Mahabharata, real-life guide!

DassaraMy friend Sudhakar and I appear to have some telepathy connection! I just started writing this blog about Mahabharata and at the same time he shared the above painting on our friends’  WA group! I am assuming that this painting is a gift to me; hence I have borrowed the painting as a perfect fit for the blog!

I had read Mahabharata while in school, then maybe I saw a few episodes on the famous serial in 90’s on TV. Later on, when I started reading about it at random, I realized that all the stories, all narrations are our real-life stories! I am not going to write about Mahabharata as scholarly treaties as I am a common man and trying to understand its meaning. While I was reading Mahabharata, I felt that it is written as a Metaphor and the idea is to explain to common people, tough and a dry subject in the manner to make it interesting.

I will be jumping from some references from Gita and some from Mahabharat. I feel that Vyasa told the stories as a dialogue between Krishna and Arjuna, the war was described by Sanjaya to Dhritarashtra; Sanjaya could telepathically witness the war, as if by “live streaming”. These are typical good versus bad stories; these are Metaphors teaching us about of life. What I have observed is that we accept some of the stories as Gospel and modify others suitably. Some of the concepts we simply dump. It appears that Vyasa was a storyteller par excellence! Had these concepts been told only as poetry or prose, maybe it would not have become so famous, it would not have reached the general public. Upanishads are not read by the general public but by scholars and experts because of this reason.

In Hinduism, we say “Ahimsa Paramo Dharma!” With this background how could Krishna tell Arjuna to bear his arms and kill his own family and gurus! But the actual verse is a two-line verse.

Ahimsa paramo dharma

Dharma himsa tathaiva cha

Means

Nonviolence is the ultimate Dharma

So, too, is violence in service of the Dharma

This means that to preserve dharma (righteousness), to eradicate adharma, a person can resort to violence if non-violent methods fail. Krishna tried his best to avoid a war. But Duryodhana wanted a war so that he could kill all of the Pandavas, thus the war became unavoidable. Arjuna is a Kshatriya (Warrior) and it would be impossible for him to run away from his karmic debt and become and an ascetic. If he ran away from this war, he would have been forced to run away to the Himalayas and fight a war for food and shelter and even for his women.

Arjuna, the main character in Mahabharata is the best fighter in the world. The world in those days started and ended with Bharat Khand. Obviously, people in those times did not have knowledge about the existence of the world beyond, not that there much happening beyond. Arjuna should replace the modern world word, Casanova. Whenever he travelled alone for a duration, he would marry some Rajkanya or the other. It is very interesting that after the marriage and pregnancy (it was always predicted to be a boy!) he would tell his latest bride that he has a mission to complete; now she live with their  Putra and his memories. Surprisingly those were the accepted norms, in those days! There were some interesting episodes too! Once he had broken a vow of not disturbing, any brother who was in privacy with Draupadi. He took one-year vanavas as a punishment. Dharmaraja was with Draupadi at that time. He tried to convince Arjuna that he had broken the vow because of some urgent work. But Arjuna stuck to his words. Arjuna met beautiful Chitrangada near the Ganga river and both fell in love with each other. Chitrangada asked him to marry her. But Arjuna convinced her that since he was in penance and celibacy, he could not marry her. Chitrangada was smarter and more convincing. She argued that his penance and celibacy was about Draupadi so he could always marry her! Wow, she would have the top leading lawyer at the Supreme Court today! So another son for Arjuna and left behind wife later….

I feel that the Mahabharata war was not a war of relatives or relatives killing of relatives. Instead, it is a symbolic war between good and bad, right or wrong which happens within us all the time. The actors are symbols of various things in life. Arjuna symbolizes individual or the immortal soul within the body, Lord Krishna symbolizes the God, Kurukshetra is the field of action or our day to day life, five white horses of Arjuna’s chariot symbolize the five senses, Pandavas are positive spirits and Kauravas are negative destructive thoughts.

To me, Bhagwad Gita and Mahabharata merge into each other at the same time they remain separate entities. As we know that Bhagwad Gita was the conversation between Krishna and Arjuna, when Arjuna gets depressed when he sees his grandfather, his guru, his relatives with whom he has to fight. This war shows the conflicting view of how the deceptions and tricks were used during the war. But for most of the times, it was fought in a just manner.

