Sushil Kumar's Blog

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Archive for the category “Mahabharata”

Rape of ideas

Shiva-Parvati

Shiva-Parvati

So, guys (and gals too), I have not written any post since many days and it was complained by one of my friend with a big ‘why’. I said I ran of ideas, let’s come any, why to bother readers for crude write ups.
And I found today that women brigades are lambasting ancient texts and their authors. One blogger has said that Ved Vyas was a rapist who raped Ambika and Ambalika, anyhow she forget about the mother of Vidura, no wonder women are not known to care for poor guys.
These feminist may ask why Krishna has so many wives, Mahabharata says 1008 and Shrimad Bhagvat explode the number to 16108 wives. There is one story in Mahabharata which was not shown in TV serial of B R Chopra (author of Mahabharata for millions of devout Hindus).
Krishna’s wife Jambavati (most of the Hindus think that he was married to Radha and Rukmini and other princess and unheard of Jambavati but sorry to say that Radha has no mention in Mahabharata) said to him – you have given Rukmini eight sons – Charudsena, Sucharu, Charuvesa, Yasodhara, Charusrava, Charuyasa, Pradyumna and Sambhu. Give me just one like any one of them. And it may be asked by new brigade of feminists why not a daughter?
So, Krishna prayed with strict penance for a son to none other than Lord Shiva for six months (who the hell are you to say that Krishna prayed Shiva, new Hindu cults and our temple preachers says just the opposite theory). Appeased with Krishna’s austerity, Shiva and Parvati appeared before him and asked for boons to be granted. Krishna asked eight boons – firm faith in righteousness, the power to destroy the enemy in battle, great fame, supreme strength, complete control over the practise of Yoga, popularity among people, closeness to the great god and hundreds of sons (yet again not asked daughters). And Parvati also granted Krishna eight boons – freedom from anger towards the Brahmins, father’s blessings, hundreds of sons (hey yet again no daughters), supreme enjoyment, love for kinsmen, mother’s love, peace of mind, and skill. Happy with Krishna, Parvati gave him one more boon to have one thousand and eight wives (but everyone talks about sixteen thousand one hundred eight wives without knowing the Mahabharata).
Anyway let’s not accuse our epic heroes, gods and author of Mahabharata as rapist. There was tradition of Niyoga, i.e., having sex with a man who is not legally wedded for the sake of progeny. In modern days too we see surrogacy, artificial insemination, and test tube babies. Who knows that a day will come when feminist will cry hoarse that test tube babies are rape of ovum by one brute sperm.
© Sushil Kumar
Content Credit: Vyasa’s Mahabharata by Bharadvaja Sarma
Image Credit: Amar Chitra Katha

