The Divine Upholder of all – Story from Mahabharata – The fight between Arjun and Karna.

Value : Truth

Sub value : Faith, humility

There are many caveats of Mahabharata, some which may not be mentioned in the original. But many of them are very interesting and provide deep insights.This is one such story:

The battle of Kurukshetra was at its zenith, Arjuna and Karna were  fiercely fighting each other. It was an epic battle to witness,  with a  flurry of arrows were being exchanged rapidly from the quivers  of unparalleled warriors of that time.  It’s said that the Gods  too were witnessing this epic battle between the two great warriors. The impact of Arjuna’s arrows were so intense  that Karna’s chariot would  sway and be pushed back by 25-30 feet. People who witnessed this, were amazed  by  Arjuna’s skills. Karna wasn’t inferior either, his arrows would make   Arjuna’s chariot  sway and push it behind by 3-4 feet.

Lord Krishna, Arjuna’s charioteer  would  always applaud Karna, every time his arrow would hit Arjuna’s chariot, much to Arjuna’s dismay;   but not once did Krishna applaud Arjuna’s skills. At the end of the day, Arjuna  unable to control his annoyance , he asked Krishna “Oh Lord, the arrows I shot at Karna’s chariot,  the  displaced the chariot like a feather in the wind, but not once did you appreciate me or congratulate me. Rather you appreciated Karna’s skill knowing well it wasn’t as potent as mine”.

    

The all knowing Lord Krishna smiled and replied “Oh, Arjuna, remember, your chariot was being protected by “Hanuman” at the top as the flag, “Me” as your charioteer in the front and by “Sheshnag” at its wheels, yet the whole chariot would still sway and displace whenever the valiant Karna would hit us with his arrows”. Karna’s chariot was not protected by any such force, he was on his own, yet he fought  so valiantly”.

It is said that after the battle of Kurukshetra was over, Krishna refused to get off the chariot till Arjuna got down first. Once Krishna alighted from the chariot, it burst into flames and turned to dust.

Krishna then said “Oh Arjuna, your chariot was destroyed by Karna long time ago, it is I who was protecting it thus far”.

“Never in your life have the arrogance to say that you have achieved something, if you have achieved something, it is the divine will, it is the Divine Intervention that has always protected you, cleared your path and gave you the right opportunities at the right time”.

Learning : Its God’s grace and benevolence, that protects us from many pitfalls and dangers in life. Our lives and situations, whether they are good, bad, horrible or passable, all happen with Him as the upholder; as the scriptures say not a blade of grass moves without His consent.

 

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You are important

Value- Truth
 
Sub value- Responsibility for self
 
A cobbler lived in a large village and he was the only cobbler in town, so he was responsible for repairing the boots of everybody else.
cobbler 1
However, he didn’t have time to repair his own boots.
This wasn’t a problem at first, but over time, his boots began to deteriorate and fall apart.
While he worked feverishly on the boots of everyone else, his feet got blisters and he started to limp.
His customers started to worry about him, but he reassured them that everything was alright.
However, after a few years, the cobbler’s feet were so injured that he could no longer work and no-one’s boots got repaired.
As a consequence, soon the entire town started to limp in pain, all because the cobbler never took the time to repair his own boots.
This simple principle is so often disregarded.
If you are in a responsible position and are one of the important links in the groups survival chain and if *You do not look after yourself, after a while you’ll be no good to anyone else either*.
Your best intentions will mean nothing and you’ll be unable to do what you’re meant to do.
This goes for leaders, social workers, teachers, even parents, breadwinners, homemakers and “daughter-in-laws”
Learning
If you don’t take the time to care for yourself, no-one else will. So start taking care of your health both physical and mental health so that you can be happy and help others also.
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Krishna and Duryodhana