On the 18th day of the war Drushtadyumna, Shikhandi and many other warriors were killed by Ashwathama while they were sleeping at night. This was generally not done during the war in those days. Was Ashwathama’s attack vengeance or trickery? There is a story that all Upapandavas (Pandvasa five sons from Draupadi) were also killed on that night. What is the significance of that story? Why the rules were suddenly broken on that day? As I have said earlier, the war and the whole Mahabharata, depict our day to day lives where we are generally honest but suitably cheat! This is human nature.

I will share one interesting episode from this saga. Krishna was the strategist and advisor par excellence. Before the war he had given his Yadav army to Kauravas and stayed as the advisor or maybe the right word is a schemer, to Pandavas. He is shown as a cunning personality. In Arjuna’s battle with Jayadrath, he helps Arjuna to achieve his goal by cunning. Arjuna had vowed to kill Jayadrath on a day to avenge the death of Abhimanyu; failing which he would commit suicide! Dronacharya and Kauravas tried  their best to hide Jayadrath. Suddenly the sky darkens and it is almost sunset. It was supposedly done by Krishna by hiding the Sun behind his Sudarshan Chakra. In one version, the Sun appears to be set because of the eclipse and came out when the eclipse was over! When Jayadrath comes out to see Arjuna’s imminent death, suddenly the Sun becomes bright. Krishna tells Arjuna to kill him. He also tells Arjuna to ensure that Jayadrath’s head falls in his father’s lap. Jayadrath’s father being a sage had given him a boon that whoever was responsible to make Jayadrath’s head fall on the ground will die instantaneously, with his head broken. The father gets up when the head falls in his lap and the head falls down on the ground, the father dies instantly. Thus, Krishna avoids sure death of Arjuna due to the boon. Narration shows that Krishna was the schemer and had terrific knowledge. Till he had shown Arjuna that he was an avatar of the god, even Arjuna thought Krishna was a human and a good friend. To me it becomes tricky to understand if Krishna’s knowledge was because he was God or he had acquired the same as a human being?

You may have a question why Pramod is delving in this subject of Mahabharata and Bhagwad Gita? My maturity is helping me to understand the real meaning of life, real life, warts and all! I found the stories fascinating. The stories and sequences are absolutely real life. We can relate to them as if something we have heard, observed, maybe went through in real life. Some of the points become complex, some disputable and some outright mended to create interesting stuff. I am sure that all storytellers and especially those in Bollywood treat these as Gospel (Gita is Hindu Gospel anyway!) They give further twists and turns and create a highly marketable products! Maybe you will get some more from me on the subject in future too!

Advertisements

Will Empire strike back?

Me Too

 

Empire Strikes back was a 1980 sci-fi movie which was a big hit! In the movie, an existing strong entity pulls up its socks, reorganizes and strikes back at the conquerors! We have a history of Patriarchal society where male domination has been the norm. “Me Too” has already threatened this dominance and maybe the women are becoming conquerors.

In Mahabharata, there is the classic episode of Draupadi Vastraharan, disrobing of Draupadi by Kauravas after Yudhishthir lost the game of dice, in which he had staked Draupadi! It’s a complex story, many things that were done and not done, said or remained unsaid, were justified by traditions, dharma and beliefs of those times. To me, all these stories and situations are Metaphors which imply a subtle meaning which is explained as a story. The worst of the incident is that Karna called Draupadi a whore. In those times, a man could have more than one wife but a woman could not have more than one husband. Has this changed in 2018? Draupadi was the epitome of a strong woman. While she was being dragged to the hall, Karna told Vikarna, the only person opposing this act, that the whore has no rights, she can be dragged in the hall even if she is naked! That is what the Dharma of those days said. When she was finally dragged by Dushasana, she was going for a bath and had a skimpy cloth around her body. Her period had started and the cloth was slightly smeared with blood. She resisted but did not cry. Krishna provided her with the supply of unlimited saris; this is explained as a miracle. Do you understand what I am trying to say? It took a miracle to save a strong woman like Draupadi! Why am I going into so many details? The subject of Me Too is not going away from my mind. I am very much agitated hence I am writing one more blog on the same subject within the last 4/5 days!

