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Another interesting angle is that lord Krishna’s primarily declared objective for fighting this war was to help Pandvas as Arjuna chose him for help, instead of choosing his army. Accordingly; when Arjuna refused to kill Bheeshma; lord Krishna faced two options. The first option said he should keep his word though the Pandvas would lose the war in this case. The second option said he should help Pandvas win this war as this was what he was there for, though doing so would lead him to break his promise of not using any weapons.
If he chose the first option, it meant he attached more value to his word than to his primary objective as he’d keep his word and let Pandvas lose this war even though he was capable of winning it for them. On the other hand, if he chose the second option of helping Pandvas win this war by using a weapon; he’d help them in the deepest sense but then; he’d lose his promise. Hence the real decision to be made by lord Krishna was to choose between his image and the benefit of his dearest friend Arjuna as well as that of his side.
I guess now it should be easy to understand that lord Krishna put more importance to his friend than to himself and that is why he chose to break his promise even if that resulted in disgrace; instead of choosing to keep his promise and let his friend’s side lose. Can you assess the greatness of this act as well as that of this character; who was willing to bear any loss in order to benefit his friend? This is what can happen when there is no ego as it is your ego alone which stops you from facing more than calculated losses, even when your loved ones are at stake.
Only a person with no ego at all, can even think of bringing disgrace to his image in order to serve a higher purpose; when he’s the most graceful person of his time. Even if you have a small percentage of ego, you may not be able to do so because the stakes are very high as you’re the most respected person of your time and you’re going to engage in something which may cause serious damage to your image. Lord Krishna did many other such acts throughout his life; which suggest the absence of ego. For instance, despite being a powerful king, he served as Arjuna’s charioteer in this war; when Arjuna was his friend as well as devotee; and not someone superior to him.
Hence a person with high ego may believe in the rule of ‘if you start something, you must finish it’ whereas a man with high conscience may translate this rule as ‘if you start something, give it your best. It should be noted that giving it your best doesn’t mean sacrificing other important people or duties in order to blindly pursue a particular person or mission. Giving it your best means trying your best while fulfilling all other duties undertaken by you before this mission or person; and not running away from them. This is because your commitment to those duties or people came prior to your commitment to the present mission or person. Hence you should duly consider this fact that those duties must also be fulfilled.
Therefore, even this reason doesn’t justify your high cost engagement in the mission to complete your discovery. Likewise, your intellect may give you a number of other reasons but they may all fail and hence let’s come to the real reason now. Well, the real reason is that you’ve worked hard for this discovery and you want to be the one to claim all the credit for this discovery. If it is not finished in your lifetime and a scientist from a later generation finishes this project, he’ll claim major credit for this discovery and this is what your ego may not be willing to accept.
Since you’ve spent a long period of time on this project, your ego may be strongly attached to this project. Hence it encourages you to pay whatever cost is needed in order to ensure that you and only you finish this project. Provoked by your ego, you may decide to pay such cost which may come in form of family life and many other things. If you’re lucky, which means if you have sufficient positive energy in your aura, you may one day finish this project, though you may have lost your family by then or you may have paid other prices which may be even higher than the rewards given by this discovery.
So why may you be doing all this? Ego is the answer and you’re doing it to satisfy your ego. The name and fame that this discovery may bring can take your ego to seventh heaven and this is why it keeps encouraging you to finish this project at any cost. There are no doubts that when you finish this project, the world may benefit and you may receive positive energy in the form of thanks. However, your motive behind this discovery was not purely intended to benefit the world and your benefit was also involved, and in fact, your benefit became primary as this project progressed.
This is how your ego can feed on your intellect and this is how it can use it. Your ego can feed on the accomplishments made by your intellect and it can feel proud when someone says that you’ve won a noble prize by virtue of your discovery. A noble prize is very good but why are you so proud of it? Going even deeper, why was this prize initiated to start with? I guess it was done so that the egos of people with special abilities may fix on these prizes and they may do something good or very good for the mankind, in order to reach these prizes.
I know it may sound strange but why do you need a prize otherwise? Yes, you’ve accomplished a great discovery and the whole world is benefitting from it. This is perfect till this point. But why do you want the whole world to know and remember that it is you who made this discovery? What is important, the benefits given by this discovery or the fact that you were the one who made this discovery? I guess the benefits are important for people and the fact that you made this discovery is important for you. You see, how your ego can feed on you, even when you may be doing some very good things for other people.
What happens in case you complete this discovery and you decide not to put your name on it? It means people benefit from this discovery but they don’t know the name of the discoverer. You don’t need any rewards and you don’t need any recognition for it. Does it mean this discovery won’t work for people, if such is the case? No, people will still benefit the same through this discovery. So what changes then and why do you have the need to attach your name to this discovery? I guess, you know by now that it is your ego which wants to feed on the name and fame generated by this discovery, and there is no other reason.
