Rahul Gandhi, Bhagavad Gita & Patron Saint of Mediocrity

Amadeus(1984) is a story of two composers, Mozart a naturally gifted genius who is irreverent and petulant and Antony Salieri, god fearing, hard working & yet mediocre in his music. It is narrated through a series of flashbacks with Salieri confessing to a priest in the last stages of his life. A cinematic treat, with great music, costumes and evocative acting by Freddy Abraham. (He won the Oscar). Three clips given below will give you the flavor of Saleri’s feelings for God, Mozart and himself. Even if you have already watched the movie, I sincerely request you to see these selected clips before you proceed to read the blog.

As you can see, Salieri simultaneously recognizes his mediocre talent and the divinity in Mozarts music and believes that God is laughing at him through Mozart. The film ends with Saleri believing he is the “Patron saint of Mediocrity” blessing the priest and his inmates. Very touching and poignant. One of the finest tales ever told contrasting mediocrity with genius.

Lets now cut to some wisdom from the Bhagavad Gita (Chapter III – Verse 35)

 “Sreyansvadharmovigunah paradharmatsvanusthitat:

svadharmenidhanam sreyah paradharmo bhayavahah”

“Betteris svadharma (one’s own duty) though devoid of merit than paradharma (duty of another) well discharged: better is death in svadharma, paradharma is fraught with fear.”

 Swami Parthasarathy explains this very lucidly. Extract from his commentary on the Gita is given below:

 “ Every one must choosea field of activity in life according to his Svadharma, which means ones own nature. The nature of every single individual in the world is constituted of his own vasanas. These vasanas manifest as his inherent tendencies and inclinations, his distinct likes and dislikes, his particular choices and preferences. Your vasanas manifest in you from your very birth. From an early age you show distinct inclinations towards engineering or medicine, history or philosophy; painting or music.

 “When you grow up in life, you must necessarily chose you vocation in life according to your svadharma. That becomes your duty and responsibility. The opposite of svadharma is paradharma, which literally means “opposite’ nature.That which opposes your natural tendencies, inclinations, likes and preferences. You ought not to choose a paradharmika vocation.“Paradharmika activites thus retard your progress in life by creating mental agitations.”

 “Parents push their children into paradharmika activities because they find it convenient to do so. A typical example is a physician pushing his son into the medical profession just because he has built a clinic and lucrative practice.  Parents often force their children in the family business irrespective of their natural tendencies and talents. Though these may be very convenient arrangements, the paradharmika choice will prove disastrous for the children.”

Rahul Gandhi should be allowed to leave politics to find his true calling:

The recent twitter hashtagsl #yorahulsodumb or #pappu while initially amusing, have actually invoked a sense of compassion in me for Rahul Gandhi and hence this blog.

I do think its time the Congress party recognizes that he is not fit to be the leader of their party, let alone that of the country He just does not have it in him. Politics is not his svadharma. It is his paradharma. And it shows. In his talk. In his walk. In his regular disappearances when the country needs him. In his poor attendances in the parliament. In his refusal to give one on one interviews. In myriads of ways over the last nine years, we have seen him fail dismally as a politician. We initially were in a denial mode, hoping we were wrong, giving him another chance, and then one more, and one more and one more. But it is now time for the proverbial small child on the street to call the Emperor naked. Naked of leadership abilities or even the intent to lead us. It is time the Congress party’s thinkthank gets together and plans for the elections in 2014 sans his presence. Let him go. To Spain or wherever his calling his. Let him discover himself and find peace. It is time the leaders in the Congress stopped being selfish by holding on to a reluctant messiah. You may lose 2014. It is not end of the world or India. You can use the next five years to build democracy within your party. Let young leaders emerge through a process of catharsis.

As far as Rahul Gandhi is concerned, I can empathize with what he must be going through,asking his God, why he was born in such a family but yet not be endowed with the ability to lead. For him Narendra Modi is the Mozart to fight with both in his mind and the political arena. Modi the gifted genius. Modi the natural leader.  Modi the natural orator who does not need to refer to notes when speaking. His feelings for Modi may be similar to Antony Salieri in Amadeus. To paraphrase a dialogue from the movie:  Why would God, asks Salieri, choose him (Mozart), for his instrument, and not the illustrious Antonio Salieri?’’  Rahul’s questions to his god may be similar.

Coming back to the three videos that you watched,(if you still have not, please do so before reading the next paras) if Rahul Gandhi is not allowed by his party to leave politics to pursue his svadharma and continues as a politician:

  • Picture him in the autumn of his life asking a priest “ Have you heard of political quotes ‘India is a thought” or “ India is an energy” or “Poverty is a state of mind”? to which the priest says no and when he asks him if heard of “India First” the priest jumps in joy and nods in acknowledgment! Imagine him defeatedly admitting to the priest, that the first three were his quotes and “India First” was by Narendra Modi.
  • Picture him go through the humiliation of his contrived and written speeches (much like what Mozart did to Salieri’s music) being ripped apart by Narendra Modi’s extempore virtuosity.
  • Picture him go through the economic data of Gujarat and go through the simultaneous emotions of jealousy,admiration & regret that Salieri felt when he saw Mozart’s musical note sheets.

Personally for me he does not deserve such ignominy. Beyond a point # Pappu kind of hash tags are not fair and just.  Left to him I am sure he would not have entered politics. Why can’t we all spare him from being called a ‘Patron Saint of Mediocrity’ in politics and allow him to gracefully exit public life ?  He will find his calling. Lets us allow him to discover himself and live his life as per his svadharma.To my mind this is the primary task facing the Congress today. From the various opinion polls, it appears that the nation has already spoken. It is time for Congress to act and let him go.

3 thoughts on “Rahul Gandhi, Bhagavad Gita & Patron Saint of Mediocrity

  1. I can’t quite agree with the concluding part. The country or the congress is not stopping him from pursuing his swadharma and hence no question of allowing it either. He lacks courage to pursue swadharma. Somewhere I see a desire to have power/control without being talented enough to use it. He is looking for his own MMS to pursue paradharma.

  2. Quite true even I actually feel very bad for him. I guess at some point he will quit from this line and pursue his real passion.

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