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Death Penalty


There is so much debate on television and social networking sites about Death Penalty to rapists and that too execution of rapists in full public glares. According to Wikipedia, United States carries out more executions than any other liberal democracy in the world. The only other countries in the Americas which practice capital punishment are Cuba and St. Kitts and Nevis. And there is legal sanction to Death Penalty in India for murder; instigating a child’s suicide; treason; acts of terrorism; a second conviction for drug trafficking or child trafficking during the production of child pornography.
After 2012’s Delhi gang-rape case, there is a nationwide anger and protest for inclusion of death penalty for the offence of rape & gang-rape. Wily politicians, few of them facing rape charge and crime against women allegations and history-sheeters have objected to this demand and their argument is that the rapist will kill the victim after fulfilling his hunger of lust to erase the evidences and that will create new problems for women and policing. Anyhow let’s see what the unbeatable grand epic Mahabharata says about Death Penalty. Text is reproduced from the book of Vyasa’s Mahabharatam by Bharadvaja Sarma.
Chapter III, Moksha-Dharma Parva, Liberation from the cycle of birth and rebirth, Punishment for the guilty – Story of Dyumatsena.
Yudhisthira asked to Bhishma Pitamaha, “How can a king rule and protect his subjects without injuring anybody – without inflicting death sentence on the guilty?” And Bhishma said, “Let me tell you an old story. Once on the orders of King Dyumatsena a number of individuals guilty of some grave offences were brought before his son Satyavan for execution. Stayavan told his father, “Father, quite often righteousness appears to be unfair, and unfairness looks like acts of righteousness.” And Dyumatsena replied, “If the guilty is not punished, if the barbarians are not killed there would be no distinction between righteousness and injustice. Death sentence is necessary to restrain the wicked otherwise vice would flourish and righteousness would not be practised any more. If you have any other means, please tell me about it.” Satyavan then said, “Kshatriyas, Vaisyas and Sudras should be placed under the control and surveillance of the Brahmins. If anybody transgresses the law – or the command of the Brahmins the Brahmin would bring the instance of transgression to the notice of the king and the king would pass judgment according to the codes of law. It is unfair to inflict death sentence on anybody. The death of one individual might ultimately be the cause of death of other members of his family. A wicked person, on being shown compassion, could turn on a new leaf and be virtuous and he can have a virtuous son. Capital punishment is destruction of root and branch and it should be avoided by all means punishment for offences can be of other kinds also – such as threat, imprisonment, confiscation of properties, disfigurement. If, for example, an offender seeks protection of a priest and proclaims that he would never commit an offence, he could be forgiven at least for the first offence. A respectable offence should be allowed to go unpunished for the first offence.”
Dyumatsena said, “Yes, it was easier to govern in earlier days. People were truthful, they were milder by nature and they were not so inclined to argue. Just saying “Fie” to them would be enough punishment for them. Later, other kinds of punishment such as stern rebuke – punishing offenders with stern words of chastisement or – by imposing fines or ordering forfeitures of properties came into use. Nowadays, people cannot be restrained without setting the example of death sentence. Even then it is becoming increasingly difficult to govern. It is said that robber is nobody’s relation and that nobody should have anything to do with him. Those who steal clothes and ornaments from the dead people left on the cremation ground, or those who rob people when they are absent-minded or in a dazed state of mind cannot be restrained by reprimands or oaths.” To this Satyavan said, “If it is not possible to turn rouges into honest people by non-violent means, transform or destroy them by performing sacrificial rites. Kings are required to perform austerities so that his subjects may prosper. If it is possible to govern people by threats, recourse to capital punishment – killing people wilfully – would be uncalled for. Punishment is not to be inflicted as retribution. Good kings rule by setting examples of good conduct. People lower in status usually imitate those who occupy superior positions. Those kings who try to restrain his subjects without restraining themselves become objects of ridicule. If necessary, the king should not hesitate to punish his own friends and kinsmen, but the king should always take into consideration the factors of time and place, longevity or capacity of persons involved. Manu, the law-giver who created himself, out of compassion for creatures, prescribed that nobody desirous of earning merit and emancipation should ever abandon the method of teaching by setting examples of good deeds.”

