The beauty about the Mahabharata, is that there are many profound anecdotes embedded in the fabric of the story, some in mainstream versions, some in folklore. The purpose of these tales is really to give a deeper understanding of the characters, and more importantly, a deeper understanding of ourselves. They act as windows through which one can peep into one’s own personality. To argue about their historic genuineness would be to completely miss the whole point of these parables.
Once, Krishna asked Duryodhan to bring before him one completely good person, without a spot of evil. Duryodhan, who usually did not take Krishna seriously, oddly took interest in this project. He set off on his chariot to search for the perfect human being. After combing his entire kingdom, he came back and confidently announced to Krishna that there was absolutely no one.
“Not even your cousin the gentle Yudhishtir?” asked Krishna, surprised.
“No – and firstly he is not my cousin. He is a Kaunteya. And secondly, it is simply not possible for anyone to be perfect. Even in apparent spotless characters, there lurks a little bit of the devil. No Krishna, no one is completely good, and certainly Yudhishtir has evil in him!” concluded Duryodhan.
Krishna had, in parallel, asked Yudhishtir to look for a completely evil soul. Yudhistir obediently searched high and low, and returned to Krishna to declare that his mission failed. He said that there was absolutely no one who could be evil incarnate.
“Why Yudhishtir, have you not considered your own cousin Duryodhan, after all that he did to you?”
“Of course not, Krishna!” he replied. “No matter how low a man can sink, deep inside, he is good. My dear brother Duryodhan is suffering from ignorance and is being misguided. Remove those layers, and in his heart, he is an angel”.
The point of this story is – we all see what we want to see. We all see reflections of ourselves in the world. The world is indeed a mirror of our own personality. Duryodhan simply could not see goodness in others, while Yudhishtir simply could not see evil in others.
There have been elaborate arguments about how Yudhishtir was imperfect too, and indeed he was. To err is human. To be imperfect is natural. If God were to side only perfection, He would have no one to side.
However, Yudhishtir believed in goodness. He wanted to seek out the positive in every situation. He chose to look for, find, focus on, and cherish the goodness in every person. This made him attract goodness and positivity, and hence things fell in place.
Duryodhan may have been a good king and an intelligent man. He may have been progressive minded. But he chose to see people with suspicion, and could not see goodness in others. In fact, he searched for, concentrated on and magnified the negativity.
This story gives an indication as to where we stand too, in relation to the world around us. What we see in the epic – and in fact, in life around us, is a pretty accurate pointer to the kind of person we are.
Thank You Champa Mam..