Episode # 301 – People opposing the “Dharma-Maarga” are bound to perish – Yudishtra demonstrates!!!

In the previous episode, we had continued with the discussion on Yudishtra’s firm stance on the path of “Dharma”, no matter whatever happens around him. In that way, we had witnessed how Yudishtra “walked the path” and implemented his stance for the next thirteen years. In due course of yesterday’s episode, we had also answered a few of the questions that might arise in our mind in this regard. As discussed yesterday, Yudishtra’s game plan is simple and straightforward here – Just like how the swimmer would go along with the flow of water, but slowly deviate himself towards the nearest river bank by not getting stuck into the water current and escape from drowning, Yudishtra also goes along with the flow of whatever Duryodhana and Co. were doing. However, he was very careful not to get carried away along with the current, and by catching hold of Bhagawan Krishna’s divine feet, he ensured that he reached the bank safely without getting drowned or hurt! This is what we’ve to understand here. We’ve to go with the flow, but we’ve to ensure that we do not get stuck in the current called “Adharma”. At this point where we feel that we might get stuck, we should tightly hold on to Bhagawan and He would ensure that we reach the bank safely unhurt!

Readers might wonder why I’m spending so much time explaining who Yudishtra really is. I’m doing so because when we move forward with the subsequent “Adhyaayaas” and “Parvas”, and as we witness the events that unfolded, chances are extremely high that we might misunderstand Yudishtra’s stance towards “Dharma”. Nowadays, this has become a fashion – To take a few characters from our “Sanaatana Dharma” and bash them in public. In the current day, there are many debates that are happening, aren’t they? All these debates will have some controversial topic pertaining to our “Sanaatana Dharma”, with the sole aim of defaming us. For instance, they might take some incident from the Ramayana and try to portray Vaali as a hero, and Bhagawan Rama as a villain. The topic of the debate might be – Whether Bhagawan Rama did the right thing by killing Vaali from behind? Why didn’t Bhagawan Rama take on Vaali from the front? Has Bhagawan Rama performed a “cowardly act” of hitting Vaali from behind? All these are useless debates and it is quite evident that people who are debating such topics are half-baked crooks! I say this firmly because, in the Ramayana there is a separate set of eight slokas wherein Bhagawan Rama gives an apt justification for his act, and after listening to Bhagawan Rama’s reply, Vaali himself was satisfied and certifies Bhagawan Rama that whatever He has done was absolutely correct. Modern day debaters won’t look at this set of slokas and Vaali’s certification. They will only look into that one instance of Bhagawan Rama killing Vaali from behind and do some useless debating. This is why I’m saying that such people are half-baked crooks. 

Another example of such useless debates is this question – Whether Yudishtra deviated from “Dharma” when he played the gambling game and when he staked Draupati and played the game? This is perhaps the most stupid question that one can ask, because, it is evident from Sage Vyaasa’s detailed description (which we’re going to see in detail later on) that Yudishtra went forward with the game only to maintain his “Shabadham” pertaining to the “Dharma-Maarga” and not because of an addiction towards the gambling game. If Sage Vyaasa himself is clarifying this, who are we to even debate on this? If there should be a meaningful debate, people should have a holistic viewpoint about the subject before starting. There should be a 360 degree analysis of the context in hand before opening our mouth to talk. 

Similarly in this context also, there are many people who portray Yudishtra as a crook and Karna as a hero. This is totally wrong. In subsequent Adhyaayas we are going to witness how wicked Karna was. Of course, it is understood that Karna had a tough life and he was a deserted child by his own mother. Even then, portraying Karna as a hero is totally wrong. Similarly, many people try and portray Duryodhana as an epitome of “Dharma”! How foolish can this be? The problem with all of us today is very simple – We think that we know anything and everything! Now who has authored the Ramayana? It’s Vaalmiki Maharishi. Mahabharata was authored by Sage Vyaasa. If these two stalwarts weren’t there, or, had they not composed whatever they’ve composed, would we even know that there was someone called Bhagawan Rama or Bhagawan Krishna or Yudishtra? The answer is “No” isn’t it? Hence, what is our duty here? If we’ve to understand these texts, we’ve to accept whatever Vaalmiki Maharishi and Sage Vyaasa have said, isn’t it? When Vaalmiki Maharishi himself explains clearly that whatever Bhagawan Rama had done is right, who are we to debate on it? Similarly, if Sage Vyaasa himself has certified that Yudishtra walked the path of “Dharma”, who are we to even think otherwise? This is where we go wrong, and this is where all our atheist friends try to capture us. Thus, as ardent followers of our “Sanaatana Dharma” we should firmly believe in whatever Sage Vyaasa and Vaalmiki Maharishi have said in the Mahabharata and the Ramayana respectively. 

Thus, the point here is that Yudishtra, at whatever instance, walked the path of “Dharma” without an iota of blemish. Of course, he had to give in to the gambling game that Duryodhana had arranged. Playing the gamble might be against “Raaja-Dharma”, but according to Yudishtra, he was following his “Dharma” of not hurting Duryodhana’s sentiments. As per Yudishtra’s “Shabadham”, he wouldn’t talk ill of others, nor will hurt others’ feelings and sentiments, isn’t it? Hence, he walked that path meticulously, even though he knew that he was going to fall into Duryodhana’s trap. We should always remember one thing clearly here – As we follow the path of “Dharma”, there might be many people around us who would try to take advantage of our silence and our resolve. They would try all their tricks in the trade to bring us down. However, if they do so, it is at their own peril. Bhagawan would always be by the side of people who follow “Dharma”. Initially it might seem as if people who are taking us for a ride are winning, but in the long-term, all of them would be eventually destroyed completely. This is where we’ve to make up our mind, not to give in to such crooks who try and derail us. This is exactly the lesson that Yudishtra is teaching us through his life – We should never deviate from our path, no matter how others try and influence us. We should have that firm resolve that “Aatma-Soukhyam” is more important than the “Deha-Soukhyam”. 

