Gaurav was a devotee, in search of spirituality and enlightenment. He was eager to study under a Guru so that his ignorance could be removed and he could be led on the path to God. He approached a Guru and requested him to guide him on spiritual practices so that he could get close to God.

The Guru was well aware of Gaurav’s lack of control of his anger. He knew that this would prevent the seeker from feeling closeness with God. So the Guru decided to first prepare his student before guiding him through the spiritual practices necessary for self-development. So he replied, “Dear Gaurav, chant the Lord’s Name during all your activities, for a month. Then take a bath and come back to me.”

Starting the very next day, Gaurav chanted the Lord’s Name during all his activities. After a month, he went to a river, took a bath and put on fresh clothes to visit his Guru. On the way to the Guru’s ashram, his clothes got dirty as a sweeper was cleaning the street carelessly. Gaurav was furious and shouted at the sweeper, “What you are doing, you murukh(fool)? Now I have to go back, wash and dry these clothes and bathe again! Such waste of time!”

The Guru had observed the scene. When Gaurav reached the ashram, He said, “Dear Gaurav, you are not yet ready for further lessons in spirituality. Chant the Lord’s name during all your activities for another month. At the end of it, take a bath and come to see me.”

Gaurav accepted the Guru’s instructions and went back to chanting along with his daily activities. When that month was over he was eager to return to the Guru’s hermitage. However, he prepared as before and was on his way when a similar incident occurred. This time, the sweeper accidentally brushed his dirty broom against Gaurav. Again, the freshly-bathed Gaurav became furious at the sweeper and as before, the Guru sent him back to chant the Lord’s Name for another month.

At the end of the third month, when Gaurav was again on his way to visit the Guru, something unusual happened. The sweeper saw him approaching and remembered the way he had berated him even though what had happened had been an accident. He noticed that Gaurav was once again wearing new, clean clothes. This time, before he could do or say anything, the sweeper, who was very furious by then, intentionally poured all the dirt from his garbage can onto his head.

This sweeper was shocked at the response this time.  Gaurav joined his hands saying ‘Sitaram. I thank you. You are my master. You taught me how to overcome anger.” The sweeper was surprised and hung his head in shame.

This time, when Gaurav reached the Guru’s ashram, the Guru was waiting for him. He was pleased and patted Gaurav on the head, commending him on his great achievement of conquering his anger. He said to his student, ‘My child, anger is death. Control it and then the Lord will readily accept your invitation to come into your heart. With anger control, you can be close to God.’

Gaurav learnt his lesson and continued to work hard at keeping his anger under control.