When we look at the
superficial meaning of this chapter, we find that, on seeing his own
thick and thin, his blood relations and friends standing poised to fight
with him, Arjuna was overcome with grief. He was not interested in
having Kingdom of the earth by killing his own people. Instead he was
willing to die by the enemy arrows, so that they may win and fulfil
their desires by having more wealth and power. He lost his will to fight.
He threw down his bow and sat down in the chariot. His grief was, that
he had to kill his own people to regain the "Indraprastha" the
Maharshi Vyas could
have easily brought out this fact in four or five verses and then
proceeded to the next chapter where we see the Krishna-Arjuna
conversation. But instead of doing that, he has written a total of
forty-seven verses to explain Arjuna-grief. Why? In this chapter Vyasa
has very cleverly brought out the three basic inborn human tendencies.
very first verse
As we open the Gita, we
are anxious to read this famous dialogue between Krishna and Arjuna. We
wonder, who would be the first to start the conversation. We open the
first chapter and the first two words that daringly glare at us, are
"Dhrutarashtra Uvacha". These words mean Dhrutarashtra said.
Then follows the very first verse spoken by the Kaurav Emperor
Dhrutarashtra to Sanjaya. Why Dhrutarashtra? What was so great about him
that he be given the top honour of adoring the first page and remain as
the usherer of Gita. This man refused to know what was happening on the
battlefield, when Maharshi Vyasa offered him Divine sight so that he
could see and hear from his throne every detail, out there on the field,
even though he was blind. Probably, in the heart of hearts he knew the
end result of the war. He feared that his sons would die, yet he pinned
his hope on the might of Bhishma. Dhrutarashtra, in the first and the
only verse given to him by Vyasa says, "O! Sanjaya, on this
battlefield of Kurukshetra, also known as Dharmakshetra, Pandu's sons
and my sons had gathered to fight. Tell me what have they done so far?"
The war was already in
progress. Bhishma had become unconquerable. If Pandava army had to make
any progress, fall of the mighty Bhishma was essential. Even Arjuna
found it difficult, at that time, to contain Bhishma. He did not know
what to do. Krishna came to his rescue. Bhishma had vowed that he would
not throw arrows on Shikhandi as the latter was not a "man".
Krishna knew this. He asked Arjuna to stand behind Shikhandi and attack
Bhishma. All is fair in love and war, they say. Arjuna immediately did
as was advised. Bhishma would not throw his arrows on Shikhandi, and he,
therefore, could not defend himself against the powerful onslaught of
Arjuna's archery. He fell on the ground. Sanjaya was given the divine
sight by Vyasa when Dhrutarashtra had refused to have it. Sanjaya saw
this catastrophe in the Kaurav side and at once came to the blind king
and said, "Sire, the great Bhishma has fallen," Then he
narrated the incidence and stood silent. The king wept, was lost in
sorrow, as he knew that the end of Kauravas was in sight. He realised
that his dearest son Duryodhana's life was of a few days. His entire
clan would be wiped out in no time. Now, there was nobody to stop Arjuna.
The events of the past few years passed before his eyes. He could not
disown to himself the ultimate responsibility of his wrong actions which
were yielding unsavoury fruits now. If he had taken the right course of
action and not fallen a prey to the weaknesses of his selfish desires,
this catastrophe could have been avoided. But now it was too late to
think and remorse.
What wrong action had
he taken? Maharshi Vyas has brought Dhrutarashtra on the scene, in the
opening verse, to warn us, the mankind of this modern age, not to follow
his example. The superficial meaning of this first verse, we have seen.
Now, let us go deep. The first word is "Dharmakshetra"
followed by the second word "Kurukshetra". "Kshetra"
means field. Both these words tell us the name of the field on which the
war was fought. There is no need to use these two words. The right word
is "Kurukshetra" meaning, on the field of Kurukshetra. Then,
what was the necessity for Vyasji to add another word of the same
meaning, and that too, as the very first one.
