Unity is a great need. Any work, big or small, can be successfully carried out only through unity. Egoism, difference of opinion, lack of spirit of give and take, would hamper unity.
Let us, as the first step, live in unity with our family members. This can then be extended to the community, town and the world. Only through unity can any good deed be carried out.
Once, there lived a husband and wife. The husband entertained deep desire to feed men of God (Sadhus). Hence, he would invite and bring home any Sadhu he chanced to meet on the street. His desire to feed the Sadhus was so deep that his invitation was not restricted to lunch and dinner time alone. He brought them home at all odd hours. The number kept increasing as days passed. The wife did not support the husband’s feelings. She thought, ‘he brings the Sadhus home all through the day and night. The cost of rice and all other food articles have shot up. Can we afford this? Further, is it possible for me to cook round the clock? Would my health not be affected by working in the kitchen all the time? I must cook up a plan to bring this practice of my husband to an end!’
One day, the husband, as was his practice, brought a Sadhu home to be fed. The wife thought, ‘I must bring this to an end now.’ She sent her husband away to the market with a list of articles to be purchased for preparing the meal for the Sadhu. The Sadhu had his bath and sat down to perform Nama Sankirtan. Do you know what the wife did? She picked up a huge pestle and in his presence washed it clean with water and applied sandal powder and ‘kumkum’ on it.
The Sadhu asked her, “Why are you decorating the pestle in this manner?”
The wife who had been awaiting this opportunity readily seized it and asked him in an innocent voice, “Oh, Sir! Don’t you know about my husband?” and went on to explain, “Whenever he sees a good man like you he would bring him home: but my sympathies to all those who come home.”
The Sadhu asked, “Why? Why do you speak so?”
“Oh, my husband usually hits the Sadhus with this pestle before feeding them. I feel very upset thinking about this,” she said.
Shivering from head to foot the Sadhu asked, “How many times does he hit?”
The wife said in a woeful tone, “oh, Sir! He has psychological problem. He will hit you any number of times.”
Would the Sadhu still remain there on learning this? He took to his heels!
The husband returned home after purchasing the articles listed by his wife. Not finding the Sadhu, he asked the wife about it. She said, “That Sadhu wanted to have the pestle which has been with the family down the ages. I told him that I could not part with it without your permission. The Sadhu became very angry and in spite of all my pleadings has left home.”
On hearing this, the husband said, “Should you not have given him the pestle if he desired to have it? I shall take the pestle, give it to him and bring him home for food. Have the food ready.”
Picking up the pestle he ran out in search of the Sadhu. On finding the Sadhu he called out, “Swami!” The Sadhu turned back only to find this man running towards him with the pestle in his hand. Fear gripped him and like the sprinter in the Olympics off he went!
Aghast, the husband began to give him a chase. The Sadhu was too quick for him and all his efforts to find the Sadhu failed. He returned home disappointed. After this incident no Sadhu would dare to present himself before him.
This story goes to show that only if there is unity in the family can even a small good deed be done.