Acting, Narcissism and Abhinaya Yog Lalit Parimoo April 28, 2022

Acting, Narcissism and Abhinaya Yog

The craft of ACTING attracts lot of narcissist with a very simple reason that it gives an opportunity to compensate for the emotional diseases from which one suffers since childhood. The rosy picture which one builds in the mind where one imagines to live a successful life of a successful actor, who plays so many different powerful characters, is loved by so many people, is adored by the opposite sex, has big money, big success, is the heavenly abode of such narcissists.

The short-term goals can be in terms of a house and a car or a better job, but the chief aim of a human being is to know the consciousness within, which requires a certain discipline and code of conduct without which all talks will remain bookish and impractical. To bring back family values and strictly follow the moral principles should be the topmost concern of every educated and sensible person. ABHINAY YOG reminds to all the actors of the world stage that do not forget the chief aim so that one may not repent during the last days of one’s life that the entire life was a colossal waste

Lalit Parimoo

Ordinary acting has a direct connection with Narcissism. You all must be well aware that psychologists have talked a great deal about the Narcissistic tendencies prevalent in a human being. What exactly is this tendency? How is a Narcissist different from others? What guides and forces a Narcissist to behave in a way which is different from a normal human behaviour?  How does the craft of acting help a Narcissist? Are generally all actors fundamentally Narcissist? What is the co-relation between social behaviour of successful actors and the inherent narcissistic tendencies within? How does ABHINAYA YOG claim to go beyond the feeling of Narcissism?

In this chapter we shall try to answer and explain the above queries. In plain and simple words the desire to be liked, loved, appreciated, pampered, admired to the extent of being worshiped is primarily a narcissistic tendency. At seed level it exists within everyone but different education, environment, upbringing and the pressure of circumstances make one more narcissistic and the other less. Outwardly, behaviour of a narcissist in a group can be easily distinguished by his/her constant effort to seek attention and admiration from others, to keep the conversation revolve around his/her issues and problems, to fish for compliments again and again, to create such an impression that others are compelled to talk about him/her.

If not in a group, a narcissist would like to find different ways of self admiration like looking in a mirror and saying “I’m the best”, wearing new clothes, watching one’s photographs again and again, day dreaming and creating a world in his/her own imagination where he/she has been liked and appreciated by all. In brief narcissist is obsessed with oneself and the desire to get appreciated from all sides by all people becomes his/her food. He/she will feel like a fish without water, if in one day he/she doesn’t receive a required quota of admiration, appreciation and compliments.

Deep down the person actually is miserable, unhappy and suffers from a feeling of being unloved and unnoticed. In most of the cases perhaps during childhood one has felt unloved. Maybe the parents were more loving towards the other child or they had a bad marriage and their constant quarrelling and fighting created a feeling of  insecurity in child’s mind, thus depriving him/her of love, care and attention required for the normal growth, development and upbringing of a child. When this feeling continues with the child for a long time, the unhappiness and misery becomes his/her second nature and when one becomes an adult one tries to compensate what one has lacked by trying to grab more and more of admiration. So, if a child is unable to receive proper emotional nourishment from his/her parents and other near and dear ones he/she tries to compensate it by artificial means and this continues till old age.

For such people, who have felt wounded in their childhood because of lack of proper love and care, and also for those people, who have been pampered a lot during their childhood, ACTING becomes an area of escape for them. How does acting help these people? It is well understood that the work of an actor is such which makes him/her a centre of attraction and generally actors are complimented, thus brings some kind of happiness to the inwardly suffering minds.                              

Childhood is the period where our emotional world is built and the interrelationship within the structure of our family which mostly includes parents and siblings, lays the firm foundation of these emotions which remain with us till our adult and matured life. A boy who has not received a full quota of love from his mother, due to various socio-psychological reasons, will always have a love hate relation with women. Because he could not have a smooth relation with his mother, he will face difficulties in having smooth relationship with the women who come in his life. On one hand he would love to have an amicable relationship with a girl, but the wounds which exist inside due to his own mother will always create difficulties and misery. Hence by becoming an actor, by playing a part of a lover who wins a woman and is happy, one tries to compensate for what one lacks.

