‘It’s easy to be an angel when no one ruffles your feathers’

In life, we go through many emotions — anger, fear, sadness, happiness, etc. And when we do go through some lows, we face a real test of character. That is when our true personality emerges.

In this YoursWisely video, spiritual facilitator and storyteller Nithya Shanti tells the story of an ascetic who, after having performed meditation for 30 long years, emerged from a cave to greet town folk who awaited him eagerly. They had prepared meals for him out of devotion, and wondered when they would get to see him. They also had questions for him.

They garlanded him and fell to his feet, and asked what he had learnt in these 30 long years that he spent in solitude. The ascetic beamed, and with a peaceful look on his face said he had been a very short-tempered person before this experience. Every little thing would get him upset. But, in these 30 years, he had completely conquered anger. That not once had he lost his temper. Then, someone asked him if he was sure he had not lost his temper even once, given that 30 years is a long time. The ascetic said he was sure that it had been his biggest accomplishment. And then another person chimed in saying it is unbelievable that he had not lost his temper even once. And once again the ascetic said he had not. Then, when a third man asked him the same question, he snapped at him, yelling: "Do you not get it? I have completely conquered anger!"

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The irony of life is such that we humans are always on our best behaviour when our feathers are not ruffled. But our character is truly tested and judged when unwelcome incidents occur and things we actually wish for prove elusive.