Let’s now suppose you’re a scientist with high conscience and not the one with high ego. You work on this project and you realize at a time that you may or may not be able to finish it in your lifetime, if you keep working on it in routine. You may also be sure of the fact that even if some work is left incomplete, the next scientist after you may very likely finish this project. You see two options from here.
The first option is to give as much extra time to this project as you can so that you may be able to finish this project in your lifetime. In order to do so, you may need to reduce the amount of time you may be giving to some of your other important commitments like to your family or even to your health and hence you may have to break those promises. Even if you choose to do so, there is no guarantee that you’ll be able to finish this project. On the other hand, the chances are high that you may suffer from problems on the fronts where you choose to break promises.
The second option is that you give this project your best and leave the rest for outside variables or so to say, for luck or nature to decide. Hence you work with maximum devotion and concentration on this project, but only for the time that you assign to your profession or may be for some extra time that you are able to manage without breaking other commitments. If you choose this option, you may or may not finish this project in your lifetime but the chances are high that it’ll be finished by someone after you and you’ll be able to fulfill other commitments of yours.
It should once again be understood that giving your best to something doesn’t mean giving it even those things which you’ve already given to someone or something else. Suppose you work for a salary of Rs. 100,000 per month. Your compulsory monthly expenses are Rs. 50,000 and hence you’re able to save Rs. 50,000 per month. You purchase a house on loan and the monthly installment works out at Rs. 30,000 per month, for the next 20 years. Then you avail loan for a car and the monthly installment works out at Rs. 15,000 per month for the next 5 years.
At this stage, you still have Rs. 5000 to spare after fulfilling all your commitments. Suppose you now decide to engage in a noble cause and you decide to financially help an orphanage on monthly basis; and you decide that you’ll do your best for this orphanage. It should be easy to understand that your best in this case means Rs. 5000 which are spared after fulfilling your already made commitments and hence you can do your best by donating this amount to the orphanage, every month. Stretching it a little further, let’s suppose you manage to spare Rs. 5000 more per month, by squeezing some of your domestic expenses and you start donating Rs. 10,000 per month to this orphanage.
Even this much may be healthy and you’re certainly doing a good job. At this stage, you come across a piece of information that the orphanage is expanding its building and they need extra funds for a period of the coming year or two, in order to do so. You choose to donate more money to this orphanage so that the building may be completed at the earliest. Hence you cut down some of your compulsory expenses and you even skip some of the installments in order to donate more money to the orphanage.
Do you think by doing so, you’re doing your best? The answer is an obvious no. This is because in order to honor a new commitment, you can’t break a number of already made commitments. If you’re a wise man, you should assess the maximum you can do for someone or something before making any commitments and this maximum should be decided by looking at what is left after fulfilling your already made commitments. Hence Rs. 5000 or Rs. 10,000 is your best in this case and doing anything more than that may bring imbalance in your as well as in other people’s life.
For instance, if you reduce the already committed as well as fair monthly allowance of your wife as well as that of your son against their wishes, you’ve created a problem. This is because in order to benefit someone, you’re intentionally troubling other people and hence this act can’t be called a balanced act. It should be noted that donating the fair amount of monthly allowance that your wife and son receive as a part of commitment made by you to them is none of your business.
Accordingly, such amount may be reduced only if they give their consent for it and reducing it without their wish is breaking your commitment, unless the situation becomes such that you’re not able to fulfill this commitment, despite your best effort. It means if you lose your job for a few months and you have to significantly cut down on your expenses in order to assure the survival of your family for this period of time, you have the due right to cut down their monthly allowances. This is because the commitment of monthly allowances came with a spoken or unspoken condition, ‘if the circumstances allow’. You see, outside variables may always influence your promises and this is why a person with high conscience may always say, ‘I’ll try my best’ and not ‘I’ll certainly do it’.
Then there may be a couple of other options. For example, your wife or your kids or all of them may agree to donate a part of their monthly allowance to this orphanage when they hear about this noble deed you’re engaging in. If it happens, you’ve not broken any promise though the amount of donation has still increased and hence you’re doing your best once again. Another option is that if you choose to purchase yet another car and the monthly installment works out at Rs. 10,000 per month when you can spare Rs. 5000 only, supposing the orphanage donation is not in the picture, this is what may happen.
Your wife and even your kids may agree to have their monthly expenses reduced for the next few years so that this car may be purchased as they may see benefit in it. Even in this condition, you’re not breaking your promise. However, if you reduce their monthly allowances against their wishes, except for some situations beyond your control like the one already mentioned, you’re creating problems.
