Arvind Kejriwal’s spectacular rise & fall: A Hindu psychoanalysis


When an individual sets out to do something for a worthwhile cause, there is usually at the beginning a genuine idealism. Most people do not set out with the aim of impressing others and attracting praise; but it is inevitable that over time sincere efforts start attracting attention, praise and adulation.

Different people react to this in different ways. Generally the experience of praise, success, and having admirers will give most people a buzz, and when the attention of the admirers strays elsewhere, most people will once again try to do something to recreate the buzz, sometimes consciously, but more often than not, subconsciously.

This actually destroys a lot of the good that a person sets out to do in the first place, because the purity of the initial inspiration is mixed with a subconscious attention seeking or egoism, so subsequent actions are tainted by the individual’s drive to achieve the buzz of respect, praise, acclaim etc.

Often the next time, the same acclaim will not be achieved – partly because the opinions of society can be fickle – but also because the effort is not so admirable and successful when tainted by the subconscious desire for self-aggrandisement. The reflective person may be able to put correct his/her course at this stage, but the majority of people who do not calmly reflect on themselves will carry on fumbling.

The great Pandurang Shastri used to say that many great men conquered physical lust and a desire for personal fortune, but very few conquered the lust for having their ego massaged by admirers. The Bhagavad Gita, in a number of versus advises that that person to be admired is the person who is able to stay calm and levelled in their efforts, unaffected by praise or censure and success or failure (e.g. 2.48, 4.22, 18.26)

I feel that Arvind Kejriwal is one of the most unfortunate examples of a person who started out with good ideas and actions, but lost his way with the experience of success and mass acclaim. His actions were subconsciously tainted by a wish to recreate the buzz and hysteria of his successes which climaxed with his party’s performance in the Delhi assembly elections. He started to lack any clear ideological consistency and lost his moral compass, as he indulged in brazen attention seeking behaviour, trying harder and harder to recreate the buzz of his meteoric rise.

It is important to stay connected with the purity of the original inspiration of why a particular effort was started in the first place, and periodically assess if our actions are still faithful to the original impulse or whether we have deviated.


  1. unfortunately …Feb .2015 – hope Delhi doesn’t regret its choice!

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