Myths created about Krishna

According to staunch Hindus every day is a festival howsoever small or big one. Only exception is Pitru Paksha in Kunwaar month (dark fortnight of the Ashwin month) of Vikram Samvat calendar in which there is no festivities. Some celebrate Deepawali, some Holi, some Navratras, some Ganesh Chaturthi, and some Maha Shivratri with religious fervour. Few others celebrate Ram Navmi and Janamashtami and wait for these festivals whole year.
Two days earlier I witnessed Janamashtami in ISKCON Delhi, it is biggest festival for ISKCON people. What surprises me is that no one is interested in reading holy scriptures like Mahabharata or Vedas but they tend to apotheosis Krishna as Lord Krishna or misspelt Krsna (even Microsoft word recognises it as a bad spelling) as a supreme Godhead. But friends wait have a look on what is written in Mahabharata. Krishna was a Shiva devotee like other characters in Mahabharata.
Text is from Vyasa’s Mahabharatam by Bharadvaja Sarma, page no. 746-747, “Anusasana Parva – The Book of Precepts, Chapter I, (f) Boon obtained by Krishna from Shiva and Parvati”
Yudhisthira said to Bhishma, “Grandfather, you know all the names and attributes of the lord of the world, the great god Shankara (another name of Shiva). I would very much like to hear those names.” And Bhishma said, “I am not really competent to do that. Sitting with us here is Vasudeva; Krishna himself. Once he propitiated the great god by doing penance at the hermitage in Vadarika. He alone is capable of telling us all about him.” Bhishma then requested Krishna to recount the greatness of Shiva. And Krishna said, “Even the illustrious gods like Brahma and Indra and eminent sages do not know all about the manifold qualities of the great god – let alone men. I can only touch on this vast subject.”
Krishna then purified himself by touching water and began his discourse on the great god Shiva.
“Long ago I had the privilege of seeing him in person. My wife Jambavati once asked me, “Give me a son as desirable as any of the sons you have given Rukmini. You have given her as many as eight – Charudsena, Sucharu, Charuvesa, Yasodhara, Charusrava, Charuyasa, Pradyumna and Sambhu. Give me just one like any one of them.”
To fulfil her wish I took leave of my father and mother, the king Ahuka and my brother Balarama and then riding my mount Garuda I came to the Himalayas and then dismissing Garuda I found my way through lovely surroundings to the forest retreat of a sage called Upamanyu, son of the great sage Byaghrapada and told him about the purpose of my visit. He said, “You can accomplish your purpose by worshipping the great god Shiva. He is at the present moment living close by together with his consort Parvati. You know, Krishna, when I was mere a boy, I wanted very much to have a taste of a delicious dish prepared with milk and rice and I asked my mother to give it to me. And she prepared for me a dish with flour and water which barely resembled milk pudding. Earlier I had tasted rice pudding and knew how rice pudding should taste and I found out immediately that my mother did not give me what I had asked for, and I complained about it and my mother pitifully said, “My son, we are poor hermits, we do not have cows, how can I prepare the dish you ask for? You can have your wish fulfilled if you can please the great god Shankara.” After what my mother told me I did penance for many years. You can see what I got by his grace. I have become handsome, ever youthful, omniscient and immune to diseases and now with all my kinsmen and friends I can have rice pudding every day – rice cooked with milk and it tastes like ambrosia. The great lord is living very close to my hermitage and I have the wonderful privilege of seeing him every day and night. I can see with my divine vision that after only six months you will see him and obtain from him and his wife Parvati as many as twenty-four boons.”
Krishna counted the story saying, “I was so very amazed hearing about Shiva’s greatness. I asked the sage Uapamanyu to have me as his disciple and having initiation at his feet I had had my hair shaved, smeared myself with ghee, and wearing the customary rags woven of grass, the appropriate attire of a hermit, I performed severe austerities for six months.
For one month I lived on fruits; in the second month I lived on water only. In the third, the fourth and the fifth month I survived consuming only air. All these months I stood on one leg only, with my arms raised upwards and without any sleep at all. And then I saw a circle of radiance, as dazzling as thousand suns put together in one cluster, and in the centre a huge mass of blue cloud encircled by many rainbows. And within that cloud stood Shiva with his spouse Parvati by his side. I fell at their feet and recited verses in praise of him and then related to him my purpose. He granted me eight boons – firm faith in righteousness, the power to destroy the enemy in battle, great fame, supreme strength, complete control over the practise of Yoga, popularity among people, closeness to the great god and hundreds of sons. And his consort Parvati also granted me eight boons I asked for. Freedom from anger towards the Brahmins, father’s blessings, hundreds of sons, supreme enjoyment, love for my kinsmen, mother’s love, peace of mind, and skill – were the eight boons she gave me, and moreover she said that I would have one thousand and eight loving wives, I would have unending supply of rice and other grains, I would be beloved of friends, I would have a supple body and that I would feed everyday seven thousand guests at my home.

Having obtained all these boons I came back to Upamanyu and told him about them. He was very happy and related at length the greatness, grandeur and glory of the great god Shiva and sang in praise of him reciting all the one hundred and eight names by which he is known including the not so familiar ones like, Sthira, Sthanu, Prabhu, Pravara, Varada, Vara Sarvatma, etc. By the way, I got Samba by my wife Jambavati as a result of my prayer and devotion to the great god Shiva.”
So, it has been proved that Krishna was just an incarnation who got a boon by Mahadeva and he (or He) got it by doing penance and severe austerities.
Disclaimer: So-called Krishna devotees please don’t argue. Any religious discourse would not be entertained.
Image Credit: Amar Chitra Katha

What is the essence of life – Artha (money), Kama (sex) or Dharma (virtue)?

