Provocation Falls On Deaf Ears

Once an ochre-robed person was going in a bazaar. School boys and college students followed him, talking flippantly about him. He took no notice of them. He was proceeding from one village to another.

The students indulged in all kinds of abusive language with a view to provoking the mendicant. But the mendicant walked on and sat under a tree on the outskirts of the village. The students went on trailing him and exhausted all their stock of abuse. As they were silent the mendicant asked them, “Children, have you any more words to be used against me? Come out with them even now, as I have to go to the next village.”

One insolent youth among them asked, “What will happen when you go to the next village?” The mendicant replied, “Child, I will do nothing. Praise or blame attaches only to this body and not to myself. But, there are in the next village a large number of people who have high regard for me. If you indulge in your abuses of me there, the villagers will thrash you. To save you from this experience I am informing you in advance.” On hearing this, the students had a change of heart.

They prostrated at the feet of the mendicant and craved for his Kshama (forgiveness). And he forgave them! Forgiveness is a quality that every man should possess. That forgiveness is truth itself, it is righteousness, it is the Veda. It is the supreme virtue.