Dada's visit -- just after his first circle. :) Last Wednesday, Arun Dada spoke at our Awakin Circle, as Professor Pandya elegantly translated! He opened with a Kabir song, with a translation -- and by the time he closed with a song, none of us even needed to know the meaning. Moved by Love. So many touching transformations. He has a growing list of invites, to build on his already overflowing itinerary. Jiggy has been in full form, trying to frantically document all his stories. And given her last name, we keep remembering the Pilgrim Pandyas too. In the photo below, we are not sure if Jiggy Tai is modeling her new sweater, doing gardening, or just doing a dance of joy since Arun Dada has agreed to increase his weight by 3 kilos. :) Arun Dada himself has been all smiles (and straight-out laughter many times of the day) -- and is particularly in love with Agave, after Guri's introduction via a chia-seed dessert. :) If there's an agave bottle on the table, he'll tap his index finger on the table for seconds. :) On this trip below, they actually went looking for an Agave plant -- and found it. :) "Old Tree" is also counting her blessings, while learning phrases like "atma sayyam" and "nirgun" and also cracking up Arun Dada when she says phrases like "pati gayu?" to refer to, "Shall we leave now?" Post Awakin, this really sweet couple -- meditators, whose two kids have done ServiceSpace internships in the past -- insisted on having Arun Dada and Jiggy over for lunch. And here's a true story. At one point, Arun Dada starts explaining Gandhi 3.0 and "many to many" precisely in those words. Classic! ...

By Thy Grace, posted by Kavita Rajvanshi on Sep 26, 2019
family, I am humbled before His Grace and was moved to share my gratitude with all you. When Mother Teresa left her mortal body, somehow, I desperately rued the fact that though I made umpteen rounds of various temples, I had made no effort whatsoever to meet her, to take blessings of such a living Saint. The idea of being a mother , beyond our two sons, took birth then. I am still trying and it is a lifelong practice and learning to be a mother. As I started reading noble books, I realized that Vinoba ji was among us when I was in my early 20s. What a life I was leading that time — newly married and cocooned in family life. This was a wake up call from within, so to say. I started paying attention to every spoken/written word on His Holiness Dalai Lama ji. One time, Pratyush received an invitation from his office, but of course I could not tag along. Early this year, Ashima visited us and casually mentioned that the next day, she was attending some event at Gurgaon where HH Dalai Lama ji will be present. I wished I could tag along but again no extra passes and nothing for me to contribute in serious matters of the world. Now, three days back, Gitanjali called me to tell about Morari bapu's katha at Harijan Sevak Sangh. On asking the timing, she casually mentioned that I should arrive by 8:30am or after 10:30am as entry would be restricted in between due to HH Dalai Lama's visit. I jumped up! Cold and slight fever not withstanding. She also mentioned that he was scheduled to come to Toilet Cafe too but warned that we may be barred from being there for security reasons. I was happy to see him from afar seated on the stage. Gitanjali offered to pick me up early next morning and we drove together. When Dalai Lama ji's security arrive...

You Always Have Enough to Give, posted by Chris Lowman on Apr 16, 2012
Posted by Chris Lowman] Few years back, some volunteers had started an experiment where we would encourage children to save one rupee a day and use it for small acts of kindness. Children painted plastic bottles and used it as piggy banks and called it Akshay Patra ( inexhaustible vessel). Heres a story of how Chris Lowman took that idea to Kenya ... That is a water bottle that has been painted and has a small slit cut in the top so you can deposit money. My friend, Jyotsana, invented this experiment and calls it Akshaya Patra, meaning inexhaustible vessel. Idea is deceptively simple. You collect money over a period of time not for any specific cause or for any specific purpose, just as a loving gift and knowing that one day when it is filled, it will be given randomly to somebody else. The bottle gets filled with love and money. Imagine if somebody told you they had spent the past 6 months filling that bottle with money just because and felt moved to give it to you. How would that affect you? What would it inspire? Thats the power of this experiment. Lets remember that my kids are all poorest of the poor and live in a slum—typically, they are in the position of having to ask for money to get by. The idea of introducing this experiment to them, on the one hand, doesnt make any sense. But it really does, especially when you define true poverty, as I did, as feeling like you have nothing left to give. I reminded the kids that you can always give somebody the gift of your presence, e.g., talking to somebody who looks like they need a friend. I shared about the two times Ive nearly been robbed (literally) here in Nairobi, saying that those individuals are truly poor, feeling like they need to steal f...