So for today, let us understand this point very clearly once again, and we shall wait till the next episode to move forward with the subsequent events that unfolded. Stay tuned! 🙂

Episode # 300 – Yudishtra’s Game Plan – Go along with the flow & reach the destination safely with Bhagawan’s “Anugraha”!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed an important discussion on why Yudishtra was right in his approach towards the thirteen-year fiasco that is going to unfold very soon. As we’ve witnessed, Yudishtra took a firm stance of following the path of “Dharma”, no matter whatever might happen around him. However, Arjuna and Co. had a different argument to this! Arjuna raised a question that how can we follow the path of “Dharma” of not hurting anyone or not fighting with anyone, if the situation warrants us to do it. However, Yudishtra was steadfast in his approach and wasn’t really bothered about what Arjuna said. This is where we’ve to learn the important lesson as to how we should stick firm to the path of “Dharma” at all times – We might undergo catastrophic situations at various times through various people. But this doesn’t mean that we would take this as an excuse to deviate from the path of “Dharma” and take short-cuts to “escape” out of the problem, or doing something that would be unethical in nature. We see this in normal life as well. For instance, if we encounter a big failure in life, what do many people immediately resort to? Many would go into drugs, cigarette smoking and drinking, wouldn’t they? We see this in everyday news too. Or, some people even go to the extreme step of committing suicide, unable to face the situation. Why do we think people do all this? All these methodologies are nothing but ways and means to escape from the problematic situation. These people do not know the ways and means of handling the problem as per the “Dharma” textbook, and this is where the entire problem begins. Thus, we should understand the important point here that we should rather face the problematic situation in the “Dharma-Maarga” and not get buckled down under pressure from various sources to deviate from the path of “Dharma”. 

If such is the case with Yudishtra, we might immediately ask another question here – “Oh! If Yudishtra wanted to walk the path of “Dharma”, why at all did he participate in the gambling game with Duryodhana? Why did he stake all his brothers and Draupati and play? Isn’t this “Adharma”? In fact, as per the “Raaja-Dharma”, playing a gambling game is itself an act of “Adharma” and in this, Yudishtra went ahead to lose even his brothers and his wife! How does this justify the “Dharma” that Yudishtra is talking about here?” This is a valid claim and an important question. We shall try and answer this question today. We should basically understand this fact – Yudishtra accepted to play the gambling game called for by Duryodhana only to make sure that Duryodhana isn’t hurt. If Yudishtra would have said a “No” to the game, Duryodhana would have felt bad. This is exactly the thought process that Yudishtra had, which stems directly from the “Shabadham” he had taken earlier. What was the “Shabadham” that he had taken? He would not hurt anybody’s feelings, no matter whether he / she is a friend or an enemy. It was only to stand by his “Shabadham” that Yudishtra never opened his mouth to criticize Duryodhana for his heinous act. Even when Draupati was dragged and insulted in front of the courtroom, Yudishtra kept silent, because if he would have opened up, he would be deviating from his “Shabadham”. He just left things to take shape as it is! 

Of course, we shall again ask a question here – Why didn’t Yudishtra stop playing the game even after he started knowing that the game is taking a disastrous turn? Yudishtra could have taken a decent call without insulting anyone to quit the game isn’t it? Why didn’t he do that? Again – If Yudishtra would have taken that call, it would have hurt Duryodhana and King Dhridiraashtra at large. It is because King Dhridiraashtra had made up his mind by then that Duryodhana should emerge victorious, no matter what happens. Of course, King Dhridiraashtra did not anticipate that Duryodhana would stoop to such low levels to claim victory over the Paandavas, but still, deep within his heart, King Dhridiraashtra wanted his son to win. Thus, Yudishtra did not want to hurt King Dhridiraashtra’s feelings by quitting the game in the middle. He thus continued to play and go with the flow, so that Duryodhana and King Dhridiraashtra weren’t hurt. As an analogy, if there is a fast-flowing river and if we’re someone who knows swimming, this is a logical question to ask – Does the swimmer swim against the flow of water, or does he / she swims along with the flow of water? If the water is fast-flowing, it is always better to “go with the flow” of the water, rather than swimming against the flow. This is exactly what Yudishtra is also doing here. He makes sure that he goes along with the flow, but at the same time, ensures that he follows the “Dharma” as well. If the resolutions are taken, Yudishtra’s policy is not to deviate even an inch from the resolutions. Yudishtra had taken the resolve that he wouldn’t hurt anyone by words or by actions. Hence, if he had to stand by his resolve, he had to go as per the flow of what Duryodhana did at that moment.

Now Yudishtra’s game plan is simple and straightforward here – Just like how the swimmer would go along with the flow of water, but slowly deviate himself towards the nearest river bank by not getting stuck into the water current and escape from drowning, Yudishtra also goes along with the flow of whatever Duryodhana and Co. were doing. However, he was very careful not to get carried away along with the current, and by catching hold of Bhagawan Krishna’s divine feet, he ensured that he reached the bank safely without getting drowned or hurt! This is what we’ve to understand here. We’ve to go with the flow, but we’ve to ensure that we do not get stuck in the current. We should surrender to Bhagawan and He would ensure that we reach the bank safely unhurt! So for today, let us understand this important point and let us try and implement this in our daily lives as well, in whatever situation we are in. If we completely surrender to Bhagawan, He would start driving the show, rather than us doing it! We shall wait till the next episode to continue this discussion forward! Stay tuned! 🙂

Episode # 299 – Our focus should always be on the “long-term goal” of attaining “Moksha” – Yudishtra demonstrates!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed Arjuna’s counter-narrative to Yudishtra’s three important “Shabadhams’ ‘ that he undertook in front of everyone. Arjuna’s point was very simple – How do you be good to those people who do not intend to be good to you? Can you project yourself to be good to all people in this world? Is this even possible? Many of us also have this question within us, for which we try and ponder over answers. Yudishtra’s take is very simple here – Just because someone is going behind something bad, do we also follow suit? Do we also go along with the flow with those people who walk the path of “Adharma”? We should always follow our “Dharma”, no matter what people think or talk about us. However, one thing is important here – We cannot stop Bhagawan’s “Sankalpa”. If something has to happen according to Bhagawan’s divine will, it is bound to happen, no matter whether you’re following the path of “Dharma” or “Adharma”. However, that doesn’t mean that we stop following “Dharma” even though we see destruction and disaster right in front of our eyes. We should keep following “Dharma” at all times, irrespective of whether we’re facing good or bad times in our lives. 

