HOLINESS IN LOVE

Love and holiness are concepts that might seem polar opposites of each other but are in fact intertwined with each other.

Love served on a platter of holiness tastes ambrosiac.

However, it is just as difficult to love wholly as it is to maintain holiness in love. Holiness in love does not refer to chanting the name of God ceaselessly or sermonizing on spirituality at all times. Holiness in love is a call to guard the sense organs and mental perceptions against unholy intruders just because you have decided to present your unalloyed self to a special person.

WHY IS IT NECESSARY TO MAINTAIN HOLINESS IN LOVE?

· When you love a person, s/he is special. S/he occupies a place in your life like none other. It would be an injustice to present a deliberately defiled unrepentant self to that special person. You wouldn’t gift a broken pen or half-eaten chocolate to anyone, would you?

· There is a moral standard set in place against unholiness. Does it really matter? It does. Entertaining unholy intruders sears the soul and the spirit, just as it defiles the body. But, then who decides the moral standard? What may be unholy for you, may simply be fun for me. Why then drag morality into the picture and make a big deal out of it?

· We are created in the image of a holy God, who is love. Holiness is a part of our DNA. When we think of ways to fiddle with holiness, we fiddle with our DNA which is more than mere biology. Consequently, love gets the beating.

· Pleasures of holy love are richly rewarding. While the pleasures of unholy love offer momentary gratification, pleasures derived out of holy love are perpetually gratifying as it soothes the soul and strengthens the spirit.

HOW TO GUARD OUR SENSE ORGANS AGAINST UNHOLY INTRUDERS?

First, it is important to identify the unholy intruders. Be it having fun at the expense of a dirty joke, flirting, watching soft/ hard porn, mere sexual fantasizing or physical intimacy before/ outside the marital relationship – these are unholy intruders into the holiness of love. These intruders destroy all the potentials for enjoying love to the fullest extent. Hence, it is vital to identify them.

Second, erect mental and physical barriers. The next step after recognizing the unholy intruders is to block their entry. If you have more idle time, develop a constructive hobby. If you have peers who challenge you into entertaining any of the unholy intruders, part ways with them. If your body secretes high levels of hormones which push you towards welcoming the unwanted intruders, build up a regimen with the help of professionals to deal with it.

Third, say NO to experimentation. Thomas Alva Edison once burned down his lab in the course of his experimentation to discover the incandescent bulb. Alfred Nobel blew up quite a few rocks and boulders while experimenting with dynamite. Neither Edison’s lab, nor the rocks blown up by Nobel were restored to their previous forms ever. There are enough explosive precedents of experimentations in love across all cultures and generations. Need we experiment further?

Fourth, tap on the strength from God. God is Love. He provides the necessary restraint to safeguard our minds and bodies so that we can cherish love in its totality and holiness. It is not easy to prevent the unholy intruders from sneaking into our lives merely by self-determination or vows of chastity. Missiles cannot be encountered with rifles. Missiles need to be encountered with missiles. That is precisely why all nations keep their military arsenal well-stocked with missiles!!

WHAT ABOUT THE SLIPS?

It is easier to give a dictum to follow than to follow the dictum. Slips do happen!! Big stalwarts have fallen flat in surrender to the unholy intruders. Temptations often knock at the door. Discernment between mood uplifting fun and unholiness is rarely pondered upon. When slips do happen during unguarded fragile moments, it is vital to recognize the sin, admit to self and God, repent for the same and resolve never to repeat them. And the, of course, to erect stronger barriers than before.

SHOULD YOU ACCEPT DEFILED LOVE?

I know of a man who had guarded himself against all possible unholy intruders, just to be able to love the special person who would come his way. When he realized that he was in mutually reciprocal love with his friend, he also realized that she had been emotionally bound to two others before (which he already knew as her friend).

It was a tussle for him. He remained true in his love as he was in his friendship with her, but it took a while for him to come to terms with the fact that he would be receiving what he called ‘a third-hand gift’.

What helped was the fact that she was true about her past, was true with him all through and admitted to having sought God’s forgiveness for those seemingly silly affairs. Overall this was God’s strength that helped him brush off her past and accept her with loving holiness.

If you find yourself in a similar situation, remember truth and forgiveness are vital keys. Genuine slips need to be forgiven when truly repented for. Unintentional unholiness needs to be forgiven in acceptance as well. Victims of human trafficking and sexual abuse deserve the healing and bliss of holy love. God heals the broken with His love, and so He expects that we give the scope to the broken for healing by showing our love.