krishna and duryodhana
Value- Truth
 
Sub value- Wisdom
Once, it so happened that Lord Krishna was standing in front of the mirror decorating himself. He was trying on different crowns on his head and putting on some fine jewelry while his charioteer, Dharuk waited outside with the chariot ready.
 As Dharuk waited with the chariot, he  thought to himself – usually Krishna comes immediately; but today he has still not come. So, out of curiosity he went inside to find out if the program was still on , as  Krishna was very unpredictable, anytime anything would change.  When Dharuk went inside Krishna’s chambers he saw Lord Krishna standing in front of the mirror  and admiring himself.
He politely asked, “My dear Lord, tell me, why are you dressing up so much today. Where are we going?”
Lord Krishna said, “O! Dharuk! I am going to meet Duryodhana.”
Dharuk asked in surprise and puzzlment, “You are dressing up so much to meet Duryodhana?”
Lord Krishna then said, “Dharuk, Duryodhana cannot see my inside, he can only appreciate my outside. So I am making the effort to be well dressed for the same reason!”
Then Dharuk  said, “ O! Lord! You are going to Duryodhana? He should come to you O Lord! .  I  find it hard to accept.”
Many times, the drivers and assistants give you more advise than needed. He continued to say, “This is not fair. Look at your status and look at him! You are the Lord of the world. You should not go, let him come.”
Krishna turned back, looked at him, smiled and said, “Darkness does not come to light, light has to go to darkness.”
Learning
Light can only illuminate a dark place. Where there is no light; there is darkness. Filled with only his self, ego and negativity; Duryodhana represents darkness and the compassionate Lord Krishna who is light Himself goes to darkness to illuminate him. Once we work on removing darkness which is all our negative qualities we can find the light shining within us which is our inherent divinity.

Mahatma Gandhi and Putlibai

Value- Truth

Sub value- Honesty

Putlibai, Mahatma Gandhi’s mother once  observed a vow wherein she would not take food until she heard a cuckoo sing. One day, she waited long and the song of a cuckoo was not heard. Worried that his mother is sticking to her vow and not taking food, young Gandhi went behind the house and mimicked a cuckoo singing. He came inside and told his mother to have her food as the cuckoo sang.

Mother Putlibai felt very sad as she knew her son was lying. She cried, “O God! What sin have I committed to give birth to a son who speaks untruth?”

Realising the immense grief he caused to his mother by uttering a lie, Gandhi took a vow that he would never indulge in falsehood thenceforth.

Learning

Mothers are the first teachers of children. It is their duty to train their children in moral values and not overlook children’s mistakes. They must help reform their children whenever they stray away from the right path and reward them for their good deeds.

Source- Chinna Katha by Sri Sathya Sai Baba

Krishna and Arjuna-On the imperishable soul

 

Value- Truth

Sub value- Wisdom

The first chapter of the Bhagavad Gita is about  Arjuna the great warrior who is leading the Pandava army to fight against Kauravas  which included his cousins brothers, uncles and other relatives, teachers, guru and other respected elders, kings, allies with whom he had close relationships. His  own army  includes  his own brothers, cousins, uncles and other kings. Lord Krishna is his friend , charioteer who is giving guidance and is the support of Arjuna. The war is about to commence in the battlefield of Kurukshetra.

krishna arjuna 01

Arjuna asks Lord Krishna to drive his chariot into the center of the battlefield so he can see whom he is facing in battle.  As he recognizes so many familiar faces, his feelings get the best of him, his whole body reacts and he is overcome with sorrow.

He loses his will to fight, saying even if they wish to kill him, he does not wish to kill them. He sees no point in the battle – if it is gaining ruler ship of the earth, it is not worth it and if it is to gain glory in heaven – it is also not worth killing his own kinsman.  Arjuna becomes confused, discouraged and lays down his weapons saying he will not fight.

krishna arjuna 02

Having spoken thus, Arjuna throws aside his arrows and his bow in the midst of the battlefield.  He sits down on the seat of the chariot benumbed  and despondent and on the verge of  psychological breakdown.

Krishna tells Arjuna that in times of such danger, it is not befitting for him to throw down his weapons.  This will be seen as cowardice and will bring disgrace  to him and his lineage,  thereby urging him to stand up and fight.  Unable to  reconcile himself to bloodstain on his  hands even if he is victorious in battle;  Arjuna falls into a  state of benumbed  mental collapse or utter delusion.

