I have been reading the Mahabharata over the last two decades but each time I read it, it never fails to amaze me by its vastness. But what really amazes me the most, is personality of the man himself, Lord Krishna. The enigma around this personality and his actions create a realm of awe around the entire Epic. I thought of sharing some of my perspectives with you here.
Krishna tells us about the many conflicts in a man’s life!
Conflict 1 : Man/Woman’s conflict with other people, “Sometimes you don’t like me and at times I don’t like you!”
Basically we have to deal with people & deal with faces which we aren’t very happy about and cannot reconcile with. It can be our spouse, family, friends, boss or even a subordinate. The fact that we aren’t able to accept them the way they are with their roles in our life and in a way trying to control the outcomes with them leads to conflicts. In Mahabharata, this is what we see when Duryodhana cannot make peace with the fact that even the Pandavas deserve their share of the kingdom, or the fact that Pitamah Bheeshma finds it impossible to break his vows to stop something wrong from happening in his presence.
Conflict 2 : Man and Nature
We can’t deny the fact that we have estranged ourselves from nature.If we were to observe just any one day of our daily lives, we realise that we are leading a life which is not very close to nature and are not heeding to our natural needs of mind, body and soul ! For example there are times when our body needs fresh air, rest, proper nutrition or our heart needs it’s share of care and love and we just fail to refill our mind, body and soul. Subconsciously, this leads to a conflict on personal and intra personal level by having ill effects on our mental & physical health. If you observe the Mahabharata through my eyes, you would realise that the projected villains were far away from the natural inherent human virtues like love, compassion, justice, courage and instead fell for their greed of position and decisions which elated their egos.
Conflict 3 : Social and Political conflicts
The social and political conflicts are bigger versions of a man’s conflict with the individual. It’s just the byproduct of our reduced tolerance, acceptance and patience towards each other’s ideologies, values and actions! Be it in the times of the Mahabharata or even today, we cannot deny the fact that the maximum wars have been fought for doctrinating their own ideologies over some others or establishing control over the other country or society. As I see it, Krishna in his teachings in various events of Mahabharata aims at making a Man understand the forces or Gunas which rule his composition i.e sattva (goodness, constructive, harmonious), rajas (passion, active, confused), and tamas (darkness, destructive, chaotic). He establishes the fact that No-one is perfect in the end. Every one has got varying amounts of the stated Gunas, which dominate his thoughts and actions at time. Even Yudihishtir, the most learned about Dharma, has his own limitations due to his austere principles. On the other hand, Duryodhana with his bad deeds and behaviour, had this quality of loving his brothers and even good friends above and beyond anything. So Krishna makes us understand that nobody at any point of time is perfect and can expect things to be perfect with him.
So how is it that we resolve our conflicts ?
Krishna through his teachings & actions gives us the best solutions for internal and external conflict management by explaining the Pancha Kleshas (the 5 obstacles) in a man’s progress in life.
The 5 Kleshas simply explained as:
Avidya means ignorance towards reality, philosophy of life, about one’s own self and the absolute (the supreme force) and this is the root cause of all others Kleshas too. Ignorance is the reason why we resist reality and fail to accept things as they are while striving for what we want with our lives. Furthermore, the ignorance towards the real goal of human life leads to increasing problems.
Asmita is nothing but ego and the perceptions we make about ourselves and others and find it difficult to rise above it for better vision of life. We have an image about ourselves in our minds viz “I in particular don’t like this, or can’t accept that” this at times makes us inflexible towards even the tiniest of things that we would easily adjust and move on with in life.
Raag, our cravings or the attachment of our minds and hearts towards our desires to the extent of making us desperate and anxious for the results.This leads to the negative flowchart of emotions which starts with the focused attention on results, instead of the efforts thus ending with failure to achieve the right results.
Dvesha, our aversion towards people and situations around us, causing higher levels of stress within. By our experiences, we hold grudges, hatred and dislikes. It’s like holding a piece of burning coal in hand to throw at someone and in turn get burnt hands. It just doesn’t help us, instead keeps on consuming our energies in negative direction attracting more negative things.
Abhnivesha, the feeling of being solely responsible for all the achievements and good things that happen to us, forgetting the other divine and practical forces’ participation. It’s normal human nature to feel proud of achievements but ignoring the fact that some energies or people have their roles behind our every achievement. It’s not only the lack of gratitude towards people but also the ego of having achieved things by one’s own self, which develops the ego.
So Krishna through various anecdotes, tells us to look within ourselves and overcome these obstacles within us and then experience the magic of being liberated from all our conflicts.
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