Servant of Peace

Posted by Madhu on Aug 29, 2011

Meet 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! (Come, dear ones, I will show you how to live life)”.

Posted by Madhu on Aug 29, 2011 | permalink

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