What is the most sought after topic to discuss between a group of people? Most of the time men tend to talk about money and politics and women are more inclined to talk about relations. When the talk becomes twosome or threesome it becomes centred to theme of sex and infidelity in a manner similar to the saying that – all roads lead to Rome.
The Sanskrit word Artha has become synonyms to money but in reality it was more close to prosperity and wealth. Kama means fulfilment of sexual desire. Dharma was totally different from today’s meaning – religion, it was meant to be truth, righteousness, virtues and upright conduct sanctioned by Vedas.
Which is the most important thing in life is always debated because Artha or money is no more used for the benefit of others. It is only used for sense gratification and living a life with a motto that you have to live once only so work hard and party harder. Kama or sex is the most occupied thing in a human mind even in dreams and men is always said to bent knees for sex. Dharma or something which was most sacrosanct in ancient days has become a slave of religious bodies and cumbersome rituals which lesser mortals thinks that a Hindu would get salvation only in temples, a Buddhist in a monastery, a Christian in a church, a Muslim in a mosque, a Jew in a synagogue or for a Sikh in a Gurudwara. But dear friends I am not discussing here the misnomer ‘religion’ word but the word Dharma which is completely different from religion.
So, one day Pandava brothers were discussing this topic with Vidura. The conversation begins with Yudhishthira asking:
धर्मे चार्थे च कामे च लोकवृतिः समाहिता ।
तेषां गरियान् कतमो मध्यमः को लघुश्च कः ।। शान्तिपर्व १६७.२ ।।
कस्मिंश्चात्मा निधातव्यस्त्रिवर्गविजयाय वै ।
संहृष्टा नैष्ठिकं वाक्यं यथावद् वक्तुमर्हथ ।। शान्तिपर्व १६७.३ ।।

People are generally motivated by dharma, by the desire for material prosperity, artha, and the desire for sexual fulfilment, kama: of these three which one is of the highest value, which is of the middling value, and which is the lowest?
Examine this question, and say only what you truly believe.
This ‘say only what you truly believe’ pervades the whole of the Mahabharata. Nothing is asked, and nothing answered, from a passing curiosity only.
Vidura, the detached observer in the Mahabharata, advocates in a few quick steps the primacy of dharma.
बाहुश्रुत्यं तपस्त्यागः श्रद्धा यज्ञक्रिया क्षमा ।
भावशुद्धिर्दया सत्यं संयमश्चात्मसंपदः ।। शान्तिपर्व १६७. ५ ।।
एतदेवाभिपद्धस्व मा तेभूच्चलितं मनः ।
एतन्मूलौ हि धार्मार्थवेतदेकपदं हि मे ।। शान्तिपर्व १६७.६ ।।

It is in dharma that all beings are established.
Study and reflection, devotion, sacrifice, forgiveness, compassion, truth and self-control: these constitute the real wealth of the self. They are the roots both of the right ordering of relationships, dharma, and material prosperity, artha. Thus, material prosperity is always assumed in dharma.
धर्मो राजन् गुणः श्रेष्ठो मध्यमो ह्यर्थ उच्यते ।
कामो यवीयानिति च प्रवदन्ति मनीषिणः ।। शान्तिपर्व १६७.७ ।।

Those who are wise say that dharma is the highest; material prosperity and wealth middling; and the fulfilment of sexual desire inferior in comparison to these two.
तस्माद् धर्मप्रधानेन भवितव्यं यतात्मना ।
तथा च सर्वभूतेषु वर्तितव्यं यथात्मानि ।। शान्तिपर्व १६७.९ ।।

