Is Hero Worship still there?
Ulysses, Hercules, Samson, Solomon, Arthur, Tarzan, Robin Hood, etc. were the legendary heroes people loved in the West. So also Krishna, Rama, Arjuna, Karna, Bhima, Chanakya, Vikrtamaditya, etc. are the heroes loved and worshipped by the people of India. These heroes were learned, good and strong. They supported justice, championed the cause of the meek, miserable, poor and good. They fought against the bad, ugly, evil; saved the good, fine, gentle; and brought peace and prosperity to the good. They punished the wicked and rewarded the truthful. They did their best to uplift the downtrodden and gained a permanent place in the hearts of all men generation after generation. They are the symbol of faith, hope, encouragement and inspiration. They are the god men! They are the Gods!
In the list of the hero-gods, poets, prophets, philosophers, etc. could be included. We have a lot of personalities such as Mosses, Jesus, Buddha, Vivekananda, etc. to quote for this list. Then there are pure heroes such as the chivalrous knights, King Arthur and his knights of the medieval period, the gentleman of the Renaissance, Restoration and Victorian age, the diplomats of the 19th century, the ambassadors of the early 20th century including the litterateurs and the scientists. Then we have also seen the hero-presidents like Washington, Lincoln and Kennedy. There were charismatic leader-heroes like Gandhi, Nehru and so on. Even Thomas Carlyle had lectured on heroes of different periods. According to him heroes are divine personality like Odin, prophet like Mohamed, poets like Dante, Shakespeare, priests like Luther, Knox, men of letters like Johnson, Rousseau, Burns and kings like Cromwell, Napoleon.
Not only in the West but also in the East and in India there was and is wide reception for leaders/heroes. There were and are people to follow such men. Why and who are they? They are the extraordinary individuals who are capable of bringing about suitable changes in the society now and then. They are capable of uniting peoples of all walks of life together and making the society work in a smooth way clarifying confusions, set-righting set-backs, mutually bringing benefits and prosperity among themselves. Carlyle has explored and analysed in detail the secrets of the men of eminence in his famous book called HEROES AND HERO-WORSHIP. This book is another testimony of the well realized view of great men that they have the special power to amuse and instruct all men simultaneously.
Myths of Heroes
The legendary heroes are mythologically quite popular for many centuries. Their images have become quite immortal. The historically famous personalities have also created myths. The very names of Buddha and Jesus automatically make one feel of love and compassion. These two prophets are symbolic examples of love. The image of Gandhi denotes non-violence. From time immemorial Indians are worshipping Goddess Saraswathi and Lord Krishna. The heroine goddess Saraswathi is actually the personification of Education and Lord Krishna is the personification of Wizardry. The former one is the symbol of knowledge and the later one is the symbol of the sum total of friendship, philosophy, guidance, music and magic i.e. wizardry. Without their knowledge the historical heroes have created myths about themselves which have remained as imperishable facts for many years and may last so forever too.
One of the romantic poets of the 18th century England, P.B. Shelley tried to establish abstract ideas as concrete myths. But in the olden time itself, poets of India have created myths out of abstract ideas to such a high extent of perfection that people are still worshipping them as Gods. Even though India was invaded by many foreign powers and people of this country made slaves for many centuries, still the myths created by the oldest of old poets of this country are standing as tall as the Everest. Even the temple bell stands as a wonderful symbol of hope to the hopeless and confused men.
Immortality of Myths through Artists
Is it the creative power of the poets that makes these myths that direct the mind of the people or what? Indeed the creative power of the poets makes the valor of the heroes live forever through their writings which are read, understood and followed by many generations. But actually the unconsciously created myths of the heroes direct the mind of the people then and after.
Advent of Civilization and Scientific Knowledge towards Chaos
Prior to the dawn of civilization might was right. At that time one who was mentally, physically and materially strong was able to govern the people. Then the people were not able to read, think and understand; and their duty was to follow and obey the orders of the rulers and the commands of their forefathers. Civilization came with the advent of learning. Right started becoming might. People started to become cultured. Afterwards Science slowly started capturing the place of Religion and Art. Knowledge became power. Then Politics kept Religion at a distance. Science kept Art at a distance. Competition started boiling the blood of men. Now conflicts and chaos are the daily occurrences in many countries of the world.
What kind of Hero needed Now?
Previously people admired at the heroes for their inspiring personality, sense of innovation, originality, sincerity and truthfulness. Now the intellectuals who ought to be the heroes are confined in the ivory towers and their creations are taken as a thing of amusement rather than guidance to set right the malaise of the present society. This is because people have lost the sense of value as their attention is diverted towards vain pursuits by the rolling stone rulers who know nothing but the art of word manipulation which is constantly keeping the people in suspense and the time is passing. This means people are still in need of a proper hero who can keep them go on a smooth line. The present day dictionary shows entirely different meanings for the words worship, respect and love!
Only a hero with the heart of the chivalrous knight, the mind of the intellect, the attire of a gentleman, the talk of a diplomat and the behaviour and movement of an ambassador can clear the confusion of the present day. Where is he and when will he come to the top of the world?
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T. A. Ramesh
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