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A Hole in the fence

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A Hole in the fence“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.” Lord Buddha

There once was a little boy who had a bad temper. His Father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, he must hammer a nail into the back of the fence.

The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence. Over the next few weeks, as he learned to control his anger, the number of nails hammered daily gradually dwindled down. He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence. Finally the day came when the boy didn’t lose his temper at all. He told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper. The day passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone. The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence. He said, “You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one. You can put a knife in a man and draw it out. It won’t matter how many times you say I’m sorry, the wound is still there.”

In the vedic scriptures, it is said that the source of lust and anger is pride. And in a subtle form, if there is a wrath that means, there must also be pride and lust. These are different expressions of the same attachment within our hearts. Radhanath Swami, therefore, says that we have to go right to the root of the problem which is our material desires and material attachments and only with the help of chanting the Holy Names of the Lord and performing devotional service to the Lord, we can go to the root of that problem and purify our heart. He further elaborates that in the meantime while this purification is taking place, on the external level we must be very careful and tolerate any inclination towards offensive activities.

  1. June 3, 2012


    Thank you so much Radhanath Swami Maharaj for making this wonderful point….

  2. June 4, 2012

    Anil Timbe

    such a beautiful story with brillient concept in it. thanks for sharing.

  3. June 5, 2012

    Rajendra Prasad

    chanting of holly names with faith and love is the panacea. Thank you maharaj ji.

  4. June 6, 2012

    rakesh pandita

    What a wonderful lesson, thanks for providing this ready food for soul without making much effort by us.

  5. June 24, 2012


    wonderful article… things will not go according to our wish.. we need to tolerate situations.

  6. June 29, 2012


    what an amazing lesson to be learnt in our own lives!

  7. July 15, 2012

    Arjun K Ramachandra

    A very balanced answer by Radhanath Swami – work on cleansing material desires by chanting the holy names of god while simultaneously strenuously avoiding offenses on the external platform.

  8. August 7, 2012

    Pranjal Dixit

    Amazing article. Many things to learn from here.

  9. October 3, 2012


    Whan on eis angry, he makes a speech which he ever regrets in his life… Thanks for the wonderful article.

  10. January 29, 2013


    Thank you Maharaj for wonderful instruction–Yes we need to know the root cause.. like for the treatment of any illness and for its permanent solution, its is advised to address the root cause for the problem.. otherwise it would be “patch work” only.

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