Monday, March 25, 2019

1253. Weak Point in a Strong Person....

I came across a sentence “He is a good person, but anger is his “Achilles Heel”. It was the first time I had heard of this phrase Achilles Heel. Later I could understand that this expression “Achilles heel” refers to a weakness in spite of overall strength, which can lead to downfall. Also I learnt that there is a tendon which connects the calf muscle to the heel bone. This tendon is called “Achilles Tendon” and is crucial to the ability to walk, jump and rise up on the toes.

Is there any connection between phrase “Achilles Heal” and “Achilles Tendon” I wished to explore and started to read about it. I found that the phrase originates from the Ancient Greek fable of the hero Achilles. When Achilles was born an oracle foretold that he would be famous but would die young. Worried mother Thetis dipped the infant in the River Styx which was believed to confer immortality by holding him by his heels.

Achilles grew up to be a man of war who survived many great battles. One day, a poisonous arrow shot at him was lodged in his heel, killing him. Because of this legend, the term “Achilles Heel” has come to mean a point of weakness, especially in someone who otherwise is of strong constitution.

This legendary story remains me of the Great War of Kurukshetra. It was almost nearing the end and all the brothers of Duryodhana were killed. It was the 17th night of the war. Gandhari never bless Duryodhana to be “Be Victorious” as she always uttered “May you have long life” whenever Duryodhana sought blessings.

On the 17th night when Duryodhana went to his mother’s chamber she blessed him long life. Gandhari wanted her only surviving son to be alive. She knew that her son had to take on Bhima in an one to one mace fight the next morning and she could feel the ominous vibes that her son stood no chance against Bhima who was beaming with confidence after killing Dussasana. Gandhari asked Duryodhana to appear before her completely naked in the morning after taking bath.   

The all-knowing Sri Krishna accosted Duryodhana the next morning when he was on his way to meet his mother naked and asked him where he is going completely naked. When Duryodhana explained Sri Krishna about his mother’s order, Sri Krishna advised that since he was an adult it is highly inappropriate to appear before his mother in that manner. And further advised Duryodhana to at least cover his genital area.
Duryodhana immediately cover his lower part with a banana leaf and went into his mother’s chamber. Gandhari received him and then she told him that she was going to open her blindfold for the first time since her marriage and look at him for the first time. So saying she removed the blindfold to have a look at her son.

Gandhari had focused all her yogic powers obtained by the severe penance in following her husband and remaining blindfold for years since her husband was devoid of vision. She wished that when her sight fell on the body of Duryodhana it would became strong as iron. To her dismay she saw that the lower part of Duryodhana was covered, the whole body except the covered area was not strong as iron.

Later Gandhari came to know that it was Sri Krishna who had advised her son to cover the lower part of the body. And in the battle between Bhima and Duryodhana on the banks of Lake Dwaipayana, Duryodhana was hit on the thigh by the mace. Though the entire body was strong as iron that groin area was weak and Duryodhana fell dead. 
Achilles Heels and Duryodhana Groin both weak points…

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

1252. Happiness is in the Inner Fulfilment...

Can anyone define what happiness is? Is happiness got from a fixed source or is it a different thing to different individuals? Is the source of happiness in pursuing education, obtaining a degree, finding a good job, having charming wife, bringing up nice children, being in perfect health and many more such stages? It is normal to believe that approaching these stages in life would get us happiness. Whatever is done to reach the stages is ultimately for acquiring happiness. In this process we take utmost care not to indulge in any kind of act that might make us unhappy.

Astonishingly for a rug picker though what he does is unpleasant to others, he hopes that whatever he picks from the garbage will fetch him something to feed himself and his family. Likewise a businessman too trade with his goods to earn and through it he is happy. The objective is the same for both the rug picker and a business magnet.

Amazingly though the objective is same what makes one happy need not necessarily make another also happy, happiness source varies. A few are after name and fame to feel happy, anonymity brings satisfaction to the one who is spiritually inclined. So there are different things that make different people happy. Hence it becomes difficult to have a common definition of what makes one happy and also there is no particular device to measure happiness so got. Though the objective of everyone to be happy is same, happiness itself is subjective. It is a state of inner fulfilment and is never the same at all times. If a cup of hot coffee makes me happy on a chilly day, I would prefer cold lassi on a humid day. Even on identical conditions the outcome may be different at different times, hot tea is preferred instead of hot coffee or cold badam milk is better for some instead of a glass of lassi.

Astoundingly in some cases the choices that we make thinking it would bring happiness may not really fetch it. For example, a change in job with more income or shifting to a bigger home in a newer locality or making new friends do not guarantee happiness, in fact they may even result in a desire to revert to old situations. Even earning more does not guarantee happiness as money beyond a threshold point has diminishing returns. The comfort level that money can buy stops at some stage. Then how does money get us happiness? If the wealth is shared after a point when our needs are taken care, to bring comfort to larger number of people then there is happiness. It is not the money that gives happiness but what we do with it does. Likewise it is not the job we are into that matter but how it benefits others is the point. This is what brings greater mental satisfaction. The bottom line for sustained happiness beyond the initial satisfaction is what we do for others in view of the larger good, than what we do for ourselves.