This was Yudishtra’s firm stance, and we can see this quite clearly as well – Even though Yudishtra tried to follow the path of “Dharma” by not hurting anyone or by not fighting with anyone, still whatever had to happen, happened, didn’t it? The gambling game did happen, and Yudishtra ended up losing everything. Finally, as Sage Vyaasa envisioned, the disastrous Kurukshetra war did happen, which resulted in mass destruction on both sides. Thus, whatever had to happen, did happen according to Bhagawan Krishna’s divine will, however, the important point to note here is that Yudishtra still followed whatever he followed best – The path of “Dharma”. Not even on a single occasion did Yudishtra deviate from the path of “Dharma”, which made Bhagawan Krishna come behind the Paandavas and help them wherever necessary. We should imagine one thing here – If Yudishtra hadn’t followed “Dharma”, would Bhagawan Krishna be behind the Paandavas? Not at all, isn’t it? It was only because the Paandavas walked the tightrope of “Dharma”, did Bhagawan Krishna come to their rescue at all times! We should always remember that wherever “Dharma” is being practised and followed, Bhagawan will always mark His presence, and this is the reason Bhagawan Krishna was even ready to drive the chariot of Arjuna (Bhagawan “Paartha-Saarathy”). We can witness here that Bhagawan will go down to any level to help those who follow the path of “Dharma”. Else, we can imagine – Who was Arjuna and who was Bhagawan Krishna here? Arjuna was a normal “Samsaari” (Jeevatma) in this world, whereas Bhagawan Krishna was a “Paramatma”. Ideally, it should be Arjuna driving Bhagawan’s chariot, but here it was the reverse! Bhagawan Krishna would go down to any level to support the cause of “Dharma”. Later on, we’re going to witness how Bhagawan Krishna helped Arjuna and Co. during the Kurukshetra battle in such a way that Arjuna always had the upper hand against the Duryodhana’s camp. 

Thus, Yudishtra takes a firm stance that no matter whatever happens / not happens for the next thirteen years, he is not going to deviate from the path of “Dharma”. This is where we’ve focus and understand Yudishtra’s stance more clearly. During the last days of the Paandavas in this world, all the five brothers along with Draupati march their way towards this place called “Satopanth” amidst the Himalayas. We’re going to witness all these events during the “Svarga-Aarohini Parva” towards the end of the Mahabharata story. As the Paandavas were going through, it was only Yudishtra who sustained and withstood every testing moment that came through, and finally Indra and the others were extremely impressed with Yudishtra’s steadfast focus on “Dharma” even during the last moments of his life. Finally, he was the only one who was able to get inside Indra’s divine chariot, which took him to the “Svarga Lokha” and from there, Yudishtra attained the highest Moksha. As Yudishtra entered the chariot, he had a laugh within himself which signified the fact thus: “Oh! All of you laughed at me for following the tough path of “Dharma” for thirteen years, didn’t you? Now who is getting the divine opportunity to get into Indra’s chariot? I’m the only one who is getting that, isn’t it?” 

This is what we say even in today’s corporate terminology – Focus on the long-term goals, rather than focusing on short-term goals. Of course, short-term goals are important, but these goals should be in line with achieving the long-term goal, isn’t it? This is the same analogy that we employ in our “Sanaatana Dharma” too – Here, the long-term goal is attaining “Moksha”, and all the short-term goals should be in line with taking us to that ultimate goal. This is exactly what Yudishtra is doing here – All his short-term goals are focused on following the path of “Dharma” at any moment, no matter whatever happens around him. This is the focus that all of us have to develop within ourselves. So for today, let us understand this point very clearly once again. I’m focusing on this point for several episodes now, because this is the crux of the entire Mahabharata story. Yudishtra’s firm stance towards “Dharma” was the root cause of the Paandavas’ success story and was the basis for their association with Bhagawan Krishna at all times. Hence, let us understand Yudishtra’s clear stance and let us try and implement atleast a bit of what Yudishtra did in our lives as well! We shall wait till the next episode to continue this discussion further! Stay tuned! 🙂

Episode # 298 – Yudishtra followed the path of “Dharma” – Bhagawan Krishna followed him!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed an important counter-narrative from Arjuna, on Yudishtra’s three important resolutions. Arjuna’s version was very simple – “How can you be “good” to the entire world? Of course, you can be good to people who are “Dharma-Atmas” and ardent “Bhaktas” of Bhagawan. That’s correct. But how can you be good to people like Duryodhana who are looking for every chance to pull you down? Is it even possible to be good to these crooked people? Moreover, if you’re trying to be good to crooks, they would only use this as an advantage to play their dirty games on you more and more, isn’t it?” Arjuna’s point was extremely relevant and this is where we witnessed yesterday how Yudishtra’s resolutions backfired to a large extent. Of course, with all these resolutions, was Yudishtra able to achieve his ultimate motive of avoiding the disaster? The Kurukshetra war did take place and the entire Kaurava clan was completely destroyed! Was Yudishtra able to stop that? He wasn’t! This is what we call as “Deivamatra-Pramaanam”, which means, whatever Bhagawan has decided, He would somehow make it come true and there could be nothing that could stop things from happening! 

Now the big question comes – If everything happens according to Bhagawan’s will and wish, why should we be true and honest? Why should we be at the receiving end every time and take all the blame upon ourselves? Yudishtra did exactly this – Right from the gambling game, it was Yudishtra upon whom the entire blame was pinned! Nobody wanted to criticise Duryodhana for cheating Yudishtra and Co. This is how the world is! Hence, we would immediately ask a question here – If such is the case, where we would have to take all the blame by being true and honest, why shouldn’t we also start lying and “go with the flow” of the world? For instance, today we’re talking about “Westernisation” and we’ve gone to the extent of integrating western and eastern cultures. Our cities have become more cosmopolitan in nature, which means that there are so many ways and means to follow “Adharma”. There are so many atheists who propagate wrong facts about our “Sanaatana Dharma” for their own personal brownie points. If we’ve to listen to all of them, we ourselves would start getting tempted as to why we should follow the “Dharma Maarga” anymore! Why don’t we enjoy our life by going into all the wrong ways of leading life? 

