INDIA'S WALKING SAINT by Hallam Tennyson


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A long, tender look at Vinoba, the initiator of Bhoodan who has travelled from village to village asking landowners to give of their property to the landless, is significant in both material and spiritual terms. Hallam Tennyson had known Gandhi's greatness and he came to know that of Vinoba as well as he followed the faithful Bhoodan workers on their mission of land reform. After Gandhi's death, with Nehru at the political helm, there was still need for a leader, and Vinoba gave up his life of meditation to serve actively, to fill the gap made by his guru's death. Tennyson compares the two men as distinctly different types of saints -- Gandhi like the spreading banyan tree, highly human, emotional, personal; Vinoba like the lodestar, pointing away from himself, purged in his long years of dedication, impersonal. He considers the influence of both men as a power that can affect politics, give politicians grace; he notes how both have renounced the tradition of retreat to serve the people, a combination of Western virtue and Indian vision. The achievements of Bhoodan and Vinoba's mission combine the practical need for land redistribution and the elimination of misery that would eventually lead to rebellion with the spiritual injunction to give and live with love. Another figure in the Indian frieze.

Pub Date: April 7th, 1955
Publisher: Doubleday