So, the right ordering of relationship should be one’s highest aim, behaving towards all beings in the same way as one would towards oneself.
Arjuna settles for the incontestable supremacy of material prosperity and wealth in human affairs. His main argument is:
This world is the field of action, and all things are done here as a means of livelihood. Without economic prosperity and wealth, neither can dharma be had, nor kama. Indeed, they are the subsidiary attributes of wealth itself, and cannot survive independent of it.
अप्रज्ञानं तमोभूतं प्रज्ञानं तु प्रकाशिता ।। शान्तिपर्व १६७.१९ ।।
Not to know the primacy of wealth is the darkness of ignorance; to know the importance of wealth is to have the light of knowledge.
Nakula and Sahdeva, the twins, support Arjuna, but with a significant shift. ‘There is no question that wealth is as rare as it is most desired; there is no doubt whatever, that on obtaining wealth a person can fulfil all his desires, and this is proved by direct experience.’ But they point also to the unity between the two, dharma and artha, and do not grade one over the other. They say:
अनर्थस्य न कामोस्ति तथार्थोधर्मिणः कुतः ।
तस्मादुद्विजते लोको धर्मार्थाद् यो बहिष्कृतः ।। शान्तिपर्व १६७.२५ ।।

A person who is poor has not means of fulfilling his desires; and nor can a person who is bereft of dharma be prosperous; and he who has not the wealth combined with dharma, is treated as an outcast.
तस्माद् धर्मप्रधानेन साध्योर्थः संयतात्मना ।
विश्वस्तेषु हि भूतेषु कल्पते सर्वमेव हि ।। शान्तिपर्व १६७.२६ ।।

Therefore what one should aim at is to earn wealth combined with the right ordering of relationships, and have the right ordering of relationships combined with wealth.
धर्मं समाचरेत् पूर्वं ततोर्थं धर्मसंयुतम् ।
ततः कामं चरेत् पश्चात् सिद्धार्थः स हि तत्परम् ।। शान्तिपर्व १६७.२७ ।।

Exercising self-control, and keeping dharma foremost in the mind, let one earn wealth that is combined with dharma; and maintaining the harmony between the two, fulfil one’s erotic impulse.
Bhimasena upholds what he says is the demonstrable primacy of kama in life, which means, in the first place, the primacy of desire as the motivating force. There can be no arguing about it. It is evident, he says that: ‘Every act begins with a desire for something. In the absence of desire, there would neither be any effort at earning wealth, nor any interest in the ordering of relationships; nor would there be even any impulse towards sexual pleasure. Then he quickly lists very many human activities, from the highest form of spiritual effort to the most ordinary acts of commerce and agriculture, each one of them motivated evidently by the desire for one thing or another.
समुद्रं वा विशन्त्यन्ये नरः कामेन संयुताः ।
कामो हि विविधाकारः सर्वं कामेन संततम् ।। शान्तिपर्व १६७.३३ ।।

And of desire, there are many different forms, and every act is suffused with desire.
नास्ति नासीन्नाभविष्यद् भूतं कामत्म्कात् परम् ।
एतत् सारं महाराज धर्मार्थावत्र संस्थितौ ।। शान्तिपर्व १६७.३४ ।।

There is not one human being, nor there ever was, nor will there be in the future, who is without desire. Therefore, kama is the essence of life, and dharma and artha have only that as their foundation. Indeed, they are only the other expressions of kama, which should be regarded as the substance of life.
He even advises his elder brother Yudhishthira, light heartedly of course,
सुचारु वेषाभिरलंकृताभि –
र्मददोत्कटाभिः प्रियदर्शनाभिः ।
रमस्व योषाभिरुपेत्य कामं
कामो हि राजन् परमो भवेन्नः ।। शान्तिपर्व १६७.३८ ।।

Seek the company of women who are beautiful, are dressed elegantly, and are intoxicated with their beauty, and make merry with them. Kama alone is the highest.
But, after saying that he has thought on this question, he concludes that the most important of all is:
धर्मार्थकामः सममेव सेव्या
यो ह्येकभक्तः स नरो जघन्यः ।
तयोस्तु दाक्ष्यं प्रवदन्ति मध्यं
स उत्तमो यो भिरतस्त्रिवर्गे ।। शान्तिपर्व १६७.४० ।।

