Mahabharata: Setting Boundaries, Standing Up for Yourself (90)
Mahabharata: Setting Boundaries, Standing Up for Yourself (90)

Summary:

Lesson 90 points out all life difficulties generally are traced to our mini-negligences which could've been avoided if taken time to think before acting. Then we learn how to standup for ourselves, and life never defeats us, rather we give permission to be defeated. Finally we discuss how to minimize jealousy and how to minimize damaged caused by another who is jealous of you.


REVISION FROM LAST SESSION:

  • Pāṇḍu's absence of alertness (which was available to him through his freewill), caused negligence.
    • Brings about unnecessary future loads/baggage. Some have minor/major penalties.
      • Inescapable consequences, whether virtuous or immoral person.
    • EG:
      • Cold call scam victims.
      • Over-confidence in driving skills: accident.
      • Cutting too fast in kitchen.
      • Walking mechanically: sprain ankle.
      • Breathing shallow: insufficient oxygen to brain.
      • Insufficient hydration: Tired.
      • Impulsive spending.
      • Driver over speeding 149km/h on highway. Pulled over by 4 police officers. All 4 officers killed by truck driver. Negligence operating at different levels here.
  • STORY: After Pāṇḍu's death, it was thought Yudhiṣṭhira should rule.
    • But Duryodhana thought he should rule because (1) he was eldest of Dhṛtarāṣṭra (2) He is not blind.
      • So Dhṛtarāṣṭra reluctantly agreed to crown Duryodhana as successive heir to throne. Knowing Yudhiṣṭhira was more qualified.
    • Dhṛtarāṣṭra also he gave piece of barren land to Pāṇḍavas.
      • QUESTION 1: Why Dhṛtarāṣṭra allowed Duryo to rule, knowing Yudhiṣṭhira was preferred by entire Hastinapur?
        • Common in families. We need to know how much our decisions are based on our love or loyalty for another. And how much is objective.
          • EG 1: Some parents submit to child's demands, but actually spoils the child.
          • EG 2: Friend doesn't firmly point out friend's stupidity out of fear of losing him/her. But rather laughs it off.
          • EG 3: Walking on beach, and guy emptied out packet of rubbish into ocean. Girlfriend clapped/cheered him.
          • EG 4: She doesn't stand up to his aggressiveness towards other men. Because she loves him.
        • Would you have done same for your son/daughter? Hence can't box Dhṛtarāṣṭra as “bad king”.
      • QUESTION 2: What made Yudhiṣṭhira accept the small land?
        • Firstly addressing implication of “fixed destiny” in LAST SESSION:
          • Student said: If Yudhiṣṭhira refused to take barren desert, then war would've come earlier then later. Also said, it's also about timing, and (there is time for everything).
            • REPLY IS:There is time for everything“, implies fate. Everyone's life is scripted.
              • Means Īśvara has a set plan for everyone. In which case, Īśvara becomes a sadist (enjoys seeing others suffer at their designed time!)
                • EG: When 4 police officers pulled over Mr P driving at 149km/h, and were hit by truck driver, this isn't result of some fate (meant of happen). But result of immediate/intermediary causes (will discuss later).
        • Human tendency: We create either/or. But in-between, we don't explore, nor think deeper.
          • We succumb to choices given to us, thus limit ourselves in hands of another figure we perceive as authoritative.
            • EG: Pāṇḍavas revered Dhṛtarāṣṭra as their own father, thus took his words as FINAL authority.
              • And suffered because they didn't question it in light of justice.
        • When we succumb, what happens?
          • Trains us to not think for ourselves. Rely on others to make decisions for us.
            • Justifies extreme versions of “Let go. Just surrender. Be in the NOW“.
          • Give license to another to dominate others in future.
        • SOLUTION: Standup for yourself.
          • EG: If woman stood up to sexual harassment, would train men what is acceptable behavior.
            • EG: Sydney woman in hospitality filed lawsuit for being spanked on butt.
          • Pressure? Don't take decision NOW. Wait tomorrow.