In my school days, I
remember, we were taught how to write an essay on any given topic. In
the first paragraph, we were told, to write a few sentences to describe
what you were going to cover in your essay. Then to devote the next few
paragraphs for the main subject and write concluding remarks in the last
para. In Gita topic, Vyasa has used the first verse to tell us what we
have to take from the topics discussed in the whole of Gita.
The word Kshetra has another meaning also. It means the gross physical
body. Krishna, in the first verse of chapter 13, had said, "O!
Arjuna, this body is called "Kshetra".
Vyasa has made clever
use of this meaning in the first verse, in the word "Dharmakshetra".
Dhrutarashtra says to us, the inhabitants of this world, "O! people
of the next age, beware! There is going to be a constant war between the
virtues (Pandavas) and vices (Kauravas) in your body. If you neglect
your Dharma (the right behaviour) then you will go down the road to
destruction. You and your progeny will be annihilated in the course of
time. All the wealth, power, fame will vanish without a trace and even
your name will be wiped out from the good pages of history. What may
remain is ill fame and undesired memories. Now listen to what Sanjaya is
going to say". So saying, Dhrutarashtra has disappeared from Gita.
He has vanished into thin air. We never hear of him in any of the
balance 699 verses. Dhrutarashtra's ace entry was primarily to warn us
not to be Dhrutarashtras, not to behave as he did, not to have his
attitude, but to wipe out even the smallest trace of Dhrutarashtra
tendency which is dormant in all of us.
What is this
Dhrutarashtra tendency? What is so vile about it? Dhrutarashtra tendency
is to protect, at any cost, and cover up the deeds of one's dear ones. Let me illustrate this tendency or
"Vrutti" with an example.
Gambling is a common
attitude observed in men and women. People like to gamble. It is not
only horse racing or card games, dominoes and various games in casinos
that people gamble with money, they also use any sundry means to accept
wagers. People gamble on cricket, football , tennis matches. They play
fun-games on passing motor car numbers laying bets on even or odd
numbers. In ancient times, the game of dice was a recognised honourable
game, played between two kings or princes. Dhrutarashtra's court was no
Invitation was sent by
Duryodhana to Yudhishthir, the eldest of the Pandava brothers to come to
the court to play dice game. Yudhishthir could not refuse and he arrived
in Dhrutarashtra's court on the appointed day. The game was rigged
before it started. Duryodhana's maternal uncle Shakuni played on behalf
of the Kaurav Prince. He cast the dice for the first game. Yudhishthir
placed a bet and lost. Game after game followed and Shakuni won all of
them. Pandavas lost everything including "Indraprastha", their
kingdom. Being desperate to win back whatever he had lost, Yudhishthir
staked his brothers one by one, and lost them. They became the slaves of
the Kaurav Prince. Finally ,he staked himself and lost. With downcast
eyes he was getting ready to pack when, encouraged by Shakuni,
Duryodhana challenged his adversary to stake Draupadi. The entire
audience was dumb struck. Draupadi was the daughter in law of the
emperor Dhrutarashtra. She was the wife of Pandavas. Duryodhana shouted,
"Come on, you can win back everything, including your kingdom and
the freedom of all of you, if you win this last game. All you have to
stake in the game is Draupadi. If you lose, she becomes my maid servant
just as you all are my servants now." Pindrop silence prevailed.
Dhrutarashtra also heard his dear son's words. It was his duty then to
stop the game there and then. All he had to do was to give an order to
stop playing. But he did not do so. He remained silent, implicating
himself in that challenge. He said to himself, "if I stop the game
which I should, my dear son will be displeased. No, let the game
continue. If my son wants it, he will have it."
to the one negligible chance of winning back all that he had lost. He
accepted the challenge. Dice was thrown and once again Yudhishthir lost.
