Kausalya who bore Sri Rama, breastfed him, that Kausalya was able to accept the challenge and the persecution (of Rama leaving for the forest). It all happened in a matter of moments whereas Dasharatha is still lying there unrecovered from the trauma that he was suffering from. Ultimately when Rama left, Dasharatha started calling him, Rama, Rama, Ramaaaaaaa and he fell dead. Now you look at the whole picture. Is it right or wrong? Are we born here only to die in this manner? It is possible that our own people cheat us, deceive us, misbehave. Any kind of an attack a mother can suffer from. Maybe one's own son tries to rape the mother. That can also happen. The father tries to rape the daughter. These are happening now. Even in such a situation is there not a divinity in life? Is life only flesh, bone marrow and blood? Or is there anything superior to matter and energy in our body called the mind? And is not that mind completely divine? Are we not particles of the so called supreme divinity? We say jeeva is an amsha of God. Can we not invoke the dignity from within us to withstand and to outlive, to bear, forbear and dissolve all kinds of assaults from the world? The answer to this question is a full “yes”. This “yes” is what you find in Mahabharata.
|Listen to Prabhaata-rashmih Audio|
Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.
Spiritual wisdom in a religious philosophical background is what the Vedic thought process and the Vedic Upanishads are. But when we come to the epic, I said, the spiritual wisdom is brought to an applicational or a pursuing level. It is interwoven with the severely interactional life of the human. The life is as an individual, as a family, as a social segment, as a nation, then as a ruler involved in the task of administration, it is also extending to environments and globe. In all these interactions spiritual wisdom has to be interrelated. It has to be related to that. That is how the epic thought process was evolved soon after the Upanishadic outcome we had arrived at.
In Ramayana you find as I mentioned, Kaikeyi comes up with a disloyalty to Dasharatha, her husband and king. It is true that Dasharatha had given two boons. Kaikeyi did not seek them. But she also did not think that she would seek the boon just on the day of coronation or the night before the coronation of Rama. But somehow Manthara manipulated her mind in such a manner that Kaikeyi suddenly lost her status position as a queen of the palace, the entire relationship, the sense of mutuality that she has with her husband, everything was suddenly overthrown and she decided to demand her boons from Dasharatha, which Dasharatha was unable to give but he could not refuse. So ever since Kaikeyi demanded the boon, Dasharatha was not able to sit or stand. He was lying on the floor of his bedroom crying and weeping with swollen face, lying on his chest looking downward. This is the sight Rama saw.
What do you understand from this? Our life situations can be so traumatic, so challenging, so persecuting, that we have to face them in one way or the other. Dasharatha miserably failed. Rama accepted the challenge with no thought or resistance. He said, “I will have left the palace before the sunset today. Give me some time to talk to my mother and the others and make them agree to my plan. I want to leave with the blessings and benedictions of all concerned.”
The first person he spoke to about this demand of Kaikeyi and his plan of leaving the palace on a forest exile was his mother. If Dasharatha was so much upset, you can imagine how much Kausalya should have been upset. She started weeping and sobbing but there ensued a dialog between the son and the mother. After a while Kausalya said, “I am very sorry. This is what you as a righteous son should do and I have accepted it. I am wrong. You go with my blessings. I shall be here to welcome you back at the end of fourteen years. Let the period pass as fourteen months.”
Just imagine! Kausalya who bore Sri Rama, breastfed him, that Kausalya was able to accept the challenge and the persecution. It all happened in a matter of moments whereas Dasharatha is still lying there unrecovered from the trauma that he was suffering from. Ultimately when Rama left, Dasharatha started calling him, Rama, Rama, Ramaaaaaaa and he fell dead.
Now you look at the whole picture. Is it right or wrong? Are we born here only to die in this manner? It is possible that our own people cheat us, deceive us, misbehave. Any kind of an attack a mother can suffer from. Maybe one's own son tries to rape the mother. That can also happen. The father tries to rape the daughter. These are happening now. Even in such a situation is there not a divinity in life? Is life only flesh, bone marrow and blood? Or is there anything superior to matter and energy in our body called the mind? And is not that mind completely divine? Are we not particles of the so called supreme divinity? We say jeeva is an amsha of God. Can we not invoke the dignity from within us to withstand and to outlive, to bear, forbear and dissolve all kinds of assaults from the world? The answer to this question is a full “yes”. This “yes” is what you find in Mahabharata.
