[Listen to Asha read this story]

As a boy, Donald [Swamiji] never started a fight, but if a fight sought him out, he never ran away—especially if a bully tried to intimidate him. Even if the bully was much stronger and could beat him physically, Donald never gave in mentally, and in this way refused to give the bully the victory.

When Donald was eleven years old, he was a student at the Downs School in England. One day, an upper class boy, big enough to intimidate his own classmates, met Donald upstairs as he was coming out of the art room. Finding no one else about, he gave Donald a shove. Perfectly aware that he stood no chance against this bully, but nevertheless undaunted, Donald shoved him back.

This was all the excuse the bully wanted. He threw Donald to the floor, sat on him, and began pummeling him fiercely. "Do you give up?" he demanded.

"No!" Donald replied.

So the beating continued until the bully tired of administering it. From then on, though, he carefully avoided Donald’s company.

Years later in America, when Donald was in boarding school at Hackley in Tarrytown, New York, an older and much stronger boy baited Donald for weeks. The bully weighed 230 pounds; Donald weighed 104. Still, Donald refused to be intimidated. This so infuriated the bully that one day he came into Donald’s room and pinned him to his bed. There was nothing Donald could do, so he lay there quietly while the bully pummeled him. Between blows, the bully whispered fiercely, "I'd like to throw you out the window!" (They were three floors up from the ground.) Finally, the bully tired himself out, and left the room, panting with rage.

“Why didn’t you call for help?” one of Donald’s friends asked later. Other students were in nearby rooms, and would have answered his cries.

“Because I wasn’t afraid,” Donald replied.

After the beating, Donald treated the bully with the same calm reserve as before. From then on, however, the bully gave Donald a wide berth, and never again threatened him.

Another time at the Downs School in England when Donald was twelve, he was in the sick rooms with a boy named Taylor, who was unpopular with his classmates. Sneeringly Taylor hurled the epithet at Donald, "Dirty foreigner!” (Donald was the only American in the school.)

“Well, maybe you’re a dirty Englishman,” Donald replied conversationally. This wasn’t meant as an insult, only a question of how recently each of them had bathed!

Taylor, however, enraged, leapt angrily at Donald. This time, however, Donald was the stronger of the two. In such cases, his method was simply to wrestle his opponent to the floor and sit on him until he calmed down. Repeatedly, Taylor spat up at Donald’s face, never quite reaching it. Finally, recognizing himself powerless, Taylor stopped writhing and spitting, and admitted he'd been bested. Donald calmly stood, allowing Taylor to leave. Thus, the matter was dropped.

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