The Trishul Of Acceptance
by Shivanshi Agarwal
In life, we often find ourselves yearning for the approval of others, hoping that everyone will think highly of us and appreciate our actions. However, this expectation is simply unrealistic. No matter what we do, there will always be someone who disagrees, finds fault, or thinks negatively of us. The story of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati serves as a profound reminder of this timeless truth.
Once, Lord Shiva invited Goddess Parvati to accompany him for a walk to Mitryulok. Landing in a small village with their faithful companion, Nandi the bull, they set out on foot. Despite their divine presence, the villagers failed to recognize them, and soon, murmurs and judgments began to circulate. One group of villagers questioned why Shiva and Parvati were walking when they had the majestic bull Nandi to carry them. Prompted by these comments, Shiva suggested that they both ride Nandi, but as they did so, another group criticized them for the perceived mistreatment of the bull.
Each time they tried to accommodate the opinions of others, different judgments arose. The cycle continued as the couple switched positions, with Parvati on the bull and Shiva walking. Again, judgments followed, questioning traditional roles and advocating for equality. Realizing that no matter what they did, objections would persist, Shiva eventually tied Nandi to a trishul and lifted him up.
Through this experience, Shiva imparted a valuable lesson to Parvati — no matter our actions, people will always find fault. Good deeds may be criticized by some, while bad deeds may be condemned by others. Thus, the fear of judgment should never hinder us from following our hearts and doing what we believe is right.
As I reflect on this story, I am reminded of my own struggles with the fear of judgment. In school, I often hesitated to answer questions, fearing what my peers might think of my responses. This fear led me to miss out on countless opportunities, hindering my growth and potential. However, I eventually came to realize that seeking approval from others is an endless pursuit. The opinions of others are beyond our control, and our focus should be on our own values and beliefs. Our self-worth should not be dependent on external validation but rather on our perception of ourselves and the love and support of our close family and friends.
It is a common dilemma — remaining silent in a group may lead to the perception of being simple-minded, while speaking up may brand us as talkative. Instead of wasting our energy trying to be perceived as good in the eyes of others, we should strive to be genuinely good from within. By nurturing our virtues, we can find contentment and inner peace, regardless of external judgments.
The story of Shiva and Parvati serves as a timeless reminder that seeking universal approval is an impossible quest. We must focus on being true to ourselves, regardless of the judgments others may pass. Let us endeavor to become better versions of ourselves and place importance on the opinions we hold of ourselves and the love we share with our loved ones. After all, it is these values that truly matter in the end. ***