Arun Bhai and Meera Ben Bhatt
Arun 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.
“Vinoba taught us there are four kinds of people. Those who only see the bad, those who see the good and the bad, those who focus only on the good, and those who amplify the good. We should always aim for the fourth.” It hit a deep chord with all of us listening to the story, particularly since it came from a man who practiced what he preached. Amidst the sea of negativity, physical threats, and curse words, Arun Dada found those three magical words of positivity — and amplified it. Here’s a beautiful story of Giftivism shared by Swara Pandya
A news paper article written by Aparna Iyer written in Times Of India:
VADODARA: When kids of his age played with their friends in the courtyards of their homes, this octogenarian spent his childhood in a jail in Bhavnagar in 1930s. Now 81, Arun Bhatt used to stay in the jail with his parents, Atmaram Bhatt and Durga Bhatt, who were freedom fighters. Being a child, he was allowed to stay with his parents in the jail and the time he spent with them left an indelible mark on Arun’s mind. When he grew up, Arun dada, as he is fondly called, went on to join the Bhoodan Movement launched by freedom fighter, Vinoba Bhave. Having completed his schooling at Gandhi Sevagram Nayi Talim Sangh, Arun always wanted to live a life with purpose. Opportunity came his way in 1953 when Bhave gave a call to the youth of the country to devote one year of their life for the Bhoodan Movement. He dropped out of the college at the age of 19 and joined the movement that went on to change his life forever. Bhave had launched the movement, wherein he walked across the country asking people to part with one-seventh of their land which would then be distributed to the landless poor. I stayed with Bhave for 15 days during his padyatra in Bihar and that was the beginning of our lifelong association,” recalled Arun. “Such was the influence of Bhave’s movement that people used to wait in queues to donate their land. I saw the movement’s impact in urban areas but I wanted to find out whether it can be replicated in villages as well. I requested Bhave to allow me to visit villages for spreading the movement,” Bhave said. “When I reached out to villages I was surprised to see youngsters of my age encouraging people to donate their lands. Such was the generosity of the rural folks that many even withdrew their applications for land when they learnt of others who were in dire need,” Arun added.The padyatras with Bhave didn’t just give Arun a purpose for his life but also a life partner. Arun met his would-be wife Meera, who used to document Bhave’s speeches, at one of the padyatras in Gujarat. Once a practising advocate, Meera left her profession after as she couldn’t stand malpractices. She wrote over 50 books on philosophy and life and went on to win Sahitya Academy award for one of her books ?Jeevan Sandhya ka Swagat’.This Gandhian couple shifted from Bhavnagar to Vadodara in 1960s and is now living a simple life at a house gifted by a well-wisher in Rajstambh Soci-ety. Their son and daughter keep visiting them occasionally. “All our needs are taken care of by our well-wishers and friends. We wear only khaadi clothes and are living a happy and contended life,” Meera said.