Sunday, March 28, 2010


What do we really believe? These can be categorized into 3 different convictions.

Public Convictions – It is what we say we believe in. The most perfect example is a politician’s statements and promises. Even we ourselves tell others what we believe in even though we really don’t. For example some of us say we believe in helping our friends when they have a need. But how many of us help when a friend really needs our help. Public convictions can be a lip service.

One company boasts “we believe we are successful when our clients are successful”. May be true. I don’t know. Public Relations people are expert in this field.

Private Convictions – It is what we think we believe in. We seriously think we believe in something but when the situation comes we change our mind. I know an elderly couple who encouraged inter-caste marriage when it happened in their friends circle. But when their own son married a girl outside their caste, they were furious. Our emotions can change our private convictions.

When someone is ill, most of us pray God for a quick recovery. But, still, we go and see a doctor. Same goes for exams. We go to the temple the previous day and pray God. At the same time, we study hard.

Core Convictions – What we reveal by our actions. Our daily actions will tell a lot about our core convictions. It really tells us who we are and what we believe in. Take for example the following actions:

When crossing a street, someone helps a blind person cross the street. Giving up a seat in the bus so that a pregnant woman can sit. Helping a friend even before he/she asks for it (or even better when helping a complete stranger something like whodunit).

While writing this. I am reminded of this story/incident.

Aadi Shankaracharya (I am not talking about modern day Shankaracharyas) once visited Banaras. He wanted to test people’s belief that a dip in the sacred river Ganges wipes off the sins. He fell down near the river and pretended to have fits. Lot of people who were returning after taking a dip in Ganges came forward to help him. But Aadi Shankaracharya said only those people who have no sin should help him. If someone with sin touches him, that person’s head will break into thousand pieces. No one wanted to go near Aadi Shankaracharya.

Then came a low caste cobbler. He offered to help Aadi Shankaracharya. Aadi Shankaracharya reminded him about how his head would break into thousand pieces if he has any sins. The cobbler told him not to worry and he has no sins. Aadi Shankaracharya was surprised. He asked the cobbler how come he was so sure. The cobbler replied: I just took a dip in river Ganges so all my sins have been wiped out.

Then he touched Aadi Shankaracharya and helped him.

It would be nice if we all have many core convictions.


  1. Nice on, SG, esp. the last one. We blindly follow/do some things, without thinking deeply about them.

    Most of us think that we have to help only when asked, otherwise it will not have its value!

    I know about a great writer who was very very angry when his son married an outside girl, but he gave an impression to be very broad minded in his writings.

    Enjoyed reading this post, SG.

  2. one of the best posts I have read..message conveyed very well..

    you know, whenever I pray to god; I just say thank you..I never ever ask for many people tell me that I should be asking for something by the way of "mannat"; but I never do. My logic is that if you believe in God's existence; you should even believe that God will give you what you truly deserve even without/before you asking for it..then why to make a wish? just pray to god without any intention..

    we human have a nature that if somebody asks for something from us; or somebody asks us to behave in certain manner; we will not do that..even if we do, we will do it halfheartedly..same thing applies to God as well right? Only because he/she is God, we cannot take him for granted..

    not all understand my point..but I am sure you will understand it as you have written this post on the similar thoughts and beliefs that I have :)

  3. YEah rightly said .. excellent article..
    Asking god should not be the only thing, one should work for it too.. I visit the sikh temple everyday on way to work.. All I say is "Hey shachaya patshaah MEhar kareen".. Thats all baaki is upto you , you do bad you get bad.. you do good you get good..

    I loved the article :)

  4. nice post as always SG. Loved the story you shared about Shankaracharya.

  5. wonderful post on convictions and the last example says it all :D
    you are going philosophical it seems :)

  6. Wow, you sure did touch a lot of subjects in your recent post.

    First off we all know that MOST people are hypocrites (or have double standards to some degree).
    MANY people are of the mindset that it is ok if it happens in someone else's house and to somebody else's family...but not in my house and not in my family.

    Second... strong character, ethics, morals, integrity...those are all traits that people should show when no one is watching. By that I mean not when the cameras are rolling or some influential people are around you.

    Regarding religion and beliefs along those lines (not to offend anyone), it has always been one of the fascinating topics on earth to listen to anyone (especially fanatics) talk about their religion.


    Really? Ummm, ok why do you say that?
    How did you join your religion?

    When you were 18 or 20, or chose your career path right?
    Maybe you also chose where you would live and who you would marry?
    At what age did you choose your religion?
    Did you study all of the different religions and say...ummm yes, I think that one is best for me?
    90% of the people who are religious did not do that.

    I can name your religion with 1 simple question - what religion were your parents?
    You are the same religion as your parents (9/10 times that holds true).
    Your parents religious beliefs automatically become your religious beliefs.
    You weren't given the option to choose another religion.
    You had no other choice so you had to embrace what was given to you and you still follow those beliefs to this day.

    The low caste cobbler who helped Aadi Shankaracharya, the chances are pretty good that the cobbler's parents would've helped out as well and guaranteed that the cobbler's children would've helped given the same situation.

  7. Thanks for your comments Sandhya. I am glad you liked this post.

  8. Thanks for your comments Neha. I understand your point of view very well. That is similar to mine.

  9. Thanks for your comments Bikram. You put it very well. You do bad you get bad. You do good you get good.

  10. Thanks for your comments Titaxy. That cobbler had absolute faith in what he believed.

  11. Thanks for your comments Rajlakshmi. Me? Philosophical? Please read my next post.

  12. Thanks for your comments The Cagey Bee. You should have written a guest post here instead of commenting. Hahaha.

    You are absolutely right. If it happens in someone else’s house, it is a nice piece of cocktail conversation. If it happens in our own house, that is a great tragedy.

    Core conviction is the one you tell others through your behavior when no one is watching.

    Most of the people who are born in a particular religion stay in that religion. Only very few “choose” a religion.

    Regarding the cobbler’s parents or children doing the same thing. I beg to disagree. It is individual trait and not passed over to the next generation. I have a friend whose dad drinks alcohol, smokes, and drinks coffee. But this friend of mine never touched even an empty liquor bottle, never touched a cigarette, and never had a sip of coffee or tea in his life. Another funny thing is my friend eats anything except human beings. His dad is a strict vegetarian. (I am not making this up. I can give you my friend's phone number and you can check it out yourself.)

  13. I'm mostly in agreement with The Cagey Bee. I only feel that beliefs are good but one should be flexible also. No point being rigid just to prove a point. Situation matters here.

  14. nice one SG... conveys such a strong msg

  15. my mother used to tell me one such story where it was told that conviction is most important and even we say in hindi...mano to shiv hain nahi to pattha..means if we believe in then it is SHivling..god, otherwise a stone only.

  16. Thanks for your comments lostworld. Yes, the situation matters.

  17. Thanks for your comments Sulagna. I am glad you liked this post.

  18. Thanks for your comments Samvedna. It is only strong personal convictions matter the most.

  19. Nice post. And how true. How few really practise what they preach. And how many stand by their convictions when it is not comfortable?

  20. Thanks for your comments Radha. You said it very well.