Episode # 271 – “It’s better to ask doubts or clarifications with an OPEN MIND” – An important lesson from the Vidura Neeti!!!

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In the previous episode we had witnessed the continuation of the introductory note pertaining to the 39’th Adhyaaya of the Vidura Neeti. We’re witnessing a huge introductory note to this particular Adhyaaya owing to its importance in terms of laying the foundation of the future course of the Mahabharata story to come. It is in this Adhyaaya and the 40’th that the war between the Paandavas and Kauravas becomes eminent and all last minute attempts to thwart the war become futile. Here King Dhirdiraashtra agrees to all the “Dharma” that Vidura is explaining, but his heart refuses to accept it. His “Putra Vaatsalya” (Excessive attachment towards his son) is pegging him back from taking a step towards the path of “Dharma”. Here he openly says to Vidura that whatever he says might sound good to listen, but when it comes to practical implementation, it is next to impossible.

This is where we witnessed in yesterday’s episode that having a profound knowledge of the “Dharma” is not important. The real importance comes in the implementation part of it. For instance if we’re an ardent Vishnu devotee by chanting the Vishnu Sahasranaama every day, along with the reading of the all-important “Sundara Kaanda” of the Ramayana every day, but if we aide by the anti-Hindu elements who demolish Vishnu temples, what is the point in reading the Ramayana and chanting the Vishnu Sahasranaama? Devotion towards Bhagawan Vishnu should not only limit to chanting prayers. The devotion should also be shown in our actions and behavior, isn’t it? Similarly here too, King Dhirdiraashtra himself was a learned scholar and he needn’t be taught lessons on “Dharma”. Yet, Vidura took it upon himself to enlighten King Dhirdiraashtra on the various aspects of “Dharma”. But what is the use here? If King Dhirdiraashtra is not going to follow any thing of what Vidura says, then what is the point in being highly educated? Thus the message from this section of the Vidura Neeti is that, it is just not enough if we’re highly learned and scholarly. All our scholarly knowledge should transform into actions and implementation and it is only then, there would be real spiritual development happening.

Moreover, if one has a genuine doubt or a question towards something, he/she should be prepared to listen to the answer with an open mind. This is a very important requirement for spiritual growth. For instance, when Arjuna asked a series of doubts to Bhagawan Krishna amidst the battlefield, he asked them with an open mind and thus Arjuna was able to grasp and implement whatever Bhagawan Krishna explained to him as the Bhagawad Gita. However if we take the case of King Dhirdiraashtra, what are we witnessing here? Is he having an open mind while asking his doubts to Vidura? The answer is “No”! King Dhirdiraashtra had a strong pre-conceived notion about Duryodhana and his approach and is not ready to accept whatever Vidura advises him. Thus at the end, King Dhirdiraashtra fails to clear his doubts, just because he did not have an open mind to listen to what Vidura has to say.

This is an important lesson to all of us as well – If we have a doubt or a query regarding something in spirituality and if we’re approaching a “Guru” for clearing our doubts, we should always make sure that we go with an open mind. It is only then we would be able to understand what our “Guru” is intending to convey. For instance if I have a query on some context in the Ramayana, I should never ask someone thus: “Oh! I think this section of the Ramayana has a mistake and is controversial! What do you think of it?” If we ask such a question, it implies that we’ve already made up our mind in such a way that the Ramayana is wrong! If such is the decision that we’ve taken within ourselves, then what is the point in asking such a question?

Instead, if we ask thus, “Oh! I recently read something like this in the Ramayana. Why has it happened like this? I did not understand!” This is a right way of asking. This means we’re asking a question with an open mind and we would be able to understand and absorb whatever the other person answers. Rather than this, if we keep asking questions just for testing the knowledge and opinions of others, there is no end to keep asking such questions! It would become just a time-pass activity to malign our “Sanaathana Dharma”, which sadly many people are doing today!

Thus the message here is that, if we have a clarification or a doubt, it is better to have a neutral stance and then ask the question with an open-mind. It is only then we would be able to get clarity to our doubt. It is only then the words of our elders and our “Guru” would reap benefits in our life.

With this basic understanding on a few set of points that we’ve discussed over the past three episodes, we shall move into the 39’th Adhyaaya of the Vidura Neeti thus. We shall commence from the end of the 38’th Adhyaaya so as to get some continuity as we move into the 39’th. Vidura explains thus,

“Daivateshu prayatnena raajasu braahmaneshucha!

Niyantavyaaha sadhaah krodhaha vriddha vaalaatureshacha!!”

Here Vidura explains clearly as to which of those categories of people, we should never get angry upon, although there might be a compelling reason for us to get angry on them! Of course as we’ve discussed before, it is better to control our anger at all times, however there might be some situations wherein exhibiting anger might be inevitable, owing to certain compelling factors. However, even if such is the compelling case of exhibiting anger, these categories of people should still be exempted!

In our daily life we have this common practice – We never show our anger outside home, but when we’re at home we would show all our anger and frustration to our parents or to our wife/husband! 🙂 This should not be the case isn’t it? We should exhibit our anger only where it is applicable and not at all places, just because some people in our lives would not retaliate back!

Thus Vidura explains here that we should never show anger especially on women and children. Why does Vidura stress this point? An important explanation awaits us tomorrow! Stay tuned! 🙂

Published by Dr. Jeayaram

Holds a PhD in Management Psychology from Universite Paris Saclay, Paris, France. Also an Asst. Professor of Human Resources management at Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham in Kerala, India. A professional South Indian classical musician (singer) performing concerts. Through this blog, I'm trying to bring out the richness of Indian culture & values and I request your support and feedbacks in making this humble effort a success!!

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