Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Idols and distant objects of affection

There are great loves and then there are infatuations, the unrequited loves and the loves that exist merely in our imagination. The objects of our affection may be distant and may probably never even get to know us.

Even those loves have a potential to transform us, release our potential and make something out of our lives.
I was watching the movie, "Julie and Julia" the other day where a young woman, Julie Powell, decides to cook all the 524 recipes from the famous TV personality and chef, Julia Child's book, "Mastering the Art of French Cooking".

Spoiler alert: The real Julia Child is not impressed with her efforts after Julie gains acclaim through her blog in which she documents her daily efforts. In fact, her idol is offended. Julie is hurt at this reaction but, the bottom line is, her inspiration served a purpose, to fire her up and dare a task outside her comfort zone. It helped unleash her own creativity and achieve something useful in her life.

Idols can inspire and motivate us to reach for the stars. Even if our admiration and adoration are never reciprocated, we can be rest assured that our affections were not in vain.

There is a story in the Indian epic, the Mahabharata, about a young boy called Ekalavya. He was a great admirer of the sage Dronacharya (this name is a combination of Drona, the name and Acharya, which means sage), who instructed princes of his day in archery.

Every day, Ekalavya would practice his shots in front of an idol of Dronacharya. He became an expert in the course of time. When Dronacharya finally discovers his secret admirer and his proficiency, he asks him for a 'dakshina' (a fee) - Ekalavya's thumb, which would effectively reduce his archery skills considerably. This was to ensure that no one would surpass his favorite royal pupils. Courtesy of Wikipedia, there is another reason Drona supposedly asked for such an outrageous fee - he was angered that Ekalavya had stolen his education and not obtained it the right way.
Ekalavya gladly gives his thumb to Drona. I know, it is all very unfair and this was way back in the ages when emancipation of the lower castes had not yet occurred.

In my opinion and that of many others, Ekalavya emerges as a true hero and an ideal disciple in this story. Some parents would probably lament - if only students these days had the motivation and determination of Ekalavya...

That is the power of devotion, of unconditional affection and respect.

In a more spiritual story that had a happy ending, the medieval saint Mirabai of India, fell in love with Lord Krishna, the flute-playing, cowherd charmer deity of Hindus. Yes, the deity who was no longer present physically on this planet. She composed songs of ecstasy for her beloved, danced to the tune of them, inspiring throngs with her 'bhakti' (devotion). This was scandalous for a young, married woman in India of those days but, fortunately for her, she had a sympathetic husband. Finally, she is supposed to have merged into the Divine, thus achieving union with her Beloved.

Mira is now celebrated as a Saint (Mirabai is again a combination of the name Mira and the suffix, Bai).

The object of one's affection can be a huge inspiration to create, write, paint, excel, achieve and even emulate qualities of humility, grace and courage. Your favorite celebrity crush can actually do you a lot of good:).

This post is dedicated to one of my celebrity crushes, someone I hold in awe and respect and secretly hope to meet someday:).


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice recipe. Unfortunately, I'm cooking bad :(.
But my friend recommended me a site funny cooking book
I always check out this website before making food.
Sorry for my English. It's my third language