Many males and a few females have said nasty things about the affected women from “Me Too”. Why did they not slap the male? Why were they afraid? Does this mean that the ladies wanted to offer their bodies? Come on friends, in this world how many strong persons are there? Both male and female? A very small percentage has strong character. We have prostitutes and slaves for thousands of years. Slaves were both male and female. Nobody loves to live as a slave. But their weakness pushes them into this life. Our societies psyche has become such that males are always allowed to dominate females. I agree that if Draupadi were meek then Mahabharata would not have happened! She is the one who first resisted Kauravas, verbally and morally. Krishna did the rest! On the other side in the Nirbhaya case, even though the lady wanted to fight back, her boyfriend was with her; but males involved were so brutal and inhuman that they did what they did right in the middle of our capital city Delhi! That is the male Empire I am talking about! This empire theory is so much ingrained in us that we assume that it is the right of Males to do what they want, the way they want!

A commentator, Vinita Nangia said in her article on the subject, “Me Too” is breakpoint that women badly needed! To me, Point of Inflexion is a term which also fits perfectly. The point of inflexion or the Ecological threshold is the point at which a relatively small change or disturbance in external conditions, causes a rapid change in an ecosystem.  Crossing an ecological threshold often leads to a rapid change of ecosystem equilibrium. The small change or disturbance is that, a few ladies have started a movement of coming out openly to tell the world, how they were asked for sexual favours against the jobs they were trying to perform. This has started in a small way but is expected to create a typhoon over a period as many women are expected to openly talk about their difficulties. Now that the “Me Too” movement has started in a small way and it will grow in slowly and there will be no going back!

My main point of discussion is, will the “Male Empire strike back”? If so, how will they do it? After trying to do what they want, where they want and when they want, has been  going on from Draupadi’s time! Men are not going to give up so easily, their “benefits”. Will there be a thought process not to employ women, if the job description requires them to travel with males? This cyclone or this war is going to be messy, to say the least. In this war, some innocents will get hit on both sides. It may hit both guilty and not guilty! Don’t forget that in every new incident that comes in open, there are at least two families that are also going to get hurt badly! In management term or real battle terms, it has got a fancy name, Collateral Damage!

My point is that there have been flirtations, there have been illicit affairs. These must be differentiated from predatory acts. In the workplace, men’s libido comes in the way of right and just things. How will “Me Too” help? Will it make men understand that when a woman says no, it means NO! Women also have to be careful that their actions are going to hurt someone, it can ruin somebody’s career, it can ruin their family life! Ladies should clearly differentiate between breakup of illicit affair and predatory attack. Converting breakup in affair into a “Me Too” event will give set back to this revolution! This is not a battle but it is a protest, an uprising! I am not sure if current laws are good enough to make discretion between flirtations/illicit affairs and predatory attack!

Why am I asking the rhetorical question, Will Empire Strike Back? It is simply because as per my understanding, this phenomenon is city based; I shudder to think of what is still happening in smaller places and villages. If parents can kill their daughters for family honour, who is going to bother about predatory pouching? In small towns and villages, we hear of ladies being stripped and paraded in villages, on some minor issues. So, if we are under an impression that the Empire will be weakened, then we are under a great misconception. In future too, the boys and girls will keep on migrating to cities from villages and towns! There will be non-stop supply “cultured” males and girls who “expect” predatory behaviour from men, because that is what they have seen all their lives! These poor girls are then easy prey to city-bred chauvinist males! What you want is free sex; sophistication will not be a pre-condition! It has been our tradition right from Draupadi’s times, is it not!

Mythology has  been the base of our traditions which we follow as if its a gospel. When Arjuna “won” Draupadi in Swayamwara, all five brothers came home with Draupadi. Kunti thought that they have come back  with the alms that they used to collect everyday. She said, “Share the alms, all five of you!” Kunti’s words became the God’s truth and lo, the brothers decided to “share” Draupadi! After all she was just a thing, just an item, she was a woman! Even Kunti, a woman, also did not feel that she should take her words back! How can you go against your mothers words? After all Kunti had been the harbinger of non traditional things in the family! She had given birth to Karna before marriage!

