at the end of the great war


Barbarika was woefully shocked to see the impact war has created. Perhaps he regretted why he wished to participate in such duel between two of the biggest armies of the ancient civilisation. Battlefield becomes the biggest loser in any war and it was evident there. The head of Barbarika with its flesh and cells was still active and witnessing the war nearing its conclusion.

Sage Vyasa was on the rescue operation, saving spirits still intact and ensuring a smooth departure of those who could not hold the body of soldiers died fighting heroically. The majority of soldiers who died would be forgotten. Those who survived would take years to heal. They, from both sides, unconditionally fought for their leaders, for the crown of Hastinapur, ignorant to the gain from victoriousness. Barbarika’s peculiar wish was about to end. He had witnessed enough of the war with his living head, without the body, remained after his own sacrifice. He might be appraising sage’s effort post-war, but would probably regret watching these all.

Before Barbarika’s liberation, sage Vyasa approached him and asked “your special boon granted by Krishna is about to over now. We thank you for keeping your pain intact and being alive in last eighteen days. However, before your salvation, we would like to hear from you about the war, about the hero of the war, about all you witnessed”

“I am grateful that lord Krishna granted me such a wish” Barbarika replied ” however, had I know the damage this war created, I would have wished otherwise” Barbarika took a deep breath, slowly blinking his eyes and continued “In the beginning I was thrilled to be part of this war, I wanted to show my strength and the art I learned in so many years. I never thought of the cause of war, or even the outcome, the gains and the pains. The only thing was there in my mind was the duty of a warrior. However, after witnessing the great war, I am thankful that Krishna had given me an opportunity to sacrifice myself and not being part of this loathful conflict”

Barbarika looked into the eyes of Sage Vyasa, who seemed not surprised by Barbarika’s comments as if he knew the inevitable pains of post-war damages. “Just before the war I saw humans standing on the battlefield, some of them are with purpose, ready to fight for a cause. Some of them were just following their respective leaders ignorant to both cause and gain of winning the war. Some were warriors, well prepared, looked like they are born for this day. Some looked like they know everything, the cause, righteousness and amiss, still taken one side” Barabarika said with a satirical smile and continued.

“Just as the war began I saw an illumination equivalent to thousand suns in the center. I felt the unbearable heat of that energy, and it was difficult to glaze over it. I noticed thousands of arms emerging out of that energy releasing Sudarshan Chakra in all directions. Then I witnessed ‘Kali’ roaming around collecting beheaded heads all over the field”

Barkarika took a pause and concluded “I saw only two persons in the field- Krishna with Sudarshana Chakra and Kali with hunger to decimate everything”

” Now I am ready to leave for salvation” said Barbarika ” But before that can I ask you a question Maharishi?”

Sage Vyasa nodded the permission. Barbarika asked, “Would Pandavas be happy after winning this war?”

Vyasa smiled and replied ” You know the answer my dear invincible Barbarika. You saw Krishna and Kali everywhere, that is the destiny. Pandavas followed Krishna in the war not for happiness. They fought to establish Dharma for righteousness”

Barbarika was now ready to depart from his deteriorating remains of the body, he took a deep breath probably the last one.

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IS ONLY KARMA ENOUGH?


I was referring Bhagvad Gita in some other context and found that its philosophy is a great tool for personal effectiveness and success in life. In one word in which this holy book could be summarized is ‘Karma Yoga’. I tried to make some inferences related with philosophies of ‘Karma yoga’ in context on our personal and professional life. The question I tried to find answer for was how the philosophy of Gita can enhance my personal effectiveness and ensure a sure success in life?

In chapter 2,47; lord Krishna says “Only your rights to perform your prescribed duty are in your control, however, the fruits of your action are not. Therefore never consider yourself as the cause of the result of your activities and at the same time never attach yourself with inaction”. Action without attaching yourself to the fruits of action is a concept however at the same time lord says “direct your actions towards the supreme or ultimate goal of life, the Moksha. In our context the ultimate goal of life could be the real goal we want to achieve in this life. The goal of life could be anything depending upon personal choice. I want to become a CEO, or I want to be the best musician, sportsperson etc, or some short-term goal like I want to become sales and marketing head in next 5 years, or some financial goal like I want to have a worth of 100 cr assets in next 7 years or goals something else, measurable, individualistic of your own. If I extend the inferences of Bhagvad Gita’s Karma yoga, the starting point is focus on your karma.

