A flurry of articles this week. How long can I this keep up!
With the passing of Mandela last week I started to read some of his quotes. One struck me as profound:
“I came to accept that I have no right whatsoever to judge others in terms of my own customs.” (From his unpublished autobiographical manuscript, 1975)
I read it in the context of recent remarks that I may have made & how it may have come across.
I’m a Sikh and it is great that our religion teaches us to respect other religions, not to convert them or do missionary work. Sikhism is not a follower of superstition or fasting. It is also great that as Sikhs our aim is to perform self-less service. It worries me when I see religion being held to ransom for aid as per recent examples by another faith in Northern India.
Back to the quote. I recently asked why certain people from another faith (non-Hindu) perform Karwa Chauth, (Hindi: करवा चौथ). Its a one-day festival celebrated by Hindu women in North India in which married women fast from sunrise to moonrise for the safety and longevity of their husbands. The fast is observed in the states of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, western Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. The festival falls on the fourth day after the full moon, in the Hindu lunisolar calendar month of Kartik. Sometimes, unmarried women observe the fast for their fiancés or desired husbands
My question / point with a group of friends was aimed to be innocent in the context of observing respectfully that I wondered why it was sometimes performed by women from another faith. It was defended by some men by suggesting that some Hindu men also fast. Just for clarity, I was not questioning its reason, simply wondering why other women from another faith followed it too.
As per the quote, I have no right to judge others. However, there appears to be a grey area in some peoples minds about when cultures collide. Or, integration verse assimilation. If there is a darker aspect to following another religious activity then that could be just me being paranoid. Is my putting up a Christmas tree in the house showing my conformance to Paganism or just getting into the festive fun? Is my attending of a Christmas market a token to the event or enjoying festive cheer? However, respect and disrespect of core values of ones own faith have to be considered in ones actions. Only we can decide what we feel comfortable bridging. Everyone is free to do what they want to. If they follow a faith, its scriptures can guide one in the right direction. Our free will takes us on a journey that cannot be predicted. I suggest that when people do perform certain acts it is important to consider the sacrifices of those who came before us.
I also need to improve the way that I phrase or question why people follow certain customs. I have to respect their opinion but in my heart I know what is truth, a truth that I interpret and act on accordingly. I cannot judge for I am probably being judged by others in terms of what I say. Ultimately, we are all judged by God and only by getting closer to him can we know the purity of our lives.