Growing up reading comic books and watching Saturday morning cartoons, I always looked up to the epic super heroes who leapt off the page and flew across the screen. Giants in brightly colored spandex who reached into their tool belts, made villains cower and ultimately saved the day.
My real life was a little different. After failing public school and being kicked out of several continuation schools, I ended up in a group home for at risk youth.
It wasn't that I was a bad kid, I just needed better role models. It wasn't until I discovered yoga that I started to seek out more realistic super hero's. I learned about Mahatma Gandhi and saw that his humble beginnings mirrored many of my own. He gave me hope that I could go on to do something great by first changing myself.
Mohandes Gandhi was a shy, scrawny little kid. He was often bullied and admitted that he was often petrified by life in this big world.This was not a far cry from my childhood, where I spent recess alone drawing super heroes in my notebook while all the other kids were off being athletic, energetic and awesome. It wasn't until I started practicing yoga and meditation that I started to gain confidence and began to feel more present in the world. I was lit up when I first saw the epic movie of his life, which led me to read his memoirs (My Experiments with Truth) and ultimately visit and work at his farm in India. The story of Gandhi's long road to freedom stands at the edge of my mind like a lighthouse, reminding me that with great Love, one person can be the catalyst to spark great change.
I know the Mahatma (great soul) is a controversial figure, but to me that just makes him more real, and more approachable. We need more human heroes. Like John Lennon used to say, 'a working class hero is something to be.'
Gandhi became that for me. He shook the world with a gentle hand, had the strength to forgive wrongdoing and the courage to conquer it with love. He crusaded for the rights of the poor, and the protection of the planet, living with full effort and in full Truth. I hear his words echoing everyday.
"In doing something, do it with Love or don't bother doing it at all"
Our high-speed society is marching ever forward, but we are often a civilization that forgets to be civilized with each other. So when I stop and consider Gandhi's timeless message, I am refreshed. He said the best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others. So here I am, offering to you my service. Celebrating his life, his message in a new video I made for my song "Be The Change."
Happy Birthday Bapuji