Volume 7 - Issue 12
December 2009
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BAD IS GOOD

There once lived an eminent man, famous for his many virtues and revered by one and all for his calm disposition. But in stark contrast to the pleasing demeanor of this man was his servant. In fact, this domestic help was so evil and cunning that the ugliness in his character surpassed that of every one in the village. But even so he was faithful to his master and would closely attend on him during meal times. It’s another story that he would not have given a drop of water to a dying man!

Unfortunately, the dark side of his character controlled him the whole while and neither reproof nor the rod could influence or reform him. The master’s house was therefore in a constant state of disorder. Sometimes, in his bad temper, the servant would litter the paths with thorns and rubbish; while at other times, he would throw the chickens down the well.

His unhappy temperament was written on his face, and never did he perform a task successfully. Concerned and puzzled, a fellow villager asked the servant’s master, “What is there to like in this servant? Is it his manners, his skills, or his beauty? Surely, it is not worthwhile to keep such an unruly knave and burden yourself with such an affliction. If you want, I can help procure another slave for you, who would not only be better at work but also have good character. Take this one to the slave-market and sell him. If a piece is offered for him, do not refuse it, for he would be dear at that.”

“You have to make your love pure. To do so, you must develop forbearance, which is a serene patience and self-restraint under all circumstances. It means sharing goodness with all, even to those who may want to harm you. There is nothing greater than having this quality of forbearance. Indeed, such forbearance is equivalent to truth itself; it is the heart of righteousness (dharma). Forbearance is non-violence, in practice. Forbearance truly is contentment and compassion; really, it is everything in all the worlds.  And only when you have developed patience and forbearance will you be able to attain the Lord.”

The good-natured man smiled and said, “O friend! Although the character of my slave is certainly bad, my personality has improved because of him. For, when I have learned to tolerate his manners I shall be able to put up with anything at the hands of others! It will not be humane to sell him and thus make known his faults. Besides, is it not better to endure his affliction myself than to pass him on to others?”

While that had marked the end of their conversation, the master’s forbearance and golden heart that shone forth from his reply does carry a message for one and all.

Life does put us in many unwanted situations, many a times. But the key to making it pleasant and producing maximum benefit for ourselves is to use the opportunity to work on our own shortcomings.

Not an easy path, but certainly worth the trouble; for, though forbearance at first may feel like poison, when ingrained in our nature let us be assured it becomes like honey.

Bhagavan Baba says, “You have to make your love pure. To do so, you must develop forbearance, which is a serene patience and self-restraint under all circumstances. It means sharing goodness with all, even to those who may want to harm you. There is nothing greater than having this quality of forbearance. Indeed, such forbearance is equivalent to truth itself; it is the heart of righteousness (dharma). Forbearance is non-violence, in practice. Forbearance truly is contentment and compassion; really, it is everything in all the worlds.  And only when you have developed patience and forbearance will you be able to attain the Lord.”

Therefore, let us cultivate this virtue of forbearance and unlock our inner potential.

Illustrations: Mr. Rahul Raja

 

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- Heart2Heart Team

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