Duryodhana jumped with joy. In that ugly ecstatic moment he shouted. He
ordered his younger brother Dusshason to go inside the queen's quarters
and bring Draupadi out in the court. It was the duty of the blind
emperor to, at once, stop Dusshason from going inside. Women of the
royal family never entered the king's court. This order passed by
Duryodhana was contrary to the accepted norms. Duryodhana talked not of
any ordinary maid servant. He talked about his cousin brother's wife,
the princess of the royalty. How could he do that! Yet he did, because
that was his desire. But his father did not utter a word in protest. He
had the power to silence his son, to admonish him and rescind that
order. But he kept his silence, implying his consent. Why? Because he
did not want to displease his dear son. His son's happiness was greater
than anything else.
When Dusshason entered
the bedroom of Draupadi, she was shocked. " How dare you enter my
room, the room of the Royal Princess, without my permission?"
she asked in fury. "Princes! Royal Princes!! Madam you are no more
a princes now than that servant standing in the corner. You are our
servant now. You and your husband are our servants. You will do as we
say. Now come out quietly and quickly. Duryodhana wants to see you in
king's court." "Go, fly kite", she refused to leave the
room. Dusshason returned and told Duryodhana that Draupadi refused to
come. Duryodhana became mad with rage. He shouted, "What!, she
refused, you say! Go back at once and drag her, if necessary. She is my
Even then Dhrutarashtra
maintained his silence. Dusshason went back ant returned after a few
minutes. He had caught hold of Draupadi's long hair and was dragging her
forcibly. She stumbled and cried. Her cries rented the king's court. Not
a stone moved. Duryodhana enjoyed the sight and Dhrutarashtra sat on his
throne, as if nothing had happened. Was it not his duty at that time to
stop this act? He had to just say "stop it" and Draupadi, his
own daughterin-law would be free to return to her quarters. But that was
not all. When she was dragged and made to stand in the huge open space
in the middle of the court, Duryodhana passed the most vile and hideous
order which stunned everybody present in the court. There were kings,
warriors, princes and princesses with their servants, other workers and
some visitors. There were priests and pleaders, emissaries and
messengers. In front of all of them Duryodhana shouted at his brother
"What are you waiting for, Dusshason? Draupadi is standing in front
of you. She is wearing a sari. Disrobe her. I and my friends want to see
her naked beauty."
Pandavas were boiling
with anger but they could not lift even a finger. They were slaves of
Duryodhana. Even great personalities like Bhishma, Drona, Kripa stood
aghast with downcast eyes. But they could not do anything as they were
indebted to Kauravas. The only man who could have blasted out Duryodhana,
at that point of time, was his father, the Emperor Dhrutarashtra. Was it
not his duty to stop Dusshason from performing this most obscene act?
Yes, it was, but he kept his silence, thereby conniving in his son's
hideous deed. Why? Because his son was so dear to him that he could not
bear to see him displeased. "Let him do whatever he pleases."
That was his attitude.
This is Dhrutarashtra
vrutti or attitude or tendency as you may call it. It means to turn a
blind eye to the misdeeds of one's dear ones. Of course, Draupadi could
not be disrobed because Krishna came to her help. He became a part of
her sari. Dusshason pulled and pulled but not a millimetre of her body
was uncovered. Yet, the fact remains that the Pandavas decided to avenge
this blasphemous insult in future, when time provided opportunity. And
it did. War was on. Bhishma fell on the ground and Arjuna finished the
Kauravas. Dhrutarashtra realised his blunder but it was too late. Damage
was done. The only thing he could do now was to warn posterity, not to
succumb to this tendency to shield the misdeeds of your loved ones. He
did that and disappeared.
