Question: How does one develop a personality that is not only soft and  compassionate, but also hard and tough enough to deal with the world?

Answer: There seems to be a contradiction. How can you be soft and compassionate, and yet hard and tough? You can. Because if you are soft and compassionate, you have control of yourself: the mind is under your control.

It is no more a monkey mind. With that mind, if it is necessary to be tough, you can be tough. You are hard and tough not for your sake, but for others’ sake. To fulfill certain jobs, you have to be tough. If you have control, you can use anything and everything to achieve some good purpose. Nothing is bad. Saint Thiruvalluvar says that you can even tell a lie, under your control, with a goal in mind. What is that goal? To harm nobody, and to bring at least some benefit to somebody. Keep that in mind as your goal. Whatever you think, whatever you say or do, “Will it harm anybody?” The answer should be “Absolutely no.” OK. The next point is, “Will it at least benefit somebody.” The answer should be “Yes.” If it is not benefiting anybody, it is a wastage. So no harm to anybody, at least some benefit to somebody. Whatever you do, let it be a perfect act. What is a perfect act? It harms nobody, it brings at least some benefit to somebody.

Swami Satchidananda

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