In many cultures across the globe, ash has a special spiritual meaning.
VibHuti (or Holy Ash), also called Thiruneeru or Vibhooti, is a word that has several meanings in Hinduism. Generally, it is used to denote the sacred ash which is made of burnt dried wood in prayer ceremonies.
Appa, Amma or Thatha would put VibHuti on my forehead when I was a child. Several elders in the family would also put VibHuti on my forehead as they blessed me during festivals. I also got Vibhuti when I visited temples.
To carry the practice forward, I put VibHuti on the boys forehead.
I am not very religious. So, as the grown up me puts on Vibhuti on myself, it is a reminder of how fickle existence is as we know it is. It is a reminder to me not to take anything too damn seriously. It is a reminder that I’ll return to the dust one day.
Because I went to Catholic schools where the nuns taught me, I am alsofamilar with Ash Wednesday
“Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.” (Eccl. 12:7).
“In Life, Hinduism asserts, that one should be humble and remember his status, that is of his Mortality.
Accepting Mortality wholeheartedly calls for great effort, and once you accept this, you would not behave in such a way that hurts others.
Because the Vibhuti represents the Ashes one’s Body is turned into after death, the applying of Vibhuti reminds one constantly of his mortality.”
Everybody has the right.
Everybody has the right to think what they want to.
Everybody has the right to do what they want to.
It doesn’t matter who they voted for.
It doesn’t matter what their beliefs or disbeliefs are.
Everybody has a reasoning for what they do and why they do it.
It is not easy to see through somebody’s eyes or walk in their shoes.
So, I have learnt to practice tolerance.
Then, to top that, I am slowly learning to practice acceptance.
It hasn’t been easy. But, one has got to try. Right?
I know the questions plaguing your mind.
What? Why? How?
Here is my response to all your questions about why to “accept” somebody who’s beliefs are not the same as yours?
Here is why:
I have realized over the decades that the cords that bind us to humanity are much more stronger than the occasional discordant notes that spell separate.
Re-read that last sentence.
I am confident you will get it.
That is why I will be waiting to greet you at the tolerance/acceptance intersection.
Don’t keep me waiting too long. I can be quite the impatient jerk.
So, let us remove the IN from the word Intolerance. Agreed?
The full text of the original “Serenity Prayer” written by Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971)
GOD, grant me the serenity
to accept the things
I cannot change,
Courage to change the
things I can, and the
wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardship as the
pathway to peace.
Taking, as He did, this
sinful world as it is,
not as I would have it.
Trusting that He will make
all things right if I
surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy
in this life, and supremely
happy with Him forever in
NOTE: This is the full prayer attributed to Karl Paul Reinhold Niebuhr reportedly written in 1926. Niebuhr was a Lutheran pastor and theologian. Usually his “Serenity Prayer” is quoted using the first 2 verses only.
We think everybody is like us.
We want everybody to be like us.
Not everybody is like us.
Each person is different.
Each person is unique.
Everybody wants to be loved in their own unique way.
I realized several years ago that I was using motivating “terms” that worked on me with Kumar and Adi. Didn’t work. It backfired so badly. It was very frustrating.
After several years of trying to figure it out..I hit a brick wall. That is when one of my friends pointed me to “5 Love Languages”. It was a Eureka moment.
I did the “5 Love Languages” quiz. I also had Adi and Kumar do the quiz. It lead the three of us to understand how each of us wants to be loved. We discussed and laughed about it.
For several months, we worked on using the “love language” that was needed by the other person and not the one we wanted for ourselves. Initially, it was hard work…because we were changing our auto-pilot natural way of being and doing. But, like building muscle or adapting a habit, it eventually came to us. We still lapse. But, we know now how to get back on track.
You would think it is common sense to love as somebody wants to be loved. But, alas, as you know, common sense is not so common.
Do yourself a favor. Take the quiz. Have the family take the quiz. Have a discussion afterwards. Laugh about it and promise to each other to honor them and love them as they want to be loved.
And, tell me how it goes.
Even if you don’t believe in this, go through the exercise to see things from a different perspective than you would normally see.
Trust me. It will be one of the best things you did for yourself and for your relationship with the ones that truly matter in your life.