I fear that unless “Me Too” spreads to small places and villages, the situation is not going to change as much as we think it will! After all, no woman openly talks about forced sex (which may not amount to rape), their periods and such things. City-bred, confident girls with family support will do it! Empire need not strike back, it has sown the seeds of suppressing women, thousands of years back. Now the “real fruits” have become low hanging fruits for them. They will simply become discreet and will learn techniques to know which girl is going to keep her mouth shut, for ever!

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!

Gay Abandon!

Aarticle-377-2

Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code is a section of the Indian Penal Code introduced in 1861 during the British rule of India. Modelled on the Buggery Act of 1533, it criminalizes sexual activities “against the order of nature”. Its application to consensual homosexual sex between adults was found unconstitutional in 2018.  

6th September 2018 was the D day in the lives of gay people in India. If you read the statement above, you will realize that this section of penal code was based on buggery act of 1533 (anal sex)  and introduced in the Indian penal code in 1861! Wow, this is called following the old traditions! Where was the world in 1533, then in 1861! We have been following the very old thought process without changing anything, we have been following it simply because someone said so. How is anyone concerned with private things in the lives of others? How can such a relationship become a criminal act? What is the crime?  

In most species in the world, we have males and females! This is created by nature for a natural process of procreation. I will not talk about other species as their brains are not as developed as human brains. With the improved and knowledgeable brain, the “feelings” started to come into the picture. To procreate, an intimate closeness gets created between the male and female involved due to the sexual act they perform, or at least I presume so! What I have read in old literature and history is that discussions were not as open as the love and closeness discussions, in today’s world.  

Even till the first 50 years of the last century, marriage was an event as routine as any other life process. In those times life expectancy was quite low. At the time of marriage, a male could be easily elder to the female by 8 to 10 years. Average female age at the time of marriage in those times was between 12 to 16 years. My mother was 16 and my friend’s mother was 13 when they were married. Knowledge about the birds and the bees in those days, at that tender age, must have been low.  About the “feelings”, the adage was you get married love will happen; but in most cases, children first happened. How much love was involved later is difficult to judge. With low life expectancy, the husbands simply died by the time women got into the age of feeling love. The birth of children at a young age did not give female enough time to think of love. It probably remained in closets or in mind. 

In olden times it was discussed that love and sex should be between a male and a female. Male/Male and female/female pairing were naturally considered taboo. This relationship was a given religious angle, like everything else in olden days. “God has created Males & Females to create their progeny.” Period! Do we mean to say that these so-called queer relationships never existed before? Remember Shikhandi in Mahabharat? Krishna advised Arjuna to fight Bhishma with the help of Shikhandi’s, as she was born a male and then had a sex change or maybe she was a eunuch. There is an open discussion on this subject in Mahabharata. While this subject of complex sexual identities was discussed openly in Mahabharata, different relationships between Male/Male and female/female were not discussed. Pre-marital sex was discussed differently; Kunti got “boon” from Bhagwan Surya and Karna was born! Oh, come on!

I think, as usual, the priests made this subject taboo to take advantages, to keep control on society. I am sure there must be a hidden ritual somewhere, where priests would “cure” female gay relationship problem my forcing the females to “stay” with them and perform “pooja”, the natural way. 

My thinking on such subjects is quite blunt! How is it the concern of others what a pair does in privacy? It is none of anybody’s business what people do inside their bedrooms as long as both parties agree to whatever they do. It is like eating food or having a drink or smoking cigarettes. Is someone a vegetarian or a nonvegetarian? Is someone a teetotaler or drinks alcohol regularly? It is simply no one else’s business. 

Similarly, two males or two females may like or love each other. They may have sex with each other. This is even today called unnatural sex. What is the definition of natural sex? Is sex natural when it happens between a male and a female? Is there no so-called unnatural sex between a male and a female?  Does it become natural only when sex is performed in a certain way? Sex is an act between a couple of any sex. Because someone in the government had slept over, pun not intended, such acts were called criminal due to an old law. What is criminal about a sexual act between two consenting adults? Many times, such acts are also described as amoral? What is moral? What is right and what is wrong? In sexual behaviour the operative word is adult; even if one of the two is not an adult then the act becomes amoral and I totally agree there. Before becoming adults, humans do not have the capability of deciding things on their own, because of immaturity.  

