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Mahabharat Episode 57: Three Keys to Success, According to the Mahabharat

Mahabharat Episode 57: Three Keys to Success, According to the Mahabharat

“This is our time on the planet. What horrible things we do to each other is left to us. But what wonderful things we do is also left to us.”


Sadhguru :To succeed in one’s endeavor, whatever that may be, three aspects are crucial. One is intelligence and skill, another is grace, and the third is proper alignment of situations, which we usually call luck. When the Pandavas went into the game of dice, they definitely did not have skill. Grace, which for them comes through Krishna, was not available then, as they neither took Krishna with them nor did they even inform him. Luck, which comes through Draupadi, was missing as she was also not there. With these three things absent, if a man gets into action, he for sure invites disaster.

Be Skillful and Listen 

How to know whether you have the needed intelligence or skill? If you wonder whether you have it or not, you may become unreasonably diffident about yourself. If you think you have it, you may become confident and stupid. The only way to know is to take the grace available and learn to be sensitive to what is happening around you. Everything in existence is speaking every moment – people do not listen; they cannot listen because too much of their own talk is happening in their head. They can neither listen to grace nor to the alignment of existence. 

The danger of speaking on these terms is there are a lot of scatterbrains who suddenly think they hear the coconut tree telling them something. To listen does not mean to imagine. You can only listen when you are not talking. Hearing is not listening. Hearing happens whether you like it or not. Hearing causes distress to the mind – listening brings the mind to stillness. If you listen to something, your mind will become focused and still; if you are simply hearing things, the mind will become distressed – that is the effect of noise. But if you listen to it carefully, even what you consider as noise will bring your mind to stillness. Music is just properly arranged noise or sounds. And the quality of the music depends not only on the musician but also on the listener, on how keenly one listens. 

Why Lack of Faith Leads to Failure 

These three aspects for successful action flow right through the Mahabharat. During the war, there were certain moments when they listened, and certain moments when they did not. To listen to someone, you need faith in them. Otherwise you hear things and do your own rubbish again. In moments when the Pandavas listened, their lives rose. In other moments, when they thought, “I will listen to what is convenient for me and otherwise do my own thing,” they went down, because listening needs faith. The Kauravas were always down – they had no faith in anything or anyone. The Pandavas’ faith was wavering. When it was on, they would rise and soar. When it was not, they were down. 

Where there is no faith, there will be anxiety and fear. Where there is fear, there will be rage. Where there is rage, there will be conflict. That is the essence of the story. Whenever there was faith in them, they were fearless; when they were fearless, there was no rage; when there was no rage, they acted purposefully. But whenever there was no faith, there was fear; when there was fear, there was rage; when there was rage, they lost their sense of purpose and their faculties did not function properly. 

Why Rage Does Not Work for You 

During the war, Ashwatthama was incensed by his father’s death, particularly the way he was killed. Drona was killed after he was made to believe his son Ashwatthama had died. Hearing that, Drona put his arms down, sat down in his chariot, in a cross-legged posture, in meditation. Dhrishtadyumna went and chopped off Drona’s head, who was unarmed, and sitting with his eyes closed. Enraged by the way his father was killed, Ashwatthama pulled out his ultimate astra, the Narayana Astra. Normally, it would have burnt the whole Pandava army, including the five Pandavas and everything else. The moment Ashwatthama let it out, Krishna said to the Pandavas and their army, “All of you bow down and prostrate to the astra.” Almost the whole Pandava army prostrated, and the astra passed over them. Krishna said, “He can use it only once.” Since Ashwatthama had used his most potent weapon, there was no danger anymore. 

The whole story runs on this, and life runs on this: When there is faith, there is no fear. When there is no fear, there is no rage in your heart. When there is no rage in your heart, you will act towards the purpose of your life, without even knowing it intellectually. You will fulfill your natural dharma without even thinking about it. That is the way to act, because the moment you think about it, your thoughts will create endless, contradictory debates in your mind. 

People think they can debate and come to a conclusion. You can debate and come to a conclusion only if your opponent is an idiot. When two really intelligent people look at even the smallest aspect of life, they can debate on it for the rest of eternity. You can settle issues by debate only when you or your opponent is stupid. Unfortunately, the modern intellect is trained for debate. They think questioning something or debating about something is intelligence – it is really just entertainment. 

How to Sharpen Your Intellect and Senses 

The intellect is like a knife – if you do not let your intellect be dulled by any identifications, it has the power to penetrate through creation. You can only debate with the information you have. Your information about this cosmos is very limited. You do not even really know a single cell in your body. If you start a debate with this level of information, it is just entertainment; you are misusing your intelligence and intellect. If you keep your intellect constantly clean, in the sense that it is not identified with anything but simply looking, it will be like a hot knife that will cut through everything; you will see everything the way it is. 

The intellect is given to aid your five senses. The five senses are a problem when your intellect is identified with something or the other. The five senses are a miracle only if the intellect is not identified with the body or the mind. If the intellect is sitting here in a dispassionate manner, it will slice through everything. Then you will see the five senses are five miracles that everyone should know; five miracles that have come to you free of cost. Dhritarashtra came with four senses, so you have to pardon him. But you have no pardon because you have come with five, and still you are not any less blind.

To be continued.

More Mahabharat Stories

Editor's Note: A version of this article was originally published in the Forest Flower magazine, March 2020. To subscribe online, click here. The Mahabharat series is based on Sadhguru’s talks during the one-time Mahabharat program that took place in February 2012 at the Isha Yoga Center. Through the lives and stories of the varied characters, Sadhguru takes us on a mystical exploration into the wisdom of this immortal saga.

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