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Hiren Surendra Shah

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Hiren Surendra Shah

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A Spiritual Irony-who is the real doctor.
by Hiren Surendra Shah   
Not "rated" by the Author.
Last edited: Wednesday, July 05, 2006
Posted: Tuesday, July 15, 2003

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Isn't it a great irony that the so called medical professionals go to any lengths and do anything to make money but the man who actually makes you laugh is seen in a somewhat condescending fashion. Should he not be addressed as Doctor

First, I shall explain what I understand by spirituality. Anything that is legal, moral and leads to peace, happiness and equanimity comes under the purview of proactive applied spirituality which emphasizes more on prevention rather than cure . It has more to do with correct thinking since incorrect thinking leads to wrong action and undesirable consequences. It is concerned more to solve problem at the cause level than at the effect level( Running after different types of meditations and divine knowledge).

Everybody would have heard of the dictum” Laughter the best medicine.”. One comes across articles in which state that it takes only a few muscles to smile but nearly four times muscles to frown, how smiling and laughing cause more oxygen to go to the brain, how they promote well being in general because they can be infectious, they give out a lot but cost nothing etc etc. Last but not the least, it is very easy to make people cry but extremely difficult to make them laugh. Philosophers have also said that Gaiety is wiser than wisdom and joy the fruit of the spirit. In yoga, there is an entire branch devoted to it called Hasya Yoga.

What status does society give to the people who make you laugh. ? Recently , at a function comedian Jhonny lever was mentioned as a donkey face by somebody . The “donkeyface” has had the best filmstars and directors of bollywood in splits on more than one occasion .Coming back to the point , Actor Anupam Kher on receiving the best comedian actor award once remarked,”I am not the best comedian. I am the best actor in a cameo role” . Even Internationally, a Charlie chaplin may be an exception than the rule.

The issue is that if laughter is so significant, why are comedians and artists treated with a somewhat condescending attitude? .Why does society treat its artists so shabbily? The point was aptly brought home by an article of an HRD company:-

“ At least in India no one is surprised at children aspiring to become engineers, doctors , CAs or MBAs. Almost 60 percent think in terms of engineering or medicine and nearly 15 percent fancy their skills as CA s but in reality only 10 percent become what they dream of becoming. Have you ever wondered why children do not want to be artists, dancers, singers, painters or carpenters and plumbers. The reason is not far to seek. These professions do not have the ‘class’ or prestige associated with it. When they actually start working, they realize that they don’t have the mental make up for a particular type of job inspite of being suitably qualified“

It is said that there is a difference between knowing something, knowing about something and being something. At best the doctors only know or know about the laughter being the best medicine. They cannot actually make people laugh. Then people who actually make you laugh should be addressed as “Dr Anupam Kher” or “Dr Jhonny Lever”. To any person who has suffered from severe neurotic depression, such people could actually prove to be the difference between life and death. Unless you start talking and laughing , you can’t feel better and unless you feel better, you will not feel like talking and laughing. Even psychiatrists recommend good company in such a state as “Solitude is the nest of thought” and one can become entangled in them. So much so that instead of “Laughter the best medicine” , the dictum in such situations should be “A cure for all sorrows is conversation “ because a person in such a state can hardly be expected to laugh straightaway. A good comedien may be indispensable in some cases to break the ice and therefore overcome a severe neurotic mood. The comedian, therefore is the real spiritualist.

In some of the villages of India, one of the worst punishments meted out is “ Hukka pani bandh kar do” which means “take away the smoking pot” which implies social exclusion.. Since Hukka in the villages is shared and inevitably followed by gossip and conversation, the punishment actually implies social ostracization and is an effective deterrent . It can lead to severe depression.

A good comedian may be indispensable in some cases to break the ice and therefore overcome a severe neurotic mood. They deserve more respectability. The irony is that some of the people who are actually given that respect make a profession out of it and could go to any lengths and indulge in dubious means to make money. They are respected by society and the people who really make you laugh are viewed with a condescending attitude. What an irony.

With the laughter challenge show introduced in 2005, artists are finally getting their due. Respectability is not the sole prerogative of knowledge based professionals-artists derserve as much respect as anybody else.


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