Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Learn to say ‘No’

This is a trick which many of us do not have up our sleeves. Either for fear of being rebutted or side-lined, we end up saying ‘yes’ when we want to say ‘no’.

So deep has been the problem in society, that it tempted two people Herbert Fensterheim and Jean Baer to go all out and write a book on the subject, which, not surprisingly has been in circulation since October 15, 1975.

Therefore, I urge you all to take heart because you are alone and a good majority of human beings are afraid of saying ‘no’.

The few who manage it do it rather bluntly. Very few of us know the art of doing this tactfully.

Here is the story of Lord Ganesha who said ‘no’ so gracefully and subtly that, in the end, his pursuers relented.

Devas wanted their favourite God Ganesha to get married. But Ganesha had many other things in his mind and was not ready to get married. His mother Goddess Parvathi, asked the devas to help her find a suitable match for her elder son. Devas kept persisting and Ganesha kept refusing. Finally Ganesha decided that only a reply from him will silence the devas and he pondered over the next course of action.

A few days later devas came to Lord Ganesha and asked him, the by now, rhetoric question. Ganesha told them that he would get married the next day. Surprised by the answer, the Devas understood that there was no truth in Ganesha’s words. Yet they could not ask him anything further. Finally they managed to ask Ganesha to promise them that he would get married the next day. Instead of refusing, he cleverly asked them to write tomorrow on his back and turned around. The devas wrote tomorrow and left somewhat satisfied. They immediately went to Goddess Parvathi and told her that Ganesha had agreed to get married the next day. Lord Shiva was also pleased and he wanted to hear it from the horse’s mouth and the next day he went to Ganesha and asked him if he was willing to get married.

Ganesha turned around and showed his back and asked his father what was written. Lord Shiva read it and said ‘Tomorrow’. Then Ganesha told his father that he was willing to get married the next day.

Lord Shiva immediately realised that Ganesha was playing with him, but went away quietly. The next day when Lord Shiva met Ganesha, Ganesha turned around and Lord Shiva got the answer to his question.

Thus without directly saying ‘no’ Ganesha tactfully handled the situation.