Friday, February 10, 2017

A NEEDLE-POINT WORTH OF WISDOM














“Whatever Life holds in store for me, I will never forget these words:
With great power comes great responsibility… this is my gift, my curse…
Who am I? – I am Spider-man.”


In  our degree college, we had a language (Kannada) teacher by he name Prof. Padakannayya. It was from him, I first learnt the significance of the story of ‘Mahabharatha’. I particularly remember his description of Duryodhana… The eldest of Kauravas – the 100 sons of Dhritarashtra, the blind king of Hastinapur. I remember a passing remark of our teacher while dealing with this story. “When God gives us great strengths,” he said, “He, deliberately, holds back wisdom!”

Well, at age 17-18, I did not grasp the full meaning of our teacher’s statement. It took years and years to do it..

 But, fully?  

Far from it!

“With great power comes great responsibility.” Though most of us heard it as a piece of advice to Spider-man from his uncle, it, actually, dates back to the time of Genesis. All of us have been given by God some strengths… some virtues. But, something is, always, kept away from us by God, on purpose… Perhaps, to see if we are trusty-worthy of those virtues… if we truly deserve to be strong.

Last Sunday, while having lunch at our Tai Chi camp, my fellow-participants, Ashutosh and Anand, were having discussion about the war of Mahabharatha. “The conflict could have been avoided,” said Ashutosh, “It had come so close to the resolve-point.”

Krishna had gone to the Kauravas as an emissary of peace mission. He had to come back disappointed. The blind king, Dhritarashtra, the father of Kauravas, could see the devastation that was to befall if war would take place. All that the Pandavas were asking for, now, was five villages in the entire kingdom… The wise-men in the court advised the King to heed to the request and avoid destruction… Dhritarashtra agreed… But, not his eldest scion, Duryodhana… “Father, do not worry about your sons… We are strong enough… We are confident of winning the war… Pandavas have sensed it and, therefore, they are now ‘begging’ for just five villages… But, make no mistake about it… they will not get even a needle-point of our territory!”

When Ashutosha nd Anand were talking about this story, I remembered Prof. Padakannayya’s statement, made  almost forty years ago… “When God gives us great strength, He deliberately holds back wisdom.”

Only a little bit of wisdom – to see the point the wise-ones  were making around him – Yes, just a little bit of wisdom, would have saved Duryodhana and his camp from such a tragic end. God did give him great power, but held back the wisdom and humility… Duryodhana was consumed by the arrogance of his power…  Just as Spider-man was counseled by his uncle, Duryodhana, too, was advised by his own uncle, Vidura… “Gracefully handover five villages to your cousin brothers, Pandavas… Live and let live…

No, it was not to be…

“Make no mistake, they will get not even a needle-point of our territory,” Duryodhana had bragged.

Alas! If alone God had given us, along with our stupendous powers, a needle-point worth of wisdom…

Yes, in life, peace is so close… yet so far!

GERALD D’CUNHA
Pic: Vikram Sharma

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