Cindy Crawford’s ‘No Photoshop’ photo and what it means to Indians



There could be a long debate on whether we should even comment or not on the picture of Cindy Crawford that has recently made headlines in all sorts of media–print, digital and of course the new media (social). A lot of people may even say that this kind of news is not even oriented towards Indians.

Here’s what I have to say:

I am perfectly okay that we might even not want to talk about the skin-show. We should not engage in the debate whether one should post one’s photoshopped photos or not because skin-show is not encouraged.

But what about the underlying message of this photo–the foreigners, not concerned about the skin-show, are talking about a very spiritual message through this photo. They are talking about ‘to see beyond flesh’ thing–a concept so important and worshiped as being ‘the esoteric one’ in spiritual context. They are encouraging people to accept the deformation of skin and see the person inside that body. They are talking about acceptance of one’s outer appearance and let it be.

Isn’t this what Indian spiritual thought is always concerned about–not paying attention to what and how one looks from outside, but to cleanse the inside and let the character shine forth? But ironically and unfortunately, we act as the biggest hypocrites of the world. We keep blowing the bugle of integrating spirituality in our daily lives but we don’t follow even an iota of it.

I am not saying that we should start encouraging skin-show. My only intention to write this article is to see the beauty of the message conveyed in a different manner, and why we are missing that message in our day-to-day life?

The story of Rishi Ashtavakra

To give a simile, consider the story of Sage Ashtavakra who happened to approach the court of King Janaka. Sage Ashtavakra had eight deformations in his body because of the curse thrown by his own father when he questioned his father from the womb of his mother (An interesting story to be discussed separately in full length).

So, when he walked in the court of King Janaka, everybody starting laughing at him seeing his disfigured body. King Janaka was looking for ‘wisdom’ from his courtiers. Listening to the derision thrown at him, Sage Ashtavakra implored the king:

How will you get wisdom sitting in the company of cobblers? They see only leather and not the atma inside.

It is believed that King Janaka immediately recognized the brilliance of this Rishi and fell at his feet praying him to be his Guru.

Summing it up

As I said earlier, Indian history is replete with such examples. However, modern Indians are on a declining slope in terms of such concepts.

The recent photo of Cindy Crawford reminds us of the same concept–of course, in a totally modern and new fashion.

What are your thoughts, do share!

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