In the battle of Mahabharta, the whole body of the great warrior Bhishma had been pierced with arrows. Not a single arrow had hit him on the back. Bhishma was lying on a bed of arrows that had pierced through his body. Every arrow that pierced his body had stuck in the earth and his injured body was resting high in the air on those arrows. Barring his forehead, there was hardly any part of the body that was without the arrows. He was waiting for the new moon. To exhibit the great glory of ‘brahmcharya’ and in order to prove the blessings of the ‘death-at-will’ wish granted by his father, he had made up his mind to say goodbye to his body only then.
The war was still in progress. In the evening, at the end of the day’s battle, main warriors of both the camps of Kaurvas and Pandvas used to visit him for getting his blessings. One day, Bhishma said in front of all main warriors, ” My head is hanging towards the ground, who would be able to arrange a pillow suitable for me?” Several warriors including Duryodhna hurried and came back with several big, velvety pillows. But Bhishma, after looking at those pillows, turned his head away. he said, “Where is Arjun?”. Arjun, with his head bowed down, came forward. Bhisham, looking at Arjun, said,” Can you arrange a pillow suitable for me?”. Accepting the command, Arjun stepped back a little.
Arjun put an arrow on his ‘gandiv ‘ bow and stretched the string to the limit. All the warriors were looking at Arjun in wonder as to what he was doing. All of them were taken aback when with measured precision he hit the arrow into Pitamah’s forehead. The arrow pierced the forehead and stuck into the ground. Now , like the rest of his body, his head was also resting on an arrow.
Bhishma became very happy. Blessing Arjuna, he said,” You gave a pillow to me in accordance with the status of my bed. Only a valiant soldier can give such a pillow. If you had also given me a velvety pillow, I would have cursed you because giving such a pillow to me would have amounted to insulting me”.
On another day, at the end of the day’s battle, Bhisham said to all the warriors,” My throat is drying up. Would anybody fetch water for me? Quickly, several warriors ran around. I must not lag behind, everyone thought so .They had got a chance to rectify their earlier mistake. Kaurvas were particularly active and determined to please the Pitamah this time. Duryodhna and his cronies brought several kinds of flavoured, sweetened and medicinal waters. But this time also, Bhisham Pitamah turned away his eyes.Bhisham once again looked towards Arjun. Arjun stepped forward, bowed down to the Pitamah. Then he put an arrow on the ‘gandiv’ bow, powered it with ‘varunastra’, and shot it into the ground. The arrow had been shot with such precision and skill that a string of pure water, piercing the earth, gushed out and started falling directly into Bhisham Pitamah’s mouth. Bhishan drank the water with a very happy heart.
Bhisham drank only water in his last days but in what a glorious and honourable fashion. This water-diet was undoubtedly a cut above the best, tasty, juicy, sweet, spicy, nutritional and medicinal foodstuff consumed by him throughout the life. Those best of foodstuffs were presented by the selfish interests of cruel and unjust Duryodhna while this plain water was presented by a rival but a valiant soldier Arjun, in accordcne with the glory and honour of the great valour of Bhisham.
Bhisham spent most part of his life in palaces. He was old and respected by everyone. He had all the royal honour. He went on to get respect from Maharaj Pandu, Dhritrashtra and others. But the pillow presented by Arjun by piercing his forehead with an arrow was in accordance with his glory and honour, not the various luxuries of royal palaces.
Bhisham drank water but with what honour and glory. He accepted a pillow but what an unparalleled and wonderful pillow that was
More important than the deed itself is; whether you have accomplished that deed with a honour and a glory or while grumbling under some compulsion.
Even one step taken by you can be so important that it would revolutionise not only your life but the lives of many others as well. Otherwise, you can run on and on for miles and yet this running would continue to make you confused.
You can start running on any easy path of your choice but the real thing is ; if with the push of your toes a closed path opens up and a straight path comes into view for those coming behind you.
A small satyagrah by Mahatma Gandhi in South Africa with the passage of time assumed a bigger shape as a result of which the whole of India woke up and the Britishers had to quit India.
Importance lies not in the fact that you have crossed the river. The important thing is how did you cross the river. Maybe more important than this is your motive or purpose of crossing the river. WHY did you cross the river?
Both the How and the Why are inter-related. You crossed the river in order to loot the inhabitants or to rehabilitate and develop the area.
If you have crossed the river with your own arms, then you have aroused a sleeping power . The power thus aroused would give birth to a revolution.
Swami Vivekanand reached Kanyakumari. He wanted to visit the temple located in deep sea waters. But the boatmen refused to take him to the temple as they did not expect anything from the poor monk. Even then Vivekanand crossed the channel and reached the temple.
