Kristen, Gandhi and Happy Pill Spiritualism

Kristen Stewart-Robert Pattison: Harper's Bazaar
Mahatma Gandhi would have been pleased to find a Hollywood star snuggling his words. Known for his penchant for white women, he was their knight in spiritual armour.

It is, therefore, not surprising – although a bit amusing – to discover that he is the 'other man'. Here is a snappy report from ABC News Radio:

Kristen Stewart may not be able to rely on her former lover and Twilight co-star Robert Pattinson for life advice in the wake of the revelation that she cheated on him, so she’s reportedly turning to another man for guidance: Gandhi.

The Sun reports the 22-year-old actress is still struggling to “forgive herself” in the wake of her affair with her Snow White and the Huntsman director Rupert Sanders, and has turned to the writings of Mahatma Gandhi, who led a successful non-violent resistance movement against British colonel rule in India.

Is the non-violent idea in opposition to the “wrath of a woman scorned”? Are relationships about colonisation?

This is a digression, though. The larger context here is how “inner peace” needs others’ views on spirituality. Go to any bookstore in any part of the world and volumes on self-help occupy pride of place. Self-help means relying on someone else’s help. There is little nuance and they make for decent beach reading. But do they engage the mind, for isn’t spirituality about extending the boundaries of the self?

The fact that Kristen is seeking retribution puts such books in the realm of morality. Are religious texts inadequate? Why are books on spiritualism bestsellers when they say what many have, at least in childhood, read about in scriptures or fairytales?

Fairytales invariably are a morality tale. The Stewart-Pattinson fairytale would probably be part of another day in Hollywood, and much of contemporary life. People give in to temptation. Fidelity is restructured. Bruised emotions take time healing. However, the elevation of ‘cheating’ on the pedestal of spiritual enlightenment transforms it into the bad witch looking into the mirror for the fairest of them all. The answer is obvious. There is no good news here. The effort, by default, aasumes inherent goodness, so what really is the purpose of an external support?

There are wonderful sayings in almost all languages – homilies, fables, koans, verses. There are life stories of struggle by yogis, sufis, zen masters. The new age gurus run a corporate spiritual enterprise, churn out books that work on the vulnerabilities of people looking for messiahs as pauses. Is it not better than lying on a psychoanalyst’s couch? They are not much different. You are expected to exterminate the bile consuming you. Time does that. Talking with friends does it. Talking to oneself does it.

The problem is we don’t do that much. It is hard work. Kristen Stewart is like those prisoners who discover the Bible, Quran, Bhagvad Gita in the confines of jails. People are caged when they feel trapped in their own worlds. Reading Gandhi is as much a pop diva act as attending a Deepak Chopra enlightenment spa.

What can a Rumi, a Kahlil Gibran, a Confucius, or an Osho give you when you are not willing to give yourself anything? I love reading them, quoting them sometimes, but it is not when I am looking for an anchor. If the seas are stormy, I’d rather find a wispy branch fallen off a tree and sail with it…like a wilting flower with new leaves.

(c) Farzana Versey


  1. Lage Raho Munna/Kristen Behen!

    1/2 cent on self help books:
    Allow me to quote from the movie, "School for scoundrels":
    Lessons on One-upmanship designed for smartness!!!
    Dr. P: How many of you have self-help books? Okay, that's your first problem. You can't help yourself, because your 'self' sucks!

    Dr. P: There are two kinds of men in the world: those who run shit, like me, and those who eat shit, like you.

    Okay, end of good humour. Now then, a western celeb decides to embark on a soul-searching trip. And chooses Gandhi's wisdom to guide herself. That's great!

    FV: "Mahatma Gandhi would have been pleased to find a Hollywood star snuggling his words. Known for his penchant for white women."

    I am not a great fan of Gandhi personally, for the political blunders he and Nehru committed. But even so, he is the father of the nation and he was a sincere man.

    While wielding a double edged blade, an amateur should remember that one edge is towards herself.

  2. "the elevation of ‘cheating’ on the pedestal of spiritual enlightenment transforms it into the bad witch looking into the mirror for the fairest of them all."

    The above statement is classic! Very Well said.

  3. Amitabha:

    Regarding your recounting of good humour, perhaps Dr. P overlooked a third kind of man: who just can't shit. (Btw, weren't you a bit snotty about scatological references?)

    »"While wielding a double edged blade, an amateur should remember that one edge is towards herself"«

    I assume you are an expert. It would, therefore, be enlightening if you explained amateurism. Since it follows a reference to Father of the Nation, am I an amateur pater? Or amateur Gandhian? Or amateur dissenter?

    The FoN title was conferred. Perhaps it is amateur to consider that as closing all options for other ideas. Or mother of ideas.

    As for the blade, I use a Swiss knife. It opens out into several sides. One of them may face whoever is around as much as it does me. I am aware of that. That awareness should liberate me from amateurishness, I suppose.



    Thank you...and what's your name, again?

  4. Farzana,
    In the above extract from the "School for Scoundrels, {2006}", ... "shit" means, Things like business, Lessons, Knowledge, Skills, etc. It's an American film after all. They can hardly pronounce a single sentence without using "shit", or, the f***-word!

    (Hey, Did you know that there was a 1960 British movie of the same name AND an Indian one too with Amal Palekar, Aasrani and Ashoke Kumar as Dr. P? {Chhoti Si Baat})

    You, An amateur pater!!!
    That would definitely be an interesting scene. Do you wanna be the next Katharine Jefferts Schori? Yippie!!

    "the FoN title was conferred" Pardon me?

    A tiny Swiss Blade? Oh no, you use a ten foot lance (even better than a double edged sword!) to cook up a controversy. You are like Xena, only without a scabbard. Imagine how tame Xena would look with a Swiss-blade?

    Anon, my man, what is in a name?

  5. Aman Malhotra27/08/2012, 20:18

    If I were to say anything to you, then "Keep writing on publically available blogs like this one" would be it.

    You don't realize how much good you're doing to people like me.

    Sometimes I wonder, what is the thing I lack the most, not the usual materialistic ones, then a voice in me says "Opinion".

    Not that I would use yours as mine (I read your post on plagiarism too), but it feels nice to know and see your mind coming out of the limited boundary which one's pea-sized brain had drawn.

    Thank you Farzana Versey. Honestly, earnestly and sincerely.

    P.S. Could you please do a favour and remove the strenuous captcha test we have to undergo before publishing the comment? It's so esoteric, that I feel doing sit-ups would be more easy. and anyways you have the control over the comments as they are moderated, so don't approve which don't deserve. But please I implore you to do away with this excruciatingly-horrid-captcha.

  6. Aman:

    Thank you. There are opinions and here you will get only that, irrespective of what anyone says. Each has a voice. It is important how one expresses it.

    PS: Word verification is a pain & I remove it occasionally, as now. I'll have to deal with the spam.


    Whether words are used by Americans or Indians, one ought to accord them the same acceptance/rejection.

    As regards the rest, lacks grace and not worth a response.


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