Somebody made a comment on the Supreme Court ruling that now the gays will openly show their affection in public. I totally disagree. Currently, there are so-called normal couples who show the PDA (Public Display of Affection) but not all do it. The number of couples showing PDA is comparatively quite low. I think the same % will apply to gay couples too! The gay people are also like anybody else. They do their jobs, they have parents, they have relatives. They are like you and me. The only thing different will be that they will not be able to procreate, for obvious reasons! But in the world, around 8 to 10%  of the so-called “normal” couples are also not able to procreate due to various reasons.  

Societies have certain rules and regulations. These keep on changing, sometimes an old thought process comes back to the society. But just because someone has a different sexual inclination, society should not make them criminals. The different sexual inclination is nature’s doing. Some minor tweaking in chromosomes must be happening at the time of birth which changes the behaviour of humans including their sexual behaviour. Such humans cannot be treated as criminals for the way they are naturally born!  

Next law I am told on the hit list of Supreme Court is adultery law! It is about time we repealed the old thought process from the modern society. But this is another subject of discussion.

Decisive frame of mind!

Shailu

This thought just hit the right chords in my mind. In our lives we find ourselves in many different situations, meet a lot of people. Our life is like a river which meanders through the terrain it is allotted. The river does not complain why am I being given a hilly terrain? Why am I on flat land? It just follows its course. River is a great example for humans to follow. I have added my two cents (in blue) to the important thought depicted above.

Don’t be afraid of losing people, be afraid of losing YOURSELF by trying to please everyone! To me YOURSELF means self-belief in principles of your life! 

In our lives we need to act properly to suit any situation. Over a period, we mould ourselves in a certain way; some of us become too arrogant and some become too soft, or meek maybe the right  word to describe such people. In such cases, what happens is that human reaction remains same irrespective of the situation. An arrogant person will just ignore the thought processes, suggestions of others. Whereas a soft human being, will heed to everybody’s suggestions, accept whatever others say. In both cases having correct end result becomes a 50:50 chance. In life no situation is in black and white but there is always some shade of gray in it. What I have mentioned about arrogance and softness is the same as being black or white, we need to operate in gray areas, show aggression at the same time be open to settle!

What I am suggesting is about flexibility to match the situation. In office situation it can so happen that the boss one day may have to start reporting to a subordinate. If the boss starts thinking like, “Oh! This person was my junior, how can the person be my boss? I am better than him.” But that your subordinate has become your boss indicates something different. Maybe the subordinate has become smarter with experience and has become better than you. Maybe the subordinate was better than you anyway. But the management was waiting for the subordinate to gain work experience, unfortunately under you. What happens if there is no flexibility in such a situation? The organization may suffer due to lack of harmony, the boss will suffer, may ultimately have to go. Or the subordinate may not be able to perform well.

When the river is flowing normally, things are smooth, but when there is a flood situation, big turbulence gets created. The water level increases and goes above the banks, there will be large flow of water besides turbulence. This is a situation very similar to the example I have shared above. There are some large and rigid trees and there are some soft bushes (in Marathi these are called लव्हाळी) that come in the path of the roaring water. Large trees, because of their rigidity and stiffness have to handle huge forces of water, and can get uprooted. But the bushes which are soft, bend with the flow and hence can handle the large force of water easily, without getting uprooted.

Similarly, if we do not react suitably in our life, we can get damaged, we can get uprooted. Rigid and stiff trees are like our ego. If we cannot keep our ego aside, if we do not change as per the need of the situation we will have difficulties in life. Sometimes taking such decisions can make a few people unhappy. Sometimes we are afraid to take such decisions, with fear of losing people. But if you change to suit the situation, you may lose a few people but you will be true to yourself, your thought processes, your principles. At the end of the day this will make you happy.

