From times immemorial, fratricidal wars have been a part of human history. Kings have been known to murder their siblings to get hold of the coveted throne. Brothers have fought against each other for land, glory and power. The Kurukshetra War is infinitely more than just a fratricidal war, its philosophical implications forming the very basis of Indian philosophy. Philosophically, I guess, and great men have reportedly suggested so, the Kurukshetra War amounts to conflicting elements within one’s own consciousness (does that make sense? Of course it does!)
What I wish to resolve in this blog post, through my silent typings, is, on a small scale, my own conflicts in the process of choosing a discipline of and an institute of undergraduate studies. On a broader scale however, I would refer to the moral and ethical conflicts of the simple mind (simple is SUCH an understatement) as well realizing how easy it is to fool or convince oneself – get utterly bamboozled by yourself with scarce direct influence from a third party.
This very conflict may be a source of mental pressure of gigantic proportions. However the reasons for this conflict are quite self evident – the old concept of resistance to change and fear of the untrodden path (to think I have used these phrases without actually ever having read Robert Frost). Testing times however, once lived through offer invaluable lessons and are treasured in later life.
But first I must clarify on the aptness of the analogies I have drawn. Why a ‘Kurukshetroid ‘ war? Kurukshetra- the holy site of the epic battle, yet a site of bloodshed, yet a site where knowledge was imparted. Men have compared it to the holy human mind, of petty and great affairs that coexist there, and also to society. (?)
Why is the mind holy? Well, it is one of the most advanced and probably only machine (for lack of a better word) capable of thinking, analyzing, taking decisions and incredibly, abstracting! Although many of these are done also by animals/beings of lower intellect (another recurring definition) but humans have taken these aspects beyond ‘sensible’ limits which are also, strangely set by them!
Now I shall not digress to the point of claiming anything complex and beautiful to be worshipped but by a happy coincidence, it is often the case that the human mind, in all its glory, complexity and blatant disregard of the rules it itself laid down, deserves to be called holy.
As for society, it is that institution created by mutual consent which is involved in cooperation to better living conditions and smoothen the road to progress. (another abstract term defined by me as a condition where probability of all getting what they desire for axiomatic happiness is maximized without compromising on mutual philanthropic measures, i.e. not making the relation parasitic but rather symbiotic. But this on the other hand does not ensure that society …progresses… in a progressive manner. Violence may be seen as a parameter of progress, I doubt it.) It is based on common consent, goodwill and well-being -how can that not be holy?
Hmm… now maybe I can satisfactorily say – Kurukshetra punyakshetra – the ‘adhar’ is well compared.
Why a Kurukshetr-oid war? It was fratricidal – between brothers and in the beginning, there shall inevitably remain a period of soul-searching – of confidence loss.
In the War, we see Arjun losing confidence desperately seeking solace from the horrors of fighting those he considered dear to his heart all his life – his brothers, friends, compatriots, those he considered father-like, grandfather-like, his well-wishers, all those who were, by strange compulsions, were pitted against him in battle. More on this aspect of the analogy in the next post.