There is a saying that means: ‘thousand words equal a picture and thousand pictures equal an act’. No doubt, a solid example always pierces through any being. Dr. Arun Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, in his lecture at the University of Puerto Rico, once shared a quite touching episode from his life.
At that time, Arun was with his parents in an Institute, founded by Mahatma Gandhi, 18 miles away from Durban, in South Africa. It was a place totally surrounded by sugar plantations. One day Arun had to drive his father’s car to the city of Durban. His father had a whole day conference in the city. His mother passed him a long list of groceries to be purchased and his father loaded him with some pending chores, including the vehicle service. Arun dropped him at the conference hall and assured to be there back at 5.00 PM, as required.
In a hurry, Arun purchased all the grocery and finished other chores too. Then he straight away went to the nearest movie theatre. Unfortunately, when he reached his father back, it was already 6.00 PM. His father anxiously asked Arun, "Why were you late?" He hid the movie story and replied, "The car wasn't ready, so I had to wait," not realising that he had already called the garage. He was caught red handed. His father said, "There's something wrong in the way I brought you up that didn't give you the confidence to tell me the truth. In order to figure out where I went wrong with you, I'm going to walk home 18 miles and think about it." In no time he began to walk home in the dark, through the unpaved and unlit roads. Arun couldn't leave him, so for five-and-a-half hours he drove behind him, watching his father go through this agony for a stupid lie that he uttered. It was the last lie Dr. Arun Gandhi uttered in his whole life. A powerful act on a gloomy evening changed the destiny of his son.
Disciplining is a measure to be handled with care, says Sri Yogananda Parama Hansa. In one of the schools founded by him, a boy was about to be dismissed for repeated mis-conduct. The matter came to Yoganandaji; He asked the teachers, “Remember all the things that you have done during and since your childhood. Can you tell me that you have never done anything reprehensibly wrong?” They all hung their heads. “If that boy were your son, would you send him out?” An expulsion meant that in the coming four years he won’t be able to procure an admission in another School. Yoganadaji said, ”I won’t do that to him; I cannot sponsor such an idea. He might have done wrong, but I shall reason with him and forgive him.” There was a big commotion of disagreement. So he said to the teachers,” He is my son, and I will hear him.” He called the boy; he came in very defiant: "Go ahead, I know you are going to throw me out.” “What makes you think so?” Yoganandaji asked the boy. Again he challenged him rebelliously: “Go ahead.” Yoganandaji replied, “How Childish of you. You have done wrong, and you are proud of it. What is the matter with you? Suppose you did do wrong, that doesn’t mean you have to do wrong again.” He hung his head. “Don’t do it again,” Yoganandaji said. He looked at me like the little child that he was. “You mean you won’t send me away?” “You know that what you did was wrong, don’t you?” Yoganadaji asked. He said, “Yes” “Isn’t that enough?” he said. “Don’t repeat it.” Tears came in his eyes and the boy told him, “You know, I had made up my mind that if you sent me away, I would use my life to do all the evil things that I could.” Then he went on, “I am sorry for what I have done, and promise you that I will never do it again.”
Years passed by, and one time when Yoganandaji came to India, this boy also came to meet him in tears and asked, “Do you remember me?” Yoganadaji greeted him lovingly. He said, “That day that you forgave me made me what I am today.” He then had a successful career, was very spiritual, and had a wonderful family too. “It is all due to your faith in me.” Yoganadaji embraced him and he cried like a child. Let us remember, love changes people; nobody can resist the power of love. Nobody can resist a solid example too. Let us not advise anything that we cannot ever do in life. Otherwise, the words might go out but not the message.