Saturday, October 22, 2016

883. Are you GOOD or BAD???

Shaitan or Satan has no place in Sanatana Dharma. Unlike the other Abrahminical philosophies we in Hinduism do not have an opposite to GOD. Hence we unknowingly attribute the so-called “terrible” incidence we might experience to the play of God. One can understand if kids feels so as usually parents tell them if they behave well, God will reward them and if they behave badly, God is reprimand them. However, it is astonishing when even the grown-up adults think so. There is a need to get a little deeper into this predicament. 

When explaining Arjuna about His presence Sri Krishna tells “I am the Gambling of the cheat” What does this mean??? As I understand it means that the gambling instinct present within an individual who cheat others is an attribute of Sri Krishna present within the person who has cheating instinct. We all know gambling is bad and it was proved in Mahabharatha in the game of dice. If so, why did Sri Krishna tell Arjuna so???

We have a story in Srimad Bhagavatham that clears the doubt. It is the story of King Shibi, an ancestor of Shri Rama. He was known for his truthfulness and justice.     

Once when the king was alone in the balcony a pigeon flew towards him and sat on his shoulder. The pigeon said, “O King, save my life, I have come under your shelter.”

The King said, “Have no fear. Relax in peace, I promise to protect you.” 

Immediately an eagle landed on the rails of the balcony and said, “O King, I am after my hunt. Please release the bird so that I can appease my hunger.”

King Shibi could comprehend the point in eagle’s demand. In protecting the pigeon he was depriving the eagle its rightful prey! He decided to resolve the issue by offering equal weight of flesh from his body as food to the eagle. The King asked for the balance and in one pan of the balance the pigeon was kept and on the other pan a large chunk of flesh from the right thigh. But strange as it might seem, the pan with the pigeon always stayed down! Thus almost whole of the right half of the King’s body was cut. Still the weight could not be equalled. The King started to cut from the left side of his body. This ultimate sacrifice of Shibi was unparalleled in the history. 

Suddenly the eagle and the pigeon disappeared and in their places stood the Dharmaraja, God of death and Indra, the King of heavens. Both were pleased with the King’s truthfulness and justice. King Shibi had passed the ultimate test to uphold Dharma, a true duty of a king. 

The key issues raised in the story is the classic Dharma Sankata (Moral Ambiguity) faced by the King. In saving the pigeon the King might have earned “Good” label by the pigeon but at the same time he would be “Bad” from the perception of the eagle. Had he given away the pigeon to the eagle he was “Good” to eagle and “Bad” to the pigeon. 

Now the action of the King neither deprived the eagle its meal not put the pigeon in danger. The action we undertake is which is applicable to a day to day situation as conveyed by the story that decides if the purpose of our existence is termed “Good or Bad”. 

How can we label God is “Good or Bad” if we do not sense the subtle moral ambiguity that is required to be answered before we perform any action?

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