A Threat might be Real, Fear is Optional, but Hate is always Detrimental    

When people undermine your interests, that is a threat. The threat is always real. But fear is of the mind, therefore optional. If you know you are not the mind, you’d know how to handle the mind and the fear. Fear can undermine the faculties of the mind. Fear will also undermine your chances to succeed; make your life as pathetic as your mind fear it to be.

In Vyasa’s Mahabharata right before the war, Pandava Prince Arjuna is disillusioned in the battlefield, just before the beginning of the Great War. His opponents are his relatives and friends. Bhishma the person who cared him more than his biological father, Drona his beloved Guru, Kripa his teacher and all those who played a pivotal role in his making, were present to fight against him.  Not fighting would mean certain death and yet Arjuna wanted to let it all go. He did not want to fight.

Today’s idealistic people supporting altruistic ideas may agree with Arjuna’s decision. But Krishna, the sage advisor to Pandava brothers, did not let Arjuna have his way. In a relatively long and candid conversation, Krishna convinced Arjuna to raise his arms and fight, not with passion, but with indifference and equanimity of mind.

Before we delve further, it is important to understand that Krishna in Vyasa’s Mahabharata is an entirely different person in Bhagavatam. Vyasa’s Krishna was a diplomat, mostly self-taught scholar, a trouble-shooter and a rationalist with only one wife, Rukmini. Krishna of Bhagavatam was more of a vagabond, who loved to steal things, indulge in romance, who had over 15,000 wives and, even, a god.

Krishna in Vyasa’s Mahabharata is an entirely different person in Bhagavatam. Vyasa’s Krishna was a diplomat, mostly self-taught scholar, a trouble-shooter and a rationalist with only one wife, Rukmini. Krishna of Bhagavatam was more of a vagabond, who loved to steal things, indulge in romance, who had over 15,000 wives and, even, a god.

Besides, one cannot understand Krishna by reading Bhagavad-Gita, alone. Bhagavad Gita, although significant and extended, is a relatively small part of Vyasa’s Mahabharata which is also a massive and ancient known epic. In Bhagavad-Gita, Krishna talks about fighting and pursuing the war. It does not mention the extent to which Krishna worked to settle the dispute between sons of Dhritarashtra and Pandu, amicably. But when all avenues to end the conflict between the two warring factions failed and when the war was the only option left, Krishna sought it as the only resolve.

Nevertheless, when Arjuna was presenting every argument for refusing to fight and even embrace death, Krishna refuted all his misplaced notions and prepared him for war. Krishna declares to Arjuna:

 

सुखदु:खे समे कृत्वा लाभालाभौ जयाजयौ |

ततो युद्धाय युज्यस्व नैवं पापमवाप्स्यसि ||

By considering pleasure & pain, profit & loss, and, even, victory & defeat as the same; fight for it is your duty to fight. You shall seldom face any blame.

 

So, the fight here was not for the sake of vengeance; but justice. It was not for dominance, but sustenance.

We often see in our life that people who love someone ignore their vices and tend to exaggerate their virtues. Similarly, when they hate someone, they tend to ignore the merits and exaggerate the vices of their enemy. According to various Vedic sages including Krishna, that is detrimental.

We often see in our life that people who love someone ignore their vices and tend to exaggerate their virtues. Similarly, when they hate someone, they tend to ignore the merits and exaggerate the vices of their enemy. According to various Vedic sages including Krishna, that is detrimental.

In Valmiki’s Ramayana, in a chapter popularly known as Yoga Vashistha, Rishi Vashistha says to Rama “We may or may not become the people whom we adore, but we are sure to imbibe the qualities of those we hate. Therefore, O Rama, shun Hate.” Rama holds good on this, of never hating anyone, across Valmiki’s Ramayana. The reason why Vyasa calls him Maryada Purushottam – the most honorable of men.

In Valmiki’s Ramayana, in a chapter popularly known as Yoga Vashistha, Rishi Vashistha says to Rama “We may or may not become the people whom we adore, but we are sure to imbibe the qualities of those we hate. Therefore, O Rama, shun Hate.” Rama holds good on this, of never hating anyone, across Valmiki’s Ramayana. The reason why Vyasa calls him Maryada Purushottam – the most honorable of men.

It is also vital to recollect a critical episode from Ramayana in this context: After the war ended and slain Ravana’s body was being burnt on the funeral pyre, Rama declares “Now that Ravana has left his mortal body, may he be forgiven for his wrongs… let he be remembered for his good, alone.” The fact that Rama refused to demean the mortal remains of his enemy and gave him a burial due to a king, and even returned the kingdom he won, to Ravana’s brother Vibhishan, made Rama a remarkable Rajarshi – a Sage King.

After the war ended and slain Ravana’s body was being burnt on the funeral pyre, Rama declares “Now that Ravana has left his mortal body, may he be forgiven for his wrongs… let he be remembered for his good, alone.” The fact that Rama refused to demean the mortal remains of his enemy and gave him a burial due to a king, and even returned the kingdom he won, to Ravana’s brother Vibhishan, made Rama a remarkable Rajarshi – a Sage King.

The important lesson we must learn from these parables is that, even though life is not fair, even though people may not be kind to us and cause us pain, it is essential to remain indifferent towards them, even while protecting our interests and doing things we think is best.

The important lesson we must learn from these parables is that, even though life is not fair, even though people may not be kind to us and cause us pain, it is essential to remain indifferent towards them, even while protecting our interests and doing things we think is best.

When someone is kind, we must reciprocate kindness. It is our Dharma – duty. But to be obsessed with people – either with love or hate – is a detrimental quality.

Happiness is neither in the past nor in the future; it is always in the present. Satisfaction is forever within. And when we make our mind see good and remain thankful, we enjoy comfort.

Happiness is neither in the past nor in the future; it is always in the present. Satisfaction is forever within. And when we make our mind see good and remain thankful, we enjoy comfort.

When people undermine your interests, that is a threat. The threat is always real. But fear is of the mind, therefore optional. If you know you are not the mind, you’d know how to handle the mind and the fear. Fear can undermine the faculties of the mind. Fear will also undermine your chances to succeed; make your life as pathetic as your mind fear it to be.

Emotions of the mind are futile. It is unnecessary. Actions are essentials; without them, we can seldom survive. As Krishna suggests “even inaction is action – albeit negative. And negative actions can seldom yield positive results.”

Emotions of the mind are futile. It is unnecessary. Actions are essentials; without them, we can seldom survive. As Krishna suggests “even inaction is action – albeit negative. And negative actions can seldom yield positive results.”

If the article is still not able to settle the confusions in your mind, or are way too overwhelmed by hate, anger, frustration or despair, and if you intend to be liberated from them, then, do consider our Vedic Leadership Counselling™ services.

May 4, 2019

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