Moved By Dwarko-Ji's Love, posted by Deven Shah on Feb 19, 2015
shuddha tari, shatru mitra hoti. Vyaghra he na khaati, sarp taya.” When the ‘mind’ (chitta) is pure, even your enemy will become a friend. Neither will a lion eat you nor will a snake bite you. Compassionate first meeting I can feel the vibrations of love and compassion by just remembering the time spent with Dwarkoji. It was December 2014, Swara and I were in Sarnath for a gathering on ‘Business Beyond Self-Interest’ and on the way back we planned to visit Bodhgaya for a day to meet Dwarkoji. What started as a humble “Namaste” on meeting him for the first time, ended up being a 4-hour session full of powerful stories, deep insights, smiles, tears, surprising truths, contemplative pauses, simple lessons and a lot more… the conversation was just flowing naturally and the three of us connected very deeply. I had known about Dwarkoji through the film on Samanvaya Ashram made by MAM movies, blog posts written by those who have been moved by his presence, his work on providing education to children from communities that were financially poor, all of which he calls an “arrangement of life”. He has worked extensively on the Bhoodan Movement and was also a manager of Vinobaji’s Paramdham Ashram in Paunar where he led some significant experiments of Rishi Kheti (natural methods of farming), Kanchan Mukti (living without money) etc., In the mid-1950s, he came to Bihar and in this state alone, he was an instrument for distributing 5,000 acres of land to 3,000 families and helped create 13 new villages. He was given the responsibility of the Samanvaya Ashram in Bodhgaya 6 months after its inauguration in 1954 and he has been leading it since then. On the outside, Dwarkoji behaves like an ...

The Ripple Effect, posted by Khushmita Sanghvi on Mar 7, 2017
true meaning of life is to plant trees under whose shade you do not expect to sit." As 40 of us sat in a circle this February in the sacred premises of Maitri Space we could not help but feel the ripples of all the goodness and generosity passed on by the lineage before us.  We opened with the story of the biggest land transfer movement in human history, Bhoodan Yatra which on the surface looked like people transferring land to those who did not have any. But if you went deeper you would notice that an even more subtle work of connecting one heart, one village at a time was taking place. As Goli shared beautifully about Vinoba's movement he also wondered that what in his roots enabled him to share these fruits of generosity. He shared of Vinoba's mother encouraging the youngest child of each household to take a hand full of grain and place it in a box which would later be used as charity. can we ever trace back the origin of a ripple? can we ever trace back the roots in a fruit? Can we ever thank our lineage for all that we have received or as Thich naht hanh famously wrote-- Can we ever see the cloud in a piece of paper? With these thoughts we opened a circle of sharing around the ripple effect of generosity.  Saaya shared of her own personal experience of travelling and being taken care of lovingly by strangers. Lokesh shared how he once saw a little kid share half his chocolate with a beggar woman. This incident made him realise that no matter how small or humble someone maybe, we can always share. Meher shared how she and her friends gave coconut water to passers-by on a street on a hot summer day, while Ranjan shared how he was inspired by a faqir who stands...

Moved By Love Retreat March 2015, posted by Khushmita Sanghvi on Mar 19, 2015
flock of geese fly together in a particular formation usually, where each of them has two geese behind them flapping their wings in unison. As each bird flaps its wings, it creates an uplift for the bird immediately following. By flying in V formation the whole flock adds at least 71% greater flying range than if each bird flew on its own. When a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to go it alone and quickly gets back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird in front. When the Head Goose gets tired, it rotates back in the wing and another goose flies point. A particular trait noticed in them is that if one of them gets injured or wounded during the flight, he leaves the flock and goes down to the ground to recover. Two geese also follow him to make sure he is fine and stay with the injured goose until he is strong enough to fly again or until he breathes his last, after which they again join the flock and fly." People who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going more quickly and easily because they are traveling on the thrust of one another. With this beautiful story shared by Shaalini, we opened the March 2015 Moved by love retreat at ESI. As 35 of us sat together in a sacred opening circle, the seed question of "what is our highest value that we honor or wish to honor in our lives." got each one of us thinking and many heartfelt stories were shared by each participant. Sister Asha spoke of selflessness and how she decided to make one girl smile everyday, while Shweta shared how she wishes to find happiness and joy within herself at all times. Aditi shared how a rickshaw ride changed her perception towards the power of prayer and in...

