Monday, 24 June 2013

Unity – a necessity

I am narrating this story from the Mahabharata to lay emphasis on the importance of unity. Before narrating the story, I want my readers to ponder over a question.  What if the people supporting a wrong cause, though few in number, are so strongly united that they are able to rip apart the majority?

Read the story of Shakuni before you begin to answer the question…

Shakuni was the brother of Gandhari. Gandhari was engaged to be married to Dhritarashtra, the blind prince of Hastinapura. When Gandhari’s brothers, including Shakuni found out about this, they were angered. The proposal was brought by Bhishma, and Shakuni took an oath to destroy Bhishma’s clan.

Before the marriage was due, Shakuni, along with the help of his hundred brothers, performed a ritual in which Gandhari was married off to a goat. This, they believed, would ward off any evil effects of Gandhari’s marriage to Dhritarashtra.

Later, when Duryodhana came to know of this, he was enraged. He imprisoned his maternal uncles of whom Shakuni was the youngest. Duryodhana’s anger knew no bounds, that even after imprisoning them, he was not satisfied. He ordered that they each be fed with one grain of rice per day. The entire family of Shakuni got together and decided to donate their one grain of rice to Shakuni as he was the youngest and needed very little food to survive. It is also believed that Shakuni was born sickly, and was a poor eater!

Slowly, one by one, Shakuni’s family members died of starvation. In the end, Shakuni not only survived, but he also became close to the Kauravas in general and Duryodhana in particular.  What followed is well known history. Shakuni defeated Yudhishtra in a game of dice. Thereafter, the cousins became the worst enemies, and Yudhishtra and his brothers were banished from their own kingdom. The whole drama culminated in the war of Mahabharata, in which Duryodhana and his brothers were killed. The Pandavas became wandering saints after relinquishing the right over their kingdom to Dhritarashtra.

Shakuni defeated Yudhishtra in a game of dice...

Shakuni’s family members were united, to the ultimate extent of sacrificing their own lives! In trying to punish the wrong act of his uncles, Duryodhana went too far and his uncontrolled anger created enemies out of his maternal uncles.

Uncontrolled anger can make us lose our sense of reasoning and not only destroy us, but can also cause irreversible damage to our near and dear ones!

On Shakuni’s part, the unity of his family members, though for the negative purpose of revenge, kept him alive and made him achieve his cause. To achieve something positive, we need a greater sense of purpose and unity.This story also brings out the fact that to break a relationship is a minute’s job. To create strong bonds, sometimes, a lifetime seems less!