This is where we’ve to be careful. We should ask this question within ourselves – Just because someone else is following the path of “Adharma”, just because the entire society is going away from the “Dharma-Maarga”, should we also follow suit? If someone is going to fall into a gutter or a pit hole, what would we do? Do we try and prevent that person out of the gutter, or do we also go and fall into it along with him? This is where we’ve to use our discrimination sense. The western cultures propagate the fact that “Deha-Sukham” (Comforts for the physical body) is more important for a life, whereas our Indian culture propagates the fact that “Atma-Sukham” (Comfort for our Atman) is more important. Now which is better here? The ultimate purpose of taking a human birth in this world is to ensure that we’ve to reach “Moksha”, isn’t it? If we’ve to reach “Moksha”, which one is more important? The “Atma-Sukham” is more important, isn’t it? Thus, if we ensure that our “Atman” is happy, even if the “Deham” suffers with some disease or displeasures, or frustrations, etc. we can easily discard all of them and focus on the higher goal in life. Whereas on the other hand, if we’re focusing only on the “Deham” part, even if a small disaster happens in our lives, we would go into a deep mental depression! 

This is the gross difference here – If our focus is on the “Atman”, we wouldn’t bother much even if our “Deham” has to undergo suffering. We should realize one important point here – The “Deham” is bound to suffer periodically because it is something that is subjected to destruction some day or the other. Whereas, the “Atman” is something that is permanent, sans destruction by any external force. We’ve witnessed this concept earlier in our previous episodes and projects as well. Given this fact, does it make sense for us to give importance to something that is destroyable at some point, or does it make sense for us to give importance to something that is permanent in nature? This is where we’ve to make a conscious decision for ourselves and this is exactly the decision that Yudishtra takes here – Of course, he is going to go to the forest shortly after losing the Indraprastha kingdom, and all his wealth. But did Yudishtra feel for it even for a moment? Not at all! Yudishtra was calm and composed at all times, because his focus was completely on the “Atman” part. All those worldly things associated with the “Deham”, like the luxuries and kingdom, did not matter for him! Thus, Yudishtra chose to follow the path of “Dharma” which ultimately enriches “Atman”. Hence, even though Yudishtra would have suffered a lot because of this decision, he did not take that as suffering at all. Moreover, since Yudishtra followed “Dharma”, Bhagawan Krishna followed him, isn’t it? If Bhagawan is coming behind us, what should we worry about?

Now here’s the choice for all of us – Just because someone is going behind some wrong path, should we also go along with him in that, or should we still follow “Dharma” and make Bhagawan come behind us? This is the conscious choice that all of us should make in our lives. Hence, for today, let us think and analyze about this counter-narrative to Arjuna’s point and let us wait till the next episode to continue this discussion further! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 297 – Did Yudishtra’s resolutions BACKFIRE? An important discussion!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed Yudishtra taking three important pledges (“Shabadham”) in front of his brothers for the next thirteen years. He takes a firm resolve that he wouldn’t hurt anyone through words, harsh language and abuse. Also, he wouldn’t fight with anyone unnecessarily and would completely avoid it. Also, he would see everyone equally and wouldn’t create any rift between himself and anybody, both in terms of thoughts and actions. These are extremely firm pledges that Yudishtra is taking here, for the purpose of avoiding any possible mishaps for the next thirteen years. We’ve already witnessed Sage Vyaasa signalling a warning to Yudishtra that tough times are looming large in the near future, which is ultimately going to lead to a huge disaster and a mass destruction. Therefore, rather than trying and escaping out of the grave danger that is ahead, Yudishtra is trying to adopt the “Dharma-Maarga” (Path of “Dharma”) to face the problem that is ahead of him. This, as mentioned before, is the gross difference between Yudishtra and ourselves today. The moment we anticipate a problem in front of us, we would only try different ways to escape out of the problem, rather than facing it head-on. This is what we’ve to learn from Yudishtra’s firm resolve here. 

Moving on thus, as Yudishtra spells out his resolutions, as briefed earlier, Arjuna spells out his unhappiness! He says thus, “Oh Yudishtra! How can it be possible to make everyone in this world happy at all times? Moreover, if at all you mean what you say, you should have mentioned that you would try and make the “Saadhus” and “Dharma-Atmas” happy. You should have mentioned that you would try and make Bhagawan happy! Instead of saying this, you’re saying that you would make everyone and anyone in this world happy. Is this really feasible? Can you make Duryodhana happy with your words and actions?”

This is an important point here and this is where we might feel that Yudishtra was slightly on the wrong side. For instance, even in today’s world, can a policeman take a resolve that from today onwards he wouldn’t be harsh to anyone and he wouldn’t hurt anyone in anyway? What would happen to all the criminals who commit crimes? Can a policeman say that he would try and make criminals happy by not punishing them in the appropriate way? This cannot happen, isn’t it? This is where Arjuna is trying to correct Yudishtra here, and this assumes a lot of significance. Of course, we can all be good towards people who are “Dharma-Atmas”, “Maharishis”, “Aachaaryas”, “Bhaktas”, etc. But can we be too good towards people who are aethists, thieves, murderers, etc.? Can we be too good towards people who are trying to attack our “Sanaatana Dharma” every passing day? We’ve to raise our objections time and again, don’t we? 

Hence, this is the small balance that Yudishtra failed to achieve. Of course, we should understand here that for the next thirteen years, Yudishtra stuck to his stance. He never deviated from the path of “Dharma” at any point in time. He never went behind anyone to hurt, abuse or to fight. He remained steadfast in whatever resolutions that he took up. However, still, the Kurukshetra war did happen, and the mass destruction happened, isn’t it? Before this, it is for this same reason of not raising voice against Duryodhana, did Yudishtra come for the gambling game. It is only because of this resolution that he wouldn’t speak anything that is hurtful to others, did Duryodhana take Yudishtra for a ride, and Yudishtra ended up losing everything to Duryodhana! It is only because of Yudishtra’s silence, did Draupati face whatever she had to face! Even if Duryodhana played the foul game, Yudishtra was silent! Even when Duryodhana asked Yudishtra and Co. to go to the forest for the next twelve years, Yudishtra did not object. He could have easily called Duryodhana to the battlefield then and there, but he chose not to do it, because, he had taken a resolution that he wouldn’t fight against anyone! Moreover, after the thirteenth year of “Vana-Vaasa”, even when Duryodhana did not return back the Indraprastha kingdom, Yudishtra chose to be silent. So many messengers went back and forth from both the camps to doze down the issue, isn’t it? But nothing worked and ultimately the matter was taken up at Kurukshetra as a huge war! 

Thus, for today, let us think for a moment – Where did Yudishtra go wrong? Did these resolutions that he took really backfire on him? Let us continue this interesting discussion in the next episode as well! Stay tuned! 🙂

Episode # 296 – Yudishtra’s second resolve – “I would never create rift / enmity towards anyone!!!”

