SELECTED WORKS OF MAHATMA GANDHI >  VOL. IV - SELECTED LETTERS > SECTION ONE : SELECTED LETTERS > To Vinoba Bhave
14. To Vinoba Bhave1
[Sabarmati,
After February 10, 1918]
I do not know in what terms to praise you. Your love and your character fascinate me and so also your self-examination. I am not fit to measure your worth. I accept your own estimate and assume the position of a father to you. You seem almost to have met a long-felt wish of mine. In my view a father is, in fact, a father only when he has a son who surpasses him in virtue. A real son, likewise, is one who improves on what the father has done; if the father is truthful, firm of mind and compassionate, the son will be all this in a greater measure. This is what you have made yourself. I don't see that you owe your achievement to any effort of mine. Hence, I accept the role you offer to me as a gift of love. I shall strive to be worthy of it; and, if ever I become another Hiranyakashipu, oppose me respectfully as Prahlad, who loved God, disobeyed him.
It is true as you say that, though outside the Ashram, you have scrupulously observed its rules. I never doubted that you would return. Besides, I had your written messages, read out by Mama. May God grant you long life, and use you for the uplift of India.
I don't see any need for changes in your diet just yet. Do not give up milk for the present. On the contrary, increase the quantity, if necessary.
About the railways, no Satyagraha is required.
What is wanted is intelligent workers to carry on propaganda. In the issue in Kheda District, Satyagraha may possibly have to be offered. I am something of a tramp these days. In a day or two, I shall have to leave for Delhi.
More when you arrive. Everyone is looking forward to seeing you.2
Blessings from,
BAPU

Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, Vol. XIV pp. 188-89

1 On reading Vinoba Bhave's letter explaining why he had not returned to the Ashram for a whole year, Gandhiji remarked: "So Gorakha [the disciple] has gone one better than Machchhindra [the master]. He is a Bhima indeed", and dictated this letter.
2 When he had finished dictating the letter, Mahadev Desai records Gandhiji as saying, "He is a great man. I have always felt that I am fortunate in my dealings with Maharashtrians and Madrasis. Of the latter, there is none now. But no Maharashtrian has ever disappointed me. And among them all, Vinoba is beyond praise!"