It is at this point that Lord Krishna delivers his first teaching on life and death and outlines the philosophy of the Bhagavad Gita and the central themes of its teachings.  He teaches what true wisdom is, the nature of the Atman, the futility of grieving over the inevitable, the difference between knowledge and experience,  the importance of following one’s dharma and the philosophy of Karma Yoga.  Krishna teaches Arjuna to use his discrimination and tries to guide him out of his spiritual confusion, which Arjuna mistakenly takes for compassion.

Even though Arjuna’s words seem wise, the truly wise mourn neither for the living or the dead.  True wisdom is able to discern between the real and unreal. Life is continuous – there is never a time when anyone ceases to exist.  Human beings live through a cycle of birth into the body, they age, die and then take new bodies.  True wisdom is not deceived by the appearances of the cycle.  Human life in this world of duality is made up of the opposites: pain and pleasure, heat and cold which are impermanent and Lord Krishna’s advice to Arjuna is that he must endure these. Whatever is unreal can never come into existence and whatever is real cannot cease to be.  The Imperishable pervades everything and everyone.  The real Self is embodied in these bodies but does not die when the body dies.  Lord Krishna compares the changing of bodies to the changing of clothes.  The wise are not deceived by the illusion of death.

For the soul there is never birth nor death. Nor, having once been, does he ever cease to be. He is unborn, eternal, ever-existing, undying and primeval. He is not slain when the body is slain.

Learning

For most of us, the battlefield is not a physical war, but symbolic of the challenges of living one’s life.  We are, in a way, on a battlefield, where we are faced with our positive ambitions and desires, duties and obligations to self, family and society and poised against us, are negative characteristics and temptations. We are overwhelmed by the array of problems standing against us.  We get confused, paralyzed when we have to make decisions, weighing our own interests, those of others whom we love, our duties, possible outcomes, possible consequences of our actions or the actions of others with whom we have struggles. Then we look out for help and if we have the grace like Arjuna, an enlightened Master comes to guide us and help us understand the difference between real and unreal.

Courtesy- http://bhagavadgitamodernlife.blogspot.sg/p/chapter-2-yoga-of-knowledge.html

 

 

King Janaka and Ashtavakra

Value- Truth

Sub value- Strength within

ashtavakra

Once King Janaka the enlightened Rajarishi,  fell at Sage Ashtavakra’s feet. He said to Ashtavakra, “What am I going to do with my kingdom and my palace – these things are not important to me anymore. I just want to sit at your feet. Please let me stay with you in your ashram in the forest.”

But Ashtavakra replied, “Now that you have attained, your life is no more about your likes and dislikes. Your life is no more about your needs because you have none actually. Your people deserve an enlightened king. You must stay as their king.”

Reluctantly, Janaka stayed back in his palace and governed his kingdom with great wisdom.

Janaka was a true blessing to his people because he was a fully enlightened master, but he functioned as a king. In India, many sages and saints were once kings and emperors who willingly and voluntarily gave away everything they had and walked as beggars, with great dignity. There have been many like this – Gautama Buddha, Mahavira, Bahubali – but an enlightened king was a rare being. Janaka remained a king but as often as possible, whenever his regal responsibilities gave him some time, he would visit Ashtavakra in his ashram.

At the ashram, Ashtavakra had gathered a few monks who were being taught by him. These monks slowly began to resent Janaka because whenever he came, Ashtavakra went out of his way and spent a lot of time with the king because they had such a good rapport with each other. The moment Janaka came, both of them lit up. With the monks whom Ashtavakra was teaching, he did not light up the same way. There was something between Janaka and Ashtavakra, which was resented by the monks.

The monks would whisper to each other, “Why has our Guru sold out to a man like that? It looks like our Guru is getting corrupted. This man is a king. He lives in a palace. He has got so many wives and so many children. He has so much wealth. Look at the way he walks. He walks like a king. And look at the way he is dressed. Look at the ornaments he wears. What is spiritual about him that our Guru should even pay attention to this man? We are here totally dedicated to our spiritual process. We have come here as monks but he is just ignoring us.”

Ashtavakra knew that this feeling was growing among his monks. So one day he arranged for something to happen. He was sitting and speaking to the monks in a hall and king Janaka was also present. As the discourse was going on, a soldier came barging into the room, bowed down to Janaka but not to Ashtavakra, and said, “Oh king, the palace is on fire! Everything is burning. The whole kingdom is in disarray.”