In the previous episode, we had witnessed Yudishtra’s first resolve (“Shabadam”) that he took in front of everyone as to not hurting anybody through words or heated arguments using harsh language and unparliamentary words. This is a very important resolve that Yudishtra is taking, which is very much applicable to all of us as well – If there are good and pleasing words in the dictionary, we have no rights or business to use unparliamentary words while addressing another person, no matter how much angry or frustrated we might be. Of course, this is easier said than done by many of us, but we’ve to consciously practise this in our daily lives. If we’re able to control our tongue, half of the problems would come to an end automatically. The main issue in many cases is because of the heated argument and the harsh words that we use to scold each other. If we use one unparliamentary word on another person, he/she would get irritated and fire us back with two unparliamentary words. In return, we would fire back four or five unparliamentary words at the other person, and the fight would develop into a huge clash! Ultimately, it would then become a clash of egos between the two, rather than finding a solution to the problem in hand. Rather, if we’re able to maintain ourselves calm and composed and if we’re using a pleasing language while addressing others, it becomes very easy to make the others fall in line with us. Hence, we should think about this moving forward. 

Now for the second one – Yudishtra explains that for the next thirteen years, he would not exercise “Bhedam” (Rift) between anyone. In other words, there will be no difference between him and his brothers, his parents vs. others’ parents, his relatives vs. other relatives, etc. Nobody is higher or lower to anyone in any context and all are equal. This is what Yudishtra is going to practise for the next thirteen years. If such is the feeling that all of them around us are equal, then where is the possibility of a fight? In today’s scenario, why do we see people fighting with each other? It is only because we create that rift between us and others. For instance, fights between the wife and in-laws are very common in today’s scenario. Why is such a fight happening? The primary reason behind the fight is that the daughter-in-law is unable to accept another family in her life post her marriage, apart from her parents. For so many years, she has lived with her parents, and if suddenly one fine day if she has to leave her home and get into another place, it would obviously be difficult to acclimatise immediately. However, this should not be an excuse for picking up fights with people in the family. So why do these fights happen? It is because one thinks inferior of the other and hence, automatically a rift is being created. This is the root cause of all problems that happen at various homes and families. This is exactly where Yudishtra wants to be careful here – Even though he might be enemies with Duryodhana and Co., Yudishtra takes a pledge to treat Duryodhana also as his dear brothers, equal to his other Paandava brothers. Thus, Yudishtra is of the opinion that if he showers love and affection towards Duryodhana, somehow he would change and ultimately peace would reign in the family. This is why Yudishtra is taking the pledge that he wouldn’t create any rift between himself and the others. 

Moreover, Yudishtra takes the third pledge here – He would neither fight with anyone, nor be a cause of a fight between people. This is, of course, a continuation of the previous pledge here. Readers might think here for a moment – When does a fight arise? Why do people fight? People start fighting because of the rift that they create within themselves. People start fighting because they proclaim things to be theirs’! The moment we start putting our claim on something or someone, immediately fights would start! This is the root cause even for big wars that happen around the world, isn’t it? Even within our home, nowadays, each person within the family wants “privacy” and takes up an entire room inside the house, just for themselves! Nobody else inside the family, even parents would be allowed to enter that room unnecessarily, and if at all someone enters, a big fight breaks out! Now what’s happening here? We lack the basic understanding that nothing is ours in this world! Everything is Bhagawan’s, and it is Bhagawan who has given us this opportunity to live in a luxurious apartment. If we have this mentality, we would first stop demanding “privacy” at home. The moment we stop demanding “privacy”, we would automatically stop creating rifts between our own family members. Once the rift is gone, there would be no fights at home! This is the secret behind establishing love and happiness at home. 

For this, we should develop the realisation that all whatever we possess today is of Bhagawan’s and we should be indebted to Him for keeping us comfortable inside a luxurious house, at a time when thousands of other people are suffering without a home and without three meals a day. If we look around and see many people suffering, automatically we would start thanking Bhagawan for whatever we have with us, rather than keep on running behind money, name and fame every time. So for today, let us understand these two important pledges that Yudishtra is taking and let us also try and follow these in our day-to-day lives as well. Of course, as mentioned earlier, we might not be able to achieve 100%, but we can always try and put conscious effort towards achieving this. The more we let go off our possessions, the happier we can be in life. Hence, let us consciously follow this as we wait for the next episode to continue this discussion forward! Stay tuned! 🙂

Episode # 295 – Yudishtra’s first resolve – “Never hurt anyone with harsh words!!!”

We’re at the midst of an important juncture wherein Yudishtra and Arjuna were conversing about upholding “Dharma” during tough times. As Yudishtra outlines to Arjuna about what Sage Vyaasa had mentioned, Arjuna immediately raises his objection that if Sage Vyaasa’s words are always going to come true some day or the other, why at all should we be true to someone who is trying to destroy us? This is something that all of us have in our minds as well – If someone does something that is detrimental to us in some way or the other, why at all should we be good to that person? Or, what is the use of following “Dharma” at a time and place wherein “Adharma” is the order of the day? For instance, even in today’s world, when people are going behind atheists and those who ridicule our “Sanaatana Dharma” practices, the dilemma is simple – Should we go along with them in ridiculing our own culture and “Dharma” or should we resist it and continue following our age-old practices as mentioned by our great Maharishis? Of course, the choice is ours! But Yudishtra’s stance here is very simple – Irrespective of whatever people do around us – Irrespective of a thousand people throwing stones at us – We should be steadfast in our “Dharma” of not hurting them back. We should be focused in our “Dharma” to be true to them at all times. It is very easy to pick up a stone and throw it back at them, or to insult them back with our words. But, the real question here is whether are we sticking to our “Dharma” even during testing times! This is the real test that Bhagawan is giving all of us here. 