Kindly understand that free will of every soul is of utmost importance and no one has the right to mess with it. Accordingly, you don’t have the right to force other people to do something, even if that thing is the noblest thing to do in the world. Hence you should only try to convince your family members to donate a part of their monthly allowances to the orphanage and you should not reduce their allowances against their wishes. If you choose to do so and they resent, your intellect may keep telling you that they’re ignorant people and they don’t know how noble this job is. Hence you may think you’re doing them a big favor by donating a part of their monthly allowances, even if that is against their wishes.
However, it is not true and your intellect is only playing in the hands of your ego or so to say, your ego is speaking in the guise of your intellect. Kindly understand that whenever you force your desire on someone, even if it is the noblest desire in the world, you’re essentially engaging in a negative karma; except in some circumstance beyond your control, where you have to do such things and you have no control over them. For example, if you force your son to pray for two hours before sleeping, in a way which reduces the time he has for sleeping; and he doesn’t want to do it; you’re not engaging in a good karma and you’re engaging in a bad karma.
This is because his prayers are his personal matter and it is none of your business; and so you can’t force such prayers on him. The balanced way to do it is to keep telling him or convincing him that he should do so. A day may come when he may willingly start doing so and this whole practice is positive. On the other hand, if your son is temporarily suffering from a health problem, like from a snake bite, the doctor has given him the antidote and at the same time, he’s warned you that he should not fall asleep for the next four hours at the least, the situation has changed.
Even if your son tends to sleep as the effect of poison may be more than the effect of antidote at this time, you are free to do anything in your power to stop him from sleeping. This act may once again look against the wish of your son as he may want to sleep and you’re stopping him, it is not so in reality. The desire to live is strong in your son, he doesn’t want to die and this is what gives you the right to interfere. The tendency to sleep is being forced on him due to the effect of the poison and it is not his independent wish.
Deep down, he also doesn’t want to sleep but he has no control over it and that is why it looks like he wants to sleep. The poison has stopped his conscious mind from working and hence he’s not able to control his actions. However, his subconscious mind is still working and this part of his mind is expressing a strong desire to live. Since his conscious mind has been taken over by something else, which means by the poison, any wish expressed by his conscious mind is not his wish in this case. Hence it is not his wish to sleep; it is the wish of the poison which has controlled his conscious mind; that he should sleep.
The wish of your son is expressed by his subconscious mind in this case; and hence you should respect that wish. When you see the fear of death on your son’s face or you even hear such words, ‘I don’t want to die, Dad’; these words or expressions are his clear consent which gives you the authority to do anything you can in order to save him, even if you have to go against his conscious wish. Hence you have the right to forcibly stop your son from sleeping for four hours in this case and you may do whatever you have to do, to accomplish this task.
To make these two karmas even clearer, let’s look at their long term results. In the first case, your son or wife may keep cursing you for reducing their monthly allowances though such curses may be as fine as subconscious resentments shown by them. In the second case, the first thing your son may do after getting out of the effect of poison is to thank you for keeping him awake, even against his wish. He may even keep telling other people about this incident, throughout his life that he was once bitten by a snake and his father saved his life by forcibly stopping him from sleeping.
It is easy to understand that the first act is generating more and more negative energy through conscious or subconscious resentments of your family members whereas the second act may generate more and more positive energy through the conscious or subconscious thanksgiving by your son. You’re using force in both these cases, but the circumstances are different. The circumstances in the first case don’t allow you to use such force whereas they do allow you to use force if needed, in the second case. Hence you can force required things on your son in the second case, but you have no right to do so in the first case.
Therefore, doing your best for the orphanage means donating Rs. 5000 or Rs. 10,000 to it on monthly basis and it doesn’t mean violating your previously made commitments in order to give your best to the commitment in hand. If you’re hurting one person without valid reasons, in order to facilitate another person, you may end up gaining more negative energy than you gain positive energy. Hence the balanced way is to do your best to fulfill a commitment and to honor your already made commitments at the same time.
Going back to the two options, if you’re a scientist with high conscience, you may very likely choose the second option. Hence you may give your best to this project while fulfilling all other commitments made by you and you may not care for the timing of results. Kindly understand that you only have the right to engage in karma and you don’t have the right to control its fruit. Hence you should give your best to your karma and you should forget the rest. A person with high conscience may feel very happy, merely by the thought that he did his best to create something meaningful and this is all that may matter to him.
Imagine this scientist is not able to complete this project but he dies satisfied and happy as he’s a man of high conscience. The next scientist completes this discovery and he even claims majority of the credit for this discovery. What is it in this case that this scientist may have lost? Let’s try to find out.