Now is the time for all
of us to search, if we have this Dhrutarashtra tendency in us. Let me
give two illustrations.
tendency in Kaliyuga
Ashok is a son of a
high government official, who wields lot of power and influence. Ashok
is barely 16 years of age. He can drive a car but has no licence. He is
not bothered. Merrily he takes his father's car and goes for a ride with
his friends. One day, he jumps the signal and is stopped by traffic
police on duty. The police asks Ashok for his driving license. He does
not have it, so he is taken in his own car to the nearest police
station. The sub inspector on duty asks Ashok why he does not have a
licence and says that driving on the road without a licence is an
offence. Ashok listens and calmly asks permission to make a phone call.
He calls his mother at home and says, "Mom, I am at such and such
station! why? What are you doing there?"
mom, I have been nabbed for jumping the signal and they won't let me out
Give me the telephone number of the station."
takes the number from the sub inspector and relays it over the phone to
his mother. She says,
right, you just wait there. I will get you out in ten minutes."
enough, in less than ten minutes, the station in charge receives a phone
call ordering him to release the boy without registering any complaint.
The mother had called her husband at work and abused the entire police
department for letting free goons and smugglers, and arresting poor
young students. The father, in a state of anger, called the home
minister, who in turned called the police commissioner, who promptly
ordered the station in charge to release the boy. All this happens very
fast. The boy comes home with a victory smile and his mother makes a few
phone calls to her friends and asks them to come over in the evening for
In the evening she
proudly narrates the story, adding a bit of her own version and
impresses upon her friends how influential her husband is. Ashok becomes
a hero. Relatives and friends admire him and condemn the police. Two
weeks after this incident, the same boy meets with an accident because
of his reckless driving and loses one leg. Who is really responsible for
this? The son, or the mother and father? Was it not the duty of the
parents to stop the son from using the car? But no, they would not do it
because they are interested in their son's happiness. They do not want
to displease him. The deep-rooted Dhrutarashtra tendency influences
their minds and prevents them from differentiating between right and
Take another example
from a poor family. Bharat is a six year kid, who goes to a school
nearby. One day, his friend, Hari comes to Bharat's mother and complains,
"Auntie, Bharat has stolen my pen and rubber from my school bag,
and he refuses to give it back."
it? let me ask him", she says and asks her son, "Bharat, have
you been stealing?"
mummy, he is lying."
what I thought!. She turns to Hari and asks "Did you see Bharat
taking pencil and rubber from your bag?"
Auntie, I was out, playing during recess, but my other friends, who were
in the class, saw."
see! But you did not see. You have no proof. Look here Hari, never raise
your accusing finger at any body unless you have some concrete proof. My
son will never steal. Now, take this money and buy what you have
The mother does not
even bother to investigate the matter. She does not want her son to be
displeased. She takes the easy way out. She does not realise at that
time, that this first act of stealing will give company to her son
throughout his life. In later years, Bharat is arrested for
house-breaking and sent to jail. He repents and says, "I wish my
mother had punished me when I stole for the first time. Bharat's mother
never wanted her son to be a thief. Yet the deep rooted Dhrutarashtra
tendency surfaced up to shield her son's offence. This proved the
downfall of her son and family.
Instances like these
happen all the time. No father or mother would like to displease the son
or daughter, if is it in their hands to do so. Now is the time to stop
and reflect upon our own behaviour and ask ourselves a question, "How
will I react when something like this happens in my life? Will I cover
up and shield the misdeed of my brother, sister, son, daughter or any
other dear one?" Yes, you will, because it is very hard to see your
loved one displeased. All of us have this tendency in us. It is a
product of many past lives and it remains dormant in the innermost
quarters of the mind. We may deny this, but it comes up at the first
opportunity. And it is so disastrous that it could wipe out entire
families, leave alone the individual who harbours and nurses it. It is
also interesting to note that when you succumb to this tendency, no one
helps you. Even God turns His back to you. Krishna could have appeared
on the scene, when Duryodhana was acting foolish. He could have advised
Dhrutarashtra, pointing out his mistake. He could have saved the
situation. But he did not. He helped and protected Draupadi's honour,
but that's all. He stayed away from Dhrutarashtra, letting him pay for
his own sins in later years.