We might know this story – Once a king wanted his people to pour one pot of milk per family in a huge container for the next day’s “Puja” for the local deity. As the king ordered thus, some people started thinking what if they pour a pot of water instead of milk? How will the king know whether we’ve poured water or milk? This thought was seemingly smart enough, only to be adopted by all the people in the kingdom! Finally when the king saw the container the next day, it was full with water, rather than milk! This is exactly what all of us are doing here – Just because one or two people are “Adharmic” in nature, we also take things for granted that “Oh! This is Kali Yuga! We can survive in this world only if we walk the path of “Adharma”! There is no place for “Dharma” in this Kali Yuga!” We come to such shallow conclusions just because few people are deviating from the path of “Dharma”. This is exactly what Yudishtra is advising Arjuna – Just because Duryodhana and Co. are “Adharmic” in nature, will it sustain in the long run? Some day or the other, Duryodhana will have to answer for all what he’s doing today. Let that day come. Bhagawan would be by our side to support the “Dharma” that we’re doing today. Asserting thus, Yudishtra explains: “Oh Arjuna! No matter what people do elsewhere, I do not care! I would stick to my “Dharma” and my “Shabadhams” that I’ve made just now, at all times, irrespective of how much suffering I’ve to endure!” 

With this, Yudishtra declares the following in front of everyone. Now let us discuss one by one in detail. Yudishtra says thus: – “From today onwards, I would not say any word that would hurt others. I would never employ harsh language to scold anyone!” This is an important pledge that Yudishtra is taking here. Most probably, in any situation, if we control our tongue, we might be able to avoid many problems! If we talk a lot, we’re only exposing our ignorance more and more. The more we keep quiet, the more we would be respected in society! Moreover, even if we’re talking, we should make sure that we employ kind words and sweet language. We should never use offensive language against anyone at any point in time. This is of course, something very ideal – But we can always try minimising our harsh language during crunch situations. It is normal human psychology that if anybody acts against our will and wish, we would immediately tend to burst with anger! But this is where, we’ve to think for a moment – “If we’re going to scold this person, what is that we’re going to gain? Are we really going to make a change to their actions by scolding someone harshly?” Many a time, the answer to this question is “No”! If that’s the case, one question might arise here – “If someone does something bad to us, should we remain silent? What if they take our silence for a ride and do more and more bad things to us? What if they end up destroying us completely because of our silence?” 

The answer is very simple here – By saying that we should talk pleasing language as much as we can, I never meant that we should keep silent when someone is doing something bad. We can always raise our objection towards it. But the point here is that, there are ways to raise objections – We should be clear and specific in our counter-narratives, with facts and figures to support our argument. In most cases if we’re able to do this correctly, people will accept. However, in cases wherein the opponent is trying to overrule and dominate us in some way, we can always be assertive enough to establish our point. We should not confuse between being assertive and using harsh language. We can always be assertive by using the right words at the right context, by not deviating from the content and subject. However, there might be one more question here – What if someone starts abusing us even if we’re trying to highlight our stance clearly? The best way to deal with it is to walk away from that place! If we’re going to rather get into arguments, only the arguments that we make would stand, and not the subject in hand! Thus, it is always better to walk off from a place where people are unnecessarily creating issues. We can handle them offline through various ways, either legally or through some other means, rather than putting a head-on fight with them with harsh words! 

So for today, let us understand this “Shabadham” that Yudishtra has taken and let us try and implement this in our daily lives starting today! We shall wait till the next episode to discuss Yudishtra’s next resolve! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 294 – “Even if disaster happens, we should be steadfast in our Dharma” – Yudishtra advises Arjuna!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed an important lesson from Yudishtra’s conversation with Sage Vyaasa. As Sage Vyaasa cautions Yudishtra about the thirteen-year disaster that is about to come shortly, he also advises Yudishtra not to deviate from the path of “Dharma”. Sage Vyaasa moreover cautions Yudishtra that there would be situations which might tempt him to deviate and take “shortcuts”, but he should be steadfast and follow the “Dharma” textbook word after word without a single deviation here and there. Also, Sage Vyaasa finally cheers up Yudishtra, he explains how the divine hand will always protect him at all times, even though many things might be going on around him. He explains that one night Yudishtra would have an immense dream of Bhagawan Shiva performing the “Rudra-Thaandava” (Cosmic Dance) and this is the indication that things are going to start. As the disaster happens, Yudishtra would be protected by a divine hand in the form of Bhagawan Krishna (Bhagawan Vishnu) at all times, if he follows the path of “Dharma” meticulously. After the disaster comes to an end, Yudishtra would finally emerge successful and unscathed. 

With this small piece of advice, Sage Vyaasa hurries out of Indraprastha, and it is at this time, Yudishtra takes a series of “Shabadhams” in front of his brothers. We’ve already witnessed earlier that Yudishtra explains all whatever Sage Vyaasa told him. Now as Yudishtra finishes his accord, Arjuna expresses his viewpoints. Readers should read this very carefully, and this is going to be very interesting for all of us. As Yudishtra explains his stance and his “Shabadhams”, Arjuna wasn’t very convinced. Arjuna replies to Yudishtra thus: “Oh Yudishtra! Whatever Sage Vyaasa has said till now is going to happen anyway. He is a person who knows all the three things – Present, Past and Future. If he says that we’ve to undergo a disaster, there is no second thought about it. However, why should we take such a tough stance and force ourselves out of our normal? What is the use of being true to those people who are trying to ditch us? Why should we unnecessarily undergo suffering just on the pretext of “Dharma”, if the disaster and destruction is anyway going to happen? If the disaster would be avoided by our “Dharma”, then it’s fine! But if whatever we’re going to do is not going to make any difference, what is the purpose of forcing sufferings upon us?” 

This is a valid question isn’t it? Arjuna’s point was very simple and clear – Anyways, whatever is going to happen is something that nobody can change. Hence for this, why should we change ourselves and why should we be true to those who aren’t? This is something that all of us would have in our mind as well – Anyways, there might be some problems coming irrespective of whether we’re doing our regular prayers or not. Hence, we might come to the conclusion as to why at all should we do prayers then? For this, Yudishtra is going to give an important reply here as part of this conversation. Yudishtra replies thus, “Oh Arjuna! I never said that Sage Vyaasa’s words were wrong. Whatever Sage Vyaasa said, would definitely happen and come true. I do not have any objection with that!” Arjuna replies back thus, “Fine! I too accept that Sage Vyaasa is right. But what is the use of being truthful here? Why should we be true to people who are going to create the disaster? Won’t people take us for a ride?” 

