A woman came to see the saintly Vinoba Bhave, the well-known social leader, and said, “I am very unhappy. “Vinoba asked, “What is the matter?”In a voice full of grief, she replied, “My husband is an alcoholic. He drinks everyday and abuses me. Sometimes, he beats me up. My life is hell.”Vinoba asked, “When he gets drunk, what do you do?” She replied, “I get upset. Earlier, I used to scold him. That did not help. So now I have started to observe fasts.” “You do not eat or drink during the fast?,” asked Vinoba. “No,” she said, “I eat fruit.” Vinoba Bhave said in a simple natural tone, “Oh, then your husband must get very upset. Your eating fruits must have increased the household expenses. “The woman kept quiet. Tears filled her eyes. Vinoba said, “Nobody can be made to give up wrong things by our getting angry or by our giving up food. We can change others through love and patience. The love that can make the difference comes from within. Our hearts should be pure. If there are bad feelings in our hearts and we show insincere love, it makes matters worse. “The woman asked, “What should I do? I lose control of my senses when I see him drunk.” “This is the root cause of your trouble,” explained Vinoba. He continued, “You can bring your husband back from the path of evil only when you control your own bad feelings. First you should try to change yourself.”
Very similar is the story of the woman who had gone to St. Philip Neri, seeking counsel. He gave her a bottle of holy water and told her, This water has special powers. Whenever your husband comes home drunk and you foresee trouble, pour some of it into your mouth, keep it there till the trouble passes. The holy water worked miracles on her husband who never more abused or ill-treated her. Little did the poor woman realize that it was her silence and not the holy water that had worked the miracle. Nagging exasperates.