Tit for Tat!

These adjectives Good, Bad and Ugly are used to describe humans and their nature. Our world is made up of a combination of interactions between the humans and nature. We humans think that we know a lot about nature but we understand our shortcomings when nature shows its true nature or colours, once in a while. When we talk of nature, we talk about natural things! Nature has not changed much in millions of years, barring temperature and rain in certain areas. The variations that we see are more about the intensity and ferociousness. Otherwise, nature is reasonably predictable. It is we humans who are causing the nature to change with our indiscretions and indiscipline.

But humans? No, they are the most unpredictable lot! Good, Bad and Ugly are the basic words to describe human nature. We need many variations, different words in trying to describe the human nature. Human and Nature are two contradictory words that are always used together. Human nature changes with situations, with life experiences that are good, bad or ugly! The predictability about nature is easy but predicting human nature is 70 to 80% correct.

Whenever humans interact there is one important mix in it, the emotions. Very similar situations are seen by the same human in different ways, depending on the emotions at that time. This also depends on the nature of the group of people or the clans they are from. A small brushing of two vehicles in traffic are treated differently. The scientific name for this event is road rage! Such incidents in North India can result in a murder (UGLY) whereas it can lead to a bit of argument elsewhere. (BAD) Personally, if it is not my error, someone bumping into you from behind, I simply ignore the incident. (GOOD)  Why does this happen? During the last 500 years, there have been many attacks on us. Brunt for these attacks was always borne by northern people. This probably has made them aggressive but the aggression erupts out in the wrong situations, even today. Is it written in their DNA to take revenge, get into fighting mode? Is it happening because the old stories or war and fights and battles are told to the child during their bringing up? Are they taught tit for tat during childhood?

Tit for tat means an equivalent given in retaliation. It is very easy to interpret this as a revenge or giving back. But if we think about the term tit for tat out of the box, there can be a positive interpretation of this term. Supposing there is a dispute going on between two entities. One entity suddenly realizes the folly of the whole situation and takes a step back, a step towards reconciliation, a step towards settlements, a step to resolution. To me, since tit for tat means equivalent given in retaliation, the other entity should also take a step back and try to diffuse the situation, resolve the issue.

In the real world, it is called common sense, in politics, it is called diplomacy, in love, it is called love. In love, there is no reason to give tit for tat, if at all you want to do it, do it by giving more love in return. In friendship, of course, there is nothing like sorry or thank you, so there is no tit for tat. There are many teachings, many examples from Bhagwad Gita and discourse of Lord Krishna but we still follow tit for tat. For example, when Arjuna gets depressed to start the war with his dear ones, Lord Krishna tells him to follow the “Kshatriya Dharma”! No religion tells you to give tit for tat in the sense of revenge.

World and life are never fair to any of us. We have to accept life as it comes, we have to accept our destiny. When we see people in limelight, people succeeding in life, we think that it has been the bed of roses for them all through their lives. But when we read more details about them, when we find more information about them, we know that life is more or less same for all as far as fairness is concerned.

Friends given below is a conversation between Lord Krishna and Karna. I found it very interesting and gives us a deep insight into the philosophy of life. It talks of the better side of the idiom, tit for tat! It says life is unfair to everybody only we do not know about it. The degree of unfairness may differ. Krishna suggests to Karna to stop cribbing and says that unfairness does not anybody give license to behave badly!

Karna asks Lord Krishna – “My mother left me the moment I was born. Is it my fault I was born an illegitimate child?”

Lord Krishna replies, “Karna, I was born in a jail. Death was waiting for me even before my birth. The night I was born I was separated from my birth parents.”

At birth, Krishna’ plight was worse than that of Karna. 

Karna says further, “I did not get the education from Dhronacharya because I was considered a non-Kshatriya. Parshuram taught me but then gave me the curse to forget everything, at the wrong moment, since I was a Kshatriya.”

Lord Krishna Replies, “From childhood, you grew up hearing the noise of swords, chariots, horses, bow, and arrows. I got only cow herd’s shed, dung, and multiple attempts on my life even before I could walk! No army, no education. I could hear people saying I am the reason for all their problems. When all of you were being appreciated for your valour by your teachers I had not even received any education. I joined gurukul of Rishi Sandipani only at the age of 16!”

This indicates how tough it was for Krisha to get his basic education about warfare! 

Karna is still not satisfied and asks Lord Krishna, “A cow was accidentally hit by my arrow & its owner cursed me for no fault of mine. I was disgraced in Draupadi’s swayamvar. Even my mother Kunti, finally told me the truth only to save her other sons. Whatever I received was through Duryodhana’s charity. So how am I wrong in taking his side?”

Lord Krishna smiles and says, “You are married to a girl of your choice. I didn’t get the girl I loved & rather ended up marrying those who wanted me or the ones I rescued from demons. I had to move my whole community from the banks of Yamuna to far off Seashore to save them from Jarasandh. I was called a coward for running away!! If Duryodhana wins the war you will get a lot of credit. What do I get if Dharmaraja wins the war? Only the blame for the war and all related problems….

For Karna Life has been a little fairer than to Krishna!

Lord Krishna says further. “Remember one thing, Karna. Everybody has challenges in life. LIFE IS NOT FAIR TO ANYBODY!!! Duryodhana also has a lot of unfairness in life and so has Yudhhishthir.”

Then he tells life’s philosophy!  

“But what is Right (Dharma) is known to your mind (conscience). No matter how much unfairness we got, how many times we were disgraced, how many times we were denied what was due to us, what is important is how you REACTED at that time.

Stop whining Karna. Life’s unfairness does not give you license to walk the wrong path…

Always remember, Life may be tough at a point, but DESTINY is not created by the SHOES we wear but by the STEPS we take…”

To me, this advice is so true to today’s India!

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4 thoughts on “Tit for Tat!

  1. It’s not easy for a Human being to not to react or not pay back in the same coin. After all his animal instinct in protective mode follows Tit for Tat. However, a well trained Human mind can Act and not React.
    But it takes a Good well trained mind / conscious to understand that “An eye for an eye will make world blind “.

    1. Vijay, I am giving below the paragraph from the blog which to me is most important. Tit for tat means an equivalent given in retaliation. It is very easy to interpret this as a revenge or giving back. But if we think about the term tit for tat out of the box, there can be a positive interpretation of this term. Supposing there is a dispute going on between two entities. One entity suddenly realizes the folly of the whole situation and takes a step back, a step towards reconciliation, a step towards settlements, a step to resolution. To me, since tit for tat means equivalent given in retaliation, the other entity should also take a step back and try to diffuse the situation, resolve the issue. THIS IS THE KEY PARAGRAPH FROM THE BLOG!

  2. You are absolutely Right. If one takes one step towards diffusion of the situation the other entity should take two steps for resolving the issue . That is what I would call ” To Act (mindfully) and not React”!

  3. Destiny is Destiny because u do not know in which direction u take steps and to what destiny it will lead u.I think
    The way u r brought up and your basic nature may be leading u to your destiny.

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