Sunday, September 13, 2015

Missing the "Heavenly Glory"

"Enter the Dragon" is a delightful English action movie, released in 1973. The movie was directed by Robert Clouse, but it is known more for the action scenes of Bruce Lee, who played the lead role of his own name, Lee. It is said that Bruce Lee had a hand in making of the entire movie that brought wide fame for him.  Lee, the main character in the film, is a member of the Shaolin temple and is approached by a secret intelligence group to infiltrate an island owned and managed by a master criminal Hans. Lee has his own personal and family reasons to take up the assignment. Lee succeeds in destroying the entire island infrastructure that supported the criminal activities. The film was hugely popular and ran to full houses. Produced at a cost of around 9 million US Dollars, it grossed 90 million US Dollars at first release and was considered as a runaway success four decades ago.

There is an interesting introduction to this movie. Just when the representative of the secret intelligence group Braithwaite comes to talk to Lee, a young student of Lee approaches him for his daily lessons in martial arts. Lee excuses himself for a few minutes and attends to the student. Lee asks the student to kick him. Student is confused as he does not understand that it is a part of the lesson. Lee again asks the student to kick him. Students attempts a kick and ends with a feeble attempt. Their talk goes on like this:

Lee: What was that? An exhibition?  We need emotional content. Now try again.

The student tries again, but it does not impress Lee.

Lee: I said "emotional content." Not anger! Now try again!

Student now tries and succeeds.

Lee: That's it! How did it feel?

The student thinks and gets smacked on the head by Lee.

Lee: Don't think. Feeeeel. It is like a finger pointing at the moon.

As Lee points his finger to the moon, the student looks at the finger; not the moon and gets smacked again.
Lee: Do not concentrate on the finger or you will miss all of the heavenly glory!

Student bows and gets hit on the head again.  
Lee: Never take your eyes off your opponent.... even when you are bowing!

Student bows again with his eyes on Lee.  Lee says, "that's better".  Student walks away. Then the credits are shown and the film begins.

The three pictures shown above, taken from the internet, sum up the lesson given by the master to the young disciple.

Last five decades have seen unprecedented developments in inventions and application of technology. There was a time when wrist watches were rare and radio was considered a luxury. Advent of telephone and computers changed the life styles as well as its content itself. Mobile telephone and its various variants have further simplified life on one side as well as complicated on the other. What started as a simple speaking device for communication has now assumed "Vishwaroopa" and has become all pervading. Music playing on the mobiles has robbed all pleasures of a morning walk for a silence lover. Cameras in mobiles has further transformed the surroundings. The pleasure of clicking photos, waiting for them to be developed and printed are no longer necessary. Whenever there is a situation or function, there are no participants now. It is only mobilegraphers everywhere now. Everyone clicks on and on. There is no interest in the activity per se; all interest is in arresting the happenings in the mobile!  Nobody wants to see the proceedings first hand. All pleasure is in viewing it on the mobile, though it is second hand.

Mobile Selfie-stick has been identified as one of the invention of the year and has made mobile photography even more of a pastime. When students are asked to write down their assets and liabilities in an Accountancy class, they forget cash in the wallet but remember the Selfie-stick in the hostel room! All outings and picnics have become selfie shootouts. A young couple on a trip to Kashmir spent their entire week on taking the pictures on mobile selfie stick. The mighty Himalayas or the serene Sindh river were not important; what mattered was the picture of themselves on the mobile.  As you are reading this, you belong to one of the two categories; either you are a selfie fan or you have outlived your utility. 

Recently there was a news item about two friends who wanted to take a selfie with the view of a running train behind them. They ended up below the running train. Today there is a news item of another youth who fell down and died while taking selfie in Alekhan falls near Charmadi Ghats of the westren hills range.  There are many more such incidents that we read regularly in the media.


Lee's lesson to the young student makes eminent sense even more today. Mobile is a tool for us to lead a better life.  But we are more interested in looking at the finger that is pointing to the moon.  Thereby missing all the heavenly glory.

Of course, this could be a minority opinion.  An overwhelming majority is standing on the other side and making fun of us. 


  1. Balasundaram AthreyaSeptember 13, 2015 at 7:36 PM

    Sir ... A very interesting comparison indeed .....

    However this too shall pass ..... Habits and mores have relentlessly evolved over time ... As gadgetry and technology become more user friendly and cater to an instinctive need (talking, communicating, sharing, etc) there will be high take up ... Scale and ease that could not be achieved in the past is the order of the day now. But (as we see in the western world that is a bit ahead of the curve), the fads will pass and the utilitarian value will only remain. A self regulating mechanism will (over time) continue to govern humanity in terms of what the 'heavenly glory' really is .... Philosophically speaking, nothing can engage the mind eternally other than an endless quest to engage in understanding life beyond its material trappings.

    Perhaps what we can wish for is that such technology and gadgetry penetrate not merely to indulge consumerist needs but also to develop a more informed, efficient and balanced society. Governments and public service delivery systems should take on to a more technology driven mode of evaluating their programs and performance.

    1. Yes, Sir. As each new invention or application emerges, a new equilibrium will be reached and life goes on .......

  2. Dear Sir

    Rightly said. Recently there was a video on FB about the girl fallen from the top view point of a hill while taking selfie.This incident or rather accident is indeed an eye opener for everybody.Thank you for sharing this most relevant message.

  3. I love the narration of the article, however. you could fall off the cliff while enjoying the heavenly glory as well

  4. Interesting brain teaser - both your article and the response of Mr. Athreya. Let us wish that technology helps in developing a more evolved society and the current fad does fade faster

  5. Francis X V PassanhaSeptember 16, 2015 at 5:07 AM

    Well said, and you articulated my thoughts on the issue. There is strong urge for selfies in a person who possesses a streak of narcissism. Besides selfies, by their very nature and lack of focus, does not flatter the self, comparable to a photograph on the EPIC card or the Aadhar card. I will not say more, as the top man of our country promotes it.

  6. Dear Murthy Sir.....We are missing you. Therefore I took time to read your write-up on Bruce Lee. Nice one. I fondly remember struggling without money to see this film (as I was only a student) during one of my visits to Bengaluru those days. However I made to see the film in Galaxy Theatre.'
    Somewhere I have read. 'What is all in the world is in Mahabharath and what is not there in Mahabharath is not there in the world'. Is not Lee's approach as Guru is very similar to our Guru Dronacharya's approach in teaching archery to Pandavas and Kauravas? When other Shishya's could see the tree, the fruit, the branches along with the parrot, the Guru declined them the chance to shoot. When Arjun could see only the parrot's eye and nothing else, he permitted him to shoot the arrow and the target was hit.
    Your correlation of the incident to modern generation's obsession with mobiles, selfies etc. is also quite interesting.
    Sir....collect more stories from USA and keep writing., 98455 62603