What I learned through the In-Turnship, posted by Audrey Lin on Mar 24, 2014
back on our “In-turnship” last month, it’s hard to put in words. The opportunity to visit and spend both structured and unstructured time with such a diverse group of service-hearted people has been a gem of an experience.  Beyond that, just having the chance to dedicate 30 days solely for the purpose of reflecting on my values, practicing them with a sincere group of peers, and asking deeper questions of life has been an enormous blessing.   More and more, a few themes have cropped up within myself and across the mentors we visited...   “Know Thyself” On the second day of our in-turnship, Kantidada the sculptor tells us, “The Upanishads say, ‘You are whole.’  We have to realize this. We are whole. Nothing is missing in us.” This inner conviction has helped him move through the adversities in life with an inner lightness. Now in his eighties, there is a radiance in his eyes and a contentment with his life path. He never did what he perceived to be expected of him—he asked instead what values he stood for and he has consistently followed those, no matter what challenges or favors life threw his way. A few days later, we visit two brothers, Vasanthkaka and Kantidada, in their eighties and nineties who have dedicated the majority of their lives to simplicity. They live off the land on a rural organic farm and naturopathy center, and spend their days spinning khadi, reading and writing. With such minimal wants and needs both internally and externally, their life feels abundant. As we spoke with them, they shared the importance of knowing what they wanted and also being flexible with the conditions they were given in life. Kantidada was unable to find a wife, and ...

Samanvay March 19, posted by Kishan Laddha on May 28, 2019
of us from 20+ development organizations from across the spectrum came together in the spirit of cultivating harmony. Sanchi opened the circle quoting Sheela Didi from BrahmaVidya Mandir that when five sticks come together, it’s difficult to break them. When there is strength in togetherness in lifeless sticks, imagine five conscious beings with their full conscience coming together! Remembering Ishwar dada and the broom- symbol of internal and external sanitation, another volunteer reflected –a single broomstick on its own is of negligible worth, when they are tied together, they make the broom that is used to cleanse the garbage and creates the space while nurturing the soul of cleaner. In the same manner we all have coming together with our negligible and/or huge worth to experience collective harmony while cleaning inner selves. Christopher shared a profound story from epic Ramayana, when asked by Ram, "Who are you? “ Hanuman bowed his head reverently, folded his hands and said, "When I do not know who I am, I serve You, and when I do know who I am, I am you. “And Chris shared in a space like this he resonates with both responses - the spirit of servant in process of knowing self. As Gandhiji said once, the best way to find yourself is to lose in service of others. One of the participant, Mangeshi from Wardha, shared that on the way to Ahmedabad, right before she boarded the train, she lost her purse which had all her identity cards and all the money she had, yet with Amey’s conviction (who invited her to attend the retreat) she boarded the train believing she will be taken care. Two years back she met someone asking for alms on a streat, that lead her to start a shelter home in Vardha. She expressed gratit...

A Gift of Love, posted by Michelle Long on Sep 24, 2013
my recent visit to India, I had the the opportunity to spend time with several inspiring soulsi n Ahmedabad and Pune. One man that I sat with on my last night in India was Suresh-bhai.  Suresh operates the Nandini Van, traveling village to village educating rural citizens in the areas of sanitation, waste management, and public and personal health. But, he tells me, “The real work is on improving myself – ourselves - the projects are the means.” He tells me, “Relationships are what matter most. The real focus is on how we can love each other. Everything is clearer when we are in love. Love is life. Love is divine flow. If you meet the love, you meet your life.”   The Nandini Van visits villages in rural India for days or weeks at a time engaging in various projects. On one side of the van are three metal bins. While working with a community they encourage every person to contribute just a couple grains of three predominate staples daily into the bins. Literally, each day, each person deposits no more than a couple grains of rice, a few lentils in the second bin, and two wheat kernels in the third. At the end of their visit they ask everyone who could use this nutrition? And the villagers choose someone sick or elderly or who has been so kind and of such service, and present what has become in a short time, with everyone contributing, a large stockpile of the nourishing foods that they live on.   Because it’s my last night I need to pack, but with all the gifts I’ve received I literally cannot fit it all in my suitcase. Suresh lights up, “I have something.” He pulls out the trundle drawer under his bed in the room we are in, and I see literally his entire worldly possessions. He has four pai...

