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The Strength of Personality

Monday January 31 2005 07:59 IST

By Karmayogi

Good manners are good. Behaviour and character are more formed and seated deeply. Personality is beyond the formation of character, swabhava, and is known commonly as charm or the opposite.

A vendor of sathakudi fruits used to visit a hostel and sell the fruits - in the sixties - for 30 paisa or 35 paisa. One student was intrigued by the fact that while some boys paid 30 paisa, others paid 35 paisa. Boys did not mind a little one way or another, but this phenomenon was intriguing to one student.

He began to observe the vendor during his trips. The first boy on whom the vendor would call was one who would never offer more than 25 paisa. The vendor went around the hostel selling the fruits and before leaving, he would call on the first boy and sell them for 25 paisa.

This boy was the son of a money lender and was known to be miserly. The observer tried his best to buy a fruit for 25 paisa, but never succeeded. His intrigue remained till he was fifty years old. The secret lies in the strength of Personality.

Shop assistants, hawkers, street vendors, rickshaw drivers, bank agents and for that matter, anyone instinctively knows who will give more and who will not. One’s own value of money, his ability to pay, his willingness to pay, his strength of attitude in giving or taking, how informed he is, his expansiveness, in short, all his strengths and weaknesses are felt as one single vibration by those who are sensitive in the trade.

This strength of Personality can be calm, benevolent or cruel and malevolent, but strength is strength and acts as strength. Unless such a strong man WANTS to pay, no one can take it from him. Whether it is good or bad is not the question. The Strength itself is neutral. It can be put to any use the possessor chooses.

Sardar Patel possessed such a strength and was called the Iron Man. Nehru was not strong thus. He would consider law, procedure, custom, courtesy, etc. Patel would consider only the result and accomplish it by an expression of the strength he possessed. The Principal of a school was a graduate voter in a Senate election.

On behalf of a candidate, one of his pets, an old student, approached him for the vote. The Principal was an old family friend. He was cordial, enquired after the family and asked, ‘‘What can I do for you?’’ The visitor asked for the vote. Promptly and politely he declined to vote for his candidate. Two days later, a clerk from another school approached the same Principal for a vote for the same candidate.

The Principal, who was not so close to him said, ‘‘Well, now that you have come, let me give the ballot paper in your hands signed.’’ He signed it and handed it over. We call it vital strength. It is the strength of inner Personality. It is spiritual. One can acquire it by patience.
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