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Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru.
Yesterday I took up the next essay for “Science of Inner Redemption” series. I am coming to the most crucial, delicate, in a way abstruse, but according to me the most amazing, magnificent part of the whole episode. Naturally the mind is given to thinking about them. I thought I will share something with you.
Spirituality is actually the pursuit, promotion and excellence of wisdom. Everywhere it is wisdom, wisdom and wisdom. If wisdom has to be wholesome and meaningful and relevant to life, it should be able to deal with all contexts and complexities of life and enable and empower the mind to remain unruffled and transcendent.
Spirituality does lead the mind to a state of absorptional stillness or still absorption. Absorption is a state where all the functional conflicts, contradictions and others of the mind are completely set at rest as one goes into sleep at the end of the wakeful day. It is a solution to all problems of the mind but that solution is not a vibrant and active one. It is a still absorptional and dissolutional one. By giving such a solution, spirituality will not answer all the needs of the complex life.
The same spirituality and spiritual wisdom must also be able to resolve the vibrant, active and interactional life of man where he can be lead to any kind of a complex and challenging situation. This is what we find in the Kurukshetra battlefield. If it was a war in between enemies, there was no problem at all! Arjuna had to fight the war but he had to meet an army on the opposite camp commanded by the most benevolent and benedictory grandfather and teacher. There came the conflict.
Arjuna would not have shuddered at all if it was a fight with anybody who stood before him as an enemy. But here Bhishma was not standing before him as an enemy nor was Drona standing. Both of them were irresistibly leading the enemy camp but they were not enemies. The conflict was in them but they were not upset by it. But when the conflict crept onto Arjuna’s mind, the whole scene became different. I don’t think many people reflect upon this. Either they are not interested or they are very poor-witted or they are indifferent.
You should understand why this conflict came to Arjuna. The war had to be fought and it was fought but Arjuna was not able to fight it only because of the Bhishma-Drona element in it. What is this wonderful Bhishma doing? After the Bhagavad Gita dialogue when Arjuna was ready, his conflicts resolved, Yudhishthira suddenly goes to the opposite camp. Arjuna became apprehensive, he pulled his hand, Krishna said, “Simply leave him.” He (Yudhishthira) straightaway went to Bhishma – the grandfather, prostrated before him. And Bhishma says, “I am very happy that you have come and done this. Otherwise I would have cursed you. Now that you have not lost your cool, you have understood and adhered to what is meant by human elegance, innocence and greatness, I am very happy. Fight my dear son and earn your victory.” He said, “Ask me for anything except battling on your side. Earn your victory.” Now this is the type of Bhishma that was standing before him. Poor Arjuna could not understand it.
The same words were repeated by Drona. Both of them added “We are fighting on the side of Duryodhana only because our bondage.” What is that bondage? “We are living in the palace and are fed by the palace. So we must have a gratitude for the food we eat. We cannot abandon them though their cause is wrong. So we will perish along with Duryodhana because his cause is wrong but we cannot get away from here. That will be an escape which our mind and heart would not allow.” Can you imagine this? Now this is one side of the story.
So spirituality was comprehensive, flexible and assimilative enough to assimilate this conflict, warring conflict having to fight with one’s own grandfather and teacher who were completely in favour of the fighting camp and blessing them for victory. That is one.
In the same manner, there is another side of human interaction. That interaction is what the Choodālā-Sikhidvaja episode tries to convey. So I have started writing on it, I don’t know what all my hand and computer will work. I would like to think of it as the other side. For a civil misbehavior can we resort to criminal punishment is a very important question. A civil misbehavior. This is what Vasishtha is trying to discuss.
Sikhidvaja is finding his wife Choodālā engaged with her paramour. Sikhidvaja did not lose his temper. He smiled and was happy, complimented them and went away. “It is a very, very rare occasion that you are together. It is the most, the most sweetest part of human life. Please have your time.” Choodālā got up, bashfully went to Sikhidvaja, apologizing for what she has done etc. etc. etc. This was the last test that she applied on her husband. We should understand that they were a couple and they were never otherwise. Even now she is behaving as a wife and she had the freedom to impart to the husband a very crucial lesson and she had grafted the episode in her own manner.
What Sikhidvaja saw was only Choodālā. And the paramour was a concocted element. She never flouted the canons of dharma but she resorted to an extreme step which normally nobody would conceive. I don’t know whether Vasishtha should be praised or Valmiki should be praised or Choodālā should be praised. It is such a wonderful thing! People generally run into temper, take, pick axe, crowbar and knife and cut the victim into pieces. What moral or ethical right does he have to do so? Maximum he can say “I don’t want you.” and enter into divorce. This is what Sikhidvaja said.
But Choodālā revealed the higher part and she says “I am your wife Choodālā.” And the sight of Choodālā after she changed her personality completely appeased him and both of them were together beautifully. The great mission of the lady was absolutely successful and fulfilled in which process she had ensured that her husband had reached the zenith of spiritual wisdom and the placidity and serenity of mind which it is supposed to bestow as a result of which he was able to remain unaffected, unruffled by normally a most bewildering and baffling sight. I wonder where such an episode is discussed.
You should understand that this is a spiritual message. Vasishtha is discussing the subject in a very thorough manner. We may not have the fight of Kurukshetra battlefield before us but we will certainly have instances of this kind in normal societal and interactional life. Spirituality has to give an ethical solution for all kinds of conflict and contradictions. It cannot violate morality but it may have to be amoral sometimes so that the complexing and challenging situations of life are met, resolved, if not resolved at least dissolved.
Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.