Gautam Dada's Stories From Bhoodan Movement
A 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 bring me here." Servers replied, "Now that you have come, at least stay for a little bit so you can meet Vinoba-ji. You can leave in the morming." But the blind man said, "The owner of the bullock cart needs the cart to do his work in the morning, so I must leave now." He filled out the form in those late night hours and left. When Vinobaji learned of this episode, he told the volunteers, "That man wasn't blind -- all of you are. You did not recognize GOD at your doorstep."
Few other notes ...
Vinoba once said, "College bekar banane ka karhana hain." (College is a factory that makes idle people.) And Zakir Hussain then said in one of his talks, "Sirf bekaar nahin bevkufh bhi ." (Not only idle but they also make people foolish.)
In practicing service, make sure it doesn't become "Ku seva, aseva or viprit seva".
"Adhi vichar mug kaam phir vichar". Reflect before you act, serve, then reflect again.
Serve the B's in society, starting with the most vulnerable: Bimar (sick), Bhooka (hungry), Baccha (child), Buddha (old), Bewa (widow).
Once during famine relief, while other relief workers were giving free food, Vinobaji and his volunteers requested them to work to their capacity and then gave food.
"We should bring a spiritual revolution and emphasize on ADHYATMAK (spirit) along with service," Gautam Dada emphasized.
Feeling deeply grateful that I got to meet Gautam Dada, at our NGO retreat two years back, and has continued to be a blessed connection.