Friday, 21 September 2012

Anushashana Parva. Bheesma consoles Yudhisthira. Mahabharata 191

Yudhisthira is still not at peace even after listening to his grandfather's calming words of wisdom.
'How can I have peace when I know that I have performed an evil act! As I see your body pierced with arrows and  blood oozing from it, I feel troubled and I can never have peace. It is because of me you are in this condition! I feel terribly sad when I remember that  so many kings, relatives and their children all died because of me. This henious act  of mine was the result of my anger against Duryodhana, and my desire for the kingdom. I do not know what type of punishment will be meted out to me in future. We all are sinners, and Duryodhana is fortunate not see you in this condition!'

Bheeshma again consoles Yudhisthira, that it is not his doing, but the result of karma and not easy to understand as karma acts in subtle ways. Bheeshma  again tells him a story:

 There lived an old woman, Gautami. One day her son bitten by a snake, dies and a hunter goes after the snake and catches it. He ties the snake to a rope and brings it back and asks the woman what she wants to do with it. Whether she wants it burned or cut into pieces and he wants her answer in a hurry. He is angered at the sight of the dead son and wants to eliminate the snake, the cause of his death.

The woman does not want the snake to be killed. She says that her son would not come back by punishing  the snake and asks the hunter to release it. She does not know in what form death will come, but she does not want to be the cause of its death and become a sinner!

The hunter does not agree with her and suggests that the snake has to be killed and this action will diminish her anguish. And in such cases immediate retribution is a must. The woman does not agree, she says she has no desire for revenge.

'A series arguments are given for and against this vengeful action. The hunter says that  it is  possible that the snake may kill again so it is necessary to eliminate an enemy and does not think any major merit will be gained by the woman by saving a small creature as this!'

Meanwhile the snake recovers and speaks! It says it is not really responsible, 'Death incited me to kill and I bit! I had no desire to kill, neither was I angry and provoked, the blame should go to death.' The hunter does not agree, he says there was no need for the snake to listen to death, so it has to share the blame.

 At this moment death appears, 'Dear snake, I incited you to kill as 'काल' time wanted me to kill. The whole world, we, the sun and the moon, the seas, the earth and the sky, they are all dependent on 'time'. They come and go as per its dictates, If you call me guilty, then you are also guilty.' The snake does not agree!

As the argument goes on,  'Time' makes an appearance to resolve the issues. Time says 'It is dependent on karma, action! The boy was killed because of his actions! None of us are responsible for his death, but his karma killed him. We all are in its control. Karma sets us in motion and we incite it to act. Like the shadow and the light, karma and the doer are linked to each other.

It is then the old woman declares that her son died because of her Karma and as well as his. She urges the hunter to set the snake free and they all go their separate ways.

Bheeshma concludes, 'Hence do not keep grieving, calm down. The kings who died, died not because of your karma or that of Duryodhana,  their time had come because of their own karma'

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