Monday, 17 September 2012

There is more of Bheeshma. Mahabharata 189

The essence of Bheeshma's advice is: each person chooses a responsibility and a role defined by himself; and then proceeds to spend his life fulfilling it way beyond its parameters through will power and intelligence, in the process of which he automatically protects " Dharma "; thus one who protects "Dharma" will be protected by it. Hence the famous " Mahavaakya ", " Dharmo Rakshati Rakshitaam ". Thus upholding such morality and ethics which generates social harmony through example is the primary function of every individual  however placed he may be in society. Hence the depth of function and the breadth of responsibility are always interrelated and limitless..

There are similar dialogues  such as "Yoga Vaashista ", " Vidura Neeti " " Ashtavakra Geeta "; " Yajnavalkya- Janaka Samvaaada " etc: Chanakya's " Rajaneeti " incorporates much of the past  and redefines it for his  times.
With this summary sent by my friend Chandramouli,  I could conclude Shantiparva and move on. But let us see how Bheeshma answers a few more questions.

How can one be free of anxiety and achieve a happy state (सद्गति)?
Bheeshma quotes again a brahmin who answered a similar question from Prahlada. He quotes the brahmin: 'Animals are born when we do not ask for it, come without an adequate cause, grow and die. When I see this I am neither happy or unhappy. Each one follows its own nature. What is together must part, what is joined must melt. None of these affect me! Everything, the big and the small,  the moving and the non-moving, the flying and the aquatic, all have to die. Even the big big stars fall down! Hence with the knowledge that all living things will die, I sleep without anxiety.'

'If by chance I get a lot of food to eat, I eat it all. In case I do not find  food for many days, I just lie down. Sometimes, I get plenty of very tasty food and other times there is nothing. Often it is just a bit of cooked broken rice or  a piece of meat. I eat whatever I manage to get. I sleep on a cot, I also sleep on the floor. I wear whatever clothes I find, they can be made of hemp, raw cotton or  skin or it could also be the most expensive silk. I do not reject things I enjoy, if  it comes to me and it is not against dharma. But I do not go seeking them. I practice अजगर  व्रत (the conduct of  a huge serpent) and have given up anger and hatred, fear and greed, worries and desires and live a life without anxiety and I am happy.'

Interesting attitude. I had a feeling that in ancient times brahmins were normally well taken care of by the rest. Then again we know that Dronacharya was poor and his son did not even have milk to drink. 

1 comment:

Raghunath said...

The stop go nutrition of Brahmins was supported by the 'thrifty'gene. It is this gene that is accused of causing the explosive outbreak of dibetes mellitus amongst Brahmins since they do not have periods of deprivation nowadays.