One should enjoy all the three, dharma, artha, and kama, together. He who worships only one of them is the most pitiable; he who is an adept in enjoying two is of the middle class; but he who enjoys all the three in a harmonious way is the best.
Disclaimer: Except first three paragraphs, all text is reproduced from Chaturvedi Badrinath’s Sahitya Akademi award winning book – The Mahabharata An inquiry in the Human Condition. No copyright violation is intended and the text is used only for fair use and for the purpose of spreading education and enlightening lesser mortals for much lesser explored treasure of Mahabharata. All glories to Ved Vyasa and Chaturvedi Badrinath. All faults are mine.
Image Credit: www.columbia.edu
Image Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/byronic501/55833692/

The real pilgrimage

When we talk about pilgrimage or ‘tirtha’, a picture of Chardham erupts in our mind – Dwarka, Badrinath, Rameshwaram and Puri. Newly formed pilgrimage centres are Amarnath Dham, Vaishno Devi, Tirupati, Shirdi of Sai Baba, etc. The newest pilgrimage centre is Shani Shingnapur, which is just 200 years old and emerging as a fastest pilgrimage centre kudos to devotees of Shani. A new cult of Vaishnavas are trying to create Vrindavan in Mayapur, West Bengal. Each State has its own pilgrimage centre which provides local people earnings from tourism and hospitality sector. Pilgrimage is indeed a huge industry.
The word ‘tirtha’ means you have to move physically to go somewhere to earn ‘punya’ (good deeds) at the cost of physical suffering, mental stress and economic investment and expenses. But wait my dear friend; just have a look what Krishna describes a ‘tirtha’ or pilgrimage to Yudhisthira in Ashwamedika parva in Mahabharat.
Yudhisthira asks what is true tirtha, pilgrimage? Krishna describes kshama, ‘forgiveness and reconciliation’, as the highest pilgrimage of all.
क्षमा तु परमं तीर्थं सर्वतीर्थेषु पाण्डव ।
क्षमावतामयं लोकः परश्चैव क्षमावताम् ।।
आश्वमेधिक पर्व पृ. ६३७५ *।।
Of all the places of pilgrimage, forgiveness is the highest. The one who is forgiving secures happiness in this world and in the next world, too.
क्षमा यशः क्षमा दानं क्षमा यज्ञः क्षमा दमः ।
क्षमा अहिंसा क्षमा धर्मः क्षमा चेन्द्रियनिग्रहः ।।
आश्वमेधिक पर्व पृ. ६३७५ ।।
Forgiveness is true fame. Forgiveness, true giving. Forgiveness is the true yajna. Forgiveness is the true self-control. Forgiveness is the true non-violence. Forgiveness, the true dharma. And forgiveness is the true discipline of one’s self.
क्षमा दया क्षमा यज्ञः क्षमयैव धृतं जगत् ।।
आश्वमेधिक पर्व पृ. ६३७५ ।।
Forgiveness is the true compassion. It is forgiveness that holds the world together.
(*पृ. ६३७५ means Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute’s Mahabharat version).
If you are still unclear about the concept of ‘tirtha’ then do some sins and have a holy dip in coming Mahakumbh at Prayag, Allahabad in next year. But, it is certainly a foolishness and complete idiocy that we seek solace to our sufferings and want to add good karmas by just visiting a holy place and calling it a ‘tirth yatra’. Anyway ignorance is really bliss. Enjoy Amarnath Dham Yatra despite the death of 97 pilgrims and loss of business and trade to the tune of crores of crores of rupees to Delhi and Uttar Pradesh because of Kanwariya’s Yatras.
If your religious feelings are being hurt by my harsh words then please forgive me and attain the fruit of the real pilgrimage!
© Sushil Kumar
Image Credit: B. R. Chopra’s TV serial Mahabharat.
Content Credit: The Mahabharata: An inquiry in the human condition by Chaturvedi Badrinath.

