Thursday, 23 August 2012

Bheeshma speaks! Mahabharata 182

I have heard so much about Shantiparva and about Bheeshma's wisdom. Before I go into the teachings, here are two pictures of Bheeshma on a bed of arrows. While Samhita depicts what is described, the other is very considerate to Bheeshma.
Courtesy: Samhita Arni

 Bheeshma speaks about Raja dharma: (I have just picked up a few nuggets!)

'A king, before anything else, should show devotion to devatas and brahmins. This will please the world. Truth, honesty and right deeds are very important. He should have compassion but should not be too soft. Should not worry about conflicts and opposition and  face them without hesitation. Be friends with those who offer friendship, but oppose those who are hostile. He should punish even his guru if he is arrogant and selfish and does not know the difference between good and bad deeds.' 

'He should give up hunting, gambling and other bad habits. Like a pregnant mother who only thinks of the well being of her child, a king should only think of the needs of his people. Protecting his people is paramount. To ensure this, he must have good assistants, help of good people, offer charity on  time, be without jealousy; show courage, ability,  collect grains and money, support sadhus and good families, keep the army satisfied, deal with friends, enemies and neutrals suitably!'

Bheeshma quotes Angirasa, 'A king who takes care of his subjects well, has in fact performed all dharmas, there is no need to do anything  else, neither penance nor yaaga.'. Bheeshma compares subjects to a fortress and says that if this fortress is strong, there is no fear. 'A king who treats his subjects well has no fear of enemies. Even if he falls to an enemy, he will always recover. He must continuously endeavour to take care of his people. That is the base of Raja dharma. The king is the root cause of an era! There is no doubt it. He must  constantly administer justice! ....
A good king should possesses 36 qualities.--'

 They are very practical and timeless, some controversial  and some beyond us, but here we go:
 1.Perform dharma with happiness. 
2. Do not be friendless.
3. Be pious 
4. Earn money without violence हिंसा.
5. Enjoy pleasures, but do not be intoxicated with it.
6. Speak well but without being meek
7. Be brave but not boastful
8. Be charitable but give it to the deserving
9. Be strong, able, but do not be harsh
10. Be able to bring people together, but not useless and unsuitable ones.
11. Seize from enemies.
12. Do not appoint spies who are not close to you.
13.Get work done without hurting anyone.
14. Do not keep bad people informed of your thoughts and events
15. Praise virtues in others, but do not boast about your own.
16. Earn well, but do not take it away from 'Saadu's ' ( pious people.)
17. Do not pay homage to those who are not good people
18. Do not punish without due deliberation
19, Do not advertise your consultations and deliberations to others
20. Do not yield to greedy persons
21. Do not trust who have done wrong and are harmful
22. Protect your queen's abode, without creating jealousies
23. You must  be impartial and pure
24. Do not spend excessive time with women. (स्त्री सहवास)
25. Eat well, but within limits, let it not make you ill.
26. Show respect to venerable persons  unreservedly
27. Worship god without ostentation
28. Desire wealth, but let it not be unseemly, improper.
29. Enjoy, but be free from attachment
30. Show your abilities at the appropriate time
31. Do not  speak insincerely just to get rid of a problem, a person
32. Help without expecting a return
33. Do not go to war without thinking well about your decision
34. Do not  grieve or regret after you have killed your enemies
35. Do not get angry without reason
36.Be soft, but not to those who have evil intentions towards you.

There is more, a lot more in the style of Q and A between Bheeshma and Yudhisthira.
There are stories which illustrates a point. It is well meaning and as it is from a dying man, it is honest and from the heart. Obviously some of his advice is particular to the seeker.

Human lore is full of such well intentioned advice, sermons and so on. God has come down to preach, has revealed truth in dreams, appeared in person  for those who were doing penance. Surprisingly or not so surprisingly, he chooses to reveal himself, more or less on a very personal basis.

With so many religions and so much of proprietary claims to his words, in so many languages, it is confusing to a person who wants to know, wants to take the good things from each one of them and does not want to be identified with one religion, caste or creed. But at the moment. it seems to be a loosing battle. Identify we must, if you want to be a part of something.

Luckily, there are many who are attempting to give a meaning to the knowledge given us from the past, connect it to the new discoveries that are being made today. One can only wait and see how these attempts to give us a larger picture, clarify and exemplify by applying the new knowledge, will  affect humanity in the future. Hope it does and I get to see some of it in my lifetime.



Raghunath said...

It should apply now since Kaliyuga started from the day Kurukshetra War ended. But in the present context the new rajas are chips off the Kamsa block!


Srividhya Anandhan said...

Bhagavatham says yudhistra n team ruled hastinapur for 36 years. As Srinidhi had mentioned in earlier pages, ghandari had cursed Krishna and his Yadava clan doom to die after 36 years. After Krishna leaves this earthen world, Yudhistra and his bros along with panchali leaves the kingdom to Parikshit and walks to himalayas. That is when a cow with only 1 leg enters the Rajya marking the beginning of Kaliyug. (There is descriptn of cow with 4 legs and how its now cut down to 1 to enter kaliyug)