Thursday, April 25, 2019

(U) UBUNTU (#AtoZChallenge 2019)

In recent times, indulgent pleasure and instant self-gratification are popularised through advertisements. Consumerism has become a fad. Nuclear families are on the rise. In many cases, people are preferring to live alone than adjust to a partner or live with their family. Our tolerance levels have come down

I will narrow down this discussion to one thing - intolerance and contempt of children towards their parents or grandparents (I covered some aspect in this post). 

I ponder - As a generation, why are we less satisfied with our situation and circumstance despite living and experiencing the most advanced and peaceful era in human history? Why do we not accept our shortcomings and are frustrated?

We blame our parents for our failure, financial problems or inability to buy the latest gadgets. We are not content. Stress levels are increasing. Culture of use and throw has become the norm.

Is this attitude reflecting on our relationships as well? Do we think that we can replace our parents with someone better, and; if we don't get a replacement it is better to be alone than to mingle?

The concept of family and society is breaking down. In this context, I think it is important for all of us to understand the essence of Ubuntu!

Ubuntu roughly translates to humanity according to Nguni language spoken in Southern Africa. During the apartheid movement, it was popularised by Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu as universal philosophy. 

It embraces the concept that Human beings can not exist in isolation. I am because you are - an idea that humanity is based on the plural and not the singular. 

'My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can be only human together' - Desmond Tutu.

According to Ubuntu - A person is a person through other persons. For some Ubuntu is akin to soul force, an actual metaphysical connection shared between people which helps us connect to each other. 

As individuals, we are having special talents and strengths, and we must strike a balance between personal success and the community's success. It pushes one toward selfless acts. It emphasizes the need for forgiveness and reconciliation rather than vengeance. It is a belief that we are a part of a greater whole. (Source: here and here).

In Sanskrit, there is a phrase taken from Maha Upanishad - "Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam" which means 'The whole world is my family'. Can we make this a living reality?

I try to imbibe this philosophy. I want to teach my little kid the importance of Ubuntu! I think we as parents have a huge responsibility towards our next generation and future of the world!

Please share your thoughts! Do you agree with this philosophy or do you have a different world view?

(These AtoZ Challenge posts pertain to my thought process, physical and mental changes, stress levels & mechanisms to cope, perspective, journey and experience as a first-time mother who has yet not delivered her baby.)


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  1. Kislaya,

    Sadly, I see these very things in our children - blaming us for their failures. What if we were to blame, isn't it up to them to make things better as adults? Sure, we all have the power to change our destiny. Modern society teaches the young to never be happy, not to take responsibility for one's action, to want what someone else has, look for shortcuts no matter what the cost, ... They fail to see the blessings in front of them and when things do not go right, they rather look for answers, solutions every place other than to God - the Master of the universe. He holds everything in His hands. It's really sad to see our children to fall so far away from the things we taught them. One day, maybe not in my life time, but I do believe they will turn their hearts and mind toward God. The grass is not greener on the other side, it might be different than what's on our side but that doesn't mean that it's better. There's always more to the picture that meets the eye. Good post!

    A2Z Little Mermaid art sketch series 'Ursula'

  2. I have read about Ubuntu and believe in the concept of ,'the world is one family'.

  3. Thank you for highlighting Ubuntu Nislaya .. it is such a powerful philosophy and we need to be reminded of it, daily. As you say both Mr. Mandela and our own Desmond Tutu and in the Maha Upanishad stress this. It's a philosophy I believe in, and as time goes by, even more so.

    We owe it to our children to teach them and practice what we preach if we wish them to grow into fulfilled, loving human beings.

  4. We have amazingly similar perspectives. I wrote about a similar thing in my I post after I realized how technology had actually driven the world apart. We have become so comfortable with the idea of seclusion that it is scary to think of the ideas we might be passing on to the next generation. I really loved this thought provoking post of yours.

  5. I love the concept of Ubuntu. And I really like the Sanskrit phrase you shared with us. I think this is critically important. If we truly understood that every inhabitant of this planet was part of our global family and we nourished, nurtured and respected them as such, offering loving-kindness always, there would be no war, no inequality in the distribution of resources, and no reason to fear one another. And what a difference that would make.

  6. True. This is also one of the philosophies in Nichiren Buddhism. We can never be truly happy if even one person around is unhappy. There is no "I", only "we".
    One of your most thought provoking posts in the series, Kislaya.

  7. We are in sync!


  8. I have read about Ubuntu - its a great concept and yes can relate to your thoughts. When we stop blaming and start taking responsibility for our thoughts, feelings and behavior, only then can we become powerful and even successful in life.