The Cocoon Of Love, posted by Kishan Laddha on Mar 11, 2019
(18 years), saw a video of Seva Café and Udai bhai on history channel and was moved by the idea of "gift it forward". He decided to offer tuition to students from needy background without any fixed fee – whatever one can offer, he would accept with grace. Initially people made fun of him, a year later one of his student got first rank in one of the toughest entrance exam in the district. Ever since watching the video, he wished to visit Seva Café and meet Udai bhai, pursuing his intention, he joined us in Feb’19 moved by love retreat. On meeting Parikshit, Udai bhai who call Seva Café his mother and himself its son, shared Parikshit is like grandson of Seva Café. We had Col Ramesh (81) who served in National Defence Academy in 1950s, as a volunteer. In the opening circle, he shared, during his training, in the toughest scenario his officer would ask “How are you? ” and the response from all cadets would always be “On top of the world, Sir”. He mentioned how the rigor and spirit to serve nation prepared them to do the supreme sacrifice i.e. life. His discipline, commitment and spirit of service grounded us to serve with love. The invitation of HHH retreat was open to all and we had 39 participants and volunteers coming from all walks of life. We were blessed with the presence of Jyoti didi, who spent 40+ years in Brahma Vidya Mandir, founded by Vinoba Bhave, spiritual heir of Gandhi ji. She reflected, how from the very beginning she was full of curiosity. During her childhood, her grandmother would show her pictures of Krishna, Rama, Buddha and Gandhi and would ask, which one does she like and she would always indicate towards Gandhi, only in her later age to imbibe core of Gandhi&r...

Leadership through shared vulnerability, posted by Siddharth Sthalekar on Jul 31, 2014
last evening, I was called to share a few thoughts for a panel on 'Leadership'. There's enough people, discussions, papers, research thesis's out there on the topic, but this was special. It was organized by the a group of 15 kids from the Phillips Academy in Massachusetts who are visiting India as part of a program called Niswarth. I've been closely connected with the dean Rajesh and the program through my days in Ahmedabad, as well on my recent visit to the USA so I was delighted to join. It was such a beautiful evening - with about 30 people cozying up in a room for an interesting conversation. To give you an idea of what transpired, Vandana Goyal, the CEO of Akanksha leaned over and whispered - I can't believe these kids are only 16 years old. And she was right - I can't quite imagine what I was up to when I was their age - definitely not re-imagining what Leadership can mean. I try not to head into such gatherings with pre-decided concepts. It's easy to fall into the trap of coming up with points and structures on the topic, but that doesn't allow for an emergence in the discussion. In this case, I realized the kids were way more progressive than their age let on, and it allowed me to step things up a bit, and explore a facet of Leadership that we don't normally talk about. In fact, I was a bit surprised when I took the mic, and I ended up saying I wanted to speak about Leadership through shared vulnerability and open-ness to transforming ourselves in the process. Initially, I spoke about my journey - when I had decided to spark some change in myself as well as the community around me. I remember the early days when I had decided to move to the Gandhi Ashram. Armed with my business school insights and experience in capital markets, I had begun wor...

Walking with the Warkaris, posted by Vipul Shaha on Jul 1, 2014
feet are tired but my soul is rested”, beautiful words from Gandhi, describe our state of being as we struggle to walk that ‘last mile’ to reach the Nature Cure Ashram where Madhavi tai from the Vinoba Ashram at Pavnar has invited us to stay the night. It feels nothing short of a miracle for us to have just completed this 33 kilometer walking pilgrimage from Pune to Saswad in rather scorching heat as part of the annual Pandharpur waari. Maybe it was the Shakti of Bhakti (the power of faith) that kept us going through an incredible 15 hour walk. Growing up in Maharashtra, one cannot miss the annual pilgrimage that takes place from Alandi to Pandharpur. Popularly called as ‘waari’ or 'palkhi', it is a tradition going back over 700 years and draws over a million people annually to walk a distance of about 250 kilometers spread over 18 days through villages, towns and cities. This year, we felt a spontaneous call to join-in the pilgrimage even if for a short time, and to really understand the spirit of this walk that has just passed us by for so many years. With no definite plan, no particular agenda, not really knowing much, we ‘took the plunge in this river of a pilgrimage’, and end up getting completely soaked in its flow of amazing generosity, bhakti (devotion) and the celebration of life. As we started walking at 5 am, accompanied by hundreds of thousands of pilgrims (warkaris) chanting, it truly felt like being part of a river—a river that would eventually dissolve in the ocean of faith and humanity when over a million pilgrims conclude their journey at the Vitthal temple in Pandharpur. Innumerable dindis or tributaries representing followers of various saints and their teachings come from the tiniest...

