Influence or Inspire


I remember when we were young children; Papa would never allow us to put the posters of the film stars or sports people on the walls of the room. Any kind of hero worshiping was not allowed. We weren’t quite happy about it because we used to see that our friends or other children are allowed to decorate their walls with the photos of their favourites. We never understood why Papa was so against us having any influence of these stars. But today, after all these years of life experience, I understand he was right. He kept us away from the influence. And I could thus find a way to move to something more intrinsic i.e. Inspiration.

Another very significant memory of my childhood comes from the walls of the school where mom used to teach and where I also studied for many years. The govt. school in Adampur, with its very big open arena surrounded by covered veranda on three sides and pillars. And between those pillars on the wall near the roof were these beautiful words of wisdom. And the old banyan tree in the middle of this open arena. My favourite pass time every evening used to be stomping on the dry fallen leaves and reading those words over and over again. Till they got imprinted in my conscious the exact way they were written on the wall. Many years later, I understand that my life philosophy and belief is guided by those words, some I understood that very moment and some took time to get to me. One such phrase that took a lot of time to get absorbed was “Ghrina Paap se karo Paapi se nahin” i.e. abhor the crime and not the criminal. Now this could be a debatable line, but I can say with confidence and utmost belief that once we get over the difficulty of being able to differentiate between the crime and criminal, we will understand the truth and the liberating power behind this statement. Though, it is easier said than done because our learnings and conditionings do not allow us to do so. Anyhow, my point is not to elaborate on the matter as to how we can learn to differentiate between crime and criminal. My point is something else. I am taking this statement to a different dimension i.e. “appreciate the good deed and not the doer”. So, in both the statements, it’s the action which is either commendable or condemnable and not the one who is doing that actions. So, if the action is more significant than the one who does it, you will never be influenced by the person. Rather the actions will start guiding your life. And no man or face will ever be larger than life. Then we learn through the actions and then we do not follow men/ women, we do not worship the idol but we worship the qualities. Then we are no one’s fan. Then we are not hero worshippers. Then we do not need gods. Then we do not limit our learnings or our possibilities. Then the whole world is our guide. And then we learn to be inspired instead of getting influenced.

I do remember a small incident of university days. There was some fest and it was customary for our teachers to come and observe the fest as well. A group of us friends was sitting around when we saw one of our teachers strolling in wearing bright red T-shirt. We were pleasantly surprised since we were used to see him in neutral safari suits. We instantly went to him and complimented that he looked nice in red casual T-shirt. He accepted the compliment with Grace and asked us what we learn out of it. Well, we were dumbstruck as to what will be in this to learn! But there was something very important for us all to learn. If we appreciate someone who looks good, do we appreciate the looks of the person or his action to look good i.e. dressing sense, presentation skills? So, a true appreciation is the appreciation of the action, the effort. And when we truly appreciate, we take a step towards imbibing the action within us. So, to get inspired, we need to learn to focus on the action instead of the person.