40 years of mutual acceptance and tolerance. We may not have been the ideal ‘Made for Each Other’ pair, but we made ‘Relationship’ meaningful. Relationship is Love, the wise say. I have still not fully understood what Love is. But, I have understood what Love is not. Like God, ‘Love’ is better understood by what it is not. ‘neti, neti.’
Love is not judgmental
Love is not conditional
Love is not denial
Love is not guilt, hurt, hatred or jealousy and
Love is not many more things we presume.
And so is Relationship too. Thank you, Lakshmi Ji for everything in my life. Thank you, Sri Amma Bhagavan to bring home this message in my life.
I know I am not perfect. At least, I honestly try.
An extract from my book: SHORT STORIES FOR SUCCESS FOR YOUNG READERS: A NEW LEXICONUNFOLDED:
R for Relationship
“Your very identity comes from your relationships.” – Sri Amma Bhagavan, Founder of Oneness Movement
That day, the children of class V were quite taken aback by a simple question from Kamala teacher.
“Who are you?”
“I am Brinda,” replied Brinda, from the front row.
“Who are you?” Kamala teacher persisted again, as though she didn’t understand Brinda’s reply.
Brinda thought over for some time before she said, “I am Brinda, student of class V.”
“Who are you?”
Brinda wondered, what Kamala teacher was driving at. She thought she would answer differently. “I am the daughter of Venugopal and Sivasankari.”
“Who are you?”
Brinda was now really puzzled. She didn’t know how to explain further.
“She is Brinda, sister of Vasudev who studied here last year,” someone shouted from behind.
“Who are you?” Kamala teacher asked Brinda once again.
“I am a girl.” Brinda thought she gave a wise answer.
“Who are you?”
“I am the bully of the class!” shouted Pritam and everyone laughed.
Different answers came from different children. But no one had any clue why the teacher was bent upon asking the question again and again.
After some time, Kamala teacher explained to the class, “See! It is very difficult to answer the question, ‘Who are you?’ without relating yourself to something or someone else. You are so and so, son or daughter of so and so, brother or sister of so and so, father or mother of so and so, a student of so and so school, a friend of so and so, or you are a player, a dancer, a painter, an Indian, a Sinhalese, a Tamilian, a Kannadiga and so on. Yes, let me tell you once again. We, humans, have no existence without relating ourselves to someone else or something else. We are all related. We are all connected. Everything in this world is connected. Without Relationship, we have no existence. That is why Relationship is the most important thing in life. We need to preserve and maintain our relationship with everyone else and everything else. At times, we may even have to sacrifice everything else for the sake of relationship.”
“But, there is so much fighting going on everywhere,” commented Sukumar.
“Yes, that is very unfortunate. People become selfish and forget their relationship and connections. But, when we maintain a good relationship, there will be less fight and more peace.”
“Let us go back to the Epic Mahabharat once again. Pandavas were deprived of their kingdom. They spent thirteen years in exile in forests, consequent to their losing their kingdom. They lost everything. But, Pandavas were righteous people. They didn’t want a war with Duryodhana and his brothers, just to get back their kingdom. They were willing to give up their claim for kingdom and accept just five hamlets in its place. They cared for their relationship which was very important to them. ‘After all, we both Pandavas and Kauravas are brothers from the same forefathers,’ they said.
Again when the Kurukshetra war was about to begin, Arjuna dropped his bow and arrows, seeing all his relatives lined up on the opposite side in the battlefield for the war. He feared all of them would die in the war. He didn’t want to fight, as he wanted to save his relationship. Relationship, again, was very important to Arjuna.
But Duryodhana was jealous and unyielding. We all know what happened in the end of the war.”
“But how do we maintain good relationships?” Sukumar asked again.
“By cultivating respect for everyone, by our willingness to be open, trusting, listening, sharing, and admitting our mistakes, we can develop and maintain good relationships.
There is happiness in Relationship. Some wise man said: ‘Everything dependently arises and dependently ceases.’ We have Mother’s Day, Valentine Day, Teacher’s Day, and Children’s Day. Why not we have a Relationship Day?”
Towards the end of the class, Kamala teacher introduced a unique process. Every student would have to go to every other student, introduce himself or herself, learn about each other, hug each other and tell that they love each other’s company. The children felt so excited about the exercise and went about it with great enthusiasm.