CHENNAI: There is a story of a holy man from the Middle East who did not have food until a hungry person came by to share it with him. He felt that he should share his food with those in need. One day, an elderly man came by. The holy man saw him and invited him to share his breakfast with him. The elderly man thanked him profusely and sat down at the table to join him. As they began to say a blessing over the food, the elderly man said aloud a prayer to the pagan gods. This horrified the holy man who only believed in one god.
He jumped up and ordered the man to leave. “If you believe in pagans, then I don’t want you in my house.” he said.
When the holy man returned to his table, he heard god speak to him. God said, “What right do you have to send that man away?”
The holy man said, “He did not believe in you.”
God replied, “Look here. I know he does not believe in me. But I have been providing the non believer with food every day for 80 years, even though he doesn’t believe in me. Couldn’t you tolerate him for one single meal?” This anecdote conveys a powerful message.
We sometimes become righteous about our own beliefs and our own goodness. Sometimes we do not understand others and accept them with their faults.
No matter how bad someone is, god provides him or her with everything. There are people who hurt others and even kill others. So many people with numerous faults live upon this earth. Yet, god provides life to each of them. God provides food and water to each of them. He provides air and sunlight to each of them.
If god can provide for all kinds of people with all their faults, then surely we can.
Some people criticise others who do not meditate as much as they do, who do not do as much service as they do or who do not live by the ethical values they do. Have we ever analysed our own selves?
We should respect and tolerate people who have different beliefs and customs from those we have. We should tolerate even those who do not believe in god or who do not believe in god in the same way we believe.
Let us make sure we exercise tolerance towards others as we walk the highways of this world.
If we can have tolerance for others, then we are acting like true children of the lord. When we show tolerance for others, we too are filled with love and earn god’s pleasure.