He’s lived a happy life, he’s given his best to this project while keeping all other commitments like family commitments and he’s done justice to most things and most people during his lifetime. It means he’s marked positive and meaningful Samskaras on his subconscious mind. The only thing he may seem to have lost is due credit for this project. But what is due credit and how will you define it?
There are two criteria for assessing due credit. The first one is the system of nature which never makes mistakes and hence due karmic credit will be assigned to this scientist for the amount of effort done by him towards this project. Therefore, the karmic equation as well as the equation of energy will be duly taken care of. The second criterion is the recognition given by other people to you, for the constructive and meaningful work done by you. What is the value of this recognition and what do you gain if you get this recognition?
This recognition or credit is valued by your ego alone and neither the system of nature nor the fruits of your karmas depend on this recognition; in order to work out in the best possible ways. It means you’ll still receive all the karmic credit for your constructive work towards this project and nothing will be held back. Kindly understand that this recognition is not essential for your karmas to bear fruit and it is essential for your ego to feed on and grow.
Accordingly, you may miss on a chance to feed your ego, if you don’t receive recognition for this project, in your lifetime. Hence the only thing you may lose is the chance to expand your ego. As you can understand, a person with high conscience may not care much to feed his ego and hence he may do his best for anything, where this best complies with the already mentioned guidelines. On the other hand, a person with high ego may almost never be able to miss a chance to feed his ego and hence, he may do whatever it takes to receive this recognition, even if he has to break a number of his already made commitments.
You see, how different may things look when you assess them from the surface, compared to when you assess them from the bottom. On the surface or so to say, at the first sight, it may appear that the scientist who’s mad after his project and who sacrifices his family is better than the scientist who is not able to finish his project, things are almost the opposite at the bottom. The scientist with high ego may be paying much higher price than his success is worthy of whereas the scientist with high conscience may achieve this success in the best possible way, without suffering losses on other fronts.
It should be noted that real success doesn’t lie in achieving your objective and it lies in your best effort for this objective. For example, if an athlete has the ability to finish 100 meters in 10 seconds at his best, let’s try three options here. The first option is that he’s given the goal of running 100 meters in 15 seconds and the number of seconds less than 15 doesn’t matter. It means whether he finishes in 10 seconds, 13 seconds or in 15 seconds is considered equally well. Suppose he runs and finishes this task in 12 seconds.
In the second option, he’s to run 100 meters in 10 seconds with the same condition that anything less than 10 second wont’ give him extra credit. Suppose he tries and he finishes this task in exactly 10 seconds. In the third option, he’s to run 100 meters in 9 seconds. Suppose he tries and he finishes this task in 9.9 seconds. Let’s now look into these options and see what is happening.
In the first case, the athlete may seem to have succeeded but he’s not. This is because he had the ability to finish this task in 10 seconds and hence 10 seconds is his best in this case. Therefore, finishing the task in 12 seconds means he may have met the challenge given to him but he’s not given his best. In the second case, the athlete has given his best and at the same time, he’s succeeded also. In the third case, he’s given his best but he’s not been able to meet the challenge given to him.
If you look at these results from the surface, the first two results look like successes and the third one looks like a failure. However at the bottom, the first attempt is a failure whereas the second and third attempts are successful. Even between them, the third one is even more successful. This is because in the first attempt, he was not able to deliver his best, in the second attempt he delivered his best and in the third attempt, he was even able to improve his best by a small margin. Hence the third attempt is the most successful attempt in reality, as it brought improvement in his performance. The second attempt is also good as it helped him bring out his already accomplished best performance.
Let’s take a different challenge now. Each one of two natives has a big basket tied on his back and they’re given the challenge to collect as many mangos from a tree, as they can and store them in their baskets. Each mango carries one point and the native having more points at the end of this competition will win. In addition to this, there is a mango on this tree at a difficult location and hence it carries ten points. Each basket already has 20 mangos in it, which also carry one point each. The competition starts and both the natives start climbing this mango tree, with baskets on their backs.
Suppose the first native is lured by the extra points given by the specific mango and he decides to get it. Since the time is limited, he aims for that mango first. He faces difficulties and he even fails a number of times, but he finally succeeds and he collects this mango as well as three other mangos before the time is finished. However, in order to achieve this difficult task, he forgets to take care of the mangos in his basket as all his focus is fixed on the difficult to get mango; and he drops 15 out of the already given 20 mangos. Hence he finishes at 18 points, 13 points for the mangos collected by him and 5 points for the 5 mangos which are left out of the 20 mangos he had at the beginning of this task.