This chapter is the English translation of Gujarati Book
               Title   -  Sadhak and Sathi
               Author  -  Shri Atmanandji (Dr. Soneji)

      CHAPTER - 5


      Tolerance is defined as voluntary endurance of inconveniences
      pertaining to the mind, speech and body, in a spirit of
      equanimity, so that a person attains to purity of soul.

      Training in Real Tolerance:

      Tolerance without the attainment of purity of soul does not lead
      to attainment of the Supreme Reality (Param-Atma).

      A merchant may engage himself in business for profit without
      even taking food and drink for some time.  A student may
      persistently keep awake studying during examination.  These are
      a few practical examples of worldly tolerance.  Such activities
      inspired by selfish motives are common.

      Noble tolerance having higher human values dawns in life only
      when a person endures hardship for others, even at the cost of
      his own personal gains and works.  During the practice of
      tolerance, one has to cultivate a spirit of equanimity and
      develop virtues like patience, calmness and forbearance.  Again,
      here is a matter of voluntary endurance, because one engages
      oneself in it only for his own spiritual welfare.

      When poor people or animals endure inconveniences such as hunger
      and thirst, cold and heat, insults and abuses, it is not out of
      volition but out of helplessness.  The tolerance of this type of
      afflictions is merely through helplessness, dependance and
      compulsion.  This is certainly not the real or noble tolerance.

      External Forces Testing Tolerance:

      The spirit of tolerance of a Sadhaka is tested by a variety of
      distressing circumstances induced by worldly people, animal
      life, natural calamities and so on.  Ordinary people are bereft
      of faith in super sensuous bliss and therefore, have no faith in
      the activities of doing good deeds to others.

      In the elementary and intermediate stages, a Sadhaka may
      experience non-cooperation even from his relatives and it may
      sometimes amount to clear opposition.  An advancing Sadhaka is
      cruelly referred to as a "bookworm" and is even insulted and
      banished from society.  Some cruel and heartless persons may
      deprive Sadhaka even of food and drink.  Very often he finds
      that his path is obstructed by stones and thorns.  He might even
      be physically manhandled by kicks, blows, sticks and other
      destructive attacks.

      When Sadhana is practiced outside the house in lonely places
      such as a holy place, a forest or a garden; here also a Sadhak
      may have to endure harassment from ants, flies, mosquitoes and
      other small insects.  Occasionally, rats, squirrels, or even big
      animals may torture him.  Apart from causing physical suffering,
      they can also disrupt the meditation by producing harsh sounds
      or frightening movements.  Natural forces can also act as
      sources of disturbance to a Sadhaka.  These are excessive cold,
      unbearable heat, heavy rains and so on.

      The production of different diseased states in the body is also
      a natural calamity in which the Sadhaka is expected especially
      to preserve equanimity.  This is the most direct, and difficult
      of all tests of his overall spiritual attainment.  The Sadhaka,
      who reveals tolerance even in a diseased state of the body, is a
      real saint indeed.

      High-Grade Noble Tolerance:

      As the aspirant becomes more and more enlightened in the true
      concepts of the nature of the universe, he will rather blame
      himself for any distress or calamity than blame others.  The
      mental repose of a real Sadhaka is not disturbed because he does
      not find fault with circumstances, other individuals, or
      objects, but rather looks within himself for the same.

      For acquiring true tolerance, one should, therefore, learn both
      the types of practices; i.e.  acquiring true knowledge as well
      as practicing to endure the pains patiently even under adverse
      circumstances.  Through the maturity of this two-fold practice,
      the Sadhaka attains to the state of an emancipated Yogi
      (Siddha-Yogi) i.e the state of a person of steady intellect
      (Sthitaprajna) who has attained equanimity.  This is the climax
      of spiritual Sadhana.

      In addition to the natural afflictions that befall the highly
      advanced Sadhak (aspirants), they test their tolerance
      voluntarily by sitting in meditation by a river-side in winter,
      on rocks of mountains in summer or by walking on thorny and
      gritty roads at other times.  This is precisely how they
      impartially test the state of steady intellect
      (Sthita-prajna-dasha) acquired by them.


      Gold-dust obtained from a mine cannot become real pure gold,
      before it passes through processing in several furnaces.  An
      iron-rod cannot be turned to the desired shape until it is made
      red hot.  A cloth that is excessively dirty must be well-rubbed
      in the hands or machine before it becomes thoroughly cleaned.
      Similarly, one cannot get over long standing adverse beliefs,
      knowledge and behavior without appropriately tormenting the soul
      and cultivating due forbearance.

