One day a group of people who were busy gambling entered into an argument. When one of them asked the main culprit to stop quarrelling, another person from the group said sarcastically, “He is not Eknath that he will not get angry.” This statement jolted the culprit and he asked, “Is it a fact that Eknath never gets angry?” All others who were aware about this virtue of Eknath replied in unison that it might be possible for the sun to rise from the west, but to get Eknath to lose his cool is unheard of. The culprit who still couldn't believe what he heard, stated, “The person who never gets angry cannot be a mere human but has to be a superhuman.” Once again the others replied, “That's precisely what Eknath is.” Still not convinced the culprit put all his money at stake and laid a bet that he would surely make Eknath lose his cool.
The gambler resided near the banks of river Godavari. To win the bet he thought of a plan. The next morning when Eknath was on his way back after taking a bath in the holy waters of Godavari, the gambler stood on his terrace purposely chewing paan, as he waited for Eknath. As soon as Eknath passed by, he spat on him. Forget about getting upset and angry, Eknath didn't even bother to look up and just turned back towards the river to bathe again. Once again after taking his bath while Eknath was returning, the gambler spat on him and this time too Eknath, maintaining his cool, turned back to bathe. This went on repeatedly a number of times. The gambler would spit and Eknath would go back to bathe. Finally it was noon, and the gambler, completely tired of standing for so long in the sun and having finished all his paan, conceded. Eknath was returning after bathing once again when the gambler who was now down on the street stopped him and asked, “Although I have been spitting on you repeatedly since morning, you have maintained your calm. I don't understand how you could remain completely unaffected.” Eknath replied, “My purpose of bathing in the holy waters of Godavari is to cleanse my body prior to offering prayers to God. When you spat on me I got another opportunity to cleanse myself in the holy water and purify myself once again. Besides that, by spitting on me you had only dirtied my body which I could easily clean in the water. But if I would have got angry on you then I would have dirtied my mind. Besides, it's always easier to cleanse one's body rather than the mind.” The gambler was extremely touched by this simple yet concrete logic of Eknath.
One day, Eknath had organized a prayer meet at his place. Attracted by the sweet fragrance of delicious sweets being prepared, four 'harijans' (people from backward class) went up to his house. Honouring their desire to eat, Eknath served them all the rich food prepared for the Brahmins. He also invited all the other 'harijans' of the town to have meals at his place. Girijabai lovingly served all the 'harijans' with the delicious food she had prepared. After that she washed the house and prepared a fresh meal for the Brahmins. However as the 'harijans' had been served food at his house, the Brahmins declined to have a meal at his place. They criticized Eknath for his actions and decided to punish him for his behaviour. They reprimanded him and questioned him, “For one who has studied the scriptures, how could you do such a thing?” Eknath replied, “The 'harijans' were hungry and since there can be no restrictions of caste and creed while serving the hungry, I served them.” He further added, “It is clearly mentioned in the very same scriptures that there shouldn't be any discrimination of caste while donating food.”
Friends, there is a lot one can learn from the deeds and thoughts of this great saint. Just a couple of his virtues, ‘like one should never have any disregard for others' and 'he who gives happiness to others can never be unhappy' have been quoted here.