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Monday, June 4, 2007

Career, Karma, No Peace

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Nityananda! Gauranga! Hare Krishna! We should also know that no one can make or mar our career. Sometimes we imagine, "A has blocked my promotion." or  "B has ruined my business by competing in the same field." and so on. And due to such imaginary conceptions, we feel envy and animosity to­wards others. But actually our career and life is shaped by our previous karma; others can­not influence it.

A typical example of one nourishing such needless envy and enmity is Duryodhana. Right from the time the Pandavas came to Hastinapura as small children, Duryodhana was envious of them. He was afraid that they might take over the kingdom. So. to destroy them, he hatched various demoniac schemes such as feeding Bhima a poisonous cake, gift­ing the Pandavas a palace made of inflammable shellac and then arranging to have it set on fire so that they would burn to death and so on. But by none of these tricks could he succeed in killing them. Later during the svayamvara of Draupadi, he became mad with lust on seeing her exquisite beauty, but he was crestfallen when he could not win her hand. And when the Pandavas won the hand of Draupadi, his envy increased manifold.

When he realized that the Pandavas had be­come very powerful and wealthy due to their alliance with Drupada, the father of Draupadi and the king of Panchal, he feared that they might attack and defeat him. So he decided to give them half of the kingdom, but once again, due to his envious nature, he tried to cheat them by offering them the barren part of the Kuru kingdom called Khandavaprastha.But, by the mercy of Lord Krishna, that deso­late land was miraculously transformed, in no time, into the great city Indraprastha. Indraprastha was a magnificent and opulent city filled with learned brahmanas, chivalrous kshatriyas, well-to-do vaishyas and faithful shudras. All the subjects were living a very happy God-centered life in accordance with the Vedic scriptures. All the cows, women, old men, children and brahmanas were properly protected. The mellifluous chanting of auspi­cious Vedic mantras could be heard every­where in the city. And Mayadanava con­structed the Mayasabha, a gorgeous mansion akin to a heavenly abode, for the Pandavas. When Duryodhana heard about the opulence of the Pandavas, he just could not stand it. In fact the very thought that was now the em­peror of the world caused him indescribable agony. He felt that that position was his ex­clusive birthright and that the Pandavas had unlawfully usurped his position.

At that time, Maharaj decided to conduct the Rajasuya yajna to establish the supremacy of Lord Krishna. He invited all the kings and sages from all over the universe for the yajna. At the time of the yajna, he allocated various services to his relatives and close friends. He requested Bhishma and Drona to oversee the organization of the sacrifice, Dushasana to take care of distribution of food to all the guests, Ashvatthama to attend to the brahmanas and Duryodhana to receive all the gifts. Lord Krishna took the humble role of washing the feet of all the sages and brahmanas arriving for the Rajasuya yajna. Seeing the hundreds and thousands of price­less gifts that came for Yudhishtir, Duryodhana's heart burnt with envy. And when he saw the incomparable opulence of the famed palace of the Pandavas, the Mayasabha, he could no longer control his jealousy. He sniffed and huffed and frowned harshly at the innocent servants who were cheerfully passing by within the place. He was in a state of total misery and despondency. On his way back to Hastinapura, Duryodhana told his uncle, Shakuni, "It is impossible for me to see the prosperity of the  Pandavas. What man who possesses any self-respect can bear to see his enemies prosper more than him? How can I ever equal the power and the opulence of the Pandavas? All my efforts to do so have been frustrated. And my attempts to destroy the Pandavas have also met with total failure. On the contrary, they are flourishing like lotuses in a pond. Therefore I cannot live any longer. 1 will enter into fire or I will swallow poison and thus end my life. Please inform my father Dhritarashtra about the terrible anguish I am in. " And while he was speaking, the fire of envy in his heart started burning more and more and he became even more fearful that the Pandavas would vanquish him.

When Dhritarashtra came to know about the devilish mentality of Duryodhana, he tried to pacify him, "My dear son, whatever you may want for your enjoyment is already at your dis­posal. Our opulence is no less than that of the gods in heaven. We have immense wealth, magnificent mansions, the best of clothes, the finest food and beautiful women. All these are just waiting to give you pleasure. What rea­son is  therefor you to become depressed?"  Duryodhana sullenly muttered, "Don't you know that got thousands of invaluable gifts in the Rajsuya yajna?"

Dhritarashtra suggested, " You can also perform a similar sacrifice and you will also get those gifts." But Duryodhana knew that he would not get even one tenth of the gifts that Yudhishthira got.

Therefore the evil-minded Duryodhana, along with the diabolical Shakuni, decided to devise some devious way, by which the Pandavas could be destroyed. Duryodhana knew that he could not challenge the Pandavas in a battle; they would easily defeat him. So he decided to invite the Pandavas to a gambling match so that they could be cheated of  their kingdom and be exiled into the forest. Even during the exile of the Pandavas, Duryodhana, though the emperor of the en­tire world, was constantly in anxiety about the possibility of the return of the Pandavas in the future; he was never at peace. On the other hand, the Pandavas, who were great devotees of Krishna, being nonenvious, lived peacefully though they were in utter poverty in the forest.

In a similar way, in the present times of cutthroat competition, most people live totally insecure lives, being torn apart by im­measurable anxieties, "This person is trying to pull me down", "It is only because of that person that I cannot progress in my life", "That person is growing bigger than me, how can I cut him down?" Such people grit their teeth, bite their lips, frown, grumble, brood and, riding on the chariot of their mind, make elaborate plans to destroy all their so-called enemies and become supreme. But all their endeavors are repeatedly frustrated and they have no peace of mind whatsoever. (Compiled by Radheshyam Dasa)