For this, Yudishtra gives an important reply thus, “Oh Arjuna! This is where we’ve to be careful – No matter whatever happens and whoever does anything, I would not deviate from my “Dharma”! I would be steadfast in following my “Dharma” as per Bhagawan’s wish!” This is where, we’ve to focus ourselves upon. For instance, in our previous “Shri Vishnu Puraana” project, we’ve seen Sage Paraashara listing out various features of the current “Kali Yuga”. I shall try and recollect a few points which we’ve discussed earlier – Sage Paraashara explains how in the Kali Yuga, devotion towards Bhagawan would drastically reduce, how people would be becoming atheists, how people would not follow any norms in marrying each other, people who are learned and scholarly would never have any respect in this world, people who have the strength of argument and physical strength would be those would dominate, money, name and fame would be the three things behind which people will run – The list goes on and on! Given that Sage Paraashara’s words are always going to be true, we would immediately think, why at all should we develop Bhakti and Sharanagathi? What is the use of doing all this? If “Kali Yuga” is going to be in a certain fashion, shouldn’t we adjust ourselves and live according to the norms of the “Kali Yuga”? If I’ve to do this, what should I do? I’ve got to go and bang two people and come! Can I do this? 

The answer should be “No”! Whatever is our “Dharma”, we should try and stand by it. Irrespective of many people around us being atheists and making fun of us, we should continue developing our Bhakti and Sharanaagathi towards Bhagawan. Let a thousand people tell a thousand things – The real test here for all of us that, whether we’re getting carried away by the words of these thousand people, or, are we steadfast and focused on what “Dharma” we should follow! This is exactly what Yudishtra is doing here as well – His stance is very simple – Let a thousand people create havoc. Let Sage Vyaasa’s words come true, which anyway is going to happen. But for all these, he is never going to change his stance and deviate from the path of “Dharma”! So for today, let us ask this question to ourselves and ponder – Are we following our “Dharma” every day irrespective of a thousand people trying to influence us in various ways? We shall continue this important discussion in the next episode as well! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 293 – “NEVER compromise your “Dharma” even when you face suffering” – Sage Vyasa advises Yudishtra!!!

In the previous episode we had witnessed an important offshoot discussion on whether “Parihaaras” suggested by a few astrologers would really work in solving one’s suffering or not. This is an important question that many of us might have in our minds as well. We understood yesterday that all the sufferings that we undergo in our everyday life are due to our past “Karma”. We’ve to have the maturity to accept this harsh reality, irrespective of whether we like it or not. Hence, if this is the case, it is better to burn our “Karma” by experiencing whatever we’re going through, rather than searching for “shortcuts” to escape from the problem. We’ve to understand two important things here – Firstly, everyone in this world has his / her own problems in life. There can never be even a single individual in this world (including animals and plants) who do not have problems. Hence, if we’re going to get scared of problems or feel jealous about others being happy at any point in time, it is in our own peril that we’re doing it. Secondly, only if we go through problems in our life, we would get to understand how to handle various tough situations as and when they come. If we experience only happiness and no sadness at all in life, we would get bored of life at one stage. It is like eating only sweets and nothing spicy and salty for our food requirements. Just because we might like a certain sweet, would we keep eating it three times a day? Similarly, just because we want to be happy, can we be happy 24*7? We’ve to think about it. 

Secondly, after reading yesterday’s episode, a few readers might have come to the conclusion that I’m someone who doesn’t believe in Astrology. It is not the case. Astrology (“Jyotisha Shaastra”) is a huge science and is part of the Vedas. Hence, there is no question here whether we believe in Jyotisha Shaastra or not. The question is only the applicability part of it. We should understand that our various planetary positions that we go through in our lives are a result of our “Karma”, and if we have to undergo a bad patch, it is better to go through it silently, rather than making a hue and cry out of it. Thus, Astrology is very much true and it makes a lot of sense, but the point here is that, instead of running back and forth for “Parihaaras”, we should spend that time in performing “Dharma-Kaarya” and develop our Bhakti towards Bhagawan. If Bhagawan is by our side, who else is required to save us from any suffering? We should develop this mindset and attitude as we move on. 

Coming back to the context thus, Yudishtra takes a few “Shabadhams” (Resolves) that from that day onwards, he wouldn’t speak anything against anyone or hurt anyone consciously and so on. As Yudishtra takes these resolutions, he requests his brothers to follow his path as well, so that all the five of them would be able to avoid any mishaps that might come consciously. Thus, as Sage Vyaasa says thus, he leaves immediately from Yudishtra’s chamber, however, before leaving he stopped for a few seconds and resumed the conversation thus: “Oh Yudishtra! Whatever I’ve told you, will come true some day. As you are in deep sleep one night, you would be able to see Bhagawan Rudra (Bhagawan Shiva) in your dream, performing the great “Rudra-Thaandavam” (The famous Cosmic Dance of Bhagawan Shiva at Kailasha). The moment you see that auspicious dance, please understand that all the “Adharma” in this world is going to come to an end very soon. All the Kshatrya kings and princes on both camps would face a huge disaster. It would be due to Bhagawan Shiva’s “Rudra-Thaandavam” at Kailaasha Giri, aided and executed by Bhagawan Krishna in this world. You cannot stop it from happening!” 

Saying thus, Sage Vyaasa hurries out, and Yudishtra stops him for a moment and asks thus: “Oh Sage Vyaasa! May I know where are you going from here so quickly? If I need any help or clarification, I would like to reach you!” Sage Vyaasa quickly replies as he was proceeding: “Till now I’ve been telling about the Kailaasha Giri of Bhagawan Shiva isn’t it? I’m going to the same Kailaasha Giri only! The moment you think about me, I shall appear in front of you immediately! Please do not worry! However, you should also do one more thing – You should keep administering the kingdom without letting anyone know the details of the conversation that we’ve had just now. You should never show your shock or emotions to your people around and it might create tension and uneasiness amongst them. This would hamper your “Dharma-Raajya” at Indraprastha! Hence, continue doing what you’re doing best. Things will automatically take course at the right time! At the end, you would definitely emerge successful because of the “Dharma” that you’re going to execute. You would get due protection from an important source at the right time!” 