Enough is not enough

Man is a bundle of desires, he gets one fulfilled and a hundred of new desires crops up. We think that we are living in a materialistic world and everyone must run after money and acquiring wealth. In matters of money we demean our relationship whether these are friendship or relation of blood. The sole purpose of our life is to enjoy it fullest and for every kind of enjoyment we need money. Even after death we need money for funeral expenses and other rituals. The need of money never stops. A man dies but not his money. Sometimes, we think that in older days there were no electric and electronic gadgets so life was cumbersome but content, there was no stiff cut-throat competition and everything was in complete harmony. But the bitter truth is that man was always after money whether there was barter system or currency system.
Our enlightened sages had always cautioned men to acquire as much money which is enough to carry daily chores, which is sufficient to entertain guests, to overcome loans and for emergency use. But man is never content with money, enough is always a miniscule.
Let’s see what our Mahabharata says about money and wealth.
राजतः सलिलादग्नेश्चोरतः स्वजनादपि ।
भयमर्थवतां नित्यं मृत्योः प्राणभृतामिव ।। वनपर्व २.३९।।
अर्थात जिस प्रकार से हर मनुष्य को सदा मृत्यु का भय सताता है, उसी प्रकार से धनी को सदा राजा, जल, अग्नि, चोर और रिश्तेदारों से भय सताता है।
“Like a man is always afraid of death, the rich are always in fear of king, water, fire, thief, and relative.”
In place of king, nowadays a tax-official would be a better substitute because a rich fears most how to keep his black money secure.
यथा ह्यमिषमाकाशे पक्षिभिः श्वापदैर्भुवि ।
भक्ष्यते सलिले मत्स्यैस्तथा सर्वत्र वित्तवान् ।। वनपर्व २.४०।।
अर्थात मांस का टुकड़ा जिस प्रकार से आकाश में गिद्ध का भोजन बनता है, धरती पर माँसाहारी पशुओं का और सागर में मछलियों का उसी प्रकार से धनी इस संसार में हर जगह शाब्दिक रूप से नोंचा-खसोटा जाता है।
“Just as a chunk of meat is eaten by vultures in the sky, and by carnivorous animals on the earth, and by the fish in the sea, a rich man is also nibbled everywhere.”
मनुष्या ह्याढयतां  प्राप्य राज्यमिच्छन्त्यनन्तरम् ।
राज्याद् देवत्वमिच्छन्ति देवत्वादिन्द्रतामापि ।। शान्ति पर्व १८०.२४ ।।
धन की प्राप्ति के उपरांत मनुष्य राज्य प्राप्त करना चाहता है, राज्य पाने के बाद वो देवत्व प्राप्त करना चाहता है फिर वो देवों का राजा इन्द्र बनना चाहता है!
“After acquiring wealth, men want to acquire a kingdom; after acquiring kingdom, they want to become gods; and then after becoming god, they want to become Indra, the king of gods.”
भवेस्त्वं यद्यपि त्वाढयो न राजा न च दैवतम् ।
देवत्वं प्राप्य चेन्द्रत्वं नैव तुष्येस्तथा सति ।। शान्ति पर्व १८०.२५ ।।
फिर भी धन पाने के बाद वो न राजा बन पता है और न देवता और अगर वो देवत्व को प्राप्त हो भी जाए या फिर वो इन्द्र ही क्यूँ न बन जाये लेकिन वो अंत तक असंतुष्ट ही रहता है।
“Even if one becomes wealthy, he may not become a king or god; if one does become a god, and among gods – Indra, he would remain dissatisfied till the end.”
यत् पृथिव्यां व्रीहियवं हिरण्यं पशवः स्त्रियः ।
एकस्यापि न पर्याप्तं तृष्णां परित्यजेत् ।। आदि पर्व ८५.१३ ।।
इस संसार का सारा अन्न, सारा स्वर्ण, सारी स्त्रियाँ भी एक मनुष्य की तृप्ति के लिए पर्याप्त नहीं हैं, मनुष्य बूढ़ा होता है इच्छाएं नहीं।
“Not all the grain in the world, not all the gold, nor all the women, are enough for one man. A man grows but not his desires.”
आशा हि परमं दुखं नैराश्यं परमं सुख ।। शान्ति पर्व १७४.६३ ।।
इच्छा ही महानतम दुःख है और अनिच्छा ही सबसे बड़ा सुख है।
“And desire is the greatest pain and the loss of desire is the greatest happiness.”

© Sushil Kumar

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Image Credit: Panoramio.com
Content Credit: The Mahabharata: An inquiry in the human condition by Chaturvedi Badrinath

Which is better among vegetarian or non-vegetarian eating habits?

