Mind your anger, mind your finger

Your index finger, I mean.

You may be angry, you may be concerned, and you may be doubtlessly right. But if you’re pointing out your index finger towards me when you’re talking, if you’re prodding, that is, I’m not going to listen to you. Nobody is.

There’s a story in Hindu mythology. A demon ‘Shoorpakan’ is said to have been a great devotee of Lord Shiva. For years, he stood in penance at the tip of a huge, sharp, heated needle surrounded by blazing fire. All this, for earning a wish from the Lord himself. Lord Shiva, shaken by the might of Shoorpakan’s determination, granted the evil demon a wish. (Those days, even if you were being evil, if you were devoted to it, you were considered worthy of a boon.)

“Anyone I point my index finger to, should die and reduce to ashes.” He demanded.

Lord Shiva, though taken aback by this evil wish, had to grant him the promised wish. As soon as the wish was granted, the infamous Shoorpakan started to point his finger to Lord Shiva himself. Poor Lord had to run for his life, it is said. Even he couldn’t control the power of his granted boon.

In utter despair, he informed his counterpart, Lord Vishnu, the Sustainer of the world, about the dilemma. In a few minutes, Lord Vishnu had a plan.

He masterfully wore the ‘Maya Mohini Vesham’, the disguise of the most enchantingly beautiful woman, capable of melting the toughest of hearts. He then walked into the forest, towards Shoorpakan, and lured him with the irresistable charms of his disguise.

Shoorpakan, entranced by the damsel, demanded that they get married. For this purpose, he said ‘I’ and ‘You’ shall get married. And just as he said I, he pointed out to himself, and Lo and Behold! The evil devotee was reduced to a pile of ashes.

Now, had Shoorpakan displayed a little bit of courtesy and manners that we teach our kids in school, to always address the other person before us, to say ‘You and I’ and not ‘I and You’, he could’ve probably killed his enemy and saved himself.

Had he not been an idiot and not asked for the fateful boon that danced to the pointing of his index finger, he would’ve perhaps lived to become one of the most loved devotees of Lord Shiva, and who knows, would’ve found himself another ‘Maya Mohini’ for real.

So, the bottom line: Everybody likes to believe they hold a certain ego/ respect to themselves. And pointing a finger at him is like pointing at the smallness of that very ego/ respect. And before burning down the other person’s ego to ashes, it is wiser to burn down one’s own.

Mind your finger. Keep it to yourself.


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