Adaptability, A Means To Peace
Sri Swami Sivananda
This article is from the book World Peace.
Adaptability is a virtue or noble quality by which one adapts or fits himself with others, whatever their nature may be. The man of adaptability accommodates himself with others, whatever their temperament may be. This is a most desirable quality for success in life. This has to be developed slowly. The vast majority of persons do not know how to adjust themselves with others. Adaptability is a peculiar knack or pluck to win the hearts of others by a little bending.
The wife does not know how to adapt herself with her husband. She displeases her husband always and makes quarrels in the house and gets a divorce. The clerk does not know how to adapt himself with his boss or superior. He quarrels with the superior and gets an immediate sack. The disciple does not know how to adapt himself with his Guru. He misbehaves, and leaves the Guru. The businessman does not know how to adapt himself with the customers and loses his customers and business. The Diwan does not know how to adapt himself with the Maharajah. He has to leave the State Service. The world runs on adaptability. He who knows this art or science of adaptability pulls on quite well in this world and is always happy under any conditions of life.
The man must be pliable if he wants to adapt himself. It does not need much wisdom or ingenuity for developing adaptability. If the clerk understands well the ways and habits and temperament of his superior and adjusts himself nicely to suit his ways, his superior becomes a slave of the clerk. You will have to use some kind, sweet words. A little lubricant to soften his heart is needed. That is all. Speak gently and sweetly. Carry out his orders to the very letter. Never retort him. “Obedience is greater than sacrifice.” Remember this maxim at all times. The superior wants a little respect. Say, Hanjhi, Hanjhi. Ji huzur, very well Sir.” It costs you nothing. Then your superior becomes your slave. He has for you a soft corner in his heart. You become his pet. He will do whatever you want. He will excuse your mistakes. Humility and obedience are necessary for developing adaptability. An egoistic, proud man finds it very difficult to adapt himself. He is always in trouble. He always fails in his attempts. Egoism and pride are two important obstacles in the way of developing adaptability.
When one student does not know how to adapt himself with his fellow-mate who is living in the same room, friction comes in and their friendship is broken immediately. Adaptability makes friendship last for a long time. Students fight for little things. One student says, “I gave Mr. X tea for several days. I took him to cinema on my own account for several days. I asked him to lend me the book “Boswell’s Life of Johnson” for reading. He has bluntly refused now. What sort of friend he is? I do not like him.” The friendship is broken now. A simple thing upsets the mind. Adaptability is a strong catgut ligature that links people in unbroken love and friendship. A man of adaptability can pull on with anybody in any part of the world. People unconsciously love a man of adaptability. Adaptability gives immense strength and profound joy. Adaptability develops will.
A man of adaptability has to make some sacrifice. Adaptability develops the spirit of sacrifice. It kills selfishness. A man of adaptability has to share what he has with others. He has to bear insult and harsh words. A man of adaptability develops the feeling of unity or oneness of life. For Vedantic Sadhana it is of great help. He who practises adaptability has to destroy the feelings of Ghrina and contempt and the idea of superiority. He has to mix with all. He has to embrace all. Adaptability develops universal love and kills the feeling of hatred.
A man of adaptability has to put up with the unkind words and harsh treatment of his friends. He has to develop patience and endurance. These virtues develop by themselves unconsciously when he tries to adapt himself with others. A man of adaptability can live in a cool place. He can bear the heat of Benares or Africa. He develops balance of mind. He can bear extreme heat and cold. Adaptability brings eventually Atma-Jnana. He who has this noble virtue is a great man in this world. He is always happy and successful.