Relationship


Going by www.etymonline.com, the word Relationship in use since the 1640s and had its meaning as “sense or state of being related.” Over time (by about 1944) it was more related to romantic or sexual relationships. While users have continued to use the word in various context, none reflect the complete understanding. Each user has his/her intent of using the word.

Relationships exist all through our life; in personal as well as in business. I cannot even imagine a meaningful and successful life without any relationship. I have been thinking on this word as in recent time, I have come across very strange and varied interpretations of the word. I have tried to create a mind map around the word “relationship.” I am confident it is not an exhaustive representation. At some point, I started having difficulty in drawing the mindmap as there were too many cross-links. I guess that is what a relationship can mean.

The map is self explanatory in most instances. For ease of reading the map, let me explain one dimension. The relation with mother can exist at different levels:

  1. Each one of us is connected with our mother right from the time we were in her womb.
  2. She possibly has a dominant impact on our mind space. She is part of the forming stage of our life. That Napolean said, “Give me good mothers: I will give you a good nation.”
  3. Our soul constantly connects with our mother even after her life.  Spiritually, the Shraddha done in Gaya has special significance for mother.

However, “Purpose” of relationship may not connect with every relationship. For example, any attempt to have a relationship with the mother with “Materialistic” objectives will always end in a bitter experience for both though the bitterness may not be experienced at the same time. However, the devotional and spiritual relationship can exist with anyone. There are several examples of such relationships. Ramakrishna Paramhansa is believed to have worshipped his wife as a goddess.

Any relationship to last, there has to be a two-way component in the relationship, with few exceptions. The two-way component reflects the famous WIN_WIN paradigm. However, that does not exist in some relationship (to the best of my knowledge). for example:

  1. Relationship with mother can never be bidirectional. Our scriptures have stated “माता कुमाता न भवति”. This implies irrespective of what son may do to her, she will always wish her well.
  2. The relationship between Master and Slave will not be bi-directional. The slave never gets anything in return that is useful to him/her.

One dimension which may often go unnoticed is the relationship with oneself. Our attachment with our physical body reflects the permanency of the relationship. The last this any human wants to give up is his/her body. This dimension of the relationship with oneself often a source of all negative emotions like Anger, Pain, etc. The Ethereal relationship reflects the spiritual state of mind of an individual. In this form of relationship, one connects with his/her soul. Most saints and “siddha purusha” are in that state.

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