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Tough as Steel, Soft as Butter

December 12, 2009 by Andrew Baerthel

Swami Sivananda“You have to be tough as steel and as soft as butter” were words that Swami Radha used to describe compassionate action. In this Satsang talk, Swami Sivananda shares some of his personal experience of the tougher side of compassion. Yasodhara Ashram recently celebrated a week focused on compassion in support of the release of the Charter for Compassion. Throughout the week, Satsang talks focused on this theme.

In her book, Kundalini Yoga for the West, Swami Radha offers the following reflection on compassion:

When the aspirant has gained control over the emotions and cultivated them into finer feelings, compassion will be allowed, in due time, to find true expression. When one desires to help because help is needed, rather than for rewards of any kind or for sentimental reasons, this desire has the right basis.

To view more videos from Yasodhara Ashram on Youtube, click here.
To affirm the Charter for Compassion or learn more, click here.

[podcast format=”video”]http://lightwaves.cc/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/toughassteellow.mp4[/podcast]

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  1. Thank you Swami Sivananda for sharing that story… I have been finding that through all of the challenges I’ve been working with in my life lately, somehow the memory of what I know of Swami Radha’s living example – the difficulties she faced courageously throughout her life – have been a sort of beacon of Light to me. I find so much support in just thinking of her life and all that she did, and her persistence.
    I have been noticing in myself a tendency to hold back from offering support in the form of ‘tough compassion’ because I have a hard time being in that role, and it feels like ‘too much bother’ especially when it’s not well-received. What an eye-opener to see how Swami Radha would not even think about herself but just do what she knew was needed, no hesitating.

    Comment by Claire — December 14, 2009 @ 3:30 pm

  2. This talk is very helpful. The simple (or not so simple) action of noticing my own thought patterns when they turn negative, catching them, turning them around, to make a different more positive pattern in my habitual mind chatter is what I am currently attempting to do in my daily life. If this can change a physical condition such as that related in this story, then the faith to keep on working at it is sustained. The support given by Swami Radha in this is a wonderful inspiration. Thank you Swami Sivananda for sharing this insight. The tough love must be shown to ourselves as well as in relationships with others.

    Comment by Joan Andre — December 17, 2009 @ 2:12 pm

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