This book indicates briefly that the way to peace, brotherhood, true democracy and human happiness lies in an entirely different direction. Its message is one that comes from the heart of ancient India and represents its true genius, viz. the teaching and practice of non-violence. But it is here applied to indicate in the light of a brief review of modern forms of Government, the lines along which political life should he organized if it were truly animated by the spirit of non-violence. This is adumbrated in the third and succeeding chapters which thus form the most important part of the book. The third chapter is also of special interest as laying bare the principles Gandhiji’s Civil Disobedience Movement of non-co-operation and Satyagraha.
The author brings to his task deep learning a capacity to penetrate to essentials, freshness of thought, minute application to detail whether in theory or in the technique of hand-labour, integrity of character, a disciplined life of service and sacrifice, and a fervent devotion to religion – a combination so rare today and yet so essential if men are to be called away Politics divorced from religion is fast leading them. This book gives some idea of depth of philosophical thought and insight into non-violence that underlie epoch-making movement.
Government (Rajaya) is one thing; Self-government (Swarajya) is another. Government can be had through violence. Self-government is impossible without non-violence. So the thoughtful do not want government but urge people to strive for self-government. The following two classical lines from Sanskrit, ‘I do not desire to govern’, Let us strive for self-government’ become their negative and positive political slogans. Swarajya is a term in Vedic language. It is defined thus: Swarajya is the government of each by each, i.e, it is a such a government that will seem to each to be his own rule, or government by all, or Ramrajys (Kingdom of God). The science of self-government is ever-growing. Its systems are ever-changing to time and place. But its fundamental principles are eternal. It is on the basis of these eternal principles that the outline here presented has been made. They allow of as much expansion as we please. Entrusting that task to the future to be done according to the capacity and the needs of that time. - Vinobaji
About the Author:
Vinoba Bhave was one of the great spiritual leaders and social reformers of modern India, whose work and personal example moved the heart of all Indians, from Prime Ministers to the poor. Born in 1895, at the age of ten he took a vow of lifelong celibacy and service to others. Searching for a way of life that would embody both spiritual truth and practical action, he discovered Gandhi and joined in his work for the regeneration of India.
Vinoba participated in Gandhi’s non-violent resistance (satyagraha) to the British Raj. Later, after independence had been achieved, Vinoba started out on his extraordinary bhoodan (Land Gift) movement. Over a period of twenty years, Vinoba walked the length and breath of India, persuading landlords to give to their poor neighbors a total of over four million aces of land.
Vinoba’s social activism was founded on a lifetime’s study of the spiritual traditions of India, and also of the other major world religions. These memories reveal both the inner and outer life of a great man who has an unwavering commitment to the practice of non-violence, to an engaged spirituality, and to the power of love.