In a rare guest write-up, industrialist Anil Ambani compares his ‘Da’, Amitabh Bachchan, to Buddha as the actor enters his 70s
I wonder how many of us realise that there is a secret locked in Da’s first name — Amitabh — the clue to his entire being and persona.
Amitabha — it is the name given to a celestial Buddha, worshipped from the 2nd century AD onwards in Asia, China, Japan and Korea, more than 60% of the world's population.
According to Buddhist scriptures, there once lived a great king by the name of Dharma-kaara, who renounced his throne in ancient times.
Due to his piousness and purity, and the good deeds accomplished over countless lives, he became a Buddha — and was bestowed the name, “Amitabha” — a word of Sanskrit origin, that means “infinite splendour and boundless light”.
And, as we reflect over the “infinite splendour and boundless energy” of the Amitabha we know — I think to myself.
Can we all be faulted for imagining that he might be an incarnate of that same previous divinity?
Look at his simplicity and humility.
Look at the strength of his character and his unending virtue.
Look at his serene and calm nature.
Look at the generosity of his heart and spirit.
Look at his youthfulness and freshness — how he finds new ways every single day to rediscover himself.
Look at the joy, the knowledge, the inspiration he has brought to billions of people across the globe.
The movies, the TV shows, the world of entertainment — that is all only a medium. The content is his gift to all of us.
See how he is loved every moment of his life by a teeming sea of humanity.
See how his image is worshipped at a temple in South Kolkata to the daily chanting of the “Amitabh Chaleesa”.
See how thousands of people religiously wait outside his Juhu home every Sunday evening to catch a few moments of his ‘darshan’.
Could this be a mere human being? A mere mortal?
“I” for one refuse to believe it. Da’s life has been a roller coaster ride of incredible contradictions: exhilaration and despair, bouquets and brickbats, prosperity and hardship, peace and strife.
Through it all, he has always, always retained the purity of a newborn spirit.
It is for this reason I am certain, there is divinity in Da. He has come here as a modern day ‘avatar’ of a previous ‘Buddha’ — to enlighten and enrich our lives.
If I were to talk about Da’s personal qualities, there is one special aspect of his loving nature that I have to talk about. Da’s love for his respected parents, Babuji and Ma — and the respect he has always shown to his elders.
I regard it as one of my life’s great privileges to have been at Da’s side, when he was nursing respected Babuji and Ma through their long periods of illness.
I have been in to his inner world at that time.
I have personally seen the endless hours of patient care and rare and undying love that Da bestowed upon his parents — even as he coped with his very personal grief and sorrow.
And, I have had the rare privilege, when Da’s time with the two people he loved and respected most in his life came to an end: to be at his side; to stand shoulder to shoulder with him on their final journey; and to bid the last farewell at our holy shrines of Kedarnath and Badrinath.
What is so remarkable and special about Da is the fact that he does not limit this love and respect only to his own parents.
Da is just a few years younger than my own mother, Kokilaben.
It is a measure of his humility and his ‘sanskar’ that he has always treated her, as he has treated his own mother — referring to her as “Mummy.”
To this day, whenever he meets “Mummy,” he touches her feet — much to her personal embarrassment, and this, even in the most public of gatherings.
People who know both of us — Da and me — wonder what is this special bond between the two of us?
I myself sometimes wonder — what is this karmic connection between us?
Frankly, I have no clue. All I know and care about is that, coming out from nowhere, I have had the privilege of being there in every special moment of Da’s life, for the past more than 30 years — that is, for more than half my life. I ask myself a question today: Is darkness the opposite of light?
Is cold the opposite of heat?
Darkness is simply the absence of light.
And, Cold is simply the absence of heat.
And, I am simply the absence of Da.
Respected Da — it is your seventieth birthday, “Seven decades of a life lived and experienced as never before by any one”.
In our culture, the number seven has a magical meaning.
In music, we have seven notes of melody.
There are seven colours that merge to form the white light.
The yogis say that our beings are composed of seven chakras.
Our ancient Indian river system was known as the “Saptasindhu” — or the seven rivers.
And, Vedic knowledge is derived from the “Saptarishi” — or the seven sages. At this age of seventy, the holiest of milestones:
I consider you, Da, to be no less dazzling than the white light.
I consider you, Da, to be no less enlightened than the “Saptarishi.”
I consider you, Da, to be the eternal “Amitabha Buddha.”
We are all truly blessed to have you in our midst.
With Blessings from my father in Heaven.