Janaka got up and just yelled at the soldier, “Get out of here! How dare you come and disturb the sathsang[1] and how dare you bow down to me and not to my Guru! Just get out of here!” The soldier fled from the room. Janaka sat back down and Ashtavakra continued to speak.

A few days later, Ashtavakra set up something else. All of them were once again seated in the hall and Ashtavakra was giving a discourse. Right in the middle of the discourse, a helper in the ashram came running into the hall and said, “The monkeys have taken the clothes off the clothes-line and are playing havoc with the monks’ garments.”

All the monks immediately got up and ran to save their clothes. They did not want the monkeys to tamper with them. But when they got to the clothes-drying area, there were no monkeys and their loin cloths were still hanging on the clothes-line. They realized what had happened. They hung their heads down and walked back.

Then as a part of the discourse Ashtavakra said, “Look at this. This man is a king. A few days ago his palace was burning. His whole kingdom was in turmoil. Wealth at its peak was burning, but his concern was that his soldier disturbed the sathsang. That was his concern. You are monks. You have nothing. You don’t have a palace, you don’t have a wife, you don’t have children, you have got nothing. But when the monkeys came and picked up your clothing, you ran. Most people would not use your clothing even as mop cloths. That is the kind of clothing you wear. But for that loin cloth, without even paying attention to what I was saying, you just ran out to save those worthless pieces of cloth. Where is your renunciation? He is the true renunciate. He is a king but he is a renunciate. You are monks. You are using things that other people discard, but there is no renunciation in you. This is where you are. That is where he is.”

Learning

One’s progress within oneself has nothing to do with what a person does on the outside, what is most important is, what a person is doing within him or herself. What we are doing with the outside world is just social; we conduct ourselves as it is suitable for the situation in which we exist. It has social relevance but no existential or spiritual relevance. How we are within ourselves is all that matters.

Courtesy-http://isha.sadhguru.org/blog/podcast/the-story-of-ashtavakra-and-janaka/

Jambavan and Hanuman

 

Value- Truth

Sub value- Recognise your true self, inner strength

In the story of Ramayana, we know that Sita Devi was kidnapped by Ravana when Lord Rama went in search of the golden deer. Lord Rama and his brother Lakshmana set off in search of Sita Devi  where  they met Hanuman , who took them to his monkey king Sugriva.

After Rama helped Sugriva to eliminate Vali and made him the King of Kishkinda, Sugriva promised to help Rama to search Sita by sending his monkey (Vanara) army. They came to know through Sampati, the brother of the bird Jatayu that Ravana had kidnapped Sita and taken her to Lanka. So the Vanara team got into a discussion to see how to reach Lanka and save Sita devi.

Angada the crown prince of Kishkinda says, “I am still small and cannot cross this distance”. Hanuman wasn’t sure of his capability and sat quietly. This is when Jambavan the bear and the wise old one of the army revealed to Hanuman secret about his strength.

As a young monkey, Hanuman could easily fly, even to reach out to the Sun. He is the son of Vayu (Lord of Wind) History says that Hanuman learnt all the Vedas directly from Sun God. He was well learned and powerful even as a child.

hanuman baby

But he was also very naughty and proud of his strength. To put a stop to his mischievous behaviour, he was cursed to forget all his strengths. But, there was a reprieve. He would realise his strength again when others reminded him of that and praised him. Jambavan, knew of this and revealed Hanuman’s strengths and capabilities.

hanuman and jambavan

One hanuman realised his true potential, he set out to cross the ocean single-handed, overcame all the obstacles and later played a key role in the war with Ravana.

At many crucial points during the war Hanuman helped Rama and His army to win Ravana.

Learning

Lord Hanuman symbolically stands for pure devotion, complete surrender without any trace of ego. As a monkey he represents the lower self of man which thinks and behaves that he is just that body with limitations. But when he is reminded of who he is and what his strengths are; he gets connected to the higher and then serves and works for the higher after which he merges with that higher. All of us have that inner core strength and potential which when revealed to us can lead us to success both in the material as well as the spiritual world.

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