To meet your goal of life you have to do set of sub goals which will direct you towards ultimate goal. Each sub goal need certain set of activities and the quality of performance of these set of activities are in your full control; however, the results of these set of activities may defer as you wish, as Gita says the fruits of your action is not in your control. So, it’s difficult to stay on the path to ultimate goal with such uncertainty in between. The Gita further says that you must act like a yogi, thus perseverance is must. How to deal with failures in between? In such situation Gita says take both success and failures with reasons firm and free from any doubt (Chapter 5, 9). In this context even rejoices of success can divert you from ultimate goal.

Next question is even if one is not attached with results in between activities and ultimate goal, how should one ensure the desired result in between to certain the ultimate result, which matters? Between activities and its results there is a natural process which is not in our control. This natural process consist of the environmental factors, quality of system in which the activity is performed, the activities and results of other individuals etc. To understand this let us take an example; suppose I want to drive home safely. In this case my quality of work is the driving skill, speed, following traffic rules, condition of vehicle like brakes, petrol etc. The quality of work is in my full control in this case. Now let’s assume there comes a sudden rain, roads become slippery and another individual, whose quality of driving in not in your control skids his car and smashes with yours. Now, even with my activities were in place, I could not control the outcome I desired. This is natural process, which is why the concept of luck or chance exists. Bhagvad Gita, gives a solution in the form of devotion to your work and believe in supreme. In chapter 3, 11 and 12; lord advises that do ‘yagya’ which will elevate demigods and in return they will fulfill your wishes even without asking for it. This needs proper analysis to understand in our context.

‘Yagya’ actually represent two things 1) your contribution to the natural process, the environment, the society etc 2) devotion with trust. In Hindu mythology the ‘Yagya were performed to get a certain result like rain, parenthood, or health etc. The context is changed, along with quality of activities; we need devotion and trust in supreme. We must also make sure that our activities should not negatively influence the environment and other individuals surrounding us. The people who does not believe in supreme power may devote them self to the Karma and trust them self to get the same ‘Yagya’ done.

So the karma yoga can be summarized in two actions 1) focus on quality action with devotion and trust in supreme or our inner self 2) Positive contribution to natural process.

GOLDEN LEAVES


I saw a young man in hurry to catch the local train with a purpose. Then I saw a young boy moving his buffaloes in open field to feed them and enjoying alone by playing with a cricket ball. I also sew a sweet young couple moving along a village road, calm and cool without any talk. I see lot of similar and different people moving around with and without a purpose with some or other emotion without demonstrating any. Then I ask few questions to myself. Who among those are happy? Who among those going to create history? Who among those is both successful and satisfied with his or her success? Who among those inherited a lot to make his given identity and who’s going to create the same?
Then I saw a huge vegetation of forest land with dry but golden leaves waiting to disappear just before fall. I got some clue and some of my answer. The trees and disappearing golden leaves signify completion of a life cycle and transformation into a new one. End is not the right word so I am using completion which is destined. Good or bad, fruitful or fruitless the trees will lose their leaves. However; just before disappearing, leaves become golden representing prosperity which seems to be notional but actually not. Philosophically completion is good as it is followed by transformation and reincarnation and sets a fresh start. So in the end (actually at the completion) everything is good. All of my questions remain insignificant at this conclusion. Is that what Bhagvad Gita says as ultimate detachment?
I tried to derive the answer from Bhagvad Gita itself. The building block of human life cycle, philosophically, can be categorized into inherited wealth (money, language, religion, society etc. at the time of birth), learning (knowledge, attitude, skills, insights etc), Application of learning (KARMA), Wealth creation (Knowledge, money, language, religion, society etc) and finally dissipating wealth. In the whole process there is no physical gain. That’s why Gita questions attachment with physical gains. There should not be any confusion with inactivity. As there is a gain, the golden leaves, and the base of reincarnation, called spiritual gain. Spiritual gain comes from KARMA, the right activity for right purpose, the DHARMA, the ultimate goal. (DHARMA is not religion specific; it means the ultimate goal of human being). To know KARMA, adequate knowledge and adequate health is required to apply knowledge. This is where inheritance becomes important which is basically BHAGYA, the luck and it’s not in any one’s hand. So the only thing left is KARMA to gain real wealth. So the sights I mention in first paragraph have no difference. The real difference if can be measured with spiritual gains it would have been very easy to answer all my doubts. Even though, if I assume happiness close to spiritual gain, it’s almost impossible to decide by just watching. The rural boy playing with cricket ball and buffaloes could be happier than the chairman of a multi billion dollar company. Its difficult, so no measurement, no confusion. At the completion every things going to look like same, like golden leaves. Let’s gain a better root to make sure the new leaves waiting to sprout is more beautiful and healthy.