Baba told this story to the students at Kodaikanal.
Once all the vegetables on Mother Earth got together to know which of them was first in order of merit. All the vegetables prayed to the Creator to do the judging. So, Lord Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh descended on to earth and unanimously declared one vegetable better than the rest – The onion! While all the vegetables had good qualities, the onion had one extra quality that the others did not. The onion smelled the same throughout its life. So also, our devotion to God should be constant, irrespective of whether we are happy or not.
Just before leaving to go back to the Heavens, each of the gods blessed the onion. Brahma placed his hand on his beard and said, “I bless you. As long as you are on this earth, you will have a beard like mine.”
Lord Vishnu said – “If someone cuts through you vertically, the shape of my conch shall be seen. If you are cut horizontally, my disc shall be visible!”
Lord Mahesh said, “Onion, I bless you. Whenever someone hurts you, that person will cry, and not you.”