Love is an intense emotion which rules the world. The consequences of love dying in the world that we live in would be disastrous. What can keep love from dying is holiness. This is not only true about romantic love but also true for all relationships.

When there is holiness in love, all the other virtues discussed earlier in the week – Justice, Truth, Equality, Kindness, Respect and Acceptance, Patience would be largely visible.

WITH LOVE AND PATIENCE NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE

The car lurched forward, jerked and stopped. Sameer said in a frustrated voice “Aanya you have to slowly leave the clutch and press the accelerator simultaneously. How difficult is it to comprehend?” Aanya was near tears “You’re sitting next to me and rolling your eyes is pressure enough for me. Don’t shout at me. Have patience na… It’s my first day learning how to drive a car.”

Kaushal came home in a very bad mood. He was snapping at the kids and Suhana at every small thing. Nothing they did was right according to him. The kids scuttled away into their room on the pretext of homework. And Suhana was left alone to face the wrath of Kaushal. Suhana was simmering inside and was ready to blow her top too. But at the right time, her mind reasoned that she needs to deal with this situation with some patience. Kaushal was on his notice period in the office having been asked to resign. The pain of being treated unfairly in the current job and no other job in sight was taking a toll on Kaushal.

Shruti was bedridden for last one year after the accident. She was beginning to lose hope that she would ever walk again. She was so dejected that she had stopped trying also. No amount of cajoling was pulling her out of this stoic mindset. Aayan was at his wit’s end. But he knew he had to keep his patience while dealing with Shruti or else he would never be able to help her out of this dark pit of depression.

There are innumerable such instances in our daily life. Among all the relationships in our life, we have the maximum expectations from our spouse. There will be times when the behaviour of your spouse will irritate you or frustrate you. But before you lose your cool think about what the other person’s emotional state is. Maybe their heightened emotions are making them behave unreasonably. So be patient. Don’t react immediately and look for a better way to deal with the situation.

No, I am not saying always put up with their bad behaviour but do put yourself in your spouse’s shoes and think maybe at this moment they need your empathy and not your equal and opposite reaction.

RESPECT AND ACCEPTANCE – A LOVELY COUPLE

Gaurav and Sweekriti are at the sessions court, they came for a hearing as they have applied for divorce. Court gave adjournment of six months which is a normal practice for couples applying for divorce to give them time to rethink their decision.

Gaurav and Sweekriti, married for 5 years now after a brief courtship period of 5 months are at a pedestal today where they don’t want to continue their relationship. And it was their mutual decision and they didn’t involve their respective families for they feared that they might be pressurised for the sake of SOCIETY. They are individuals having their respective perspectives towards life, love an independence. Amidst all the disagreements and arguments one thing that they agreed upon is separation is the independence and MIGHT bring happiness to them.

As they were waiting the period of six months given by the court to pass, they had a sudden yet pleasant guest – Setu Uncle, who happens to be Sweekriti’s best friend’s father and even Gaurav is so much fond of him. They couldn’t continue their charade of a happy couple in front of him and within two days the issue was out in open. Setu Uncle isn’t someone who talks in a circumlocutory manner. Also is someone who isn’t into the foul and futile practice of upholding a false, fragile prestige that gets dented by happy carefree smiles. That might be the reason that Gaurav and Sweekriti broke the news to him as they knew he won’t be judging them.

Setu Uncle smiled and said “at the end of the day we are responsible for our happiness, if you guys think this is it then let it be. But can you do one thing for me?” And pulled two blank papers from his file that was lying on the table and handed them to the couple. They were blank as the papers in their hands and stared each other. And Setu Uncle continued “I know that you dislike each other so much that don’t want to be in this bond any longer. I can’t use the term hate as I find it too strong to be used for two lovely, intelligent people like you, so dislike will do (he chuckled). Take these papers, think and write what are the reasons, characteristic traits in your partner that made you loathe about the person to a point that you don’t want this association anymore. Take your time and no cheating” (he winked) and left them.

He returned after two hours only to find the papers kept on the table folded. He called Gaurav and Sweekriti and opened their respective sheets.

