This dialogue is neither a figment of imagination nor a real one; and the same applies to the characters as well. The character MAnvi is one I see myself in, though at times different. Her thAthA is one who seems much familiar. All of these dialogues are a trigger from a book or a discourse by Pujya Swami Dayananda Saraswati, that I have read or heard respectively. Any error in the way I have blogged upon on any aspect, is due to an error in my understanding alone. 

It was days before MAnvi decided to resume the discussion with her thAthA. He was sure that she would reach out to him when she was ready for the discussion and certainly not before that. Many times he would see her lost in thought or speaking to herself with such an intensity that disturbing her he knew, would only delay her reaching out to him to continue the discussion.

MAnvi: thAthA, this aspect of ‘we need to understand ourselves first and until then understanding others don’t happen’ is going to take a few more discussions. Let me start with what is on my mind now..

It isn’t easy to understand that I have a relationship with myself and I need to have the freedom in it. If understanding isn’t easy, acceptance is even far away. Why do we focus so much in understanding others and not ourselves, thAthA? I was grappling with my attempt to understand that when I read this sentence ‘Your freedom is my limitation’.. If I apply this statement to myself in a relationship that I would have with someone, it means that their freedom is my limitation, thAthA..

I see two things here – that the other person has the free will to make their choices and that their choices could be my limitations..

thAthA: Explain what you mean by that, MAnvi?

MAnvi: I will explain what I understood thAthA. Let me take you and me as an example, this is just an example I take to explain and may not happen really 🙂 – we have a relationship and I come with my rAgas and dweshas into this relationship. I communicate on what I expect from you in fulfiling my rAgas and dweshas. You may understand what I am saying and may not want to fulfil my rAgas and dweshas ; or you may not even understand what I am saying or expecting .

If you understand my communication and still you refuse to fulfil my rAgas and dweshas, my limitation could be in not being able to accept your refusal. If you don’t understand what I am saying or expecting, it means that either I am not articulating it correctly or I haven’t said what I need to say at the right time and the right place. That then is my limitation in communication and other skills, isn’t it thAthA?

Which means that I have my limitations and I need to accept the fact that I have limitations, isn’t it? Now that is certainly not easy!!

thAthA (after a few seconds): MAnvi, your freedom could also be your limitation, isn’t it?

MAnvi (taken aback at the question, looked at her thAthA with a frown)..

thAthA (continuing): Do you have the freedom to refuse to accept your limitation?

MAnvi: Yes, thAthA.

thAthA: Will your refusal to accept the limitation become your limitation, MAnvi? That you have a limitation in accepting that limitation could be bothersome for you, isn’t it? You are constantly battling with your own limitations because you allow them to bind you and you may not want that bondage. Then where is the freedom in your relationship with yourself, MAnvi? Remember charity begins at home. To understand and accept the other persons’ limitations, it is important to first understand and accept your limitations. Your freedom in your relationship with yourself also lies in the sensitivity and compassion you show to yourself – be it for your strengths or limitations.

MAnvi, in a relationship, when one forces their rAgas and dweshas on the other person and expect them to be fulfiled, they are then seen as aggressive or as a person with a chip on their shoulders or as a person with an ego, is that right?

MAnvi: Yes thAthA.

thAthA: What about a relationship wherein you allow yourself to be forced to fulfil the others’ rAgas and dweshas; do you feel good at those times?

MAnvi: thAthA, it depends on the relationship. While in some relationships I may not be happy being forced to fulfil someone else’s rAgas and dweshas, in a few others I think I am making the other person in the relationship happy by fulfiling their rAgas and dweshas. I then also feel happy, most times. On the other hand, when they are not happy with the way I am fulfiling their rAgas and dweshas, I also don’t feel happy.

thAthA (got up from his seat and after saying this slowly and softly, stepped out of his room): MAnvi, do you know that by doing this you are actually manipulating yourself? When you are manipulating yourself, would you be able to understand and accept your limitations? What then happens to your sensitivity and compassion to yourself? Is there then freedom in your relationship with yourself?

When MAnvi’s thAthA came back to his room after a while, he found MAnvi sleeping in the same place she was seated. A note next to her read, “Thank you, thAthA.”