So, after this first
verse, the Emperor exits. He never comes back. His remorse is final. He
has repented but too late. He suffered and paid for his uncalled for
indulgence in his son. Now he wants us to learn from his mistakes and be
wise. So much for Dhrutarashtra. Now we hope to see Krishna and Arjuna
coming on the scene of Gita in the next verse. But no, it does not
happen. Sanjaya is a disciple of Vyasa. He has been asked a question by
Dhrutarashtra as to what happened on Kurukshetra. So he starts
describing the course of events that took place right from the beginning,
when the two great armies gathered to fight the war.
In the next seven
verses, from number two to number eight, we read Duryodhana describing
to his master, Guru Dronacharya, the arrangement of both the armies. He
mentions a few names of the great warriors from both sides and then
reveals his own character in the 9th verse when he say's, "O,
master, there are many others, skilled in the warfare, who are here to
die for me."
This verse brings out
the Duryodhana tendency. He is concerned with himself, his own well
being, happiness and sensual pleasures. Moreover, he is a person who,
once used to enjoy something which does not belong to him, does not let
it go so easily. He had exiled Pandavas for thirteen years, when he won
the dice game. He took over
Indraprastha, the kingdom under the reign of Pandavas. It was his duty
to return it to them when they returned after thirteen years. But he
refused. He had been enjoying the kingdom for so many years now. He
wanted to posses it forever. The height of his selfish attitude is seen
when Krishna acted as a mediator on behalf of Pandavas, and pleaded with
him to give away only five small villages, one each to the Pandavas, if
he wanted to rule over Indraprastha. But he refused. He proudly and
arrogantly said to Krishna, "Forget the five villages. I will not
give even the tiniest fraction of an inch of land to the Pandavas. They
do not have any right to anything now."
Then there was no other
alternative than to wage war, to claim what rightfully belonged to them,
and so Pandavas declared war against Kauravas. Sanjaya, on being asked
by Dhrutarashtra to explain to us, the humans of Kaliyuga, what is our
Dharma and how it should be followed as per the teachings of Krishna,
takes the reign in his hands. Instead of proceeding to narrate the
conversation between Krishna and Arjuna, he cleverly brings Dyryodhana
on the scene to stress the fact that after Dhrutarashtra the other most
important tendency in humans, is the one personified by Duryodhana.
What is this Duryodhana
tendency? It means to hold others in contempt, to make others toil and
sweat, even die for one's own pleasures and freely use anything that
belongs to others. The root cause of this tendency is the greatly
inflated ego consciousness. "I" am the greatest, everything
must be for "ME". This is the motto of this tendency.
Duryodhana enjoyed the kingdom and the kingly status for as long as he
could. He could not succeed in the end. He was humiliated and
mercilessly defeated in the war.
Duryodhana tendency in Kaliyuga
Do we have this tendency in us? Let us take an example. Murli and Jayant are two friends. Murli gets a two year contract job in Dubai. Before leaving, he tells Jayant, "Jay, I will be away for two years. You can use my residence during that period, instead of being a paying guest. You will save some money." "O! thanks, Murli, I will shift in tomorrow, thanks",says Jay.
Jay comes to stay in
Murli's two room tenement. Murli returns after two years but before
coming home he has got his contract job extended by another four years.
After his brief vacation he returns to Dubai. Years pass and Jay gets
married. He has a child. His wife is working in a nearby factory. After
3 years Murli, who has been writing regularly to Jay, informs Jay that
he will be returning finally after 1 year and requests him to look for
another accommodation. He reminds Jay after six months and comes home
when his contract is over. Jay is happy to see Murli, but when Murli
brings up the subject of accommodation, Jay gives excuses for not
vacating. He says, "Murli, I am quite settled here. My wife has a
job. My son goes to kindergarten school. I am known as a social worker
and respected in this area. How can I leave all this? Why don't you look
for another place? After all, you do have lot of money now."