Assuring thus, Sage Vyaasa leaves Indraprastha and it is only after this, Yudishtra takes the resolve that he would not deviate from the path of “Dharma” for the next thirteen years. So what do we understand from this section of the conversation? Many of us might start faltering on our “Dharma” if we know in advance that we’re in for some suffering! For instance, the moment we start facing a problem, we would immediately stop performing even our regular “Sandhyavandanam” and our routine prayers! This is what we shouldn’t do and if we do, it simply means that we’re giving into the problem by compromising our “Dharma”. This is exactly what Sage Vyaasa is advising Yudishtra here – Never ever leave your basic “Dharma” just because you’re going to face problems in the future. We should continue following the path of “Dharma” each and every day, irrespective of whether we’re enjoying happiness or facing suffering. This is the important lesson that all of us have to learn from this section of the conversation. So for today, let us understand this point very clearly and let us try consciously to implement it in our daily lives. We shall wait till the next episode to continue this discussion further! Stay tuned! 🙂  

Episode # 292 – Do “PARIHARAS” work to solve one’s suffering? A discussion!!!

We’re at an important juncture wherein Yudishtra has been warned by Sage Vyaasa about a huge thirteen-year hurdle and eventually a mass destruction that is going to come along with it. As Yudishtra comes to know of it, he thinks about it in depth and with this, he decides to take a few pledges (“Shabadham”) in front of his brothers in his grand courtroom. Readers should understand one important point here – Instead of buckling down under pressure owing to these stunning words from Sage Vyaasa, Yudishtra was thoughtful in the sense that how can he overcome the problem by following “Dharma” at any cost. This is the gross difference between Yudishtra and us in today’s scenario. For instance, if we undergo some problematic situations in our lives, how do we react? We immediately run to an astrologer to check out what “Parihaara” should be done to overcome this problem, isn’t it? First of all, “Parihaara” doesn’t exist in the science of Astrology at all. I’ve mentioned this in an earlier context as well. Thus, instead of asking for a “Parihaara” to Sage Vyaasa, Yudishtra goes ahead in facing the problem that is about to come, and that too with the methodology of “Dharma”. This is what we call “honesty” and “sincerity” towards himself and his people. 

As we witness this bold step from Yudishtra, one important thing that we should learn here is that, whatever problem might come, we should be ready to face it and fight it out, rather than looking at ways and means to escape from the problem. Now let us discuss in today’s episode as to why I am saying that “Parihaara” doesn’t exist. Basically this term called “Parihaara” started to be in use amongst astrologers who are greedy for money and who want to make use of people’s problems to make their living. We should imagine one thing here – Rather than asking us to go to a temple and light four or five lamps for a particular deity, if an astrologer says, “From tomorrow onwards make sure that you follow the path according to “Dharma”, by not hurting anyone, by not scolding or abusing anyone, etc.”, will we even go to that astrologer again? What would we tell him in reply? We immediately would tell him: “Please do not advise me on things that I cannot do. Please advise me on some “Parihaara” to get a “quick relief” from the hardship or a bad time period!” This is because following the path of “Dharma” during testing times is not an easy joke! We’re going to witness how Yudishtra suffered and suffered by following the path of “Dharma” at all times. Yet, what is important here is that, by walking the treacherous path of “Dharma”, Yudishtra and Co. earned Bhagawan Krishna’s divine “Anugraha” at all times, isn’t it? At every instance of testing times, Bhagawan Krishna was there with the Paandava brothers to ensure that their sufferings are eased out, isn’t it? This is the important point here – If we are sincere to ourselves and to others around us, surely Bhagawan would be by our side and He would ensure that these hardships are waived off at the appropriate time and no danger would surround us at any point in time. It is the faith that is important for all of us to have. 

For this, we might ask a counter question thus: “Oh! If that is the case, should we keep suffering and suffering all the time on the pretext of “Dharma”? Duryodhana was enjoying all his life and it is only towards the end that he had to perish, isn’t it? But till his last day, Duryodhana did not undergo any such seemingly tough suffering, was he? Whereas on the other hand, Yudishtra was following each and every step as per the “Dharma” textbook meticulously and he ended up spending twelve years in the forest without food and shelter. Subsequently he had to spend one year of disguised life without falling in anybody’s eyes and even then Yudishtra was projected to be guilty of cheating the rules of the “Agnyaata-Vaasa” by Duryodhana and Co. If such is the scale of suffering by following “Dharma”, is it really worth it? Anyways, everybody is going to die on a certain day, isn’t it? Yet, why should we take the tougher path, if there’s an easier option available?” 

I’m sure all of us would have this question deep within us. Maybe we might be scared to ask such a question openly, but I’m sure each and everyone of us would have thought about it at some point in time, especially when we are suffering. The answer is very simple here – We should first understand that all our suffering is because of our previous “Karma” that we’ve performed either during this birth or during our previous births. I’ve already explained in detail about the “Sanchita Karma” and the “Praarabdha Karma” earlier. Thus, our present-day life during this present birth is solely based upon both our “Sanchita Karma” and our “Praarabdha Karma”, and whenever the appropriate planetary positions in our horoscope arrive, we would automatically experience the results of whatever “Karma” we’ve committed. If such is the case, where does the concept called “Parihaara” come from and how can a “Parihaara” dissolve our “Karma” just like that? If such a thing is true, do we see all people who do Parihaara after Parihaara all throughout their lives living happily? The answer is a big “NO”! None of those who do such stupid things have ever been successful in life! By doing such things, we are only trying to escape from our problem, and it only shows our cowardice in facing the problem head on! 

So now, the question comes – If such is the case, why are a few astrologers prescribing such useless “Parihaaras” to us? The answer is very simple – These astrologers simply want to make money by “fooling” us and by taking advantage of our problematic situations in life. We should first understand that there is nobody in this world who does not have problems and suffering. In fact, even Bhagawan Himself wasn’t an exception here – We’ve witnessed how Bhagawan Rama suffered for fourteen years in the forest, along with Mother Sita and Lakshmana. We’re witnessing how Bhagawan Krishna Himself suffered all through His divine incarnation until the last minute. If such is the case, why should we feel scared of problems? Thus, the point here is that, instead of wasting our time and money in running behind greedy astrologers like these, we should prepare ourselves to face the problem head on and emerge victorious. By doing so, we’ve to also ensure that we’ve to develop Bhakti and complete surrender (“Sharanaagathi”) towards Bhagawan. If Bhagawan’s “Anugraha” is with us, why at all should we depend on these fools? Are these astrologers equal to Bhagawan? No way, isn’t it? Hence, our trust should be on Bhagawan and not on these opportunistic people who are waiting to prey on our suffering. 

So for today, let us understand this important lesson from Yudishtra on how he’s preparing himself to face the tough situation head-on, instead of running away from it! We shall continue this important discussion in the next episode as well! Stay tuned! 🙂