Humanity, fame and love

Among all the Ted Talks I have watched in the past couple of months, this is by far the most inspiring one, to me at least.

“Thoughts on humanity, fame and love”, by Shah Rukh Khan, our very own Bollywood superstar.

It’s just a 17.51 minute talk, worth listening from the start to the end, but I particularly like the last 13.19 remaining minutes. In short, no matter how creative, how innovative, how high-tech savvy, smart and successful you are, you will not be able to sustain yourself in the world where sometimes cruelty is more prevalent than humanity to mankind, if you don’t have love and compassion within you and with others.

The transcript of the last 13.19 is as follows:

13:19 It’s very difficult to remember. Which loosely translates into actually saying that all the books of knowledge that you might read and then go ahead and impart your knowledge through innovation, through creativity, through technology, but mankind will never be the wiser about its future unless it is coupled with a sense of love and compassion for their fellow beings. The two and a half alphabets which form the word “प्रेम,” which means “love,” if you are able to understand that and practice it, that itself is enough to enlighten mankind. So I truly believe the future “you” has to be a you that loves. Otherwise it will cease to flourish. It will perish in its own self-absorption.

14:09 So you may use your power to build walls and keep people outside, or you may use it to break barriers and welcome them in. You may use your faith to make people afraid and terrify them into submission, or you can use it to give courage to people so they rise to the greatest heights of enlightenment. You can use your energy to build nuclear bombs and spread the darkness of destruction, or you can use it to spread the joy of light to millions. You may filthy up the oceans callously and cut down all the forests.You can destroy the ecology, or turn to them with love and regenerate life from the waters and trees. You may land on Mars and build armed citadels, or you may look for life-forms and species to learn from and respect. And you can use all the moneys we all have earned to wage futile wars and give guns in the hands of little children to kill each other with, or you can use it to make more food to fill their stomachs with.

15:25 My country has taught me the capacity for a human being to love is akin to godliness. It shines forth in a world which civilization, I think, already has tampered too much with. In the last few days, the talks here, the wonderful people coming and showing their talent, talking about individual achievements, the innovation, the technology, the sciences, the knowledge we are gaining by being here in the presence of TED Talks and all of you are reasons enough for us to celebrate the future “us.” But within that celebration the quest to cultivate our capacity for love and compassion has to assert itself, has to assert itself, just as equally.

16:14 So I believe the future “you” is an infinite you. It’s called a chakra in India, like a circle. It ends where it begins from to complete itself. A you that perceives time and space differently understands both your unimaginable and fantastic importance and your complete unimportance in the larger context of the universe. A you that returns back to the original innocence of humanity, which loves from the purity of heart, which sees from the eyes of truth, which dreams from the clarity of an untampered mind.

17:07 The future “you” has to be like an aging movie star who has been made to believe that there is a possibility of a world which is completely, wholly, self-obsessively in love with itself. A world — really, it has to be a you to create a world which is its own best lover. That I believe, ladies and gentlemen, should be the future “you.”

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