VedaVyasa must have read Ramayana. He must have found how Kaikeyi proved a terror. Dasharatha fell a miserable victim, lost his life. But Kausalya did not. She blesses Sri Rama and sends him. Lakshmana joins him without having a word with Sumitra. Sita insisted that, “I should also come.” And all the three went away from the palace. What do you think of Rama's mind, Sita's Mind and Lakshmana's mind and the reconciling mind of Sumitra ultimately accepting the situation by Kausalya? Now you have to compare and contrast these characters. Kaikeyi on the one hand, Dasharatha on the other, Kausalya then, then Lakshmana, Sumitra, Sita.
Now in all these individuals you find different types of potential, different types of display, manifestation. It is the same human mind that is inside the body of everyone. Our mind has got enormous potential. What are these potentials? How related they are to life situations and when actual live situations can come are we to blink and sink or can we hold on to ourselves? If so, what is the ultimate truth, the triumphant path?
Now when you go to Mahabharata, there is a very, very significant situation. The first verse of Bhagvadgeeta is,
The word “dharma-kṣetra” is the first one with which Bhagvadgeeta dialog commences. Dhritarashtra and Sanjaya, they talk to each other. Krishna and Arjuna also were talking to each other. Sanjaya was hearing and Sanjaya is narrating to Dhritarashtra. These are the four personalities we find in Bhagvadgeeta and it is always either a dialog between Sanjaya and Dhritarashtra or a dialog between Arjuna and Krishna. And the only question throughout Bhagvadgeeta, that is before us, is from Dhritarashtra to Sanjaya “dharma-kṣetre kuru-kṣetre”, I think it speaks a whole universe.
“dharma-kṣetre kuru-kṣetre”, the Kurukshetra battlefield was not simply a battlefield. It had the prevalence of Dharmic influence and vibration. Kuru, the ancestor, had done prolonged austerities there as a result of which the entire Kurukshetra had become holy. It is vibrant with holy, holy, dharmic, pious, spiritual influences. It is in that dharma-kṣetra that the Kuru descendants assembled for a treacherous war. And I want to know how “māmakāḥ pāṇḍavāś caiva” My sons and Pandu's sons behaved there? It is not a market place. It is not just the palace. It is a dharma-kṣetra. So I want to know, I want to know how the behavior of my sons and the behavior of Pandavas, how both of them were influenced by the dharmic atmosphere prevailing in Kurukshetra. And Sanjaya goes on narrating.
But there is one item which does not appear in Bhagvadgeeta. But it is after Arjuna was consoled, redressed, inspired, clarified and he got ready, he took back his Gandiva and he was about to fight. Right then, right then, Yudhishthira laying his weapons down is proceeding towards the opposite camp. Arjuna was baffled. So were the other brothers also. Arjuna was wondering what should be done and when Yudhishthira was going forward all the brothers followed him. After all there was such a bond of dharma between Yudhishthira, the first brother and the rest that though they may have differences, considerations etc, they always followed what Yudhishthira did. And there was always a doubt throughout the Mahabharata war and earlier, whether this Yudhishthira's righteous sense will behave in such a dangerously righteous manner that they would lose their objective every time. This fear was there, apprehension was there.
Arjuna was about to pull him back but Krishna said, “No. Your brother will not do anything bad, anything wrong. After all this is going to be an unprecedented war and who are standing there? Bhishma, your grandfather and Drona, your teacher, Kripacharya and the rest. It is not a fight between enemies. It is a fight between elders and youngsters, between both of whom you will find there was no ill-will, enmity, retaliation, resistance or the like.”
Yudhishthira goes to Bhishma, prostates before him. Then Bhishma said, the first statement he makes is, “Very good my dear grandson, you have come and prostrated before me. Simply because I am standing on Duryodhana's side, if you had thought that I am your enemy, it was absolutely wrong. I would have cursed you, if you would had not come and sought my blessings to fight the war. I am very happy. Now, and understand, that you can ask for anything but I will fight on Duryodhana's side. Anything else you can ask for. You know why I am fighting on Duryodhana's side?”
