As far as I could go down my memory lane, I think The Jungle Book might be among the very first classics which I read as a child and for the kids of 1990’s it was the all-time favourite cartoon character to watch on DD National. It was that time when almost everyone from my generation would just freeze before the screen when the famous title song of the Jungle Book would play. For me my first encounter with this classic was in Class III, when during the third period of the day my class was taken to the library and the librarian asked us to go around the library and choose any book of choice. It was then that I came across this classic. I think that the proverb never judge a book by its cover is actually not applicable to maximum scenarios because that day I did base my choice of the book on the book cover of the classic. Alas! Who knew that one day I shall be having a strange realization and this classic shall be the reason behind it.
Mowgli, as we all know was the protagonist of the classic, The Jungle Book and the story is eventually based on his adventure of facing Sher Khan and winning the hearts of the entire jungle. Though few do say that the story is based on a real life story of a boy who was abandoned in the jungle and then rescued by the circus peer. But just few days back, this was not the chain of thoughts ensuing my thought process. Rather I was running back from work to home and as usual was on call with one of my dearest friend, known to me since school time. He was as usual in another life crisis and was once again at the verge of labelling himself an absolute failure because of not achieving the thing for which he had worked hard the most. So during the conversation he was narrating me the entire incident and to make me have a better perspective into the crisis he was suffering and to quantify the extent of his tiredness from this world, he compared himself to the Mowgli of The Jungle Book and said he wished if like Mowgli even he could live in a Jungle! That’s when I came up with this idea of what actually the word MOWGLI would mean had the poor guy been a part of today’s World, making his World morph into ours.
M.O.W.G.L.I- A five alphabet word, actually holds quite some interesting meaning in itself. Like beginning with “M”, I believe it would stand for Management. The most corporate term of all. It won’t be wrong to state that even though the journey of Mowgli was that of hardships but for Mowgli it was the Management of his peers that actually gave him a upper hand in winning over Sher Khan. It was his way with other animals that eventually made every animal feel for him. Now comparing this to our lives, Management is the actual science which once mastered is the key to stable life. Let it be management of work and personal life, or management at work of the peers, managing one’s friends or even as minute as managing one’s plants, its an art in itself. The task is actually quite simple and one merely needs to go with the flow.
The next alphabet “O” stands for Open to Adjustments, or simply being shapeless like water. I would request one not to take its literal meaning but to actually concur on its metaphorical meaning. Mowgli in our case, never did really become rigid in his journey. It was his personality that he never really pondered upon the problem i.e. Sher Khan troubling the pack, for a long time, and rather started his journey on solving the problem i.e. ending the terror of Sher Khan. Mowgli did not hesitate for single second in taking the decision of leaving the pack for the pack’s safety, thereby adjusting to the problem posed by life. Now bringing this into the present World, does that mean that one leaves his job as soon he gets scolded by his boss? Well the answer is No. Being adjusting in nature does not mean that one takes decisions in a whisk but rather it simply means to accept the facts of life as they are and then peacefully neither in happiness and nor in anger take a decision. This reminds of the narrative in the Valmiki Ramayana when Lord Rama has been called by King Dashratha and Queen Kaikeyi, after she had asked for her 3 vows. It is written that when King Dashratha shared his dilemma of either being able to crown Lord Rama as the King of Ayodhya or being able to fulfill the vows as set forth by the Queen, Lord Rama instead of panicking, getting sad, or getting angry, very calmly replied to King Dashratha that since he is the King of the Land he must be true to his words and hence should fulfill his vows as given to the Queen. In the narrative, further the sorrows of Queen Satyavati, Queen Sumitra and Kind Dashratha have been narrated but in the entire narrative Lord Rama has kept his calm, and swiftly moved on to renouncing his clothes of the royalty and changed into simple clothes made of bark for the vanvasa. Accepting to the changes is what actually helps one keep his mind clear in time of crisis and think of a solution steadfast. Sometimes even the solution is not in sight but at least one’s mental state is in control and the person is well within his sanity.
Following “O”, is the alphabet “W” which stands for Word is with You. In the journey of our protagonist, he was always supported by either Bagheera, Baloo or even the other animals of the Jungle in one way or the other, helping Mowgli to be strong on his path and eventually achieve what he wanted to. Now morphing this into our World, many times people end up believing that they are all alone and lonely in this World and there is no one to support them, guide them or even hear out to them. But it is a very firm belief of mine that this Universe has always planned some or the other to support a man in crisis. In the book The Alchemist, this concept has been very deeply studied and the writer has very beautifully stated that when one is following their dreams, the Universe converses with that man by sending omens along the path ensuring that the person stays on his path of dreams.