In life we have different eco systems. One is a personal eco system and other is the formal eco system. But in certain situations, these eco systems overlap, they cross the boundaries. This is when the complications arise. Classic example of this is explained in Bhagwad Geeta! Arjuna is in his chariot between two armies, along with Bhagwan Krishna and is confused, depressed. He sees on the other side, his grandfather Bhishma, Guru Dronacharya, his cousins and so many relatives. His bow starts slipping from his hand as he goes into depression at the thought of fighting against all these people; and probably killing all of them to win the war! Winning the war is the goal of the formal eco system and not fighting a war with all these stalwarts is the goal of his personal eco system. Bhagwan Krishna resolves his issue by saying that as a warrior it is Arjuna’s duty to fight and win the war and not bother, against whom he is fighting it. On top of that Arjuna had not started that conflict which led to the war. So, it was morally Arjunas duty to fight and win the war, which was forced on him. If he had not fought the war he would have failed, or lost morally to his brothers and self. But fighting and winning the war he lost the others. It was a cache 22 situation where acceptable solution was winning the war.

We face these kinds of situations many times. In my recent blogs, I had given a couple of examples where family members had done serious damage to the family by their actions. This happened because the other family members did not act in time for the fear of losing people. The end result, senior members in the family lost their homes, lost the peace of mind, in old age. It is with this fear of losing people, we allow bullies to push and drag!

So friends, act tough when required but be open to settle amicably! I read about a story which exactly depicts this thought process. An old man stayed in his flat with his son and his son’s family. After the death of his wife, he was lonely and the family helped him feel more lonely by reducing interaction with him. He would have his food in his room. Son and his wife had almost zero interaction with him. They came to a conclusion that old man needed to be shifted to old people’s home. On a Sunday, they went into father’s room and said, “We have planned something for you.” The Old man said, “In fact I wanted to talk to you two as I have also made some plans. Now I am old and come in your way many times. So I have decided that you and your family move out of my flat; couple of my friends, who are also widowers, will move here and we will enjoy our life in our way, without disturbing you folks. You have one month starting from today!”  Did he lose his son? No, old man was on the verge of losing himself! Be decisive when the time comes!

 

Democracy, Mobocracy, Lynching?

India urf Bharat is the world’s largest functioning democracy which has been holding reasonably fair elections since more than 60 years. People have punished the Leaders who had done wrong things e.g. Indira Gandhi after emergency, Congress after major corruption scandals in 2014 to bring Modi in! It is also driven by emotion and brought in Rajeev Gandhi with a very large margin after Indira Gandhi was assassinated. Our democracy is always in the self correction mode. But does this mean that we are really functioning democracy in the right spirit? I have my doubts. Let us not forget that India’s worst lynching was the 1984 killings of people from Sardar community in Delhi and surroundings.

Recently, we have been reading  about public lynching. These are not one of events but it appears that there is an epidemic of lynching all over India. I don’t care and bother about the political angle but I am worried about the human angle. Whatever the instigation, how can people kill any person when there has been no personal enmity, no personal interaction? In Most cases the lynching has taken place based on rumours. Unfortunately, spreading rumours is just a finger-tip away, thanks to Whats App! In India, Whats App is being used extensively. India has largest number of groups and the sending “forwards” has become national past time and hobby! Two major rumours that spread were, “There are people kidnapping children” and the second one was “flesh of so called “Holy” animal is being transported by persons of certain community.” The holy animal concept is like freedom fighters and terrorists. The holy animal for a community provides flesh which is delicacy for other communities. Assuming that some persons did break a law, why not inform the authorities and let them handle it? Who has given people the authority to kill people? Have public courts now become official?

History of humans has been brutal. Largest brutality was the world war second! Millions of people were killed in this war! All this started with pogroms against the Jews. (A pogrom is an organized massacre of a particular ethnic group, in particular that of Jews in Russia or eastern Europe.)

World over, Jews is the community that is either loved or hated, but mostly hated. They have excellent skill sets in business, music, literature to name a few areas of their expertise. But they are always determined to succeed in whatever they do. They are a determined community which has been succeeding against all odds. Some of them are extremely orthodox and very ruthless in their business dealings. Worlds sharpest minds are from this community. But when the “Aryan” Germans decided to punish the Jews for their perceived treacheries, Jews had no chance and hundreds and thousands of Jews were killed, in cold blood by sending them to concentration camps under the garb of research. This ultimately culminated into war. This war was one of the most fierce and brutal war in history of mankind. Worst brutality was the Atom bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki! 

