Idol Maker

Reflection time amidst the crisis facing a movement that I am intimately associated with. A honest introspection and in my humble conclusion brings me to the root cause of the issue. De-spiritualization of the movement. There is a lesson for all of us from this and definitely for me in my future engagements with any social cause.

A people’s movement in Bharath that caught the imagination of the world, was gradually turned into a movement of India driven by a few egoistic leaders who apparently grew bigger than the cause that was being espoused. The very leaders fell victims to the malady that we were fighting. The sustenance of such a mass movement that started from the spiritual space slowly turned into a ego battle and hence almost sounded the death knell but for some timely realization. It was realized by leadership that the only way the movement can be recovered, strengthened and sustained by arresting the de-spiritualization. Nothing is bigger than the cause or institution that they stand for.

With due respects to everyone, I present a nice story for all of us, especially for those self anointed and aggrandized leaders. Here it goes… (I think it is an Aesop’s fable).

An idol-maker had to deliver an idol to a customer. He placed it on his donkey’s back and they started on their journey. Now the idol-maker was extremely skilled at his job and this particular idol was one of the best he had ever made. Whoever saw it, stopped to bow down and pray.

The donkey thought they were bowing to him. He was enormously pleased and flattered and not wishing to go away from a place where he was held in such high esteem, came to an abrupt stop. Nothing his master did would induce him to start walking again, and finally his master lifted the idol on to own head and resumed his journey.

The donkey stood where he was, head held high, and braying sonorously until he suddenly became aware that there was no one watching him. The people were now following his master and bowing to the idol.

The donkey realised that his pride had clouded his judgement and feeling ashamed of himself, ran to rejoin his master.

Let us all remember the lesson from this story. Without His grace we all are Zeroes ;-). However much we try to corner the glory, we will make an ass out of ourselves. If the Master are people who help start this movement, let them continue to be. There is no choice today!

Lots of love and laughter…