REVISION FINISHED – THIS WEEKS SESSION:

  • QUESTION 3: What is symbolism that Pāṇḍavas built Indraprastha from scratch?
    • Life never defeats We feel defeated. Pāṇḍavas started from scratch using free will. They made use of their skills and resources.
  • STORY CONTINUES: Seeing Pāṇḍavas success, Duryodhana burned with jealousy. Formed plots to eliminate Pāṇḍavas.
    • QUESTION: What is jealousy?
      • Insecure Feeling small, in contrast to another.
    • QUESTION: How to eliminate jealousy from our minds?
      • Step 1: Acknowledge “I am jealous“. When decision comes from irrationality, then it has no bases to reality.
        • Trying to lower another, is trying to feel better about oneself.
        • Inferiority creates a picture of someone superior. One will only criticize another in this situation.
      • Step 2: Address root cause of jealousy. Narrow down.
      • Step 3: Apply counter-thought. EG:What can I learn/be-inspired about this?
    • QUESTION: How to handle if someone jealous towards you?
      • Diffuse. Share your weaknesses.
      • If it affects your life, then draw the boundaries. Can't just say “It's just their problem“.

Keywords: bhagavad gita, pandu, ishvara, Yudhishthira, pandavas, dhritarashtra, Dhrtarastra

Recorded 25 Aug, 2020

 

5 Comments

  1. Georg on August 26, 2020 at 11:32 pm

    I find it interesting and confusing to contemplate about life is scripted versus life is result of immediate/intermediary causes.
    If we say life is a result of various causes, then to me that doesn’t negate life is scripted. If ishvara is the first cause of creation then all other causes are a result of it and thus not different from ishvara. If the causes are non different from ishvara, then it is all part of ishvara. If it is all part of ishvara then ishvara’s will is manifesting.

    The upside of this is that prophecies can be explained. If people in various ages foresaw major events happening, then this is only possible if they saw ishvara s will before it manifested.

    Does this imply that ishvara is a sadist? That is hard to say because life is fundamentally pleasing, assuming a certain level of physical amd mental health, comfort and family life is there.

    • mm Andre V on August 26, 2020 at 11:57 pm

      ========
      If we say life is a result of various causes, then to me that doesn’t negate life is scripted.
      ========

      The causes are result of other causes.

      Suppose Pāṇḍu hurt his toe. So he sits down to heal the wound. This alone would’ve made him not continue hunting. Thus would’ve not killed the sage.

      Or suppose some student needed Sage’s assistance that day. That would’ve made sage stay in āśrama, thus would’ve not been killed by Pāṇḍu.

      What I mean to demonstrate is, there are causes within causes, within causes. And THIS very reality is what we call intermediary/immediate causes (which will be discussed in next session).

      ========
      If ishvara is the first cause of creation then all other causes are a result of it and thus not different from ishvara. If the causes are non different from ishvara, then it is all part of ishvara. If it is all part of ishvara then ishvara’s will is manifesting.
      ========

      Īśvara is the first cause, yes. But the causes in the world have nothing to do with Īśvara.

      Just as petrol is the cause of the engine running in the car. Suppose person crashes the car due to person’s negligence of driving. Does person go to court and sue the petrol? No.

      Petrol is the very cause of the engine. But how the driver operates the vehicle has NOTHING to do with the petrol.

      ========
      The upside of this is that prophecies can be explained. If people in various ages foresaw major events happening, then this is only possible if they saw ishvara s will before it manifested.
      ========

      Prophecies have a 50/50. We only hear about those that came true. But which prophet enthusiastically advertises his failures?

      Prophecy comes true. Why? Because intermediary/immediate causes weren’t strong enough to cancel out the prophecy. But in most cases they do.

      ========
      Does this imply that ishvara is a sadist? That is hard to say because life is fundamentally pleasing, assuming a certain level of physical and mental health, comfort and family life is there.
      ========

      Again, Īśvara is not an entity with personal saṃskāras (likes/dislikes) dictating who is to lose a job and who is to keep it.

      Īśvara is value-neutral, just as petrol is to the car. Life is determined how driver (mind) operates the vehicle (body). But it’s only possible because of the petrol (Īśvara’s laws/orders like psychological/biological/cause-effect/etc)

  2. Georg on August 27, 2020 at 7:25 pm

    Thank you Andre for the quick and precise reply. I do believe that the 50:50 analogy for prophecies is a good one. We do have the freedom to change course and at the same time there are long term causes in effect that cannot be negated and thus can be seen by visionaries.

    • Dave on September 1, 2020 at 4:40 pm

      it was a big relief to know that life is not predestined. I was always thought that Ishwara being all knowing and all powerful and loving that he would not let his creation suffer because we worship him and do the right thing. i understand that everyone’s Karma is manifesting a universe that we see playing out in our view. If someone does us harm we can only be thankful that our past karma has been unfolded/effected via the other person

      • mm Andre V on September 1, 2020 at 5:17 pm

        Will be extensively covered with proper examples in next session.

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