"No, Jay, that money is to pay for our land which has been
mortgaged by my father to a local moneylender. Also I have to get my
sister married. No, I cannot use this hard earned money to buy a new
accommodation. After all, this place belongs to me, and I have given you
sufficient notice. You should have made alternate arrangement for
yourself, by now". Jay and Murli go on talking, then enter into
arguments. Finally Jay lays his cards on the table. He says, "Look,
I am not leaving. You do what you want."
What can poor Murli do?
He has no written evidence of giving his tenement to Jay for temporary
use. The Duryodhana tendency in Jay shows its fangs. It is observed even
in seemingly small matters, like not caring to return borrowed books,
pens; using something which does not belongs to us, as if we own it;
showing utter disregard to others possessions; hating others who are
superior to us, despising those who surpass us in getting what they want
and in claiming top priority for us in everything.
Krishna could have
appeared in Dhrutarashtra's court and counselled Duryodhana, but de did
not. He let Duryodhana have his own way. Krishna ignored him when he
gave his most obscene order to disrobe Draupadi. It must be realised,
therefore, that a person, who indulges in this tendency, remains alone.
Even God turns His back upon him.
Having brought out this
selfish brutal tendency in the King Duryodhana, Sanjaya continues
further. In the 11th verse, Duryodhana tells his warriors, "As the
war is fought, I want you all to be at your positions and protect
Duryodhana does not
want Bhishma to leave the battlefield. He is fully aware that as long as
the great Bhishma stands on his own, Kauravas cannot lose. They have
nothing to fear. Bhishma personifies "ego", the root cause of
all evil in the world. Ego itself is not bad. in fact it is a necessary
entity for the development of anyone. And ego is the main part of our
personality. We cannot get rid of it. We have to make use of it in a
controlled manner. It is only when it is inflated, that trouble starts
brewing. No body can kill ego. Bhishma could not be killed by anybody.
He had the boon that he would die only when he desired. Same applies to
our ego. It never dies. Bhishma knew that Pandavas were right, yet he
supported Kauravas and fought for them. He gave courage and strength to
Ego gives courage to
the bad qualities and vices. When ego is hurt, we go on wrong path and
commit blunders. Many of the unjustifiable actions spring from inflated
ego. Sanjaya has now brought into limelight the two main persons with
typical characteristics. These are the Duryodana and the Bhishma. Then,
in verses 12 to 19 he has described how the warriors on both sides blew
their conches, after Bhishma gave a war cry and blew his own conch. War
commenced. The main cause for this war is Dhrutarashtra and Duryodhana.
The former supporting and indulging in the bad karma of the latter and
the latter with all his army, relying totally on Bhishma.
Now is the time to
bring forth Arjuna. In the verses no. 20 and 21, Sanjaya narrates that,
as the enemy was advancing, Arjuna spoke to Krishna. He said,
"Drive my chariot and place it between the two armies so that I may
see, whom I have to fight". This is the Arjuna-vrutti or tendency.
It is the realization of one's duty at any given time. It is the ability
to distinguish between right and wrong, or understand what is right and
then get ready to do it. This tendency is diametrically opposite to the
first two, which go hand in hand. When these two are reigning, the
Arjuna tendency will not come out. So in order to make way for this
tendency to bloom, we must suppress totally the first two. In the
examples cited above, because the first two tendencies dominated and
were supported by ego, there was no scope for Arjuna tendency to spring
up. If Bharat's mother did not have the Dhrutarashtra tendency to shield
the wrong deed of her son, she would have come forward to investigate
the matter and then taken the right course of action. But somebody had
to help her in curbing down the Dhrutarashtra tendency. Unless we take
some action to calm down and slowly cast off the two dangerous
tendencies, we cannot make room for the Arjuna in us to come forward.
