Inspirational Stories

There was an old man in Kerala (India), noted for his serene temperament. Nothing could disturb him calm, not even the gravest provocation. He had in fact become a curiosity for everybody in the village.

One day a few young pranksters decided that they would make him angry. They caught hold of a ruffian, instructed him what to do, and promised to pay him Rs. 500 if he got the old man to lose his cool.

The old man used to have a bath in the river every morning. The youngsters went and hid themselves amidst the scrub on the river bank. When the old man was returning from the river, the young ruffian went up to him and spat on his face. The old man just smiled, and went back to have another dip in the river. When he emerged from the river a second time, the ruffian again spat on his face. Again, the old man smiled and went back for another dip.

More than a hundred times the shocking incident was repeated. Ultimately, the young ruffian was frustrated and stopped the despicable act. In a spirit of genuine repentance, he prostrated before the old man and sought his pardon. The youngsters, too, came out of their hiding and asked for the old man's pardon.

One youngster, who could not believe that a man could exhibit this amount of patience, asked the old man. "Sir, how could you tolerate the atrocious action of that ruffian?"

The old man replied calmly...

1. What is the old man's reply?
2. What is the implication of this story?

***Check with your answers only after you have tried to come up with your own.

1. After all he is a child.
2. We love children. We forgive their mischief and continue to show them affection. Similarly if we are able to show love and affection to each and everybody in this world there would be no occasion for us to get angry or irritated. To reach this state of tolerance is not easy. It needs constant practice and diligence.

Note: I read this story in Swami Shivanand's book "Concentration and Meditation". This has had a lasting impact on me. It has helped me to retain my equanimity in many a trying situation. If you want to know about Meditation, you may also visit "Meditation Guide".