Maitri Milan 2015 - Connecting through Maitri, service and love, posted by Khushmita on Nov 30, 2015
mathematical rules which are true for a small triangle are equally true for a big one.” Said Vinoba Bhave as he referred to the problems of the world and how they could be solved by focusing on a smaller area like a village or at an even micro level within oneself. Mihir from Surat explored what 'within us' causes things to happen on the 'outside' on his train journey to Ahmedabad which shifted his heart at a recent retreat. Madhu bhai shared a beautiful video of Ishwar Dada and his wonderful message of inner cleanliness and outer cleanliness through a broom’s lens. With these thoughts, we opened the Maitri Milan gathering of hearts from around the world connected together through service, maitri, inner work and noble ties. Christopher shared how he learnt an important lesson from Mahesh bhai, the painter at ESI who does his work with such passion and perfection everyday, "that there is no small work. All work done is to be done in devotion to God." Anupreet shared how it is easy to see God within everyone in this circle, but how does one see God in every human being whether he is a cheat or a fraud. Audrey spoke of how there were a million ways to ring a bell and how each person’s perspective was so different from another’s and can we hold each perspective with respect. Kavita aunty spoke of how she felt so held by the community in the last one year as Pratyush walked the narmada pilgrimage. Mona shared an interesting incident with electricians in her home at Mount Abu when she had just arrived there, she was told to see the ‘head’ of the department and she just said,” I don’t want to see your head, I want to see your heart.” Meghna shared about Hari Uncle’s journey and how being...

M-Bee-L Hive Is Abuzz , posted by Rahul Mehta on Aug 25, 2018
few weeks ago, a Mumbai-wallah received a beautiful piece of prayer mandala art by snail mail - probably a personalized post he got in a long long time. It was signed off as "Sarjan" -- the act of creating the world, in this case with chants of love. No prizes for guessing who sent it - our loving sarjak Bhumika who created it during her stay at the Vinoba ashram, Baroda. The words weave a poem, a prayer expressing gratitude to the universe and celebrating its goodness which, as we all know, lies in the eyes of the observer! :) ******* Meanwhile, Kavita Rajwanshi aunty is spreading her wings of love. Her dhobi’s daughter Arti used to be a reticent girl. While accompanying her father, Arti would hum songs occasionally. That was enough for Kavita aunty to form a bond with her, send her the daily messages of Vandana didi via whatsapp, or taking her for an ice cream at a local mall. Kavita aunty would play MBL songs while Arti was around, and little by little, create an atmosphere of comfort and love, for Arti to sing out the bhajans aloud. Next, Kavita aunty is helping Arti prepare for her matriculation which is due 2019! May the love be you, Kavita aunty! ******* Talking of art through heart, the ever-curious Shaloo is learning Calligraphy from a 80-year old at Auroville. Now, that’s a beginner’s mind! And Shaloo is also teaching photography to teenagers. Deven continues to volunteer with the school, holding space and planting seeds in children, with the theme of the last month was kindness and this month is honesty. (Incidentally, Deven is Simoo's class teacher :)) In the first half of July, Deven and Shaloo attended a marathon Anapana for Children training. And Deven conducted a 1-day course! And now, as Shaaloo comp...

Karma Kitchen in Baroda!, posted by Rushabh Gandhi on Apr 1, 2014
is holding us from being kind but then I sense, we are fine… It will all happen, one small step at a time!"  - These beautiful words are from our dear friend Nimo's Being Kind song which I thought expresses the journey we make for spreading kindness to every single soul! I remember almost three years back we were sitting a hotel of Vadodara with Anar didi and Lahar sharing the idea of Seva Café as we were super excited to start one in the city. But you know when it is right, it is right! On 31st December Manjeet and Dhaval who were inspired by the experiment of Seva Café in Ahmedabad decided to do a small in-house generosity experiment in Vadodara. This turned out to be a beautiful experience of coming together in the spirit of community and service. Manjeet and Dhaval were motivated to then continue this experiment at regular intervals in the city. This idea was shared with a group of friends at the local Awakin gathering post dinner and everyone echoed together to do it. The conspiracies of universe are surprising and magical! Two kindness wars at the Akota Gardens, doodle art at Pandya residence, finalizing the menu with Manjeet’s mom at his residence and here we were on the previous night at Shamiana Cine Café sitting in a circle where we were going to host the first Karma Kitchen in Vadodara. Trupti and Karan rushed to collect “idlie nu kheeru” at 11.30 p.m. only to find that the watchman of the building had volunteered to take care of their package as the store was closed. As Jignasha, Bhumika, Neeradbhai, Chintan, Vaishali and Vaishali’s mom where cooking for the karma kitchen, Vaishali’s father was continuously chanting ‘ram’ as the food was going to be offer...

