Guidelines from holy works

CHENNAI APRIL 10 . Life is such that many a time man is pitchforked onto the horns of dilemma. Worry gnaws his inner core and stokes the conflicts within. The indeterminate mind is unable to decide between right and wrong, good and bad, what is proper and not proper. Answers to this baffling array of questions can be got by perusing the guidelines from holy works and from the commentaries on them left by preceptors.

The scriptures abound in examples of end justifying means. Scrupulous honesty in business dealings does not enrich a man's coffers, while another of the ilk makes handsome profits by indulging in dubious practices. Who then is correct? It has been ordained that one can be driven by profit margin provided one sets aside funds for charitable causes and retains only a requisite minimum for himself.

Upholding virtue is akin to walking on a razor's edge. The nobler aspect being more paramount, Lord Krishna punishes only the Kauravas for violating Draupadi's honour and not her husbands who were equally guilty of abject apathy. The Pandavas were however spared. Bhishma's passivity too when Draupadi was being humiliated was wrong and his expiation was through an agonising lengthy stay on a bed of arrows. The scriptures clearly state that if you can wield the power to prevent a wrong doing, then exercise it. If unable to do so move away from the situation.

Treading the path of just conduct is like balancing on tight rope. A holy man, at death's door, revived himself with a handful of horse gram, but rejected a glass of water offered to him as he can now fend for himself. A certain leeway is permitted in life-threatening situations and in this case his immediate concern was his very survival, explained Sri Sriman Narayana Ramanuja Jeeyar Swami in his discourse. The much debated Vali episode in the Ramayana is also a case in point. Dilemma is a recurring factor in anyone's life and the Ramayana, mirroring as it does perplexing situations, guides us out of piquant indecisiveness. The scriptures abound in examples where men who strictly followed the Law of Virtue were enabled to get out of baffling situations. When Rama was in search of Sita, Anjaneya met Him, led Him to Sugriva, forged their friendship and then all of them arranged for the search mission.