“I have been living in the Kuru dynasty even before all of you were born. In order to fulfill the wishes of my father to marry a fishergirl I had to give a pratijna that I would not even marry. So right from the beginning I have been there and I have been a witness to everything. Both the brother groups I have fostered, put them on my lap, given the morsels of food. I am still all affection for both of you. My affection has nothing to do with your ways. It is for you to understand what I want and what I approve of. Duryodhana and the rest never listen to me, constantly deride me, refuse me, disobey me. But you have never been like that. Fostering is one, growing, imbibing, are another. So Duryodhana remained wicked and because of his wickedness he is bound to get ruined. I only have to be a helpless spectator. But I want this war to be fought properly, effectively. And I am there on their side only because I have been in the Kuru dynasty throughout. Now I cannot get out of the dynasty because it will be disloyalty. “arthasya puruṣo dāso” Everybody is bound in this world by wealth or living resources. “dāsas tv artho na kasya cit” Money or wealth or resources have never been the slave of anybody. All people are it's slave. Therefore, I am enslaved to be here. Now, “prīto'smi putra yudhyasva jayam āpnuhi pāṇḍava”, I am very happy, fight and be victorious. You can ask me for anything, except war. War, I will do standing here, against you. But I bless you to have victory.”
My dear souls, do you have a mind? Can you imagine the extent of conflict Bhishma was facing, Dhrona was facing? In spite of the conflict they are siding Duryodhana, blessing the other party. Can there be a greater conflict in human life? We are all born to live together. Very good if there is a bond of brotherhood between us. Suppose the bond is shaken, it is wounded, it is mutilated, what are we to do? Can we abandon life? Can we abandon home? Can we say you are not my brother, you are not my sister? Helplessly you have to be a witness to things which you don't like and approve of. Even then, even then, even then - mark my expression- the human mind is capable of bearing, forbearing, tolerating, dissolving, assimilating any kind of a contradiction. You can extend it to any sense or nonsense. All these can be assimilated. Once it is assimilated you will find, it is an enrichment.
So, Bhishma, continued to be there throughout the eighteen days of war and even before. He himself says, “Fifty eight nights have passed. I have been in this bed of arrows.” On the tenth day he fell. Fifty eight from there, minus eight means what? Fifty days after the war he was on the arrow bed and he finally gives the last counsel, the last instruction to Yudhishthira at the end of which Yudhishthira also is consoled and then he says, “The time has come for me to go.” When he says the time has come for me to go and he withdraws his prānas from the foot, Vyasadeva says, “The arrows started just getting loose and falling, exiting from his body.” And he breathed his last.
Any contradiction, any conflict, any persecution, any strife, anything whatsoever, we are bound to bear it and spirituality is meant for it. Spiritual wisdom is a panacea for all kinds of life situations. Alas, we only know to weep and sob. What is this? Are we animals? Are we birds? Are we reptiles? Or are we human beings? Our mind is capable of thinking. Our mouth can articulate. Our intelligence can deliberate, probe into and unearth anything. We have unearthed the nuclear weapons and energy. We have unearthed gasoline from under the earth. Can we not dig into our own personality and unearth whatever gems, whatever strengths, whatever enlightenment, whatever clarity we want? Everything is available within the body in the sphere of the mind. See Bhishma, see Drona, see Yudhishthira himself, see Draupadi, see all the other brothers. Life is always like what? What? A mustard kept on the rounded tip of a cup. A mustard kept on the rounded tip of a cup. Anytime it may fall. The Mahabharata victory was not certain at all. It was uncertain upto the last point, last point. When Vedavyasa says in Shrimad Bhagavadam, “sa rakṣitā rakṣati yo hi garbhe” (Srimad Bhagavatam 7.2.38). He alone is the protector who protects us in the womb. He has the background of his own experience. He was an orphan fallen, fallen on a dveepa who grew solitarily alone and he was there to tell us all this story. How he grew, how he wrote and what all happened nobody knows.
Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru.