Wednesday, 23 July 2014

It's All In The Mind - A philosophical post inspired by Mahabharata By Suresh Chandraskaran

 The moment I think of entertainment or humor the first name that hits my mind is Suresh Chandraskaran and I am sure you all will agree with me !  Suresh Chandraskaran needs no introduction , he has made  us all  laugh and at times think deep with his philosophy .  "It's All In The Mind " is a philosophical post inspired by Mahabharata and I am privileged to have Suresh Chandraskaran of " Life is Like This "  today as a guest blogger ,who after my humble request agreed to do the honors. 

#philosophy #mahabharata #guestblogging #lifeislikethis #storytelling #humor #entertainment 


There is a beautiful story in the Mahabharata. After the Kurukshetra war, Yudhishtira conducts an AswamedhYagnaat the end of which he holds a grand feast and distributes wealth. Everyone is all praise for his generosity and the grandeur of the feast. A half-golden mongoose comes in and rolls in the left-overs and, then, bewails that the acts of charity and hospitality were less than nothing compared to the one he had seen. The incensed Pandavas ask the mongoose about what he considered the best. In reply to which he tells this tale.

There was a Brahmin who lived with his wife, son and daughter-in-law in the area of Kurukshetra. He adhered to the dharma of living only off his daily alms (UncchaVritthi). Due to a severe famine in the area he was unable to find alms for a few days. Then, one day, he got a handful of barley to feed his entire family. Just as the family was about to sit for their poor meal, a hungry stranger landed at their home as a guest. To feed the guest, the Brahmin sacrificed his portion. The guest still looked on hungrily and was offered the Brahmin’s wife’s portion as well. Still unsatiated, he was then offered the son’s portion and, then, the daughter-in-law’s portion as well. The satisfied guest then revealed himself to be the Lord of Dharma and said, “I am pleased by your unstinting adherence to your dharma. You are freed from the unending cycle of births.”

The mongoose continued, “Such was the magnificence of their sacrifice, that the small quantity of barley powder that had spilled around turned half my body to gold. In vain have I been going from sacrifice to sacrifice, hoping to turn my body fully golden but, alas, not even your sacrifice has matched up to the sacrifice of that Brahmin family.” The mongoose was the Lord of Dharma who had come down to keep his son, Yudhishtir from treading the path of arrogance.

To assume that the story is only about the fact that the extent of sacrifice is all about how much you deprive yourself of and not merely one of how much you give is to get but half the point. The point of the story is also about the fact that the Brahmin family had set its values well above their own needs to survive. If it were not that unswerving adherence to their dharma was so solidly set in their minds, it would not have been possible for them to hand over the last bit of food that was keeping them from starvation.

Virtue or sin does not lie in what you do. It lies in WHY you do what you do and THAT is all in the mind. We think of Bhishma and Karna as virtuous, even though they fought on the side of Duryodhan. It was not what they did but the reason why they did it that makes them virtuous. To be truthful, with an intent to use the truth to hurt someone, is no virtue and to lie, with the sole intent of saving lives, is no sin.

To adjudge another person’s virtue from his thoughts are not possible for you and, therefore, Social norms are all set based on action and not based on motives – though, where motives can be assessed from the WAY the actions are carried out, laws do treat people differently. THAT fact does not mean that we can absolve ourselves of sin based on our actions – we do know our motives and, if the motive is wrong, the act is sinful.

As with happiness, Sin and Virtue are also based on what is in the mind.