Dusshera, the Indian festival to celebrate the victory of the good king Ram over the demon king Ravana has just passed.
Unfortunately it has come to mean loads of WhatsApp forwards. And a familiar good vs evil message, replicated with the same few graphics, message after message.
Since this year, as I unsuccessfully tried to wade through some, I realised something quite interesting. Most images did not have the face of the good. They had the ten heads of supposed evil, which probably made for a much better visual. Destroy this! – was the overarching message.
I have always been fascinated by the ten heads of the evil Ravana. As an ad man and a marketer, they always made for memorable recall, as child I found it the most enduring image of the whole story. My mother always told me, they reflected brilliance. However evil he was, Ravana was well read and knowledgeable. And I remember wondering, why destroy wisdom or knowledge? Maybe we should just destroy one head. My questions were met by suitable disbelief from friends.
This time, I had Google by my side. And I searched for thinking around the ten heads. One was the familiar- The “he was knowledgeable” theory. And there were others.
The one, lesser spoken view of mythologists, that caught my attention was that the ten heads represent ten different mindsets- Kama (lust), Krodha (anger), Moha (delusion), Lobha (greed), Mada (pride), Maatsyasya (envy), Manas (mind), Buddhi (intellect), Chitta (will) and Ahamkara (the ego).
And when given a choice by the gods, the demon king refused to let go of any. They were all a connected part of who he was, he is supposed to have said. And not always wrong or bad.
This is so fascinating and so relevant. What if each of us was able to segregate all our mindsets, qualities, or values. What would we lose, let go? What would we celebrate, invoke, live?
What part of ourselves serves us in the now?
A question that has never failed to provoke thought as a coach has always been “Who do you want to be right now?” Ever wondered?
What if you do have ten heads?