Letter 31

Acharya Vinoba Bhave

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'Gungrahan' Enlarge the good qualities of others


2nd September, 1990

My dear Pranav,

Vinoba has given us in his books and lectures many interesting ideas. He was a great scholar and very intelligent person. While stating some ideas, he has also told us about the changes that he went through. These views or spot-lights on his personal development are very enlightening. He continued growing till the end of his life.

Madhav Deva, a Saint - poet of Assam, has divided people into four categories :Lowly, Middle, Good and Best. The lowly (Adham) is one who sees only faults in others; the middle category (Madhyam) recognises both the faults and the merits of others; the good (Uttam) looks at only the good points of others; and the Best (Uttamottam) looks at the good qualities in others through a magnifying glass. Mirabai and Guru Nanak also talk about Gunagrahan, seeing the good points in others.

Vinoba says that in the early years of his life he used to find fault with others. He used to test their intelligence an found some fault or other in everyone. Then he decided that every one has some faults or the other. So he gave up seeing faults in others. He started looking for faults in himself. As Tukaram has said, "Why should I look to the faults of others? Do I have any less?" It is better to look a one's own faults only.

Vinoba then called on Gandhiji who told him that he should enlarge the good qualities in others and also enlarge one's own faults. Vinoba argue with Gandhiji. He said: You are a seeker after Truth. Then we should stick to truth. Why are you asking me to enlarge the good things in others and bad things in me? Gandhiji replied: What you say is mathematically correct. We should not enlarge or reduce. We should stick to reality. But human beings have to see things in perspective. Our eyes cannot see things from a distance in their actual size. We must have perspective. The good things in others are at a distance. To understand them correctly in the right scale we must look at them with enlargement. While we see our faults always as small ones, to get a right perspective we must enlarge them to remove them."

Vinoba thereafter accepted this idea. He said: "In the end I started seeing only good things in others and in myself." He did not want to waste his time in finding fault with any one!

Vinoba wanted all of us to be like a magnet. A magnet attracts all the pieces of iron or steel, wherever it is moved. Similarly, we should try to see only the good points in others. That really makes us better persons. We have less tensions and less quarrels. Vinoba recommends that situation as the expression of one's best behaviour.

With love,


L. N. Godbole

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