• Shilpi Gupta

Oprah Winfrey Speaks to JK Rowling

In the Indian epic - Mahabharat, there is a character named Eklavya.

Being the son of a low-caste hunter, he was refused archery training by the esteemed teacher Guru Dronacharya, who only taught royal princes. Nevertheless, deeply determined to study under this guru, Eklavya makes a statue of Dronacharya and practices in front of it for years with sincerity and dedication; eventually even surpassing the master’s most proficient disciple Arjun.

For anyone who wants to read this story in its entirety, its beautifully captured here -

But why am I speaking about Eklavya and Dronacharya on a post about a conversation between Oprah Winfrey and JK Rowling?

Eklavya’s story in essence, is that of a seeking mind - in search of a teacher - in search of guidance - to rise above his societal constraints and fulfill his desire and destiny of wanting to be more than his current existence, wanting to be more than what his circumstances would easily allow. Even when direct and physical access to the teacher is not available, he does not let this deter him and in spirit, decides to follow the mentor and starts building his training and life on his own.

I remember when I was very young, there was a television show on air called Bewitched. For so long, I was so sad that I wasn’t a witch like Samantha, the leading character. To me, her magic meant that she was special; she was what regular people weren’t. I prayed, so much, to be like her - to not be normal or regular. And from there, I wandered in search of magic; magic that will make me more than what I was.

I found my Dronacharya, so to speak, in Oprah Winfrey and JK Rowling. Their words are the knowledge and training I needed and will always need to fulfill my purpose in life. And for everyone, who is aspiring to find and pursue their calling -

  • Please find a teacher to follow. Some of your most meaningful and transformative conversations will also happen here, I promise.

  • The best way to identify and adopt the right teachers in life is to see if they are themselves devoted to living a life in alignment with their true purpose and if they are making efforts themselves to empower others and nurturing them to further do the same- though I will admit, that the means to accept someone as your teacher are never so technical and dry. Like love, or Ikigai, this is also something that is only driven by our hearts.

If one follows the work of Oprah Winfrey and JK Rowling, one will realise that they have spent their lives spreading magic and not the kinds taught at Hogwarts. But magic that will make you believe in yourself. Also, If one is wondering why just Winfrey and Rowling - well, it’s not just them and hopefully, this blog will be in some small way a dedication to all my teachers, but one step at a time.

Coming back to Eklavya, my story and dedication is nowhere close to his. I didn’t create any statues, I don’t worship my teachers. But my relationship with both is truly that of a seeking student who returns to the spirit and words of her teachers everytime she feels stuck, or simply to learn the right way of being. I have lost count of the moments where they have given me the strength and motivation I needed to believe in myself and move forward. I’m not just inspired by them - I genuinely strive to live by and follow their words.

I’d like to share two of their speeches that should truly be studied as textbooks. Please do spend some time studying these as well.

Imagine my delight at having come across the above video of both my teachers in conversation. This first meeting and their dialogue is one of my most favourite conversations of all time. This piece, chronicling parts of their magical journey, is full of wisdom, heart and soul. But what is most touching is a glimpse of the persons behind all that wonder and value.

As I embark on this journey with Joylogues, I wanted to share this video as a conversation that will hopefully always stay with me as a lesson. It’s a great learning for anyone who hopes to create something meaningful one day.

Happy watching!

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