Do we humans ever learn any lessons from the events that have taken place in not too distant a memory? Some do but many don’t. My friend Vijay told me a story about his discussion with a blue-blooded German, during one of his visits to Germany. Subject of Bhagwad Geeta came up during discussions. Vijay explained to his friend how Lord Krishna convinced Arjuna to take up the war to fulfill his duties. The German friend told Vijay, “I don’t care if the Lord told Arjuna, I would not follow this advice. You folks do not know the gravity of what we in Germany have gone through during the second world war. I would never follow such advice even if Lord Krishna gives it”! To me this is one incident that throws focused light on what really happened during the world war two.  

But the lynching incidents that have been taking place, have given me shudders and these incidents give me a feeling the there is no difference between humans and the beasts! Humans are supposed to have a refined brain which allows the human race to behave like, yes, the humans do! The people taking part in the lynching are beasts as far as I am concerned. Beasts generally fight among each other for food, power and females, they have their community laws. A beast will generally not attack its prey, if it is not hungry. But now humans have started killing people in cold blood, just based on rumours; the so-called incidents had no relation with the people, taking part in lynching. They have killed simply based on here say! Simply based on Whats App messages.  

The recent lynching that took place in Karnataka had a victim who was working for Google. He and a few friends while taking a spin on a weekend, stopped at a road side kiosk for a cup of tea. One of their friends from a foreign country, was with them. The friend saw some children playing there and offered them chocolates. Some altercation took place and a few locals asked, “Why are you giving chocolates to these kids?” To avoid any further complications, the group simply said sorry and drove away. Instantly, Whats App messages started circulating, claiming that these people were from a child kidnapping gang. Their photos got circulated and road blocks started coming up in the direction where the car had taken off. They finally were stopped as their car turned turtle. One of them was killed in beatings. Others got seriously hurt. They did not get an opportunity to explain anything. Were the killer’s humans or beasts?  

What leads people to such a brutal act? Are there no laws in this country? To my knowledge there are enough laws that can act as deterrents to such barbaric acts. After all these barbaric acts were no case of sudden anger, no case of love triangle. The people killed had not done anything, they were simply rumoured to have done something. It’s the application of existing laws, and fast track courts that can take these cases to their natural end, quickly. Though these thugs are insane, they cannot hide behind temporary insanity plea. The victims were not known to the murderers, the victims had not done anything illegal. In fact, the victims were visitors from far off places and were on a very temporary visit.  

Government is pushing Whats App, the company, to eliminate methods of quick circulation of such rumours. They have already started acting technologically, but it will take some time. It should not so happen that failure of Whats App to prevent such rumours being spread, leading to censorship or closing of their India operations! Because that is killing the messenger, pun absolutely intended. Why these acts have started?  Why these Vigilantes have become active?  (vigilante is a civilian or organization that undertakes law enforcement (or actions in the pursuit of self-perceived justice) that is without legal authority.) 

Vigilantes become active when they feel that government is not able to handle misdeeds of some people. But this is not true! These so-called Vigilantes themselves feel that they can do anything, with impunity. Let us all not become Vigilantes and attack these brutes but let us wake up the law enforcing authorities to act and act quickly. Form special fast track courts to reach the just conclusion. I sure am hoping that these cases will be treated under the Indian penal code of “Cold Blooded Murder”. They deserve the maximum punishment under the law.  

 

Righteous Violence!

अहिंसा परमो धर्मा is a Sanskrit phrase popularized by Mahatma Gandhi and is repeated many times across the world to emphasize non-violent ways of Indians. It means “Non-Violence is the ultimate Dharma”! In Sanatan Dharma this line is applicable to the renunciates and ascetics! Even if one is attacked he should not defend himself even if there is danger to life because in Sanatan Dharma you identify with Atman and not the body. 

I feel that in real life the second line of this phrase is purposely hidden by so called peace loving people. The full phrase is 

अहिंसा परमो धर्मा 

धर्म हिंसा तथैव च  

Non – Violence is the greatest Dharma, So too is all righteous violence 

When these two lines are taken together, what we can understand is that non-violence is relative! It is the moral responsibility of the person to use violence if it is used to stop greater violence or evil.  

