Once there was a man who sat under a neem tree, in ragged cloths. Children and villagers, seeing his “pitiable” condition, used to tease him. When the man was in silence, children would often come and pull his beard. For the children, he was a plaything, a fun and a piece of enjoyment. The elderly treated him as if he were a mad person.
To disturb his silence, children often threw garbage, stones and all nasty things on him. At times, they would pack frogs, small creatures and insects in paper bags and put them on his lap to scare him. But, the man remained calm, quiet and undisturbed.
They tried every trick to provoke him, to make him angry but the man remained undisturbed. Some naughty boys brought burning coal and put it on the bare thigh of the man. The man did not react. He was as calm as if nothing has happened. The burning coal made a hole in his thigh and the coal got fixed into it. Tears rolled down from his eyes due to pain, and yet he did not try to remove the coal.
And then he smiled and said, “anyhow, this body is going to assimilate in the “Panchbhuta” (five elements of the universe) and it is only the beginning.” By saying this, the man went into silence again.
The villagers realised that the man was not an ordinary person like them. He was a great man having such extraordinary power of tolerance and forgiveness. All the villagers bowed before him and from that day onwards the man was revered as a great saint.
Tolerance and forgiveness forces even an enemy to bow before you. It is said that owing to the “tapasaya” of that great man under the neem tree, the leaves of that neem tree became sweet. Such is the power of tolerance and forgiveness that even a cruel man with all bitterness towards you will become sweet and lovable in due course of time.