All of us have different feelings and moods at various points in our life. We might be joyful at one point, angry at another. We might be involved in social activity at one time, prayer at another and something else at a different time. When we create the images of famous personalities, we look into some of these aspects. Many of the times, we miss the general message of that person’s life. We try to use some action of that person to benefit our purpose.
When I was listening to a talk of Harsh Mander, he was referring to Lord Ram. He was asking which Ram you follow, the Ram in the name of Nathuram Godse or Ram who was in the lips of Gandhi when he died? We might say both denote the same person; but the attributes they showcase are entirely different. Somewhere some mismatch is definitely there.
It is interesting to ask, which Gandhi you follow. Is it the Gandhi who had made non-violence as his major political strategy or a Gandhi who considered cleanliness as equal to godliness. Both are related, but when you follow second forgetting the main idea of non-violence, it is injustice to the person called Gandhi. Some Dalit activists who are followers of Ambedkar are better followers of Gandhi (non-violent protests even in the midst of all sorts of atrocities) rather than many Gandhians/self-proclaimed Gandhians.
As a Christian, it is good for me to ask which Jesus I follow. Love and Compassion are the essence of his life. He was angry at some instances, he was furious with authorities occasionally. He was also followed by the crusaders and slave traders. It is good to see which image we follow. When I listen to the sermons of a few priests, it is always depicting that angry Jesus. I find it really annoying and depressing.
There might be more similarity between Jesus, Ram, Buddha and Gandhi than between these leaders and their followers. As we follow the person, let’s follow him fully, rather than in piecemeal.