Once upon a time, there was a well-known teacher who taught in and around Benares. He had over 500 students. One of these was from the distant countryside. Knowing little about the ways of city folks, he fell in love with a Benares girl and married her. After the marriage he resumed his studies with the famous teacher. But he started missing classes, sometimes staying away for two or three days at a time.
His wife was used to doing whatever she wanted. Even though she was married to the student, she was not loyal and faithful. She still had secret boy friends.
It just so happened that after she had been with a boy friend, she acted very humble with her husband. She spoke softly and tried very hard to please him. But on other days, when she had done nothing wrong, she was rude and domineering. She yelled at her husband and nagged him. This drove the man crazy. He was completely confused by how differently she acted from one day to the next.
The countryman was so disturbed that he stayed away from classes. And while he remained home he discovered that his city wife was unfaithful. He was upset that he missed school for seven or eight days.
When he finally showed up, the famous teacher asked, “Young man, you have been away so long. What was the matter?” He replied, “Sir, my wife is cheating on me very much, and acts as humble as a servant. But on other days she is arrogant and domineering, rough and rude. I can’t figure her out. I don’t know what to do or where to go for help. That’s why I couldn’t attend your classes.”
The teacher said, “Young man, don’t worry. Rivers can be bathed in by anyone, rich or poor. Highways too are open to all. Generous people build roadside rest houses to gain merit, and anyone can sleep there. Likewise, all are welcome to take water from the village well.
“So too, there are some women who won’t be faithful to one man. They love to keep their secret boy friends. That’s just the way some people are. It’s hard to understand why they act the way they do. But why get angry about what you cannot change?
“On the days when your wife has been with a boy friend, those are the days she acts meek and mild. But on the days when she has done nothing wrong, those are the days she acts rough and rude. That’s just the way some people are. So why get angry about what you cannot change?
“Accept her the way she is. Treat her in the same understanding way, whether she is kind or mean to you. Why get angry about what you cannot change?”
“The student from the countryside followed the famous teacher’s advice. His city wife’s behavior no longer upset him. And when she realized that her actions were no longer secret, she gave up her boyfriends and changed her ways.
Moral: Understanding relieves anger.