In the previous episode we had witnessed yet another important discussion from Vidura with respect to how King Dhirdiraashtra’s courtroom has failed him and is continuing to fail him at all crucial junctures. The courtroom that comprises of veterans like Bhishma, Dhronachaarya, Ashwatthaama, etc. although they might be advanced in age, but failed to stand by their “Dharma” at important junctures – Especially when Duryodhana and Co. went ahead to do the most heinous crime of insulting a woman in front of the courtroom, none of these veterans raised their hands up to stop this from happening! Vidura thus uses this opportunity to slam these so-called veterans and establish the fact that although these people might be advanced in age, they are still far away in terms of standing by the “Dharma” and “Sathya” when it matters the most. Only those who stand by the “Dharma” and always talk the truth should be present at the courtroom.
Vidura goes on to slam the entire lot of people and says that unfortunately even Bhishma hasn’t conducted himself in that fashion and hence he and the others are unfit to be part of the courtroom of a king. Of course they know the “Dharma” as per the textbook. As we say in the modern day law, “Interpretation of Statutes”, the application of the “Dharma” or the Law is very important. Hence it is not enough if we just know what is there in the “Dharma” textbook. We should also know the interpretation of the “Dharma”, when, where and how to apply it to the right context. Thus, when the “Adharma” was happening in King Dhirdiraashtra’s courtroom, Bhisma, Dhrona, etc. were silent and this is a major blunder from their part.
Thus the message from this sloka is that, “Sathya” and “Dharma” are extremely important for people in a king’s courtroom and those people who try to flex the truth for their personal gains cannot be considered the right people to advise a king on various subjects! And moreover, the truth should come from a person’s heart by default! It should not be used as a weapon to win over someone at some point in time!
Now moving on further, Vidura explains thus:
“Paapam kurvan papa keerthihi paapameva ashnuthe phalam!
Punyam kurvan punya keerthihi punyam athyantham ashnuthe!!
Tasmaan paapam na kurveetha purusha shamshithavrathaaha!
Paapam pragnyaam naashayathi kriya maanam punah punaha!!”
Here Vidura explains an extremely important aspect – Wherein, a person who commits one sin, is automatically pushed forward to commit more and more sins. For instance, if we eat a food dish and if we like it very much, we would go on to eat more of that food dish till our apetite gets satisfied, isn’t it? Nowadays we even go to the extent of getting addicted to certain food dishes in such a way that we keep eating/drinking it once in every 3-4 hours. This is what is called as “Vaasana” in Sanskrit, wherein we get so addicted to that item and at one stage we come to a level wherein we cannot live peacefully without consuming that material at that stipulated time.
Similar to this food example, there might be other activities in our life that we would like to keep on performing again and again and at some point in time, we involuntarily start doing that activity whenever and wherever we would like to do it. This is what we call as “Vaasana”. According to the “Karma Theory”, these “Vaasanas” transcend over us through numerous births. That is, if we’ve been doing an activity with lot of addiction in our previous birth, we would be pushed to continue doing that same activity even in this present birth!
Now the question is that, are these “Vaasanas” good or bad? Some might be good and a majority might be bad! If the “Vaasanas” are good, then we needn’t worry much about them. For instance, if we’re devoted to Bhagawan completely by chanting our Manthras, performing our daily “Nithya-Anushtaanas” correctly without fail, it means that we’ve imbibed the good “Vaasanas” of “Bhakti” from our previous births. However if we’re going to go behind unwanted activities like experiencing some worldly pleasures, going behind drugs, alcoholism, women, etc. it means that we’re transcending through our bad “Vaasanas”. But at some point in time, we need to wash away these bad “Vaasanas” and get rid of them isn’t it? If we continue to live with these bad “Vaasanas”, these would never allow us to progress spiritually. How do we do that? The only way to wash them away is “Detachment”. If we do not have the will power or “Vairaagya”in our life to act against our sub-conscious desires, it would become very difficult to wash away or eradicate our “Vaasanas”.
This is exactly what Vidura is explaining here – If a person is induced into doing a “Paapa Karma” or Sin, he is repeatedly pushed to committing that same sin again and again throughout his life! Nobody from outside might have induced him into committing the sin. It is only his “Vaasana” that is inducing him into the sin again and again. On the contrary, if a person’s “Vaasana” is towards the “Dharma-Maarga” (Path of Dharma), of course he follows that meticulously without any blemish. Thus Vidura advises King Dhirdiraashtra “Oh King! Please do not get carried away by your “Vaasanas” of doing bad things. Please take this as an opportunity to correct yourself. Don’t fall into the trap. Else you’ll only end up doing more and more wrong things. Already you’ve done enough and more of sins. Please do not accumulate further. Please try and wash away your “Vaasanas” by practicing strict detachment!”
This is of course not applicable to just King Dhirdiraashtra, but to all of us today! The more we get into the trap of performing sins, we should remember that we’re getting carried away by our “Vaasanas”. We should thus develop the awareness to try and wash away these “Vaasanas” by distancing ourselves from these sorts of unwanted sinful activities! Let us make a conscious attempt towards this task from today! We shall wait till the next episode to explore further into Vidura’s next piece of advice! Stay tuned! 🙂