      It therefore becomes the duty of a person desiring liberation at
      all stages, constantly to practice tolerance.  The inner
      strength of a person gets enhanced with the practice of
      tolerance.  As one increasingly develops the art and science of
      forbearance, the inner strength is enhanced, and the aspirant
      (Sadhak) conquers the path of self-knowledge and self-control
      and continues to reap the fruits in the form of meditation
      (Samadhi).  It is therefore necessary that we seek this virtue
      of tolerance that is the very cornerstone of spiritual progress


      1. The path of tolerance with goodness is extremely difficult
         but it still yields the best of rewards.

      2. Gold acquires greater and greater brightness as it is heated
         more and more in fire.  Sugarcane is squeezed again and again
         and yet it does not give up its sweetness.  Sandalwood is
         rubbed again and again and still it does not discard its
         coolness.  In a similar manner, noble persons do not give up
         their nobility in spite of countless tough tests.  They
         attain to their cherished goal with tolerance in a spirit of

      3. The diamond extracted from a mine has only limited
         brightness, but when it is washed and cleaned and facetted in
         a variety of shapes, only then does its brightness shine all
         the more.  In a similar way, the Sadhaka has to pass through
         numerous tests before he becomes a saint.

      4. Tolerance and benevolence form is the very nature of good and
         noble men.  Trees bear heat and yield shade to others.  The
         sandal tree gives coolness and fragrance to the edge of the
         axe that cuts it.  Likewise, noble persons spread love and
         benevolence in spite of countless calamities that overtake

      5. Just as clouds take the salty water of the sea and yield a
         rain of sweet water, in a similar way, noble persons suffer
         calamities and shower goodness.



      Shri Vishvanath Shastri, was a great scholar and logician, who
      lived in the eighteenth century in the state of Bengal, India.

      Shastri was invited by other scholars for debate.  Discourses
      and discussions commenced at the scheduled time.  The deep
      learning and intellect as well as powerful arguments of the
      learned Shastri silenced all other scholars.  Their defeat
      became a certainty.

      When no other way was left, one scholar opened his box of snuff
      and threw the snuff on the face of Shastriji.  Shastriji took
      out his handkerchief, rubbed his face and said, "This is only a
      digression, let the discussion continue now."

      The whole assembly was stunned.  The opposing scholars (Pandits)
      had expected that Shastriji will get excited and dissolve the
      assembly.  However, he pretended nothing happened and the
      session continued.  The opposing scholars had no courage to
      continue the discourses and discussion further.  They all fell
      ashamed at the feet of Shastriji and begged his pardon.

      We learn from this event of the life of Shastriji that great
      achievements are possible if we can cultivate the spirit of


      Shri Ganeshprasad Varni, a famous Jain saint, lived about eighty
      years ago.  In the first stage of his religious life, he had
      decided to travel to Jaipur on a pilgrimage.  From Lalitpur in
      Jhansi district, he proceeded towards Khurai via Sonagiri.  When
      he went beyond Sonagiri, he had with him very little money, one
      water pot, a small piece of cloth and some clothes on his body.
      As he reached Datia, he was left with absolutely no money.  For
      two days he lived on rice and that day he had no money for even
      that.  He approached a shop-keeper and requested, "Well friend!
      I would like to sale this umbrella.

      The shop-keeper said, "I hope it is not a stolen one."

      Varniji was dumb-founded and tears rolled down his eyes.  The
      shop-keeper showed no sympathy and said:  "This is the price of
      your umbrella.  After deducting for rice, you get this amount

      Varniji pleaded, "Well friend!  The umbrella is new.  Please pay
      something more!"

      The shop-keeper replied:  "Take the amount or else go ahead!"
      He left with a small change (six Annas).  Thus Varniji lived on
      rice for several days and took cooked food only when he came
      across a householder (Shravaka) whom he knew and completed the

      Every great man attains to the highest status only after
      gradually passing through such tough tests and with the power of
      Sadhana of the self (Atmasadhana).


      Mahatma Gandhiji's original name was M. K. Gandhi, bar-at-law.
      He was the greatest person of the last century who initiated the
      freedom struggle of India by non-violent means.  He attained to
      National and International fame by making India free from
      British rule on August 15, 1947.  He was then designated as the
      "Father of the Indian Nation."

      Gandhiji was roaming in the city called Champarana in the state
      of Bihar.

      He always travelled in a third-class compartment of a train.
      Once he was on his way to Betia, a passenger got in, gave him a
      push and said, "You are sleeping at ease in the train, as if it
      is your own train!  Get up!"

      Gandhiji got up and sat by the side of that passenger, who
      started singing, "Noble indeed is Gandhiji.  A great soul who
      helps the suffering!"

      In the morning, the train reached Betia.  Thousands of people
      gathered round his compartment with cries of victory for
      Gandhiji.  When that passenger realized that he had insulted the
      Gandhiji, he wept bitterly and fell at his feet.  Gandhiji
      consoled him and raised him up, as if nothing had happened.

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