The Importance of Harmony

[Listen to Asha read this story]

Whenever he visited Lugano, Switzerland, Swamiji would have a treatment he called a pedicure, but it had nothing in common with getting your nails painted. It was an hour spent removing calluses and soothing the cracked skin that often afflicted him.

When a group of us were vacationing with him in Taormina, Sicily, a friend and I both had conventional pedicures at a beauty shop there. My friend knew that Swamiji enjoyed his “pedicure” in Lugano and wanted him to have one here, too. When she presented the idea to Swamiji, I tried to explain to her that this was nothing like what he was used to, but she insisted on making an appointment anyway.

The shop was some distance from the hotel and up two long flights of steep stairs. It was a strain for Swamiji to make the trek. When we arrived it was immediately obvious the treatment wasn’t anything he wanted and he left without taking it.

On our way back to the hotel, for a few minutes I was walking alone with Swamiji. He asked me rather insistently, “You knew I wouldn’t want that pedicure. Why did you let her make the appointment?”

“I tried to tell her but she wouldn’t listen. If I had insisted, it would have created disharmony and made her wrong in front of you. I didn’t want to do that.”

Swamiji relaxed completely. “Of course,” he said, “you did the right thing.”

During a period of particularly strenuous work in one of our colonies, people were becoming a little impatient with one another. One person angrily confronted another with a list of his shortcomings.

When Swamiji heard about it, he called everyone together. To be fair to both sides, he said, “Perhaps he needed to have his faults pointed out to him, but it should not have been done in an angry way.” Then he went to the real purpose of the meeting. “If you do nothing else that I have asked of you, please at least do this: Be kind to each other.” The meeting lasted a total of two minutes. Swamiji had called them together just to say that.

“I am not concerned about the details of how things are done,” Swamiji has often told us. “My only concern is that they be done with the right energy. Right energy, above all, means with harmony. This world is nothing but energy, ruled by magnetism. If the magnetism is wrong, even if you are successful in the short-run, in the end things will not turn out right. If the magnetism is good, especially if you work together in harmony, even if it takes longer because you have to take into consideration the feelings of others, in the end you will have a glorious success. That is the secret of Ananda.”

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