Courage to be yourself

When I was a small child at school there was a wrestling competition for the whole district; I have never been able to forget that incident.

There was a wrestler, the most famous wrestler in those parts, who was defeated. He was defeated by a totally unknown man!

The whole crowd laughed in ridicule, people enjoyed it like anything! And I was surprised, everybody was surprised; in a second everybody fell silent, because he also clapped and laughed… the man who had been defeated! He laughed so uproariously that the whole crowd fell silent in embarrassment; what was the matter with this man?

Later on I went to him; he was staying just in front of my house in a temple. And I said, ‘This is strange — and I loved it! It was very unexpected!’

He said, ‘It was so unexpected, that’s why I also laughed! It was really unexpected. I had never expected that I would be defeated by an ordinary man of whom nobody has ever heard! The whole thing was ridiculous, that’s why I laughed!’

But I have never been able to forget his face, the way he laughed and the way he clapped and the way the whole crowd fell silent. This man defeated the whole crowd and their ridicule… he participated! But great courage is needed!

To me he was the winner, and I told him, ‘I am a small child and I cannot say much, but to me you are the winner and I will remember you.’

After twenty years I visited his town and he came to see me. He was a very old man now, and he said ‘Do you remember me? I have not been able to forget your face either – a small child coming to me and saying “You are the real winner; the other is defeated. You have defeated the whole crowd.” I have not been able,’ he said, ‘to forget your face either.’

A great courage is needed in life to be yourself, in failure, in success, in appreciation, in condemnation, when you are going very high and when you are going very low… and all climates come.

From – Far Beyond the Stars, A Dharshan Diary

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