Gaurav – she doesn’t understand me 😡

Sweekriti – he never respects me, always brooding 😡

Setu Uncle read and laughed hard ” I thought one paper wouldn’t be enough for your complaints but you guys disappointed me. Coming to your issues did you guys ever spoke to each other about your feelings? Gaurav you said she doesn’t understand you, that means Acceptance is the issue but did you try to talk to her explaining your stand or perspective without getting irritated. Your irritation, the choice of words in the heat of arguments come across as crass and disrespectful which are more dangerous than the obvious physical abuse. Have you thought about that? Sweekriti I am on your side, words said in anger hit like venom but apart from that any other flaw that stands out remarkably in this man? Is he not loyal to you, not supportive of your aspirations, not a responsible partner? Isn’t one flaw pardonable in otherwise perfect man? The way you deserve respect so does he acceptance. We all are flawed some way or the other, isn’t it? Flaws can be complimented and completed but lack of love can’t be and none of you have given that as a reason to call it quits”.

Both Gaurav and Sweekriti looked at each other, once angry glances mellowed down. Confusion still persists but a willingness to try once more has sprouted up.

And Setu Uncle continued “see I always believed our happiness is our prerogative and call so whatever be your decision it should make you happy, together or otherwise. The issue I see from where I stand is non acceptance of the problems or flaws – both within and our partner. Acceptance of our problems induces solutions, acceptance of others’ flaws induces clarity. And that bridges the gap by paving the path of respect, communication being the bricks. If talking is leading to arguments drop messages, handwritten works better any day. Don’t think I am being preachy or poking nose in your business. It’s just that I would never want a couple to become separate entities just because they couldn’t identify and accept, respect the bliss of being together, think differently and not indifferent or devoid of love. Any way I am leaving tonight and leaving you to ponder over. I promise this will remain with me as a secret unless you decide to spill the beans. Take care”.

*****************

Can you guys guess the ending of the story?

PS** Gaurav – pride/ prestige/ respect; Sweekriti – Acceptance; Setu – Bridge**

DARE YOU CALL WOMEN WEAK!

I want to be with my baby, but I pick up my bag and head to work

I want to spend some time with my husband, but I prepare my kid’s uniform and school bag for the next day

I want to let my hair down and relax but the sink full of dishes is waiting for me

I want to call in sick at work but there is an important presentation with the leadership team

I want to binge watch web series but a trip to the grocery store is long due

I want to go out with my friends but there is no one to look after the house

I want to sleep in over the weekend but kids and husband have demanded a special breakfast

There is a lot that I want to do but I ALWAYS put my responsibilities first.

No – I am not seeking sympathy. I do it out of choice. I do it out of love.

WOMEN ARE STRONG ENOUGH TO CHOOSE OTHERS OVER THEIR DESIRES when
necessary.
WOMEN ARE STRONG ENOUGH TO LIVE OTHER’S DREAM
WOMEN ARE STRONG ENOUGH TO STAND UP LIKE A ROCK WHEN YOU SHATTER
DARE YOU CALL THEM A WEAKER SEX!
Women are strong, because they can continue doing selfless things for their whole life and yet not complain but dare you take them for granted.

I like how this gender equality awareness is gaining momentum these days,but few things never change because of the innate nature of the gender. I don’t mean to say that men cannot do the above things, but history is a witness to how things have always been. They still continue to be like that in most parts of the world.

But hey, let’s break the image of “Abla Naari”. Today, women are fiercely independent and they have the power to choose whether they want to do what they are expected to do. And yet they continue to choose everything else over them even today – That’s the beauty of womanhood.

Not just this, they have assumed a lot more responsibilities at domestic and career front yet they balance just everything. They are not helpless any more. They don’t need your sympathy, but yes, they do long for some respect from you. They are not a weaker sex any more. 

The first step towards gender equality is accepting that women are capable, strong and intelligent. Are we ready yet? For me, the true gender equality will set in when women are asked for their opinions in family decisions, when a husband seeks advice from his wife, when they are allowed to eat along with all the family members, when the birth of a girl is not frowned upon, when a poor father does not have to mortgage his land and house for the dowry, when girls are sent to schools along with their male siblings, when no woman is burnt alive, raped or victimised for dowry, when the girls are not traded for flesh.

Now tell me, World are we ready for #genderequality?

 

DISCRIMINATING IS NOT “COOL”

Bubli was her name and even though her name meant “lively,” she was a very quiet and shy girl. She was working as a maid at our place. Every day she would come at a specified time and complete household chores assigned to her by my mom and then go to another house to do the same job. Sometimes on special holidays or celebrations, my mom would make her stay a little more to clean the house even better. She never had any Sundays, she would take off once in a couple of months for a day or two. Every month she would get her meager salary.

