So much for my enthusiasm yesterday. I really thought that I would have become a professional web designer by this time today – unfortunately there seems to be something that I am missing. I can’t seem to tweak the website that I have been given to get the graphic page that I want. I’m stuck for the day and I think I’ll take a break now. Maybe wait for S to get back to me so that I can drill him with more boring questions.
It was also my brother’s birthday today – always a happy occasion. I look back to all those times in the past when I was consumed with dread for my brother – true, he wasn’t ever as academically successful as I was and I have always felt it my responsibility to bring unto him an ‘awakening’ of some sort. I needn’t have worried, I was just projecting my own fears onto him. He’s still lazy but he has everything that’s needed to make it. I see it in the set of friends that he hangs out with, in the interactions that they have with each other, in the way he carries himself and in the way he treats and cares for other people. He is my brother after all! 🙂
Now that I am not working on the website for the time being, I opened up Stephen Covey‘s Seven habit’s of highly effective people. I have started reading the book some five times by now – but for many reasons has never completed it. This is quite unlike me – I never leave books incomplete – no matter how boring . This does not mean that I don’t think the book is great. Given that I have always been condescending towards these self help – management success books, I was quite struck by the quality of his thoughts. I think, for me, the best thing is that book does not claim instant success – He does not say do this and you’ll be rich tomorrow; practice this and you’ll be surrounded by friends the next day. Instead, he argues for permanent qualities like character, honestly, sincerity and constant education – things that I myself hold dearly in my life. In fact, I am starting to find the Bhagavad Gita everywhere – have no doubt – the reasons our values remain time honored ‘values’ are because they work. Implementing them in our life is of course, neither easy nor rapid.
I want to one day be able to write about the Bhagavad Gita – at this point, I don’t think I know enough to be able to sermon anyone. In the very low probability event that someone accidentally stumbles on this site, I don’t wanna be seen spreading misinformation. But here are some of my thoughts on the Gita:
The context is this: There is about to be a great war, it’s the climax to one of the greatest epics in human history – the Mahabharata. The Pandavas after decades of ‘injustice’ are at war with the Kauravas who are also their first cousins. On the battle field, Arjun, the greatest warrior dude of the time, falls limp at the thought of having to slaughter all the people that he grew up with – there is also his grandfather, his teacher and other people who literally raised him. This is not a battle between nameless faceless people, this is a war among kith and kin. There is guaranteed to be all out sorrow in the end. Arjun tells his friend, charioteer and great soul Krishna his thoughts – he tells him that it would be better to be selfless at this point and give up right now, than to fight a losing battle. He tells krishna that he’d rather go back and live a hermit than to do this ‘crime’.
Now here’s the great paradox of the Gita – Arjun, by all standards – past and present; will be seen as a noble soul, who does not want to inflict suffering upon other people – who instead of fighting a bloody war, wants peace. Who doesn’t want peace? If Pakistan comes up tomorrow and tell’s India: lets’s not keep fighting and inflict disaster on both sides of the border. We give up – keep kashmir for yourself and let us focus on reviving our economies, teaching our poor and preparing for the future. Enjoy kashmir and good luck with it!! wouldn’t the international community upload Pakistan for it’s noble selfless act that put an end to a bloody war? (What if India were the one to make the same gesture? Would Indian’s think the same? Would the international community respond in the same manner? )
The fact that it was Arjun who raised this and not someone else has a lot of significance for the context: Arjun is part of the Pandavas who are the good guys and protagonists of the story, he is a very able warrior – perhaps the best, he has defeated almost everyone who he has come into contact with – this includes God’s, demon’s and other star warriors. The Kauravas are terrified of Arjun more than anyone else. If anyone can defeat the Kauravas by himself, it’s definitely this dude. So the fact that it is a great warrior who has raised this point has a lot of significance, if it had been anyone else, History would have judged him a coward, who perhaps spoke of his own fear of mortality than out of genuine compassion. This isn’t some puny weakling who is now wanting to avoid a war, but a great warrior.
Krishna responds differently, shocking Arjun. He enunciates the tenets of the Gita – which the way I see it is a philosophy to lead life and succeed emotionally and mentally. I should stop here – I don’t know much else to comment upon. But perhaps I should think of starting a blog on the Bhagavad Gita – maybe do one shloka a day – that would be a great intellectual feat and something that can genuinely help others. But this requires a lot of thought and planning. But doable of course.
This brings me to my own attraction for the Gita. You see, twice in my life I have fallen victim to depression – not the serious persistent kind, but the kind that is onset by an event and goes away in like a month. But during this time I am in terrible agony and thinks constantly of suicide. I now know why I fall into these mental ‘traps’ and I find that the key is to be able to uplift myself mentally. This is the task 5 that I have set forth on day 1. The Gita might be just the thing. Let’s see.
I should be writing a post on my depression soon – but it’s a personal post and is always a pain to get to. But let’s see, I can no longer avoid it.