WORLD HERITAGE DESTINATION

WORLD HERITAGE DESTINATION

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Karma shitting on Dharma


Modern man's life is rather clumsy, though we pretend to control our destinies, by and large it be an act of ultimate self deception that we control the myriad trials and tribulations of what we sow, although it is true our actions and/or inaction precludes certain options to our current state. 

For the most part, we are careless things that blunder along the path of history until we eventually get to our appointed destinations.

All of this, of course, points to the quaint parochialism of the modern man's- "Id state"
 (state of subconscious mind) which is, for most, a rather crude and blunt instrument at best. 

The root of today's problems is the question of identity (yours and mine) and the
perpetuation of that identity over time. 
(as popeye famously said; I am what I am, and that is all that I am!)

This, incidentally, is a question that is both personal as it is philosophical; and the individual,
has to be made to look into the mirror of self-doubt to see the glimmer of reason tucked
behind the cloud of untruths (in the Nietzschean sense).

It has, in short, to be made to ask the same existentialist questions that we are all bound to ask 
ourselves sooner or later: “What am I; why am I here; is this all I am; is this all I can be?”

Instructive in this respect, i believe, is the dialogue between the semi-divine hero Arjuna and 
the God Krishna that takes place on the eve of the great battle of Kurukshetra, 
(5000 yrs ago in India) which makes up the theme of the Bhagavad Gita,
(equivalent to a Holy Book for Hindus) and which, incidentally, happens to also be one of the
most important works of localised Hindu literature in Southeast Asia, locally rendered as the 
Hikayat Pandawa Lima.

Unable to lay his soul to rest the warrior-prince Arjuna contemplates the folly of life and the 
madness of power on the night before the great battle between the two warring clans of the 
Pandawas and Kurawas, cognisant of the fact that regardless of the outcome the battle will spell
the doom of both.

Gnawing at his conscience is the perennial conundrum that he is unable to resolve: 
How can he, the warrior-prince, obey and comply with two apparently contradictory moral 
orders, the dharma of the just man who must respect life, and the dharma of the warrior who 
must destroy life itself? 

It is Lord Krishna himself, (In one of his 10 reincarnations) who comes to Arjuna’s aid by 
offering him sage counsel that is equally relevant to the modern technocrat of today.

Krishna reminds Arjuna that life is full of contradictions and that as a human being one of the 
first conditions to be met while living in the here-and-now is to accept, understand and live with
these seemingly contrasting contradictions.

Arjuna (as a man) has to protect life, but he also has to kill (to protect a life).
He must be prince and warrior, protector and killer. Having to bear the burden of both 
obligations is his destiny and he cannot escape this. 
( As is the case with all of us, we have to be hunters and warriors and also husbands and 
protectors of virtue in our family life)

Arjuna was then faced with the last temptation before the great slaughter at Kurukshetra.
To simply give up.

He longs to relinquish all sense of responsibility, to escape, to deny his own agency and 
responsibility, to refuse to act, to do nothing.

But it is then that Krishna reveals himself in all his magnificent universal plenitude and shows 
Arjuna in no uncertain terms that Life is far greater than the individual.

While the warrior-prince is forced to do battle with his conscience, (in this life) Krishna reminds
him that Life and one's soul is far greater, more complex, much richer than the finite conscience
of the individual ;
( To understand today, one has to understand our yesterdays-or past lives and visualize 
what that impact will be on our tomorrows-or next life) and that even if the greatest of 
heroes cannot reconcile such contradictions in him, Life is far more abundant and expansive
and great enough to reconcile all contradictions within itself. 

That is the promise of the Lord.

The moral of the Bhagavad Gita – of which there are many – 
is that inaction is no escape from the complexities of life and that submission to Life means 
accepting the complexities, contradictions and paradoxes that make up mottled landscape of 
living itself. 

No, we cannot run from our fears and anxieties and we cannot gloss them over with 
counterfeit simple solutions either.

To truly live to the full, one has to reflect the complexities of life in our personalities as well,
to mirror the myriad of life’s contradictions in the myriad of personalities that inhabit ourselves.
We have, in other words, to accept and live as a community of selves, with all the sad,happy, calming,frustrating & contentious feelings that that may elicit for us.

For ours is not to question why; but simply to enjoy while we can the privilege and joy of 
living and all its' travails.

Karma has a funny way of shitting on Dharma, doesn't it?

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