Happiness cannot be measured as it varies from period to period, person to person, place to place. “Happiness has nothing to do with material things or with man’s outward circumstance. A man living in the lap of luxury can be wretched, and a man in the depth of poverty can overflow with joy.” It is for each individual to identify what brings happiness without causing unhappiness to others and pursue it. But one thing can be said with reasonable certainty, happiness is contagious. If we are with happy people, our mind also gets pulled to the path of deriving happiness.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

1251. Blessing from all corners.....

Ashirwad is a Sanskrit word meaning “to bless” and it is got from elders. If the same emotion is received from a younger it is “Manokamana” (Wish). In ancient times in our culture whenever an elder and younger met they greeted each other with the younger bowing his head in respect or touching the feet and the elder responding with the words  “Deerghayushman Bhava” (May you live long). Best to remember that our elders wish us well always so that we be respectful to them always in thought, word and deed.

There are instances when someone gives Ashirwad to unknown person, the outburst will be spontaneous. The elderly person pours out the emotion by blessing from heart so that the receiving persons work or desires is fulfilled. Not always a person feels like blessing and if he does, the blessing stands as a armour to fight against negativity and aid to take the person towards success. Blessing has the way to express wishes from one heart to another. 

The is nothing to be gained by blessing. But in a few cases blessing is proffered for monetary gains. At the time of marriage or baby shower a group of eunuch barge in at the function and express their wish to bless the couple or the expecting mother. They demand money for the blessing they have “offered”. Even some of the Mathadipathis are ready to bless if they are monetarily taken care. But not all are so, the centenarian Saalumarada Thimmakka, who has earned the sobriquet of “Vriksha Mathe” for planting thousands of trees in Karnataka while receiving Padmashri award from President Ram Nath Kovind extended her hand to place it on the head of the president to bless him. While looking at this I was overjoyed, this act of hers was so spontaneous and she felt that all the virtues she had earned by planting so many trees had to be channelized to the head of the country. 

It is a providence to receive blessings, not all are eligible. It can be Gods favour or a persons sanction for which one is grateful. To receive such blessing is also a Sukruta (Fortune). There is belief that the existence of an energy we call God keeps releasing positive vibration in this universe. My mother always referred to “Astu Devata” (which later I came to know were the Ashwini Twins) who keep saying “Tathastu” (Let it happen). It was a wonderful was to keep negative thoughts away. It was to say think positive always. The thoughts in our mind hanker for the blessings. The conceptualisation of Astu Devata is such a motivator to have only positive kind of thoughts in our mind.

Praying is to surrender and make assured of a blessing. So eventually we pray for blessing means we believe in the fact that we are constantly getting positive vibes from somewhere called God who is both the inspiration as well as benefactor. When we say “Stay blessed” it means that you recieve getting that positive vibes and everything around is positive. That definitely cracks how our brain works. When we practice thinking positive, things turn out to be easy to handle. Its only possible through constant practice of positive thinking and one motivation for that could be a desire to be a very good human being from the very within. Constantly commanding the mind to think positive and that is how it starts to take things positive and easy. And for those kind of souls there is blessing coming from all corners.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

1250. Surrender is not weakness....!

In a village a cowherd used to take his cows to the edge of a forest to graze. It was a routine for him to take the cows from the village every morning and return back at the sunset. It so happened that one day a cow which strayed away a bit got separated from the herd. Alone it lost its way and went deeper into the jungle. Suddenly the cow heard the roar of a lion. The cow turned back to notice a huge lion rushing towards it. The cow fled fearing that at any moment the lion might sink its canine into her jugular vein. The cow knew it cannot run faster than the lion and looked for some way to escape. At last the cow saw a shallow pond and without a second thought it jumped into the pond. In the heat of the chase, the mighty lion blindly leaped after the cow.

To the astonishment that pond turned out to be a pool filled with deep recesses of sticky mud. After toppling over each other the cow and the lion found themselves a short distance apart stuck in the slurry of mud up to their neck. With their heads above the slush they were unable to free themselves no matter how much they writhed. The more they wiggled the deeper they slipped.

The lion feeling frustrated snarled at the cow and roared in fury. It cursed itself for chasing the cow and falling in a helpless situation. The lion became fretful as he found no prospect of getting out of the muddy grave.

The cow thoughtfully smiled as the lion struggled to free himself and asked him, “Do you have a master?”

The lion was taken back and scornfully replied, “How dare you ask that to the king of the jungle??? I myself am the master!”

The cow said, “I know you are the king of the jungle, but neither your crown nor your throne is of any help to you here now. Your lordship has failed to save your life.”

“And you are also in the same situation, you are no special.” remarked the lion. “You are also going to die in this mud along with me.”

The cow smilingly said, “My dear king, I will not die here. I very well know that I cannot free myself from this mud, but my master can get me out. At sunset my herd will return to the shed and my master finds me absent among the herd, he will definitely come searching for me. Once he finds me stuck here he will pull me out and take me home.”

The lion remained silent and coldly glared at the cow which was indifferent to the situation. Soon the sun began to set and at the twilight the cowherd arrived with a lantern in his hand. He immediately recognized the plight the cow was in and threw a rope around its horns and pulled her to safety. As they walked home the cow and its master both felt renewed gratitude for each other and pitied the lion. The cowherd would have been happy to save the lion, only if it had slowed him to.

This is not just a story to narrate some moral theme, but a spiritual guidance. Here the  cow represents the surrendered mind and the lion depicts an egoistic mind. The cowherd is Nandagopala, the universal master. The slurry mud is the materialistic world and the wriggling is the struggle for existence. 
We hear that it is good to be independent and not rely on anyone in life, but we always need someone as mentor who will be always be on the lookout for us like the cowherd. 

To have someone does not mean one is weak, it is just that with a mentor the emotional energy is strengthened.