[Listen to Asha read this story]

When Swamiji was on vacation with a few friends, one of his companions simply took charge of the daily program, without consideration for his preferences. Swamiji quietly went along with whatever she wanted to do.

Later, the woman’s job changed and she began to work closely with Swamiji in matters where the future of Ananda was concerned. When she tried to boss him around as she had done before, to her surprise he responded forcefully.

“When we were traveling together,” Swamiji told her, “I went along with whatever you wanted for the sake of my own humility. If I were to go along with you now, however, it would not be humility. It would be abdicating my responsibility to Master’s work, and that I will not do.”

* * *

A man at Ananda, who tended to be guided by his personal desires, sought to justify his uncooperative nature by comparing himself to Swamiji.

“I have always admired your independence,” he told Swamiji.

“My independence is not based on personal desire,” Swamiji replied. “It is based on doing what is right.”

“Nowadays people equate strength of will with aggressive scowls and hostile posturing,” Swamiji said on another occasion. “My willingness to go along with others when nothing is at stake but my personal convenience, and my seeming passivity even in the face of personal attack, gives some people the impression I am easy to defeat, that they can simply run roughshod over me. They misunderstand.

“I rarely dispute with others. It has never been my way to fight against anything. I simply find a way to go forward according to what I believe to be true, no matter what other people think. I will not allow others to impose their will on me when principles are at stake.”

* * *

Anandamayi Ma, a great Indian saint, said, “Let come what will.”

A devotee questioned her. “Does that mean you would go along passively with something that was wrong?”

Ma responded, “Let them try, and see what happens!”

* * *

“When Bertolucci’s lawyer vowed to destroy me,” Swamiji said, “I didn’t respond on his level of argument and accusation. Beyond answering what was legally required of me, I didn’t defend myself at all, not even mentally, because I was untouched inwardly. I surrounded myself with a psychic wall of inner freedom, which for him proved impenetrable. In the end, all his efforts against me came to nothing.

“Even in the face of seeming defeat,” Swamiji went on to explain, “I’ve turned every setback into another kind of victory – a victory of new opportunities and new directions, of guidance to do something broader and better.”

One secret of prosperity, Swamiji has said, is creativity.

“Poverty consciousness means to be locked into a single way of thinking,” he explained. “If that way doesn’t work out, you are defeated. Prosperity consciousness means also to have a wealth of ideas. If one way of doing things doesn’t bring the results you want, you keep trying other alternatives until one of them finally succeeds.

“When the Bald Mountain Association refused to let me build on my own land, I bought land elsewhere and built there. For years, I held Ananda back, out of a wish not to compete with SRF and in the hope that, eventually, we would reconcile. When SRF still refused to work with us, and even filed a lawsuit, I came to understand that Master wants us to be separate organizations. I stopped holding back and the result for Ananda has been glorious.”

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