Lovable Life – 53
FAME – A DOUBLE EDGED SWORD?
Human beings yearn for one other thing even if they have enough and more money, position and power. It is to gain fame so that one should honour and appreciate an individual for his very name. He desires when he enters a room where many are gathered, instant silence should be restored because of his importance! This is the kind of fame people in general expect.
There is nothing wrong about it but it is certainly wrong to resort to improper means to achieve this. Various famous American University Professors have made a lot of research works on the psychology of human beings who yearn for fame and popularity and have published several books and articles on this subject. The very basis of seeking fame is social acceptance. The author Dr.Orville Gilbert Brim has written a book entitled ‘The Fame Motive’. This desire increases day by day in old age. It is because when their activities decrease many of them are worried that their name and fame should remain even after their death.
It is only natural throughout the world that humans are particular that their Social Acceptance should stay. Many of them are not that important to deserve it. They are also not persons liked by many. An illustration this author cites is from an Indian village society. Many widows from the Hindu religion intensely yearn for such importance. Such pitiable widows are those who are shut up in a fence of sorrow and suppression forever. But it is very interesting to note how they hunt for their ‘fame’ within their limits.
Dr. Richard Schuveder is an American Professor in Chicago University in the Department of Comparative Human Development. When he refers to the village Hindu widows quotes one of them as saying. “We are purer than others; we do not eat eggs, or fish or meat and donot step into the houses of those who eat meat. We are that much orthodox.” There are many such comparisons among human beings.
Some seek to gain fame by claiming their culture to be superior to all other cultures. We can see such attitudes in the cities of China, America and Germany. Though the Americans try to soar high, only one percent of their youth achieve success. Periyar has not failed to condemn any person, possessing the habit of proclaiming wherever he goes saying,
“I am very holy.”
An interesting anecdote. While travelling with my mentor Periyar, the host served coffee to all of us. All of us took it except one. He said, “I do not take coffee.”
The host got anxious and inquired what other drink he would take which they promised to oblige at once. In spite of his request not to worry, they did not stop their entreaties. They brought butter milk to him. After he drank it, all of them left.
When all of us were about to board the van Periyar reprimanded that person. He said, “why didn’t you drink coffee when they offered on such occasions? How embarrassing it was for them when you alone refused it! This is nothing but one way of seeking popularity.” That person is none other than myself.This advice touched me much. I registered it deep in my heart. From then onwards I started taking whatever was offered to me when I visited other places and I became thus refined!
Why do not those persons who run after fame and who live in fame realize that there is something of a great loss waiting to happen soon? Dr. Mark Schalar the Professor of Psychology in the British Columbia University has given a lovely interpretation to this malady. This loss occurs more or less to those who have achieved fame and those who have reached the height of fame. For example, for those who are less famous there is less of the strength of voice. If they are told that their voice would improve if they trained more, they would accept it, try to improve and to change themselves.
But those who have reached the peak of fame would assert that there is nothing in them to improve. They do not try to change themselves with the belief that as they are famous, if there had been anything to be corrected, others would have informed them. By assuming so they would deceive themselves. Thiruvalluvar has emphasized that fame should commensurate with proper actions.
Translated by : Prof. S.F.N.Chelliah