A reflection of the Universal Family in our Local Community, posted by Sureshbhai (Edited by Kishan Laddha) on May 29, 2014
Sureshbhai from ESI and a few other volunteers hosted a three day gathering for folks from across the villages of India. A few reflections from the retreat are below. "Guna Darshnam, Guna Nivedanam and Guna Grahanam" (Observing the Good qualities, Arpiring for them and eventually Embracing them as ours) -  Vinoba Bhave Everyone certainly has the element of truth within, shared Raju bhai, a businessman, in the opening circle of a retreat comprising a very diverse gathering of 32 beautiful souls. There were Sarvodaya leaders amongst the group – Trikam dada (83 yrs), a veteran doctor who took bow to follow Gandhian practices in 1951, Shankar dada (79 yrs) who wrote "Gramayan- comprising learning of lord Rama's stay in 214 villages during his 14 years of vanvas that built foundation of Raam Rajya", there were students (17 - 22years), professors, businessman and engineers. On the very first visit of ESI Sughad,Tejpal termed it as Nalanda (ancient university), prof Rajendra shared, every time he visits Sughad he feels as if he is in heaven. Shailesh, working at secretariat of govt of Gujarat shared that when some appliance has malfunction it's taken to workshop in the same manner when he needs to rework with his value system, Sughad provides the inner repair. The impact of Maitri space was visible even before the retreat started in stillness when everyone meditated in presence of Mukesh bhai previous night. Professor Rajendra a unique practitioner of Giftivism, never take any paid ride, would without hesitation ask for a lift from strangers on road and will reach his destination. He is practicing this since last 15 years, during the journey he built strong bonds with umpteen numbers of people. Raju bhai, a successful bu...

Creating Value, the Gandhi 3.0 Way, posted by Siddharth Sthalekar on Feb 23, 2014
path creators from across the world responded to a compelling invitation to spend 4 days around Gandhi's 66th death anniversary and explore modern manifestations of Gandhian values. We called it Gandhi 3.0. From those in politics to businessmen, spiritual cultivators to social entrepreneurs, the diversity of the gathering was held simply with ties of noble kinship or 'Maitri'.  But days before the gathering even began, volunteers from across the Moved By Love eco-system had been tilling the field in ways in which we couldn't entirely fathom.  Kishan, from Delhi heard about the gathering in early January, and was inspired to join. Since the retreat was being hosted within the campus of the Environmental Sanitation Institute, he chose to honour the spirit of the founder, Ishwarbhai Patel who spent his life spreading the message of sanitation across India. Kishan took it upon himself to look after the cleaning of the toilets all through the 4 days of the gathering. Aabha, from Pune instantly rescheduled her plans to take over the kitchen so that we could offer wholesome meals to the diverse audience. Paragbhai, an entrepreneur in Surat decided to offer fresh, organic produce from his farm on the outskirts of Surat! Kanchan Mama, an elder who had dedicated his entire life to the ideas of Gandhi was moved to hand-spin cotton and offer the yarn to guests as garlands as they entered. The list goes on - from all over the country, volunteers came forward to offer themselves through small, yet committed and profound acts of service. And that spirit of offering asked us to shift the way we anchored the space. Sure, there was a lot of organization to be done - after all, so many people were coming in from across the world. But in every momen...

Gandhi 3.0: The Good in Me Bows to the Good in You, posted by Khushmita Sanghvi on Feb 2, 2014
path creators from across the world responded to a compelling invitation to spend 4 days around Gandhi's 66th death anniversary and explore modern manifestations of Gandhian values. We called it Gandhi 3.0. From politicians to businessmen, spiritual cultivators to social entrepreneurs, the diversity of the gathering was held with nothing but ties of noble kinship or 'Maitri'. The intention was set in the opening circle, with beautiful reflections of Vinoba Bhave: "​When we will all see our role in society as servants, we will all light up the sky together like countless stars on a dark night. Don’t think of society as the sky on a full moon night. The moon's harsh light blinds us to the true and humble work of the stars. But on a moonless night, the true servants shine forth, as though they are connected invisibly in this vast and infinite cosmos." The intention, was to tune our eyes to see the true and humble work, the divinity in each and every one of us. And that happens only when we create a field of 'Maitri' around us. Often, this field takes on a more tangible, palpable form, and on Day 3, it was visible for all, when Prasad (a renowned author and corporate mentor) held the mic and shared how he's been making the shift from an Expert Mind to A Beginners Mind. It was the unconditional care he received through meals specially prepared for him, gifts that came his way just when he needed them in a manner that he felt even his family would not match, that helped his process of emptying. It was an ocean of love, as he said, that nourished him from within and breathed life into words of love that otherwise would have been platitudes. On the last day, Ritu came up to us and shared a letter she had received from Harsh, a vo...

