9. Emulate wise people

There was a sudden splash of rain accompanied by thunder and lightning when the school was still going on. In an L.K.G. class one girl started crying, one girl was chanting, ‘Arjuna, Phalguna, Pardha, Kiriti’, another girl hid herself behind an almirah, yet another girl closed her eyes and so on and so forth, but only one girl was sitting boldly, laughing away to herself. The teacher went round to every girl and asked why she behaved thus. The answer was the same for all the different reactions. ‘My mother does so!’ Then she asked the last child. She said, ‘My mother told me not to be frightened.’ The kid added ‘somebody up in the sky is moving his furniture from one room to another. So let’s enjoy says my mother.’

This experience takes us to Wordsworth’s famous quotation. ‘A child’s vocation is endless imitation.’ A child learns through imitation. If he sees the good habits of parents and teachers he learns their good habits and vice versa. I am an English lecturer and I dictate essays to my students. I follow a particular style of writing. I give an introduction of the author, an introduction of the theme, cover all the important facts and figures and end with an analysis of the story as a conclusion. Once I made my students prepare an essay of their own for one important lesson in my presence. You can’t believe it. 99% of them wrote it in exactly the same way I would have dictated! This is not boasting about me but to show you how others consciously or unconsciously imitate us and how exalted our behaviour should be!

Lord Krishna explained this idea in the following sloka.

Yadyadaacharati Srestaha tattadevetaro janaha
Sa yatpramanam Kurute Lokastadanu Varthake. 3 -21

Sresta - a great man, yat + yat - whatever, aacharati - does, itar - other, jan - men, tat + tat - that thing, eva - alone, sa - he, yat - which, pramanam kurute - sets up as a standard, lok - the general public, tat - that, anu varthate - follows.

Whatever a great man does, that very thing, other men also do, whatever standard he sets up, the common man also follows the same.

Sresta is a saint or learned man who has been known for his noble Virtues and ideal conduct and is held in reverence by all the men and enjoys their confidence.

In the modern sense, people follow the footsteps of great people in whatsoever field - There is a fan fare for Megastar Chiranjeevi and the Big B Amitab Bachchan. Even their ordinary dialogue becomes a message to the humanity. So their writers see to it that they convey good message to the public at large. It is said that they don’t advertise for the product which they don’t believe in!

Lord Krishna proved himself a true example to the theory he evolved. He added in the 23rd sloka -’Should I not engage in action, scrupulously at any time, great harm will come to the world, for Arjuna, men follow my way in all matters.’ It means there are two reasons for his incessant action. God is the creator, destroyer and controller of the entire universe and being the ideal person for laying down propriety of conduct, if he ever neglected his duty a great disorganization would set in the world process. Since people regard him as an ideal person, they automatically imitate his ways, so if he failed to do a thing efficiently and carefully, people would at once begin to imitate him and would thus be deprived both of worldly happiness and of the highest good.

The same way, whenever we think of Rama we remember his greatness thus - ‘Oke mata, Oke banam, Oka patni’ (one word, one arrow, one wife). Rama is born as a human being and faced all the miseries of a man. This is to show that to be God, one has to be gold, one has to face difficulties boldly like Rama, and come out of them successfully!

As I have already mentioned, the students imitate their teachers. Once a teacher came to the class, forgot something, left his books on the table and went back to the staff room. When he came back within five minutes, the students were making hell of noise. He got angry and shouted at them - ‘Can’t you see my books on my table! It means I am very much here.’ The students became silent. The next day there was not a single soul in the class room. The master went in search of them and found them at the canteen. He got wild and shouted at them. Pat came the reply ‘Can’t you see sir, our books on our benches? It means we are very much there.’ The master was tongue- tied.

Then we see the children imitating their parents. They wear the shoes of the father and walk like him, they wear the spectacles of father and eat their breakfast, pretending to read a newspaper, they pretend to drive a car, to talk over the cell phone etc. One child saw his grandfather eating from a plastic plate while the rest of the family ate from costly dinner set. The next day he bought a plastic plate. The father was surprised at his act and asked him why! The boy answered ‘Today you are making your father eat from a plastic plate. Tomorrow should I not reciprocate your action to you?’

Thus we imitate not only great people but also people older than us; we imitate not only good actions but also bad actions. So we should be careful in our imitations and we should also keep in mind that we are leading a path to others without our knowledge.

Emulate no other than Godly people
Do no other than Godly actions.