A vegetarian has some kind of superiority complex over non-vegetarian that he doesn’t kill animals for satisfying his taste buds. A non-vegetarian thinks that he is not a grass-grazer and eats the tastiest food available and costly too. Both live in a myriad world of their own. Sometimes they are not on talking terms and shun each others presence for gastronomical reasons. Which is better way to feed ourselves is an age-old question which we are prompted to answer.
In Anusasana Parva of Mahabharata, Yudhisthira asks Bhisma which is better vegetarianism or non-vegetarianism? Bhisma replied in a scholarly way which very few of us know. For the sake of lesser mortals there is a reproduction of the text of Mahabharata. Copyright is vested to Abhimanyu Mukherjee and author is Bharadvaja Sarma and this book is published by Academic Publisher, Kolkata.
“Offering meat in Sacrifices–practice of meat-eating–non-violence”
Vaisamapayana said, “After giving this talk on life, death, sins and virtues, Brihaspati, the preceptor of the gods, ascended to heaven, as all eyes were on him.

And then Yudhisthira asked Bhisma, “Grandfather, you have often said that non-violence is meritorious, and that abstention from causing injury to creatures is consistent with ethical conduct. I have also heard from you that forefathers – Pitris like to have offerings of meat as oblation and that is why in funeral rites like Shraddhas meat of various kinds is offered to forefathers. How can one procure meat without killing a living creature? How can these contradictions be resolved?”
And Bhisma said: “Those who desire beauty, health, longevity, intelligence, retentive memory, strength of body of mind would do well to abstain from causing injury to creatures. On this topic endless discussions have gone on among different sages. Seven celestial sages, the Valakhiyas praise abstention from causing injury to creatures. Manu, the self-born is of the opinion that those who do not eat meat or who do not kill living creatures or do not cause living creatures to be killed is a friend of all creatures. They earn the trust of all living beings and are never oppressed by anybody. They are the ones who are admired by the righteous. The noble and righteous seer Narada has said that those who wish to increase the bulk of their bodies by the flesh of other creatures are sure to suffer in the end. Brihaspati has said that the man who abstains from honey and meat earns the merit similar to that acquired through the act of making gifts and through sacrifices and penance. In my opinion, if a non-vegetarian, one who has been used to eating meat, gives up meat-eating, he would acquire merit which is greater than the merit one acquires through sacrifices and penance and by the study of the Vedas. Once a person got into the habit of eating meat, he finds it difficult to give it up. The vow of vegetarianism, if widely practiced, would give reassurance and feelings of security to all creatures. If there are no meat-eaters there would be no slaughter. Manu has said that meat that has been sanctified by spells should be offered to the departed soul. It is like purified butter. Any other meat is impure and worthless. One should never eat meat that has not been sanctified and dedicated in sacrifices.
Yudhisthira then said, “It is a pity that those who eat meat, as the Raksasas do, seem to prefer meat to many other delicious items of food like sweets and vegetables. I myself think that there is no food tastier than meat. I shall like to hear about both merits and demerits of eating meat or for that matter abstention from meat eating.”
And Bhisma said: It is true that if any item of food is to be judged by taste, there is no food superior to meat. There is no food more beneficial than meat for people who are weak and thin, or tired or for those who enjoy the pleasure of senses. Eating meat gives one instant feeling of strength and nourishment. But those who want to increase their own flesh eating meat of other creatures are indeed very selfish, mean and cruel. It occurs in the Vedas that animals were created to be offered as sacrifice in Yajnas. Agastya dedicated all deer to the deities. In ancient time it was laid down that no blame should attach to the Ksatriyas if they ate meat acquired by prowess, and as such, hunting which is an act of prowess was not considered sinful. When people go on hunting they risk their lives. Risks are on both sides – those that kill and those that are killed. Those who eat meat of animals are themselves eaten in their next life by animals. Etymologically the Sanskrit word Mamsa (meat) means “He ate me.”

ImageAnyway, there is no act more in keeping with ethical principles than compassion to all creatures. Those ascetics who perform penance and look upon all creatures with compassion go to heaven. Gift of life is the best of all gifts. There is nothing dearer than soul, and people with awareness of soul in their own selves should practice compassion and non-violence to all creatures.”

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