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Friday, June 22, 2018

Think before you act - Maha Bharata Series 81

Dear friends, The previous blog (no 80) on Ahimsa was too long. Therefore, the blog posted on 6/15/2018 was incomplete. Please note that I added the reminder of the discussion between Jajali and Tuladhara in a blog posted on 6/20/2018. 

Section 257 and 258 (Sanskrit) and 266(English) has the story of one chirakarin. Chira in Sanskrit means delay and a person who delays is a chirakarin (one who acts slowly).

Yudhsitra asks how one can follow the commands of an elder (superior) if that command involved harming someone or some creature. Remember the story of Parasurama? How can one obey the elder in such a situation? Then comes the story of Chirakarin. His father orders him to kill his mother for having been unfaithful. Then there is a long passage in which Chirakarin thinks about how to reconcile  the duty to obey his father’s command with the cruelty and unethical act of  having to kill his own mother. He recounts all the reasons why father is sacred and his wishes have to be taken care of by the son. He then thinks about all the reasons why mother is sacred and should not be harmed. He thinks for so long that it is time for his father to return from his religious rituals and ablutions.

During this time, the father also was able to think and realizes how wrong he was in getting angry with his wife and how wrong he was in asking his son to kill her. (Obviously his mind was elsewhere). He hopes that Chirakarin thinks through, true to his character and does not harm his mother. He comes running and to his relief finds that Chirkarin has indeed been thinking the problem through and did not act in a hurry.

The final statement from Bhishma is “Reflect before you act” in the following words:

एवं सर्वेषु कार्येषु विमृश्य पुरुषस ततः
     चिरेण निश्चयं कृत्वा चिरं परितप्यते

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