Friday, September 28, 2012

The Truest Beauty

This is Balpreet Kaur.  A practicing Seik, she was minding her own business when her picture was taken by a passerby, and posted on Reddit.  This has become a major deal on the internet.

Balpreet caught wind of the Reddit post questioning her faith, her gender, and her femininity.  The cruelty of the internet strikes again, right?  Well, apparently not!  After a  friend of Balpreet saw the photo, she joined in the conversation:
Yes, I realize that my gender is often confused and I look different than most women. However, baptized Sikhs believe in the sacredness of this body - it is a gift that has been given to us by the Divine Being [which is genderless, actually] and, must keep it intact as a submission to the divine will. Just as a child doesn't reject the gift of his/her parents, Sikhs do not reject the body that has been given to us. By crying 'mine, mine' and changing this body-tool, we are essentially living in ego and creating a seperateness between ourselves and the divinity within us. By transcending societal views of beauty, I believe that I can focus more on my actions. My attitude and thoughts and actions have more value in them than my body because I recognize that this body is just going to become ash in the end, so why fuss about it? When I die, no one is going to remember what I looked like, heck, my kids will forget my voice, and slowly, all physical memory will fade away. However, my impact and legacy will remain: and, by not focusing on the physical beauty, I have time to cultivate those inner virtues and hopefully, focus my life on creating change and progress for this world in any way I can.
I am in shock.  People were unkind, and attacked her beauty, which is something that has largely set the value of women in my culture for centuries.  And instead of reacting out of hurt and anger, she took the time to gently explain what turn out to be incredible views and beliefs about herself and the Divine.  What's even more incredible is that the guy who posted it, apologized to her.

So, really, in the times of Kim Kardashians and Real Housewives, when we're being told that our value is directly associated with how much we weigh, how we wear our hair, how well our makeup is done, or the clarity of our skin, who is really beautiful?  I think it's women like Balpreet, whose kindness and gentleness allowed her to instruct us all.

Of course, I'm deeply insecure and (in my opinion) overly vain, and I don't expect that to go away after reading Ms. Kour's inspiring words.  But, at the very least, it is a reminder to me that what I should cultivate within myself is that which will last: a quality character and a life of virtue.  Thank you, Balpreet.

For more information about the Seik faith, read here


  1. Thank you for posting this. I'd seen the photo but had not read her response. Your insights are beautiful.


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