Also the craft of acting brings some amount of appreciation which is another form of happiness and thus helps an individual to forget the misery caused by the wounds experienced during the childhood. In this matter, it would be added, those people who are not able to get happiness by becoming an actor themselves, they seek refuge in the works of other artists which can include short stories, novels, drama, TV shows ,films or even books. This is the reason why many people become fans or admire so called heroes and heroines of films or a novel, drama, short story, because their own inabilities and weaknesses get covered up by the victories of the ideal fictional character. A wounded mind cannot remain wounded for a long time as the nature of mind is to find equilibrium. If the emotion of hate is predominant because of the lack of love either from father or mother, it is natural for such a mind to look for love by surrogate means. Acting also is one such surrogate method, which takes an individual into an imaginary world thus takes him/her away from the harsh realities and gives a feeling of doing something creative, which also is a form of happiness. After the successful performance of living life of an imaginary character the compliments received and the admiration for the creative skill is what makes an unhappy and a wounded person happy.

So, it can be clearly stated that a narcissist deep down is a very unhappy and emotionally weak person. In his/her own eyes he/she has not received love properly; hence the adult period demands more and more attention. As the craft of acting fulfils this criterion to a very large extent, a narcissist naturally finds solace in it. Many of his/her problems get solved in this journey. 

The modern world has created several psychological problems and complexes and narcissism is one of those. In the past 300-400 years, society has moved drastically towards hedonism. The scientific inventions, technological revolutions along with so many modern ideas have forced one to live in such a way that chasing wealth and material comforts has become a necessity. There has been a slow deterioration in family values and the socio spiritual structure in all the countries, has been shaken.

The mad race for success, power and money has created a situation where the family has been neglected and children grow in an atmosphere or environment which is devoid of love and full of strife and conflict. This is not the case only with the poor or middle class families, even the rich people suffer from the same problems in a different way. Parents who are indulged in earning money for the family have no time for their children who are looked after by maid servants and again are deprived of the parental love which was their natural right for their growth and development. The middle class parents live in a condition where they crib and grumble for their inability to earn sufficient money for the care of children, hence they at times feel unwanted.

In brief Narcissism as a complex phenomenon is the result or outcome of the modern civilisation which has turned a man into a money earning machine whose happiness and achievements revolve around the material comforts and objects. As most of the people are not able to get what they want, the result is a crisis where there is a huge gap between man’s inner world and his outer achievements. Not only there is a gap in the economic sphere but also in the emotional world.

A narcissist desperately tries to achieve something great in the external world forgetting his/her inner turmoil which he/she thinks can be balanced by big external achievements but in the course of his/her journey he/she realizes the harsh truth that the lack of emotional warmth cannot be balanced by physical comforts. It is a well known statement that one can buy sex, not love. One can amass huge properties, but cannot buy a loving home. One can buy people as workers, but can’t buy friends.

The craft of ACTING attracts lot of narcissist with a very simple reason that it gives an opportunity to compensate for the emotional diseases from which one suffers since childhood. The rosy picture which one builds in the mind where one imagines to live a successful life of a successful actor, who plays so many different powerful characters, is loved by so many people, is adored by the opposite sex, has big money, big success, is the heavenly abode of such narcissists. To live in future and forget the difficulties of present time, is one of the fundamental characteristics of human nature. So it happens with narcissist that they live in future imagining “heavenly abode” and try to forget their present worries and inabilities. Their “heavenly abode” keeps on supplying the inspiration for some time, but later on a crisis happens and this imaginary “heavenly abode” crumbles like a pack of cards. The gap between the dream world and the reality widens, thus creating a split within the human mind. This situation is further dangerous as this split mind gives rise to further complicated psychological diseases like schizophrenia, hypocrisy, acute depression, chronic anxiety etc.

To avoid all the above said psychological complexes, one should follow the system of ABHINAYA YOG. The philosophy of ABHINAYA YOG will help not only an actor but a non actor too, to face the insurmountable obstacles in one’s path.

The ten moral principles of yog will work as the guiding light for all aspiring actors and human beings. These ten principles are

  1. SATYA
  8. TAPAH

Any aspiring actor who learns the craft of acting while following the above said moral principles will certainly be able to manage the ever widening gap between his/her inner and outer world. Let’s talk in detail about the above said ten moral principles:-

SATYA- It is well understood that the entire world keeps on changing. There is nothing permanent. Change is the only constant factor. What was yesterday is not today and what is not today exists in the future. The apparent reality is ever changing but isn’t there something which is permanent? That something permanent can be called as SATYA. As all things exist in time, place and person and hence are ever changing, but that which is beyond this trinity is SATYA. Thus to keep this satya as one’s goal, most cherished object should be the topmost priority of any human being. If one takes the vow of moving on the path of the satya, one easily conquers hypocrisy, pride, vanity, worries etc.