The first line of the phrase was made popular by Gandhi. But Nathuram Godse apparently believed more in second line; he felt that Gandhi had done great harm to India and he took a violent decision to kill Gandhi! It is well proven, post-independence, that violent means are part of ruling a country. In olden days also, the kings resorted to violence and if required they killed people. Same is happening in today’s times. The Naxalite movement is causing a big headache to the Indian state. Initially, appeasement was tried but a stage was reached when this movement started becoming stronger and more violent. Government had no option but to take aggressive stance. This resulted in guerilla warfare where government forces are systematically destroying the violent groups but at the same time they are allowing some of them to surrender and change their ways. Only the strong state can talk of peace, because the other side is aware that otherwise they will get brutally crushed. Kashmir issue is for a completely separate discussion.

A society has an Intelligence Quotient (I.Q.), Spiritual Quotient (S.Q.) and a Knowledge Quotient (K.Q.). But it also has Fear Quotient which, which is based on Valour Quotient. But post-independence, due to over dependence on non-violence, India as a  country had become famous for peace and non-violent ways, especially in international dealings. This led to our society having abnormally high Fear Quotient and abnormally reducing our Valour Quotient. 

The result of such thought process was what happened in China war. At the time of China war, our defense minister Krishna Menon was telling everybody that our ordinance factories were busy manufacturing Lanterns! Such weak Leadership of Menon under guidance of Nehru resulted in India having a bloody nose in International diplomacy. China for some reason wanted to teach India a lesson, under very smart slogan Hindi Chini Bhai Bhai (Chinese and Indians are brothers!) Luckily for India, China stopped the war unilaterally otherwise we could have lost many North Eastern States! Nehru wanted to gain personal popularity on the world stage and was gunning, pun not intended, for Nobel Prize of peace! What did he gain? A bloody nose, shame and ultimately died a sad man!  

Subsequent Governments took time to come out of this “Peace Movement”! Nehru’s daughter, Indira Gandhi, realized the meaning of being strong and aggressive. Soldiers of the Indian army had fought under the British rule in second world war and had battalions of Sikh, Gurkhas, Rajputs, Marathas and Mahars with great tradition of Valour! What they needed was the support from the government by way of policy.  

Indira Gandhi took the decision following the second line of the phrase, धर्म हिंसा तथैव च! Result was 1971 war against Pakistan! In ten years, India had changed from 1962 debacle to 1971 Victory, which resulted in defeating aggressive Pakistan. At the beginning of this war, Pakistanis were so confident about winning, that they had made statements like, “One Pakistani soldier is good enough to Kill 10 Indian soldiers!” They made such statements because of our post-independence history and conciliatory stand on the global platform. India was always talking of peace, and non-aggression pacts. We never bothered about having weapons, ammunition. Indian polity was changing internally and end result was creation of Atomic Bomb, against all odds. 

Indian thought process had changed so much during 1971 war that India were threatened by USA during this war. They said that they were sending their seventh fleet in Bay of Bengal to help Pakistan! India kept on negotiating with US and on the side, before the fleet could arrive, they made Pakistan surrender! Currently when US is again threatening India about non-supply of missiles, India has joined hands with Russia for these missiles. 

In Bhagwad Geeta, Lord Krishna tells the same thing to the great Warrior Arjuna! On the battle field, Kauravas had opted for Yadav army and Pandavas had opted for advice of Lord Krishna. Ajuna tells Krishna that he can not fight a war with his cousins Kauravas, his Guru Dronacharya  and his Grandfather Bhishma! He almost puts his weapons down and says, “I cannot fight this war which can lead to total destruction of the people I love and respect.” Lord Krishna tells him, “O son of Kunti (Arjuna), either you will be killed on the battlefield and attain the heavenly planets, or you will conquer and enjoy the earthly kingdom. Therefore, get up and fight with determination.” 

Friends, the history of mankind has been brutal. But the wise and smart know one thing that this brutality should not be used for the sake of brutality! But if required, this should be used forcefully and effectively for just cause!  

Whatever people may say about Gandhi’s “Quit India” movements contribution to push British out of India. People claim that this made British go away! I don’t believe it for one minute! It is the Tilak’s, Savarkars, Netaji Boses, Bhagat Singhs and Rajguru’s of this world who pushed British to the brink! Ultimately, the proverbial last straw was the Mutiny of the Naval sailors in 1946, that led to their final decision to quit!