“Rule your mind or it will rule you” – Horace (Roman poet- 65 BC – 8 BC)
JRD quietly tolerated the disgrace, even as the industry was horrified by what the government meted out to him. Ironically, it was Tata who pioneered employee welfare schemes and workers provident fund in India, much before the government made it compulsory. Yet he was treated badly.
The Icons of Indian Industry, (by Vinita) recounts the character and integrity of Tata. Once, an air-hostess accidentally dropped juice on him during a flight. Instantly JRD quipped, “Next time make it whisky.” The lady’s nervousness and fear turned to relief. He was gracious. He could connect to the most ordinary people naturally.
His exemplary sporting spirit was seen when he competed for the Agha Khan trophy for flying. His competitor Aspy Engineer was stranded in Egypt for lack of a spark plug. JRD had a spare one, and he generously gave it to him. Aspy, from a no win situation went on to beat JRD by couple of hours.
In a fiercely competitive world, JRD’s ideals and character shine brightly. Still the fact remains- he too faced injustice and bad treatment. But he transcended it.
Many others would have buckled under the pressure. JRD moved on, and he is exemplary because of the ideals he stood for, not merely for the wealth he accumulated. Many may not be wealthy like JRD, but with the same integrity and credibility, they are equally glorious.
The world after all may or may not recognize us. But are we willing to recognize our inner world? Can we live by the high values even if our principles are challenged by the external world, and our own nasty mind?
The Srimad Bhagavatam reveals (11.22-23) the story of a man who was extremely wealthy, yet due to his miserly nature, he made many enemies. He refused to spend money on himself and his family. Slowly people turned against him, and suddenly one day he lost everything. At that moment, his family rejected him, and he faced terrible suffering. His mind was tormented by this sudden reversal.
People ridiculed him, threw stones at him, they passed urine on the food he begged, and even spat at him.
The story however takes an amazing twist at this point.
The man searched deep within his character; he paused, chose to connect to himself, and slowly realized that no one is to blame for his misery. He separated himself from his mind, and it soon dawned on him that it’s his mind alone that caused attraction and repulsion, friends and enemies, and all other dualities in his life.
This awareness filled his heart with peace, and he instantly found peace and shelter beyond his own mind. Thomas Edison put it crisply, “What a man’s mind can create, man’s character can control.”
To be continued…