Unless this is done, it is extremely difficult to put into practice the
teachings of Krishna which start from chapter 2.Saint Dnyaneshwar, who
brought out the meaning of Gita verses in Marathi verse form, has
clearly stated in his introductory 'verses, that only those aspirants
who are qualified to sit side by side with Arjuna should now pay
attention to the Gita Upadesha. Why? Because when Krishna Himself stayed
away from Dhrutarashtra and Duryodhana, how can those having these two
tendencies dominating their lives, expect to understand and practice
what Krishna has said in Gita?
Arjuna is all set to
perform his right duty. He knew who his enemy was. Yet he asks Krishna
to drive the chariot', so that he may have a glimpse of those standing
in opposition to him. Krishna does what he is told. He places the
chariot, in between the two armies, and says in verse 25, "Look at
these Kauravas whom you have to fight". Arjuna looks ahead and is
dismayed to see Bhishma, Drona and Kripacharya surrounded by his own
near and distant relations. When he sees them, Arjuna is suddenly seized
with great compassion. He trembles, the bow drops down from his hands.
He describes his unwarrior like state to Krishna and says, "my mind
is boggled. I cannot stand firmly. What is the point in killing our own
people, just to get the kingdom. I don't want victory. I do not wish to
have the kingdom of heaven". He goes on and on, trying to justify
his inaction and finally sits down. On his part he has resolved not to
fight. He is prepared to die at the hands of his enemy.
This is the end of
chapter 1. The message conveyed by Vyasa in these 47 verses is , in
short, as under.
Get rid of Dhrutarashtra tendency and the Duryodhana tendency.
Beware of your ego. Contain it, as it generally supports the
dormant evil tendencies in you.
Develop the Arjuna tendency.
rid of harmful tendencies
How do we yet get rid
of these two giants and then make room for the valiant warrior to come
up? Is there any way? Yes, there is. Let me elaborate on the methods to
be applied, to curb these giants first.
the Dhrutarashtra in us:
Make a strong
determination that, no matter what happens I will not lose my initiative,
nor stray away from my duty, to shield my dear ones when they take wrong
actions. The loved one may be my son, daughter, brother, sister, wife,
husband and so on. I will not give in to that fleeting deceptive emotion,
mistakenly called love, because, by so doing I will do more harm to my
loved one and ultimately to all. Loving someone does not mean doing
everything to please that person. On the contrary it means taking such
action as would help the loved one to have a healthy mind, which will
not get corrupted by evil influences. If this principle is held firmly
in mind and all actions are based upon it, then slowly, in due course of
time, one of the two evil giants will disappear.
the Duryodhana in us:
Start respecting others,
and whatever they possess. Believe firmly that you have no right to use,
without the permission and consent of that person, what belongs to him
or her. When you are tempted to use, even for a little while, anything
that does not belong to you, hold your horses. Deny yourself that short
lived pleasure. Remember always that as your own possessions are sacred
and dear to you, so are the possessions of others to them. If you are
going out and you do not have an ironed shirt, do not just pick up the
one from the wardrobe if that belongs to your brother or father. Ask the
brother's or father's permission, and if they are not at home, simply do
not go out. Consider it as a punishment for not getting your own shirt
ironed in time. This example may look trifle but it is the instances
like these which have an impact on our lives.
Start rendering some
selfless service to others. If you go to your neighbour or a friend, or
even a friend's friend for a party, keep your eyes open and see what you
can do to help the host. Menial jobs such as sweeping the floor,
cleaning utensils, in another's house on occasions like above, even if
you have four servants in your house, do a lot to deflate the ego.
When you do any service
for others, without expecting any returns, you make a progress in
controlling ego. You hold a very high status in society. People look at
you with respect and reverence. You get one day, Sunday, off from your
work. The town library is looking for somebody to work on Sunday. You
can offer your service, a couple of hours, and help them thus. There are
hundreds of ways one can offer one's own time, however short it may be,
to serve others. Let your mind think from time to time, how you can be
useful, what you can do so other person can be relieved of some pressure.
