Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Showing Respect not Demanding respect

Hi Readers,

Today, again I am back with one of my previous post on Respect. I had written already why we touch feet of elders in Indian custom. Today, while surfing I came across a beautiful blog, where the blogger had a topic on showing respect. She very well made her points clear that demanding respect by imposing rules is not correct. Well said.

Traditions, customs and the way we socialize evolves everyday. What we perceive as manner and etiquette, might be different for others. It is our way. Whether its touching feet, namaskar or saying "hello" in western culture, all symbolize social etiquette. There is nothing wrong with adapting one form and leaving the other.

However, I feel its more of adapting to western culture that we teach our children not to fold hands and do Namaskar, but greet elders by  saying "hello". Though there is certainly nothing wrong in adapting this form, but why do we have to discard our way of showing respect? I do not feel that we need to prove that we are modern so we have to replace our way of showing respect with western way. Yes, being in IT industry, I respect western people with their customs and values. I do not feel that they should adapt our way, instead I feel comfortable by greeting them with "Hello" and calling them by their first name, however old they are to me. But, yes I really like when my colleague in US says "Sukriya" instead of a thanks. That's awesome is not it. If they can adapt our culture, we can do the same for them.

However, having said that, do we need to change our way in our respective society. The answer is simple NO. Why, because it is unnecessary exaggeration of things. I am not a person who would impose someone to respect me or show me respect. But, yes if a little one comes and happily touches my feet, I am happy and excited enough to bless them. If they want to say me "Hello", I am equally blessing them when I reply them with a "Hello". Respect is something that comes from within for people who earn it. Respect is something which comes through our work.

Here, I want to illustrate one small example from Mahabharata.

One day, Krishna and Arjuna were passing by one village while gossiping, Arjuna asked Krishna, why he thinks Karna is role model for Dana(donations) and not he(Arjuna) himself.

Krishna didn't answer him straight away and thought a little demonstration would be the apt way to make him understand. Wanting to teach him an important lesson, Krishna snapped his fingers and came up with an idea.

Krishna came up with a challenge for both!

The mountains beside the path they were walking on turned into gold. Krishna said “Arjuna, distribute these two mountains of gold among the villagers, but you must donate every last bit of gold”.

Arjuna went into the village, and proclaimed he was going to donate gold to every villager, and asked them to gather near the mountain. The villagers sang his praises and Arjuna walked towards the mountain with a huffed up chest. For two days and two continuous nights Arjuna shoveled gold from the mountain and donated to each villager. The mountains did not diminish in their slightest.
Most villagers came back and stood in queue within minutes. After a while, Arjuna, started feeling exhausted, but not ready to let go of his ego just yet, told Krishna he couldn't go on any longer without rest.

Krishna then called Karna. “You must donate every last bit of this mountain, Karna” he told him. Karna called two villagers. “You see those two mountains?” Karna asked, “those two mountains of gold are yours to do with as you please” he said, and walked away.

Arjuna sat dumbfounded and wondered ‘Why hadn't this thought occurred to him?’.

And here’s the answer (and a great lesson)!
Krishna smiled mischievously and told him “Arjuna, subconsciously, you yourself were attracted to the gold, you regretfully gave it away to each villager, giving them what you thought was a generous amount. Thus the size of your donation to each villager depended only on your imagination. Karna holds no such reservations. Look at him walking away after giving away a fortune, he doesn't expect people to sing his praises, he doesn’t even care if people talk good or bad about him behind his back.

In this context, Karna had earned the respect as Danavir(respect for donations he made). He was not behind people or not demanding to be respected for this. However, people respected him for his deeds, for his helping nature. The same holds true for us. If we demand to be respected for something that we have done, or for our age or any other thing, the demand itself looses our credibility for the same. We need to teach young ones to show respect, but we should not be demanding respect from everyone around us. That will make us look judgmental and silly at times. Instead, our focus has to be on the work we do, our focus should be to do good work and that will generate respect by itself. If we do donations with a heart to get respect in return, that will never come true.

Take for example, Mother Teresa, she came to India, and started helping poor and under privileged. Her focus was on serving others, she never focused on what the person has to say after she cared for them in need. Her work gave her respect, it gave an Nobel prize too. But, that was a by-product of her service to mankind. Had she demanded respect and honor, do you think she would have got this highest honorary award?

So, the gist is show respect but never demand respect in return.


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