My parents helped her manage her finances. My dad even gave her some loan on no interest. She always returned back all the loans. My mom would give her tea and breakfast in the morning; if she stayed back more work then she would get lunch too. It was a very workable model. But I did not understand a few things – she never sat on our dining table with us and ate her food. She always ate in the kitchen sitting on the floor. She never sat on the sofa even if she was watching a movie that was running on TV; she always sat on the floor. I am not sure if my mom or dad ever asked her to behave this way, but she always did keep a distance with what we did.

Perhaps as a child, I just accepted that this is how it is. But some other related incidents caught my notice and I felt that this is not really acceptable. I realized that my parents were much kinder to the household maids; there are a lot of other people who seem to keep a great deal of distance between themselves and the household helpers. I saw incidents where maid is not allowed to use the toilet at homes. She is supposed to clean the toilet but not allowed to use it. Maids are not allowed in the bedrooms, they are always supposed to sit on the floor. It is ok for the maids to feed the child but she cannot really sit on the couch while doing so.

A man belonging to a higher middle class hired a driver because driving was too stressful for him. He had to visit a mall for some shopping, so his driver drives him there. While this man enjoys his shopping in mall, his driver was just sitting in the car. He did not step into the mall, even though there is nobody stopping him from going there – but he chooses to stay in the car. Why? Because he knows that his class doesn’t belong to the mall.

I almost lost my temper when I heard that a premium society in Bangalore had placed notices all over the place stating that any of maid servants/drivers/cleaners are not supposed to use the podium or passenger lift. They are supposed to use the basement and the service lift. It almost sounded like “Indians and dogs are not allowed”. I learnt that it is common practice in mumbai that fancy lifts are meant to be used by residents and lower class is only supposed to  use the service lifts.

I am happy to inform that this premium society in Bangalore that I just mentioned above was eventually given a legal notice for doing this. But this incident clearly brings out our thought process and made me question a lot of things with respect to this discrimination that exists all around us.

The long back abolished “tradition of untouchability” still exists its very native form in our country. It is not enough to celebrate the birthday of Dr. B R Ambedkar and give a national holiday on the occasion. It makes a difference to our society and country when we really put his teachings to daily practice.

God created all human beings equally. Each individual is talented and deserves to be respected. Imagine what kind of teachings you are passing on to your children when you do not allow your maid servant to use the toilet or sit on the sofa. These are the people who clean up our mess, how does it make them dirty?

Respecting all individuals is the very basic need of humanity!

GESTURES OF ADDRESSING ELDERS ACCORDING TO THE INDIAN CULTURE

I met my co-author and friend Sulagna on a Writers Community Online not less than 7 years ago. And we became very good friends afterwards as we kept commenting and appreciating each other’s articles which we had written for the same community.

As the days passed by I invited her for writing articles for Candles too. That time Candles was in the printed form. She wrote for ‘Candles’ a couple of times times consecutively and our closeness grew. She used to call me by my name, “Chiradeep.” But when she came to know that I am quite older to her as we added each other on facebook, she immediately started calling me “Chiradeep Dada.” In Bengali culture an elder brother is addressed as ‘Dada’ as a sign of respect.

The Bengali culture has a set of manners which they are so accustomed to from childhood that she immediately changed her way of addressing. She even called my wife as “Didi” (Elder Sister). Truly, at that particular time I really appreciated her nice gesture.

I remember a Hindi movie called ‘Chupke Chupke’ where film actor Dharmendra was making comedy  talking about English language and the way they address their uncles and aunties.

Let me clarify…

According to Dharmendra, we have different words of addressing for our father’s older brother and younger brother; different words for father’s sisters. In the same way we have different words for mother’s sisters and brothers.

Unfortunately, in English all the males are addressed as Uncles and females are addressed as Aunts.

Somehow I love this culture and the set of mannerisms we have pertaining to how we address our elders and young ones. When we address the concerned person in a certain way, the relationship with that particular person becomes very clear both to them and the people around them. I feel there is less chance of taking for granted the relationships in our culture, though it’s purely my personal opinion about it.  

Keep reading and keep sending your feedbacks…

Stay Blessed!!!

(Image Source: HERE)