Unlocking Subtler forms of Capital, posted by Siddharth Sthalekar on Jun 1, 2014
is an excerpt from the Connect India talk in London. It represents a few thoughts I shared for 15 minutes, before opening it out for an interactive QnA. I've had some interesting experiences over the last four years of my journey. From someone on a trading floor, to a bearded volunteer, I've spent the first 29 years of my life chasing money, and the next three years avoiding it. The last few months though, have seen me trying to embrace it in more loving ways. No doubt, my experiments with money are allowing me to come into contact with it with a radically different perspective. A large part of this perspective is due to the often counter-intuitive approach I saw towards the outer world at the Gandhi Ashram. Of course, most of us are familiar with the non-violent approach adopted by Gandhi towards the freedom struggle, and most people across the world see the wisdom in it today, but it must have been such a radical approach to float back then. I saw the same thread of thought in the Bhoodan Movement that Vinoba Bhave floated in the 50's. It was during that time, that inflation had also become a concern in India. Even back then, prices of fruits and vegetables had begun to rise (I can't even imagine what they would have thought of today's hyperinflation) and there was talk all around about addressing this issue. As I read about this crisis, my mind raced towards more conventional approaches that I had come across while in business school . Maybe the Central bank should change rates, perhaps the government could have held a less expansive fiscal policy?​ But not Vinoba - he believed in a more intrinsic truth. 'The root cause of inflation', he said, 'was an addiction to money'. With this in mind, he launched a movement that he termed 'Kanchan Mu...

Inclusion Retreat in Bangalore, posted by Madhur Khanna on Nov 24, 2016
had a half-day ‘Inclusion retreat’  on 2nd  October, 2016 in Bangalore. Jaideep, Priyanka and I invited few guests and it was a close gathering of 9 of us with Deepa, Ajit, Ashwin & Bharat, and Madhumitha as participants and Sreepriya, Vinoth, Jaideep and myself as volunteers. We also had few people from the apartment complex walking by and spending some time as audience. All the guests were completely new to such programs and also our team. Yet, in-spite of their physical challenges, these inspiring people made all the efforts to come down travelling from different areas. I was amazed at the commitment and excitement of our guests who had the courage to come to a new place, for an unknown program with strangers. Their ability to trust others and themselves, makes me admire them as brave hearts. After a quick and warm welcome, we got together in a circle of sharing. Hereafter, for all sharing in the circle, I choose not to put names — as it appeals to me more at this point in time. Below are gists of sharing and stories from our group discussion. Tribute to Mahatma Gandhi on ‘Gandhi Jayanti’: Gandhi had strong practices of truth, non-violence, self-dependence, ‘Being the change’, ‘Non-Co-operation’ and insisted on including ‘Harijans’ in society etc. He fought all his battles and never gave up on the movement, making sure not to allow any violence at any time as well. Value-oriented fighting spirit and unwavering commitment to non-cooperation are deeply admired. An 85 year old dada, who has been a Vinoba and Gandhi’s follower would wait extra time and change an auto but only use public, shared auto, not a private one. Though, he may be getting late, his wife a...

Connecting Hearts through a Journey of Love, posted by Sheetal Vaidya on Feb 24, 2014
a group of us friends had visited Kutch, a region that has been known for it's harsh living conditions. The weather conditions are extreme - some of the world's most arid regions and about ten years ago, it was hit by an earthquake that uprooted villages all at once without leaving a sign behind. But amidst the harsh conditions, it's white sand desert held an expanse with colours that encompassed beauty beyond words. And just like the beauty we find in the most unexpected places, was a community whose strength was undeterred by the most difficult situations. It was a community of artisans who found joy in weaving beauty around them in various ways- through unique home paintings, handicrafts in the clothes they wear and folk songs that they sang. We were amazed to experience the art that keeps them alive through thick and thin. Their life stories made a deep impact in our hearts and we learnt the true meaning of living simply with gratitude to the divine in every moment. One such incident was in the home of Mahmood Bhai, an artisan who spent his time creating artworks from the local earth and clay and spent his time rearing his buffaloes. It was during our visit to his home, that we were completely taken aback by his simple, yet unwavering intention to be an authentically beautiful human being. Together, with his wife he would offer us the most delicious meals, accompanied by milk from his buffaloes. We were so moved by his sense of being, that we our knee-jerk reaction was to offer him something to 'make his life better'. We spoke to him of a space in the city, where he could stay and make pieces of art that he could sell, and with the profits, live a comfortable life.  He looked back at us with the kindest eyes, as if to say he understood ...