AHIMSA- Not to harm or inflict injury in thought, word or deed to anyone is the underlying spirit of AHIMSA. Sometimes one doesn’t realise how one has inflicted injury upon other by negative remarks and thinking, but if one keeps the principle of AHIMSA in mind, automatically such thoughts can be checked. But AHIMSA at the same time does not mean not to fight back or retaliate to safeguard oneself in the times of danger or attack. If a dangerous animal or a ferocious man or a group of invaders are about to harm you, your family or your community, then to fight as a matter of self defence is also a part of AHIMSA. Only a courageous man can truly follow the principle of AHIMSA.

ASTEYA- In simple worlds it means non-stealing. Everyone has to pickup an occupation to maintain oneself and the family people. This occupation should be such where no stealing is involved. To earn one’s livelihood by honest and upright means is the fundamental thought and idea of ASTEYA. Sometimes this stealing happens mentally, so one has to maintain strictly the mental purity also. The person who follows the principle of ASTEYA will have the moral strength, which shall help him/her to face the ups and downs in his/her work life.

APARIGRAH- This principle is one of the most difficult to follow as it runs contrary to the modern materialistic lifestyle. Not to accumulate more than what is required for the minimum sustenance of life is the underlying spirit of APARIGRAH. For example if our requirement is of 6 pairs of dresses than one should not hoard more. By following this principle strictly one controls greed. Not to eat more than what is sufficient for one’s health, not to have money more than one is required for minimum requirement, not to collect hoard or accumulate physical objects for the sake of mental satisfaction are the hallmarks of APARIGRAH…how can one keep a cheque on the growing demands of modern life-style where one is forced to buy things, objects ,new gadgets etc.? this is the burning question with every spiritual aspirant .Many are ready to live a simple life but the social pressure is such that if you do not move with the main social flow you will not be accepted by others and one will have to face new kinds of difficulties like communication etc.The guideline regarding this should be  that one should make efforts to buy those things and objects which are absolutely essential for everyday work and social life. The approach has to be of utility and not of impressing others or showing it off only for the sake of creating an image ..This should be strictly avoided.

BRAHMCARYA- This is the most controversial principle and needs to be explained rationally. Many people have confused general masses that this principle has something to do with sexual abstinence but the truth is, the root words of BRAHMCARYA are BRAHM and CARYA which have nothing to do with sexual abstinence. The word BRAHM means “That which is great” and CARYA means “ to move”. Thus the whole word means to move in that which is great or in simple words to think always of the supreme lord. This moral principle helps one to have a different world view. Every philosophy or ideology or culture and civilisation creates a world-view. Here the world-view is that “Every thing is an expression of the supreme being”. So, one has to make efforts to keep on ideating on the Supreme Being. This approach helps an individual not to get entangled in the worldly affairs to such an extent that they keep you away from the Supreme Being.

SHOACA- To maintain cleanliness in all aspects, at all places is the underlying spirit of SHOACA. Not only one has to make efforts to remain physically clean, keep the surroundings clean but at the same time one should thrive for the mental cleanliness. It is easy to practice external cleanliness but to keep the mind pure and clean requires more mental efforts and discipline. 

SANTOSHA- Again this principle is difficult to practice in today’s world as the entire economic growth takes place due to the inherent economic dissatisfaction and this principle teaches one to remain contended with what one has got. This point needs to be explained further. It is well understood that one cannot grow if one is not dissatisfied with the present circumstances. For example a person earning rupees 10000 a month will have to be dissatisfied with his/her income so that he/she makes effort to earn rupees 15000 in a month. So if discontentment is necessary for any growth, how can one practice SANTOSHA? The answer is it can be practiced. After struggling for any growth or improvement, one needs to surrender everything to the Supreme Being, and this surrender brings a positive attribute named SANTOSHA which means whatever one has got or achieved, one accepts it as HIS/HER wish. A pure egoistic and ambitious mind cannot follow this principle. To remain contended with what one has got is the hallmark of a surrendered mind whose goal is the Supreme Being and to understand very well without HIS/HER wish one cannot achieve anything.

TAPAH- In simple words TAPAH means hard work and determination required to attain the desired goal. This principle inspires one to fight against lethargy and laziness. During the struggle of existence one is naturally bound to face difficulties and sometimes one gets discouraged and looses the zest for achievement but by remembering this moral principle one can inspire oneself again and again and prepare to work hard. As it is well said that hard work has no substitute, so one should not spare oneself and very soon at an early age one must get into the habit of working hard. This principle also helps an individual to not to get acclimatised to a comfortable lifestyle. The more one lives in difficult conditions, more the chances of working hard.

