The other day as I was chatting with a friend, he mentioned one Ramsahai Tiwari (name changed) who works as an assistant in a kitchen. Ramsahai is from Uttar Pradesh and came to Mumbai for only one reason to meet and, if possible, work as a domestic servant in the house of Ajay Devgan.

Many of you know Ajay as a Bollywood celebrity. He has acted in some films filled with the usual Bollywood fare: impossible stunts, love songs filmed at exotic locations, crying parents, and what have you.  But somehow, out of all the Hindi film heroes (who practically do the same thing as each other and even the same thing in all their films) Ramsahai became smitten by Ajay Devgan. The feeling did not stop there. He developed an intense urge to somehow come to Mumbai and, if his “devotion” would bear fruit, try to get employed as a domestic assistant. No, he would not even press for a salary. Serving his hero was reward itself.

Seeing his hero’s films again and again made Ramsahai leave his hometown. He boarded a train and arrived in Mumbai. Having no acquaintance in Mumbai and no immediate means to survive, Ramsahai did a few odd jobs, here and there. Although he was working, he never lost sight of his ultimate objective. He always used to enquire from his co-workers whether they knew how to go to Ajay’s residence. Knowing this, many promised him help and in return extracted  favors from him. Even when he knew that someone was cheating him, he continued to spend his hard-earned money. But his faith still guiding him. He feels deep inside that one day he will land up serving his life’s hero. I couldn’t help but see some parallels between his situation and mine or, for that matter, anyone trying to become a devotee of Lord Krishna.

I found three noticeable things in Ramsahai’s narration:

1. His service attitude appeared of his own will

2. He does not expect any reward the chance to serve is reward itself, and

3. He is willing to sacrifice other prospects in order to achieve his objective.

Very familiar pattern, I thought. The Bhagavad-gita and the Srimad-Bhagavatam expect me to serve Lord Krishna in the same way. In the beginning, I am expected to simply hear about the glories of Krishna. Krishna’s pastimes of killing demons, childhood mischief, installing the Pandavas as the rulers of the world or any other they all have the potency to make my mind attracted to Him. This is exactly what happened to Ramsahai. He saw Ajay perform “heroic” deeds (that a stunt double was used for the fights and a playback singer was used for his songs is another matter) and that attracted him towards Ajay’s personality.

Ramsahai was not satisfied with watching his movies just once; he repeatedly saw them. And with every viewing the urge to come closer to his hero got stronger and stronger. Krishna urges the same in the Gita (9.14): “Always chanting My glories, endeavoring with great determination, bowing down before Me, these great souls perpetually worship Me with devotion.”

Thus great personalities in the past perfected their lives by surrendering to the perfect personality, Lord Krishna. By the way, if Ramsahai ever gets too close to Ajay and realize that there is a huge difference between real life and reel life, his disappointment will break his heart. After a few years, his hero will no longer look “dashing” or be able to perform. What then? Too many people have realized that their “worshipable deities” in this mundane world have clay feet. It is reassuring that devotees are not irrational they have just chosen the correct hero.

Syamananda Dasa