MISCELLANEOUS

Intricacies of scriptures

CHENNAI MARCH 31. In his ignorance, man thinks he can control his destiny and accordingly lays down plans. A closer scrutiny of scriptural works will, however, make it clear that he may propose but it is God who is the ultimate arbiter. "Whenever righteousness suffers a setback and lawlessness prevails then I will Myself see that `dharma' is protected," the Lord has declared. Accordingly in every aeon (Yuga) He has incarnated on earth, defeated the self-serving designs of the evil-minded and established justice. His appearance as Lord Krishna is one such and when He dons the mantle of a messenger of peace, Duryodhana glimpses only the "visible" Krishna, but the spiritual, "invisible" Krishna knew that war was inevitable in order to ensure the rule of righteousness again on earth. Krishna is an able tactician, aware of whom to despatch, when and whom to retain.

The Lord is not driven by earthly attachments or family ties, like a human being. He is detachment personified. This is best exemplified by the sacrifice of Abhimanyu, Krishna's nephew and the only one with the knowledge to enter a particular battle formation. Yet he was killed with the Pandavas remaining helpless. Krishna was aware that Abhimanyu, an incarnation of a celestial being, was on a strict deputation for 16 years and that this timeframe had elapsed. The same Lord who saw to the exit of His sister's son, then saves her husband. The rationale behind the act is very clear — Arjuna's work on earth was yet to run its course, hence the Lord retained him.

Some scholars may view the episode of covering the sun with the Holy Disc to lure the enemy to get out of his hideout and then making Arjuna slay him as a great strategy. However, a bad man needs to be eliminated by fair or foul means, verily like a thorn that needs to be removed with only another, explained Sri Vidyasagara Madhava Theertha Swami in his Mahabarata discourse.

The study of epics should be handled delicately. Some may be tempted to study Draupadi's character from a superficial standpoint. In fact so glorious were her traits that it is rightly said, "If you even think of Draupadi all your sins will be washed away." It is important to learn the intricacies of spiritual literature for a fuller appreciation of God's glory.

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