Tukaram was a great Saint. He spent his time in singing the praises of Lord Vithala Panduranga. Tukaram was a gentle and balanced person but his wife was just the opposite. Despite the difference in temperament, he managed to get along well with her.
Tukaram had a small half acre farm that he used to till, for a livelihood. Once he planted a sugarcane crop on this land. When the sugarcanes started to ripen, they were obviously sweet and juicy. Anyone passing that way used to pluck a few sugarcanes to eat. Tukaram never rebuked anyone for this robbery. By the time the crop was ready to be harvested; only a few sugarcanes were left in the field. Anyhow, Tukaram harvested the crop and bundled it into his cart and set off for home. All along the way, the children of the village pleaded with him to give them a sugarcane stick each. As was his nature, Tukaram allowed each of them to take it.
When he reached home, his wife was standing in the doorway. She saw a lone piece of sugarcane in his hand. In an instant, she knew what had happened. She started shouting, “What is this, you foolish man! Just one piece of sugarcane from such a large farm land? You are good for nothing!” As she hurled abuses on him, she snatched the solitary sugarcane from his hand and struck it sharply on his head! The cane broke and two pieces fell on the ground. The third one was left in her hand. Tukaram shrugged his shoulders, smiled and said, “Well! Well! All this time I was wondering how I was going to distribute this single sugarcane stick amongst the three members of the family. But you seem to have solved the problem so well. You can eat one piece and give the other two to the two children.”
Tukaram entered the house, leaving behind a speechless wife, holding a stub of sugarcane in her hand!
Such qualities of forbearance are not there in most of us. Only highly realized souls exhibit such qualities, but nevertheless, we too need to train our minds to emulate them. Most of us are in the habit of retaliating; wanting a tooth for a tooth and a nail for a nail.
Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools talk because they have to say something!