There is a sick man in the neighbourhood. He has nobody to fetch
medicine and on Saturday's and Sundays, the cleaning woman is off from
work. You can spare some of your time to go to the dispensary and fetch
medicine, as well as, work in his house on weekend. There is never any
dearth for opportunities. If you really wish to control the ego in you,
you can do so. Moreover, when ego is controlled, the other two
automatically become weak. Then is the time for Arjuna to rise up to do
the right thing at the right time. Arjuna was strong and mighty but
equally humble and kind. Humility is not weakness. It is strength.
Arrogance, hatred, disrespect to others are all weaknesses.
You need to be strong
if you want to succeed in life. Hence you have to qualify yourself first,
before you can even think of getting something out of this huge world.
All the material things that have an impact on your senses can be yours,
though not permanently, if you qualify to have them. I say not
permanently, because nothing is permanent except the energy which
enables you to breathe. It was there before you were born, and will
remain there after you leave this world. Everything else is temporary.
So what! You can have temporary enjoyment of the object you like. But
there are others and many of them like you. Thousand students appear for
an examination. Only one of them stands first. Why? Because he has
laboured hard to qualify himself to get that position.
of harmfull tendencies
In the struggle between
vices and virtues, the former will win, if you have an inflated ego. All
the good naturedness within you will be of no use against the
combination of Dhrutarashtra, Duryodhana and Bhishma. You allow these to
dominate, and your life will be ruined. When you are counting your last
days, if you care to go over the history of your own life, that you have
lived, you will see your mistakes. But it will be too late. Ill-gotten
money, fame, power will not give you peace and happiness in your last
moments. When you may need others to be with you, no one will come near.
The hand of death will bring in mental misery and sorrow. Your fate will
be sealed. This is God's Prakruti or nature. If you do not wish to land
in this state, then NOW is the time to act.
from first chapter
The first chapter of
Gita prepares us mentally. It draws our attention to the fact that power
and wealth are meaningless in the end. Both Dhrutarashtra and his
dearest son Duryodhana perished. Even Bhishma fell down, and it was the
kind hearted, humble Arjuna who triumphed in the end. So we are warned
by Dhrutarashtra himself. He says "Do not be like me, do not shield
your loved ones when they do wrong things".
Duryodhana is in
absolute power. He does not care for his own father. He is not going to
have remorse, because he is not aware of his miserable end. His blind
father had the sense to see, but this arrogant king had eyes which had
gone blind to the truth. So, Sanjaya comes forward and points out to us
the bad character in Duryodhan's being. He warns us not to be like him
and, knowing fully well that as long as these two are supported by
Bhishma, the ego, the Arjuna in you will be powerless. Hence he very
cleverly but clearly tells us in the words of Duryodana, addressed to
his warriors "protect Bhishma alone".
The lesson to be learnt
from this chapter number 1 of Gita is, we have to strive to put down the
two vile characteristics, control ego and thus pave the way for the
Arjuna to rise. Alright, Arjuna in you is wide awake now, and ready to
take the right action. But alas! what happens? Even Arjuna falls a
victim to the weakness of his own mind. In a moment of false perception
and ignorance about self, ignorance about gross body, mind, intellect,
life, death etc., he loses courage and cries.
Same thing may happen
to you. However strong you may be, there may be some instances and
moments in your life, which will take away your strength, sap your
energy and reduce you to a weakling creature. But there is no need to
worry. The higher spirit, the God, will come to your rescue. He will
show you the way, dispel your ignorance, and guide you to understand for
yourself wherein your strength lies. You will then be twice more strong,
devoid of fear, and you can march ahead victorious.
How this is done, is the essence of the second chapter of Gita. It is time now to pause and reflect. It is time to act, to curb Dhrutarashtra and Duryodhana along with Bhishma, So act now.