Acharya Prashant: You are talking about role models. Let us see. What do you mean by a role model? Somebody you want to emulate, somebody you want to copy.
Listener: Sir, it can also be like that I like certain quality in that person.
AP: What will you do with that quality?
L: Sir, just appreciate.
AP: Then there are a thousand qualities in thousand people and everything has a particular quality.
L: Sir, at that time that person was in my mind.
AP: Yes. And why should only one thing be in your mind, to which you are attracted?
L: Sir, why should I be worried about that?
AP: I must be worried, if I am an aware individual. Look at the entire world around you. If I am a communist, who is going to be my role model? Marx and Lenin. If I am Hindu, who is going to be my role model? Rama and Krishna. If I am Muslim, who is going to be my role model? Muhammad.
L: Sir, if we like cricket, the role model will be a cricketer.
AP: He is a cricketer, but he is a human being first. Understand this. If you want to have role models, then everything you talked about is full of wonderful qualities. But I will be attracted only to that to which I am conditioned.
If I am a Muslim, I will be attracted to Muhammad and he will become my role model. And that is restrictive. Because even Krishna has something to give to everybody. Similarly, if I am a Christian, then my role model is going to be Jesus. But Jesus has something to give to everybody. Why restrict?
L: Sir, it is the society that has made Rama, Krishna, Muhammad or Jesus restrictive. Society asks us to follow them. But God is anonymous. He is the truth. How can we restrict God?
AP: Wonderful, lovely. So, either go to that position. That’s the beautiful position to have. That I have one role model and that is: the Ultimate.
The problem with this thing would be, that when God is your role model, you can’t have any qualities coming from God, because God is ‘Nirgun’. He has no qualities. You have said something very beautiful. I fully agree.
But the one who has reached that stage, that he understands that the only entity worth having as the role model is the ultimate, then he cannot copy the ultimate. He will not even try to copy the ultimate. He can only surrender. Because the ultimate has no qualities, so he will not say that I am copying such and such qualities of the ultimate. Either he has all the qualities or he has no quality. He can’t be a partisan in his qualities. So, that’s the thing with role models. It’s a psychological fact.
Do not think that somebody is trying to impose his opinions upon you. It is an obvious thing about life just as there are obvious things about thermodynamics. Will you quarrel with the laws of thermodynamics? Then why do you quarrel with the laws of life?
L: Sir, what should I do?
AP: You think for yourself.
L: For me it is.
AP: For ‘me’ that is what I am saying, ‘What is this ‘me’’?
L: Me myself.
AP: What is this ‘myself’? This ‘myself’ is a bundle of conditioning, it is a bundle of identities. This ‘me’ who is having a role model, it is a bundle of conditioned identities. And this bundle will always have a role model. This bundle will always have a role model. That’s it.
If you are conditioned, you will necessarily have a role model. If you are identified, you will always have a role model. Simple. Now you decide for yourself whether having a role model is beneficial or harmful for you. Decide for yourself.
-Excerpts from a Samvaad session. Edited for clarity.
Watch the session at: Why does the mind need role models?
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