The important thing is: How did he reach there. This very thing became not only his own glory and honour but that of the whole country. He reached the temple by swimming with the power he had within himself. The power lying dominant inside woke up and for three days, Vivekanand remained in a state of ‘samadhi’ while the power inside was getting aroused. He kept on listening to the sounds inside (‘antar-naad’). His fearless swimming in the ocean heralded in a spiritual and social revolution. This is not important that he reached the temple located in the ocean. These days lakhs of people are going there. The important thing is the glorious way in which he dived into the ocean. Instead of going on looking for a boatman’s help , he resolved to defend his honour and rested only after reaching the temple.
The important thing is not whether you become doctor, an engineer or a scientist or something else. The important thing is : how do you achieve your objective. By which means you realise your objective. Most of the school children usually say that they would become doctors, pilots and so on. Only a handful of them are able to pass the examinations. Majority of them lose heart when it comes to realising their mission. Even most of those passing the examinations take resort to unfair means or coaching. But in all of them, there would only be a few toppers. How many of these toppers would be really in accordance with the glory and honour of their respective professions?
The important thing is not that you have become a successful doctor. What is important is why did you become a doctor. For money or for honour. If such is the case, then you have sold out your achievement. In that case, the question is , have you been able to remain a doctor or scientists in the true sense of the word? You have only become a slave of the immobile substances.
With a feeling of service and for the sake of service you keep on delving deep into your subject farther and farther, then surely you are successful in your mission. By doing so, you developed your consciousness. And you established your glory and honour in your profession.
Just as Bhisham Pitamah did not permit his hard earned bed of arrows to get dishonoured with the touch of pillows and drank only water and that too with rare honour and glory. But how many supermen would be there who do not allow their professions to to get tainted by accepting offers of money and honour? who many would be there who do not compromise their honour and glory even if they have to live a life of poverty and obscurity.
If your body has been afflicted by some disease, there is little wonder in it. Nothing has happened that ought not have happened. The desire to get rid of a disease is natural. It is your right to get well. But the important thing is what treatment you get for getting well and how you get it.
Do you feel tired and wasted like a defeated solider? Does the desire to get well get entangled in the web of hopelessness. Then it means you have become a patient yourself. When the owner of the body becomes a patient , the condition of the body is bound to deteriorate.
Do you go on crying even before the doctors.” What will happen now, doctor sahib. Everything is now in your hands. For me you are God”. In that case, you have not only become a patient but a slave as well. You have lost confidence in yourself. If you start believing in medicines above your own personality, confidence and the internal power, then no medicines would be able to fully cure you. One disease would go , another would come.
Go to the doctor if you must but not while crying and feeling tired. Take the medicines if required but with confidence and aroused in your spiritual power. Do not destroy your honour and glory by becoming a patient. Even if the body is afflicted by several diseases, but do not allow your personality and individuality to become a patient. Do not let your thinking, duty and conduct become a slave of diseases. Even if you have to lie down on a bed of arrows, then do not allow your firmness of honour and the hope of a glory to get tainted with helplessness.
To attack the disease, become a meditator ( sadhak). I am not a patient , I am a surya-sadhak, a practitioner of yoga, I am a part of God. This way, recognise your real honour and glory and undergo meditation to get yourself seated therein.
If you really want to tread the path of realisation of God or are already doing sop, the there should be no room at all in your heart ( anthakaran) for any kind of weakness, dependence and hopelessness. The Upnishad’s basic mantra is- ” Naymatma balheenain labhya” Meaning that anyone without strength cannot be face to face with the atma. The glory of a meditator ( sadhak) is the renunciation of everything. To get attracted even to the biggest property of the world is totally contrary to the glory of a sadhak. Te glory of the sadhak is to keep on moving ahead in an intoxicated gait even in the face of adversities. If an elephant enters a village, the dogs start barking at him. But it is against the glory of the elephant to chase the barking dogs and fight with them. the existence of dogs is nothing before the ‘ masti’ of an elephant.
Similarly, what is the existence of perishable material substances before the power and intoxication of a maha-sadhak. Even if there are a thousand attractions, a meditator cannot give up his meditation. It does not matter whether he gets success or not whether he attains that position or not but the glory of a sadhak lies in his firmness to be on the path of meditation. Even if the progress on the path comes to a near halt, the glory of a meditator lies in keeping the face in the direction of the supreme seat.
The staying on the path by both the ‘sadhak’ and his ‘sadhna’ is such a honour and glory that is itself another form of the supreme seat.
Whatever you do, do it in accordance with your honour and glory.