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The Shoemaker’s Son

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The Shoemaker’s SonTo remain inspired, positive, faithful, and optimistic even in the most trying situations is the substance of our sincerity. The Lord puts the greatest souls through tough situations and even failures just to show us how they remain positive and inspired to carry on. – Radhanath Swami.


As President Abraham Lincoln entered to give his inaugural address, one rich aristocrat stood up and condescendingly said, “Mr. Lincoln, you should not forget that your father used to make shoes for my family.” The whole Senate laughed thinking that they had made a fool of Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln reacted in the most unexpected way. He replied, “Sir, I know that my father used to make shoes in your house for your family, and there will be many others here for whom he made shoes. Because nobody else could make shoes the way he could. He was a creator. His shoes were not just shoes; he poured his whole soul into them. I have learnt from my father how to make shoes. If you have any complaint, I can make another pair of shoes for you. But as far as I know, nobody has ever complained about shoes my father made. He was a genius, a great creator, and I am proud of my father”. The whole Senate was dumbstruck. Instead of feeling insulted by the nasty remark, Lincoln felt proud about his genius father.


“One’s greatness has to be estimated by how one is able to be tolerate provoking situations,” Radhanath Swami emphasizes. Provoking situations are an inevitable part of life, whoever we are. Depending on how we respond to them is really what determines how close we become to God. While being crucified, Lord Jesus was praying to the Lord to forgive those who were torturing him. It’s not what happens to us that hurts us; it’s our response that hurts. Contemplating on such examples of great devotees of God, we can find inspiration to tolerate the relatively minor inconveniences that inevitably arise when spouses stay together. Everyone is unique; disagreements and difference of opinions are bound to arise. Instead of responding rashly, one must learn to tolerate such inconveniences and remain united based on the higher principle of coming together and serving God.


Remember. No one can hurt you without your consent.

  1. August 8, 2011


    difficult, but needs to be imbibed..

  2. August 9, 2011


    Through teachings of HH Radhanath Swami and other great Acharyas, I got this realization that Tolerance is must in order to access the mercy of God. But it is very difficult especially a conditioned soul like me. To the extent we purify from false-ego, envy, greed, anger etc, to that extent we can become tolerant and to that extent we can perceive God through his mercy.

  3. August 9, 2011

    Milind M Churi

    Very nicely explained.It is important to pour our soul into what we are doing.It is applicable to our spiritual life also and not just to material life.Very enlightening quote.Thank you Radhanath Swamiji.

  4. August 9, 2011

    M Pandu Rangayya Shetty

    Humbly accepting anything that comes up on us as the mercy of Krishna for our own purification and His pleasure. All glories to Radhanatha Swami.

  5. August 11, 2011


    Great article. ” It’s not what happens to us that hurts us; it’s our response that hurts.” – very deep.

  6. August 16, 2011


    Wow! What a humility of Abraham although he was president.

  7. August 16, 2011

    Sumit Sharma

    Nice explanation of humility and tolerating adverse situations in our life. Thank you very much Radhanath Swami for this message.

  8. August 19, 2011


    I am just dumbstuck at this wonderful article in as much as the way the Senate in US was dumbstuck at response of Abraham Lincoln.
    Its really true” One’s greatness has to be estimated by the ability to tolerate the most provoking situations”

  9. August 26, 2011


    I pray I could imbibe this insturction without any reservation , thanks for sharing

  10. August 31, 2011


    One’s greatness has to be estimated by how one is able to tolerate provoking situations.

  11. September 6, 2011


    application is difficult…but one has to start anyways in the right association…

  12. September 19, 2011

    navin poojary

    Amazing example of humility. Humble and meek inherit the kingdom of GOD! This is well reflected here

  13. October 5, 2011


    Maharaj is so eloquent ….
    To remain inspired, positive, faithful, and optimistic even in the most trying situations is the substance of our sincerity.

  14. October 28, 2012

    Vinay Malani

    It’s a very nice & inspiring article on tolerance. Radhanath Swami’s comments are really thought-provoking.

  15. January 14, 2013

    Supriya Gore

    Always see good things in others.

  16. January 28, 2013

    Abhay Deshmukh

    Yes, we need to practice tolerance & remember the higher principle.

  17. February 24, 2013

    Sada Nandini

    Thank you Radhanath swami for this wonderful article explaining the principle of tolerance under any circumstances.

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