Harilal Gandhi (1888-1948), Manilal, Ramdas and Devdas were the four sons of Gandhiji and Kasturba. However, the children could not really accept the father of the nation to be as their father. They resented it that the illustrious father did not impart formal education to the children.
Harilal Gandhi was to become an alcoholic, an embezzler, known for public drunkenness and destitution and became an apostate. He converted to Islam and was known as Abdullah Gandhi. Though he loved his parents, he could not accept his father’s ideology of parenting.
What do we really mean by acceptance? Acceptance in human psychology is a person’s assent to the reality or situation, recognizing a process or condition (often a negative or uncomfortable situation) without attempting to change it or protest. The concept can be mirrored as acquiescence.
“Each one of us, in the cosmic perspective, is precious. If a human agrees with you, let him live. In a hundred billion galaxies, you will not find another.” says Carl Sagan.
A woman is married into a family and brings with her the baggage of her ideology and attributes of parenting. Similarly, the family she is married into has their own thought process. Is the family able to accept the woman in totality?
Nathan Branden the noted psychotherapist and writer opines, “The first step towards change is awareness. The second step is acceptance.”
There was an opulent person living during the times of Buddha, and was desirous of becoming a monk and join the Sangha by abdicating all worldly glamour and clamour.
The ever compassionate and enlightened Lord Buddha was willing to accept the person in the fold but made it clear that he needs to accept everyone in every aspect by thought and deeds. The up market person with all abundance meditated and returned back to Buddha and accepted the condition.
But the person added a caveat that he could accept everyone except two people. The compassionate Buddha smiled and mentioned, that the Sangha would make an exception in the case of the individual, that he need not accept 98 persons, but had to necessarily accept those two individuals.
“The greatest gift that you can give to others is the gift of unconditional love and acceptance”, says Brian Tracy the pioneering self development coach. Such is the power of acceptance.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar elucidates further that there is a concept of active and passive acceptance. In case there is corruption in the society, we may just tolerate the corruption and do nothing about it. However in case of active acceptance, we take up cudgels.
Given this background, Guruji established ‘India Against Corruption (IAC)’, which fired the imagination of the youth and the general populace. In our minds, we need to create a space where we are willing to accept all the qualities (may be acceptable or not) of a person. Only through unconditional love does a person accept any other individual.
But this is possible only if we are able to live in the present moment. A meditative mind would be in a state to accept situations, conditions and people.
The locale and circumstances keep changing thus, our minds should be trained in such a manner, that it is willing to accept those situations. As Lord Buddha says, the only permanent thing in life is its impermanence.
So if the compartments and the walls of our minds are fixated along certain patterns, without realising the ever prevalent change in society, we would not be able to accept people or situations. Therefore everything in life is absolutely transitory and this is the quintessential truth, including tragedies.
By not accepting people and situations we are merely cannonading our minds with antipathetic thoughts. Our minds need rest and peace. Unnecessary thoughts keep cropping up in our system as to what the other person feels about us without discerning that the concerned individual is not even bothered about what is our state of mind.
To save our minds from mental destruction, we need to open the apertures of our minds and accept various facets of life. It would not be incorrect to state that human mind should accept all religions and faiths to maintain sanity in the world.
Political barriers have collapsed with increasing globalisation, the lethal virus afflicting humanity and technology. The world has become ‘flat’, thus individuals and nations need to accept all ideologies, to avoid conflicts.
John Lennon penned these iconic lines:
Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people…
“The art of acceptance is the art of making someone who has just done you a small favor wish that he might have done you a great one” wrote Martin Luther King Jr.
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