Then comes the alphabet “G”, which means Gesture. The gestures of our protagonist towards his peers also played an important role in ensuring that the World was with him. It was his ever helping nature that even lead to the elephants sympathizing with him. This when linked to our present World given us a very important message that the way we treat the World around us also matters. It now that we discuss the concepts of karma. Our actions or simply our karma is the way how we treat things, people, scenarios and thoughts. Some might say that karma only means the actions that we do but that actually limits its meaning. In a much more broader sense it actually includes the way humans react to life and labelling a particular karma as good or bad is also quite tough because depending on the situation many times even deeds done unknowingly turn out to be fruitful and sometimes deeds done in innocence can also cause immense hardships in future. A simple example would be story behind why in Mahabharata, Gandhari’s 100 sons were killed. It is said that once when in young age, Gandhari while cooking had poured boiling hot rice water outside the kitchen window and below the kitchen window were 100 eggs of a lizard whose 100 kids died and so the lizard had cursed Gandhari that one day even her 100 sons would die. So, then how exactly can one quantify that if the deeds they are doing, even good or bad or is it even necessary to quantify, calculate then do a deed, by first thinking how good it is going to be. The simple answer to such tiring permutation and combinations would be to simply be true and pure in one’s acts and do what the heart says is good. Listening to the heart’s voice is the biggest omen of all, as it clearly states what our soul thinks is bad and what our soul thinks is good.
The second last alphabet is then “L”, which means Love and respect towards the Love which one receives. Our protagonist was always humble in his acts and never took the love of Raksha, Baloo or even Bagheera for granted. He knew its value and hence had a due respect for the same. Bringing this into todays World, the Gesture and the Love go hand in hand. I think the best example for this to understand would be the story from Mahabharata when both Arjuna and Duryodhana went to Lord Krishna asking for his alliance in the war. When both of them reached they found that Lord Krishna was sleeping and hence in order to not disturb him, both of them took seat, but Duryodhana sat towards the head of Lord Krishna whereas Arjuna sat towards the feet of Lord Krishna. When Krishna woke up the very first person he saw was Arjuna and then Duryodhana. After greeting the two, Krishna narrated it to them that they’ll have to choose either between Krishna or his Narayani Sena and the first chance to make a choice was given to Arjuna, for Krishna laid his eyes first on Arjuna and then on Duryodhana. Such a trivial detail, yet it showed that how Love and respect towards the Love is actually reflected in one’s minute acts and such acts only create a huge difference. In my view, out of all the alphabets in the acronym, even if one does not have the remaining alphabets, but this alphabet “L”, i.e. Love and respect towards the Love which one receives can alone help one thrive in life.
The last alphabet is “I”, which stands for Innocence. At the end of the story, it was the innocence in Mowgli’s character that had actually won our hearts and had made us fall in love with his character. Innocence does not means to simply being naïve or unaware of the World but rather it’s a golden characteristic found in few who actually are never able to catch up or understand the intimidating ways of the World. They just don’t know how to use someone’s weakness to trouble them. They rather only know how to sympathize and be generous with one. I believe that this World lacks the innocence now. Everyone is just trying to be smart and outsmart others. Everyone is trying to predict, to analyze, to plan and conquer but at the same time forgetting the values that made us all humans. In Vedas we see that to outrun the Law of the Jungle i.e. the bigger fish eats the smaller fish, humans were supposed to create civilization so that even the weak can live equally with the strong. But apparently in order to outsmart everyone else, we are forgetting that eventually we all live in the same World and who knows how long one would live so rather than wasting time in being the cunning guy, it is more important to be innocent and let the destiny take its turn because at the end of the day that what is going to happen but just because we believe that we can change our destines and fight out with the circumstances we end up over thinking and over complicating the issues causing even more misery.
Hence, the acronym MOWGLI is actually multi-dimensional if understood all around can actually help us all be that successful thriving person we all have ever dreamt of becoming. If observed closely Mowgli was actually the perfect example of fulfilling the 7 criterions of success namely Still, Will, Drill, Thrill, Skill, Chill and Fulfill.
Before I end, let me say that Acharya Mahapragya mantra to this world was – “Healthy person, Healthy Society, and Healthy Economy“.
Thanks Ms. Vaishali S for your inputs