Thursday, December 14, 2006


Everybody says pondering on the meaning of life is useless. They say "Just go with the flow". I agree. Sometimes I cannot resist the temptation of thinking about various things of life and how they happen and fall into place. How certain things happen only to certain people. What looks like chance from a quick glance isn't actually a chance. But instead a series of events driven by the attitude of the person consciously or subconsciously or subtly consciously.

Let me get to the point. One of the stories(epics) that influenced me greatly in life is that of Mahabharatha. I cannot emphasize enough as to how many incidents in life I could associate this epic with. There is one story where in Dronacharya asks his disciples, to focus at the eye of parrot before taking a shot at it with their bow and arrows. All his disciples, take their chance at it. When they are aiming, Dronacharya asks them what they see, one person says, he can see the leaves blocking the parrot, another person says he sees the clouds, only Arjuna says he sees nothing else except the parrots eye.

When I had heard this story as a kid, I dismissed it saying how could a person possibly see only the parrot's eye? Obviously he sees it(the parrot itself) or something around it. I didn't realize then the meaning of the statement. When a person desperately wants something and puts it on the top of his priority list everything else is insignificant. But life is usually such that for many people there is not one thing sitting on the priority list. So other things prevent him from shooting at the eye of the parrot(metaphorically). There is also a famous saying "where there is a will there is a way".

I know a person who worked for a certain number of years in the united states. He and his wife went back to India to start a company. However many things bothered them, their personal life, their values conflicted because of which they came back to US. If the person's only goal was to start the company(parrot's eye) he would have probably done it. However he saw the branches and the leaves which hindered him.

So getting back to Arjuna and in his goal to become the best archer in the world, Arjuna says that to Dronacharya and Dronacharya promises him that as long as he lives Arjuna will be the best archer. But Dronacharya is now confronted with ekalavya, who undoubtedly was more talented and skilled compared to Arjuna. Dronacharya realizes this and is now at a cross road, he can stick to his values and teach Arjuna the skills of archery. But someday Ekalavya would become better than Arjuna, and Dronacharya wouldn't be able to keep up the promise he made to Arjuna. So, now he prioritizes his promise and sets to get it by any means. He asks Ekalavya to forfeit his thumb as a "Guru-Dakshina" for having used some of his teachings. This was an act that is looked down upon, but Dronacharya did this to keep up his promise. I have heard of such incidents happening in life. People are at a cross-road between their goals and values. One of them had to be sacrificed to get the other. The person I was talking about who went back to India to start a company was also at such a cross-road.

There is one more parallel I am going to mention. Among many contenders that compete, the real winner , wages a battle not against the opponent but against himself. Against his own ego, to better what he had done before. He fights to improve his skill of fighting rather than defeating the opponent. The fight I am talking could be Archery, Football anything that needs skill and talent. He is never in the lime light but in his conscious there is not a sign of doubt that he is not the best. The whole world may not know him, he doesn't care. All he cares about is his ego. About convincing himself that he is the best.The person who is apparently the best person is usually insecure about this person. In Mahabhartha Ekalavya was the more skilled of the archers. This is what Ekalavya knew. He never displayed his skills until one day Dronacharya noticed it in the way he had disabled a rabies infected dog from harming anybody with his arrows. Many authors have brought up this subtle issue. Arthur Conan Doyle has done it in Sherlock Holmes, where he portrays the brother of Sherlock Holmes as the smarter logician but doesn't care to display his talent to the world. Ayn Rand has done it in her famous book "Fountain Head". Here, the best student of the class "Peter Keating" knows that he is not the best but is infact another person who doesn't care what the world thinks about him. All he thinks is about satisfying himself and architecture. Not surprisingly, this person Howard Roarke is the protagonist of the Novel.

People in real world do this subconciously or consciously. Some people sacrifise their values for high goals and some people sacrifise it quite often. Men do this. Women do this. Men do it usually for ego and women do it usually for comfort, security and more materialistic results. I am not judging men or women. I dont think sacrifising for ego is a better cause than sacrifising for materialistic result or the vice versa. I think this is a point I observed. There are other parallels that I observed, which I may mention in another blog. What is the point of this blog? Nothing? Yes, Nothing!! Please scroll up and read the first line :)


Anonymous Rekha said...

Nice blog :) Very interesting!

9:42 AM  

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