NGO Retreat: A Journey from Head to Heart, posted by Smita Navare on Dec 29, 2015
attending Startup Service a couple years ago and engaging with the Moved By Love ecosystem, the question arose of how to bring the spirit of love into my work in the NGO sector. Perhaps as some form of an answer, a couple weeks back, about 45 leaders from various NGOs came together for a 3-day retreat. It was a wonderful experience which has caused so many ripples. It’s difficult to capture it in words. For the benefit of many who wanted a "full download" on the retreat, this is the best we could do. The retreat began by taking us in a sacred space beautified with flowers and 'Diyas' by invisible hands. We were greeted with a "Tikka" and “Namaskaar” and a flower given to each one of us with a namaskar.  We then sat in a circle with a minute of silence and that space within this circle of sharing where each one of us shared was so intense and prevailing. We felt like one big family. Each one was listened to and looked at with so much love, dignity and validation, this process in itself was magical. And then the prayers were so soothing and made us all more still. After a break, we transitioned into a talk from Nipun-bhai. There was no formal introduction to faculty, as he is a phenomenon one cannot introduce, one has to experience! In a heartfelt sharing, he very gently and lovingly helped us explore and hold a few questions and ideas and soon it was not ME but WE who were exploring: Being the change we want to see in the world. One key idea was that the place to begin is with inner transformation rather than impact. This flipped it for many of us from the NGO world, where the buzz words are "Impact," "ROI," "Evaluation and Monit...

Being Present to Ourselves - Youth Alliance Retreat in Ahmedabad, posted by Shashank Kalra on Dec 20, 2014
December, Youth Alliance completed three years of existence, officially. For three years, this wonderful organisation has existed, which became the instrument of our journey and for whose journey we became the instruments. Youth Alliance is just a word, just a name, but the bhav is to really start that journey into ourselves through the journey of service in the world. On the outside, its been just three years, but the roots have existed for much longer. And the seeds were planted even before. Who planted the seeds, how were they nurtured, how we all got together, how things fell in place are all spiritual conspiracies. How could I be here, just one disaster or accident and my grand parent won't have lived and hence I wouldn't have opened myself to the world. There is an entire lineage that each one of us bring that has conspired to bring us where we are, here. With this, our retreat at Ahmedabad began on December, the sixteenth. And we were grateful. ​ We were hosted with so much love at a powerful place, ESI in Ahmedabad. It was our Annual Retreat and the idea was to connect to the idea :) Understand more deeply our vision and basically see how are we doing. Hence, we had planned retreat to be heavy on internal discussions about vision, celebrations, reflections, learning areas and so on, thereby deepening our understanding of Youth Alliance and its work. But as it happened Youth Alliance (YA) was in focus all the time in the retreat, but it was via the heart and not the head. Hence, most of our time went in feeling what YA is and will be, for us. Interestingly, in the opening circle where Kishan Bhaiya, Madhu Bhai, Mukesh Bhai and Meet held space for us, we encountered this idea that the sum of all our work is shunya. Isn't that crazy? What about changin...

Sanitation on Wheels, posted by Joserra Gonzalez on Feb 28, 2016
weekend we had the chance to visit a rural community in India, which is something quite different to what we are used to. We went to Chadotar, a village in the northwest part of Gujarat. The idea of the weekend was to raise some awareness on hygiene and sanitation. And for that, 14 of us embarked in the Nandini Van, which translates for Cow bus, a cute name for a very cute and powerful Be-hicle. The Team at ESI-Sughad The project came out of the heart of ESI, who is working for India’s sanitation for more than 50 years now. Sanitation is no joke. Diarrhea is still one of the highest causes of death in Indian infants. And of course, one of the causes of Diarrhea is improper hygiene and sanitation conditions and habits. Nandini Van has been on for more than 6 years now. It was designed by few volunteers who thought that a vehicle like this could be a great idea to generate connection with local people in the villages and to spread awareness on this sensitive issue. For all these years, Nandini has been visiting hundreds of villages with hundreds of volunteers. As we witnessed, it is such a powerful tool to interact with the community. Everyone gets attracted to it, from children to elders. Kids visiting Nandini But of course, the software Nandini brings is even more impressive than the hardware. The spirit with which this vehicle is run reminds us the purity and capability of the human heart. Devendrabhai, who has been working with Nandini since her wheels started to move puts it right: “We realized that in order to connect with the community we couldn’t go there and just look for the powerful guys in the village and try to influence them to improve the situation; we had to do something to connect with everyone in an emphatic way”. ...