A Soldier Of Peace
--Anne-Marie Bauer
3 minute read
Jan 18, 2014

A Tribute to Gopal Dada, a devotee of Vinoba Bhave,
at the village of Unjha.

January, 16th 2014

It was a remarkable day, for approximately four hundred people gathered, both friends and family, from near and far to honor the late Gopal dada in his birth town of Unjha just two months after his passing. Gopal dada, whose spirit and legacy still lives vibrantly in the hearts of all whom he touched. In this spirit, his disciples, whom he mentored and shared his values on Gandhian philosophy, and his life lessons, came together to share small stories that inspired them about their beloved Gopal dada. More than fifty of his personal disciples shared loving stories of inspiration. Many of these stories highlighted how Gopal dada was known for spreading kindness with small acts of love.

One such story was shared how he had created fifteen black boards all throughout the village. Before sunrise,with a lamp in hand, he would write positive messages and quotes for people to wake up to. Another story highlighted his spirit and devotion to nature. He planted more than five hundred trees in his home village and would with his own hands carry water from a nearby small lake and water these fragile trees with such care. Gopal dada was also a man of great integrity and honesty. Another shared how the people whom gave contributions with faith, to his revered cause and support of the Vinoba Ashram, were all returned with a receipt of their contribution.

This tribute was organized and sponsored by life long student of Gopal dada Ramji bhai. Ramji bhai whom finds deep gratitude for the lessons and values imparted by Gopal, shared that he never had the honor of meeting Vinoba Bhave, but that found his spirit in Gopal dada. He believed Gopal dada was the Vinoba of Unjha. He also in his honor, promised to lay down, for each of the trees planted Gopal, a seated area surrounding and encasing each tree.

Gopal dada, and the way with which he lived is life, was a great inspiration to many. Jayesh bhai, a long time friend, was particularly inspired by the way which Gopal dada lived a life of Sadhana- a life of great spiritual practice, and a life of simplicity. Among others that were inspired were Engineering students, from Stanford University in California, whom shared a reverence of his spirit. Particularly, a story that was recounted by Jeyesh bhai was that of which he was walking with Gopal dada on a road and saw him clearing the rocks away to the side of the road. In which Maria, a Stanford University student accompanying them asked him why he was doing this. Gopal dada proceeded to explain that in spirit of Maitri Bhav, noble friendship he is doing this. He may not know the person who may possibly walk behind him, but in doing this he may spare someone from hurting their feet on the small stones.

Among others the others who spoke about Gopal dada, there was also an individual who is known for singing great spiritual and devotional songs.  He sang with great might a personal favorite devotional song of Gopal dada.  It was with sang with so much heart and moved some to tears.  

Gopal dada, whom by his legacy and with how he lived his life inspired and continues to inspire us, begs the question, how can we too, live a life with such purity and intention? His 'outer cleanliness' was a mere reflection of his inner purity. The small and in great ways with which he served has had a profound impact on many and continues to to this day.

Posted by Anne-Marie Bauer on Jan 18, 2014

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