Spot your weakness and learn from Mahabharata

We all have weaknesses. There may be several minor weaknesses of no major consequence. However, a few critical ones could prove to be very costly. These could result in total disaster for the individual as well as others dealing with him. This is what the story of Mahabharata teaches us. Let us see how:
Let us begin with Yudhishtira. He had several strengths, the major one being his high regard for Dharma. His major weakness? To my mind it’s his weakness for conventions. Let me explain. Duryodhana conspired and plotted against Pandavas throughout and it all started with the game of dice. He challenged Yudhishtira to play a game of dice. Yudhishtira, sensing some foul play, refused to oblige initially. However, Duryodhana insisted citing a convention among khatriyas according to which a khatriya cannot refuse a challenge from another. It was only a convention and not a law. However, Yudhishtira is not the one to flout norms and conventions. So, he accepted the challenge knowing fully that it was a part of a bigger conspiracy. We all know too well the disastrous consequences.

Let us now consider the story of Dhritarashtra. He was blind both literally and figuratively. His weakness was for his son who was harbouring ill-will against pandavas and was bent on usurping the kingdom which rightly belonged to Yudhishtira and the pandavas. Dhritarashtra’s blind love for his unrighteous and jealous son was the reason for Duryodhana carrying out his plots unchecked which eventually led to the war.

Gandhari’s weakness is even more intriguing. Her main weakness was for her husband. As a devoted wife(Pativrata), she preferred to blindfold herself since she did not want to see the world which her husband could not see. What a disastrous decision that proved to be! If her husband was blind, it was all the more a reason for her to act as his eyes. She ought to have kept her eyes open and helped her husband ‘see’ reason. Instead she chose to do the opposite. The result was that Duryodhana and his notorious siblings missed out on the benefits of motherly care and guidance.

Modern day psychologists have proved that a mother’s gaze on her children can do wonders on their development. Her gaze can offer love and affection. In addition, it’s the critical piercing gaze that would make an infant realize that something is not right with what he or she is doing.
Both Pandavas and Kauravas were born into cultured royal families with values. There is no reason for only Pandavas to be righteous in their conduct. The blame for this lies squarely with Gandhari who chose to stay blind out of weakness for her blind devotion for her husband in the name of following Pativrata dharma!

My final example is of Arjuna. His compassion for his kith and kin before the start of the war was misplaced. Mercifully, Krishna was there by his side to expose his weakness. He was taught Bhagavadgita by the Lord and that helped him get clarity. Arjuna’s weakness was a boon to the entire humanity. Thanks to Arjuna’s confusion, today we have with us the great treasure called Bhagavadgita!

Mahabharata is full of stories of people with one weakness or the other. Here I have highlighted only the key weaknesses which led to a major tragedy to the entire dynasty. Parikshit was the sole survivor after the war and its aftermath.

Let us learn from Mahabharata and Bhagavadgita and get rid of our weaknesses, for we’re only as strong as our weakest links.

Published in: on September 13, 2015 at 3:43 pm  Leave a Comment  
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