In the Indian epic – Mahabharat, there is a character named Eklavya.
Being the son of a low-caste hunter, he was refused archery training by the esteemed teacher Guru Dronacharya, who only taught royal princes. Nevertheless, deeply determined to study under this guru, Eklavya makes a statue of Dronacharya and practices in front of it for years with sincerity and dedication; eventually even surpassing the master’s most proficient disciple Arjun.
For anyone who wants to read this story in its entirety, its beautifully captured here – http://wisemovement.be/2017/12/26/eklavyas-loyalty-a-story-about-dedication-and-respect/
But why am I speaking about Eklavya and Dronacharya on a post about a conversation between Oprah Winfrey and JK Rowling?
Eklavya’s story in essence, is that of a seeking mind – in search of a teacher – in search of guidance – to rise above his societal constraints and fulfill his desire and destiny of wanting to be more than his current existence, wanting to be more than what his circumstances would easily allow. Even when direct and physical access to the teacher is not available, he does not let this deter him and in spirit, decides to follow the mentor and starts building his training and life on his own.
I remember when I was very young, there was a television show on air called Bewitched. For so long, I was so sad that I wasn’t a witch like Samantha, the leading character. To me, her magic meant that she was special; she was what regular people weren’t. I prayed, so much, to be like her – to not be normal or regular. And from there, I wandered in search of magic; magic that will make me more than what I was.
I found my Dronacharya, so to speak, in Oprah Winfrey and JK Rowling. Their words are the knowledge and training I needed and will always need to fulfill my purpose in life. And for everyone, who is aspiring to find and pursue their calling –
- Please find a teacher to follow. Some of your most meaningful and transformative conversations will also happen here, I promise.
- The best way to identify and adopt the right teachers in life is to see if they are themselves devoted to living a life in alignment with their true purpose and if they are making efforts themselves to empower others and nurturing them to further do the same – though I will admit, that the means to accept someone as your teacher are never so technical and dry. Like love, or Ikigai, this is also something that is only driven by our hearts.
If one follows the work of Oprah Winfrey and JK Rowling, one will realise that they have spent their lives spreading magic and not the kinds taught at Hogwarts. But magic that will make you believe in yourself. Also, If one is wondering why just Winfrey and Rowling – well, it’s not just them and hopefully, this blog will be in some small way a dedication to all my teachers, but one step at a time.
Coming back to Eklavya, my story and dedication is nowhere close to his. I didn’t create any statues, I don’t worship my teachers. But my relationship with both is truly that of a seeking student who returns to the spirit and words of her teachers every time she feels stuck, or simply to learn the right way of being. I have lost count of the moments where they have given me the strength and motivation I needed to believe in myself and move forward. I’m not just inspired by them – I genuinely strive to live by and follow their words.
I’d like to share two of their speeches that should truly be studied as textbooks. Please do spend some time studying these as well.
Imagine my delight at having come across the above video of both my teachers in conversation. This first meeting and their dialogue is one of my most favourite conversations of all time. This piece, chronicling parts of their magical journey, is full of wisdom, heart and soul. But what is most touching is a glimpse of the persons behind all that wonder and value.
As I embark on this journey with Joylogues, I want to share a small part of the video that will hopefully always stay with me as a lesson. It’s
Focus on the creation and not the phenomemon.
Winfrey: I read something recently. It was the story of Michael Jackson in the making of Thriller and in that story the writer said Michael Jackson never realized that Thriller was a phenomenon that, it being the number-one selling album of all times is a phenomenon. That what happened when that album came out and people all over the world doing that dance and listening to every song and that he spent his life chasing the phenomenon and therefore was never satisfied.
Rowling: I read it and that really resonated with me.
Winfrey: And it really resonated with me too and I thought “I don’t want to be that”.
Rowling: I feel exactly the same. It would be more interesting if I disagreed for interview purposes, but I do feel – I read that interview and that part is the part that stayed with me.
Winfrey: That was life-changing for me in that moment. Click! Switched. I thought “oh, that’s why I was so afraid of moving forward with this idea of the network” ’cause I’m thinking “how am I going to top this, how am I going to make it? How am I going to do that?” You have to – it’s a completely separate thing and it will be paralyzing – it’s paralyzing.
Rowling: Totally. If you’re going to spend your whole life chasing that.
Winfrey: But, like, trying to create that. Because the fact that that was –
Rowling: You never meant to be that huge.
Winfrey: That’s right! I never – I didn’t create that in the first place. That was .. Universal, divine order, Jesus, all of it. So yes, that brings me to the final question for you. Is there, or was there, has there been a part of you that feels “I’ve got to top Harry”.
Rowling: No and I really mean that. And I get asked that – it’s not even – people don’t ask me that, interestingly, people tell me that. People say to me “well, you must just think how on earth am I going to top that?” And I think “No. I really, truly don’t think that.” It was amazing. It was also insane, at times.
Winfrey: Yes, yes.
Rowling: I’m so – yeah. It was fun for a while, but it – you know – I’m so grateful I had it, honestly. On so many different levels. I love the people who read the books, I dedicated the last book to the people dearest to my heart and the seventh part of that dedication was a reader who’d stuck with Harry right the way through, I love them.
Winfrey: Which is exactly how I feel about all the people who stuck with me. When I was saying – when I was making the announcement for leaving the show, the only time I teared-up and, in the future, even sitting in meetings, the only time – the only thing that makes me cry is thinking about the viewers. The people who made it all possible.
Rowling: Yeah. I feel totally the same way. There was a girl who came-up to me the other day in the street, sort of ballooned out of the pavement in front of me like she’d Apparated. She must have been early twenties and she said to me “You are my childhood”. How can you – I know! About the nicest thing anyone’s ever said to me.
Winfrey: That is pretty good.
Winfrey: That was so much fun, Jo. That was really fun.
Rowling: Thank you.
Winfrey: Thank you so much.