Faith

Ethics of war

After the Gitopadesa to Arjuna is over and when all is ready for the Mahabharata war to begin, Yudhishtira puts away his weapons, discards his armour, gets down from the chariot and walks towards the Kaurava army. All are puzzled and perplexed. Arjuna goes after Yudhishtira to learn the reason for this sudden and strange reaction. Yudhishtira, immersed in his own thoughts, does not give any reply. The all-knowing Krishna tells Arjuna that perhaps Yudhishtira wishes to get the permission of the elders and preceptors under whom the Pandavas had been trained.

In a discourse, Sri B. Sundarkumar drew attention to the fact that if Yudhishtira seeking permission from members of the opposing camp is to be appreciated as a worthy gesture, equally creditable is the way the elders respond. For when Yudhishtira approaches the great stalwarts, Bhishma, Drona, Kripa and Salya in succession, they all agree in one voice that what he has done is right and that they would never have pardoned him if he had gone ahead and fought without seeking their permission. Bhishma is happy to bless Yudhishtira. He says that success is sure for him since he is always aligned to dharma. Dharma and victory are synonymous. It hence follows that wherever there is dharma, there is Krishna; and wherever Krishna is, there is victory.

To Yudhishtira’s query as to how to defeat him, the grand old Pitamaha, ever invincible, tells him that the secret will be given away on the night of the ninth day of battle. He also explains that he is indebted to the Kauravas. Man is a slave to wealth, but the irony is that wealth is not subservient to any one. Drona, Kripa and Salya also echo somewhat similar sentiments on loyalty and the inevitable obligation that gets attached to those who are dependent on others.

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Printable version | Feb 25, 2020 10:36:49 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/faith/ethics-of-war/article29825689.ece

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