SVADHYAYA- Literally it means understanding oneself. The ultimate journey of a man is to know thyself and this principle is a reminder to it. The study of self also involves the study of scriptures which help one to understand that the aim and purpose of this human life is to go beyond the mundane achievements and reach the transcendental state of “SELF”.

ISHVAR-PRANIDHAN- The movement towards Supreme Being by any methodology like prayer, dharna, dhyan, is ISHVAR-PRANIDHAN. ISHVAR, the lord and controller of all things is the goal of human existence. Human beings are mind-predominant. The movement of this mind towards ISHVAR is ISHVAR-PRANIDHAN. This principle not only reminds you of the supreme goal but also wants you to take some active steps in that direction. One can’t say that the goal of my life is to know God and not do anything about it. It is an inward movement and is purely a subjective journey where dissipating energy of mind is channelized and merged into the ocean of pure consciousness. According to ABHINAYA YOG this ISHVAR-PRANIDHAN has been incorporated in a different way. As we all are the actors on the world stage with our different roles and different stages, we need to know the Supreme Director within. If we are acquainted with the Supreme Director within, we can play all the roles assigned to us harmoniously and satisfactorily.

Thus the narcissistic tendency within every human being which forces one to crave for more and more admiration, resulting in the desire of becoming a famous person can be checked by the above-said ten moral principles which shall help as a guide to every one. Those who are artists by birth and have a genuine desire to express and exhibit their talents will be highly benefited by the moral principles and can create more sublime piece of art which shall be of educational value to the viewers.

ACTING  ,today for the most of the youngsters is a short cut method to become rich and famous and many are only interested to impress their relatives and neighbours and try to prove that they are successful and popular..

Today the entire civilization has reached a point where the only aim of existence for most of the humanity is to make a quick fortune and the success of very few actors and actresses gives an illusory hope to many that they too can make it big .

But unfortunately the resources of earth are such that all cannot become rich and famous so most of the actors are moving on the wrong path and are misled by the illusion created by glitter and glamour of name and fame. If one tries to follow the path of Abhinaya yog with a purpose of reaching the depths of one’s being there shall be a dramatic change in the thought-waves of most of the people, actors ,aspirants and viewers that peace shall be attained here and now.

ABHINAYA YOG  wants to bring a fresh change in the thinking patterns of the entire     humanity by broadcasting this age-old wisdom that the aim of human life is to reach the divinity within and the entire social structure should be such that all should get an opportunity to reach the prescribed goal.

The modern civilization at present is topsy –turvy and due to the impact of centrefugal force ,humanity is moving away from the centre which is the abode of PURE CONSCIOUSNESS and for this inward march the mad chase for wealth and comfort is a big hurdle. The reason why most of the people are unhappy and miserable lies in the fact that the entire human society has become materialistic and all our small pleasures and comforts have become directly connected with the physical objects and sensual gratifications. One of the greatest treasure and achievement of human civilization has been the family structure which once upon a time was an improved form of the tribal structure where people lived in groups or gotras but today due to the pressure of living in a materialist society most of our psychic problems and emotional turmoils are due to the dilapidated condition of our families which was and still is the root of our emotional wellness. As it is well understood that our emotional world has lost its requisite equilibrium due to the imbalance within the family structure. By the time one has reached the age of 17 or 18 all major conflicts and complexes have already creeped in and then to restore the lost balance the only effort which one tries to do is to become a successful person in the external world by choosing a career which can give name fame and wealth in a short span of time. The lack of love which one has felt during childhood, may be, due to the over-busy lifestyle of parents can never be compensated by wealth or fame. Girls and boys who have been brought up in a broken family where one of the spouses has borne the brunt of bringing up children remain unloved throughout their lives and try to compensate it by aspiring and chasing big dreams and goals which makes them feel that reaching top will cure the illness within their mental world. But in reality this doesn’t happen and all big goals when attained create the same vacuum and once again remind of the inner emptiness and disgruntlement.The remedy lies in the practice of moral principles prescribed as yama and niyama.

The short term goals can be in terms of a house and a car or a better job but the chief aim of a human being is to know the consciousness within ,which requires a certain discipline and code of conduct without which all talks will remain bookish and impractical. To bring back family values and  strictly follow the moral principles should be the top most concern of every educated and sensible person.

ABHINAY YOG reminds to all the actors of the world stage that do not forget the chief aim so that one may not repent during the last days of one’s life that the entire life was a colossal waste.        

Write a comment
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *