The story of Dashrath Manjhi — the Mountain Man — is one of the most inspiring tales I’ve ever heard for so many reasons. And, in awe of this incredible soul, I humbly share my perspective on his legacy in the form of 6 lessons that we can learn from in relation to his journey and character.
While crossing over a mountainous area, to bring her husband Dashrath his lunch, Phaguni Devi slipped and fatally hurt herself. Unfortunately Phaguni’s injuries were so bad, she lost her life. Dashrath was heart broken.
After losing his beloved wife in this tragic accident, simply because medical help was too far from his village — and knowing full well that the government and local authorities would not do anything about it — Dashrath decided to take a hammer and chisel, and began chipping away at the mountain that stood between his village and the healthcare facility his wife needed, vowing that what happened to her would never happen to anyone else again.
“When I started hammering the hill, people called me a lunatic but that steeled my resolve.”(Source)
After more than 22 years of incessant and determined work — and in spite of intense ridicule — Dashrath managed to carve his way through the mountain single handedly, creating a road roughly 360 feet long, 25 feet deep and 30 feet wide! Where once people would struggle to walk over the mountainous area, today cars can drive through. Dashrath had conquered the mountain, and because of his uncompromising determination, his village can now access the medical facility and will be able to do so moving forward in the future.
Below you can see Dashrath’s remarkable work.
Below you can watch a short video of this “poor” villager’s incredible journey:
6 Lessons We Can Learn From Dashrath’s Incredible Story
Some Of The Greatest Souls Come Disguised As The Poorest People
It doesn’t matter where you come from or what story you were born into, this materialistic world does not define your greatness because greatness comes from within yourself — not from the environment you are born into, or the circumstances you currently find yourself in.
On the contrary, never delude yourself into judging another human being based on their social status, external label or current set of circumstances. Dashrath at first glance is a nothing more than a poor villager, but deep within this man resides something much greater.
Use Your Pain To Create A Positive Outcome
We all have a story, and if you have not yet encountered pain and sorrow in your life, I assure you that you will. It’s a part of this mysterious excursion we call life. But the pain and sorrow that imposes itself on our lives, is not what actually determines our future or circumstances, it’s how we respond to that pain and sorrow that ultimately determines the outcome.
Dashrath took his pain, and rather than use it in a destructive way like so many of us do (alcohol, drugs, self pity, junk food, etc.) he used it in a constructive way. And from his sorrow and pain, he created something beautiful and beneficial.
Just Get Started
So often we want to pursue a new goal, but when we think of how long it will take we shy away and get discouraged.
Dashrath proved that the most important thing to do, is just get started. And along the way, you can learn and adapt your approach. The key, is to not look at the “mountain” that stands in between you and your goal, the key is to just get started and focus on chiseling away at small tasks day by day.
Don’t Listen To The Critics
When Dashrath began this mind boggling project, unsurprisingly people told him he was absolutely crazy. They spoke about him behind his back, and some people probably even laughed at him. And for more than 2 decades, he was likely considered a failure. But he didn’t care. He knew that what he was doing was right, and the only way he could fail is if he gave up. So he refused to compromise on his goal and vision; and after a while, other villagers began to give him food, water and moral support, because uncompromising courage will always be a much greater force than criticism.
Take Responsibility For Your Life & What You Contribute To Society
This is something I try to remind people of constantly; the change we seek in society, will never come from the top of the proverbial pyramid, it must come from the bottom. Expecting someone who benefits from a certain system to change it, is nothing more than wishful thinking. Expecting one man, or one woman, to completely change our world and solve all our problems is a fairytale that appeals to people who watch too many movies. We have to take responsibility for not just our lives, but the contribution (or lack thereof) that we are making to society.
Dashrath understood this well, and decided to do something about it. Now, I’m not saying we all have to take action on the level of the great Mountain Man of India, but we all need to take responsibility for the energy we bring into our society and this world. If you want more kindness, practice being kind. If you want to live in an enlightened world, then enlighten yourself. If you want to live in a world free of corruption and injustice, then stand against corruption and stand up for justice. In short, if we want change, we must become it.
Our Lives Are Temporary. Our Good Deeds Are Permanent
So few people truly comprehend the power of a good deed. One kind action, one sentence of Truth, and one act of courage, all hold within them the power to set off a chain of events that can literally change the fabric of our world forever.
For example, Dashrath’s wife Phaguni Devi’s great Love for her husband, inspired him to literally chisel his way through a mountain, and now he has helped inspire millions and millions of people all around the world. Who likewise will go onto inspire others, and so on and so fourth. In this way, our good deeds live on forever.
In fact, a movie was made about Dashrath’s life. You can view the trailer HERE
So what “mountain” are you faced with in your personal life? Get started and apply these 6 lessons, and eventually you will carve your way to success!
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