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Thursday, December 3, 2009
GOOD TIMES, BAD TIMES : WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE?
It is human nature to get disenchanted with the world when we see around us much violence, crime and degradation of values. It makes us worry over what is in store for future generations. However, the present time is as good or bad as any other time and the state of the world and society could not be some thing other than what it is now.
Our predecessors have poured out their anguish at the declining moral and ethical standards then prevalent. Seers and social reformers have tried, since ages, to combat negative forces and reform society. Was human society ever better than it is now? Socrates was poisoned. Christ was crucified. Caesar was betrayed. Deceit, treachery and court intrigues fill the pages of history.
Unalloyed happiness is impossible because the world cannot exist except as an amalgam of the good and bad. Negativity cannot survive by itself. It needs the support of some good alongside to survive. The Kauravas thrived because of Bhishma, Dronacharya and Karna. Once these eminent men departed, the Kauravas had to go. Such was the case with Prahlad and his father Hiranyakashipu. The demon king tried to eliminate his pious son who, indeed, was his lifesupporting system and the king paid the price for it.
On the flip side, pure good also cannot survive all by itself. Pure good would sublimate and merge with the Supreme Force without trace. We might ask: How did saintly souls like Christ, Buddha, Ramana Maharshi, Tukaram, Guru Nanak and others lead a pure life? How can we associate them with any form of negativity? The reason for their living through the appointed time is twofold. First, their own past karma kept them grounded here. Second, although they did not commit any sin, the sins got stuck to them. It is people like us who prostrated before them, sought their blessings and deposited our sins at their feet. Is it not said that Jesus bore the cross for the sake of the sinners?
Strangely, Kaliyug is the favourite whipping boy. The Supreme incarnated nine times in all and His tenth incarnation is expected in present Kaliyug, to root out suffering and reestablish Dharma. In the three earlier yugs comprising, Satyug, Dwapara and Treta Yug He had to descend nine times. It could mean there was greater evil then than in this age when He is slated to appear only once.
Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita: “Whenever adharma surpasses the limit He will incarnate on earth.” That He has not done so yet implies that the evil, which we fret about, has not transcended limits.
Krishna’s statement could allude to the evil within each of us and when it transcends the limit He will incarnate within us to purge, cleanse and establish dharma within us. Did He not make a highway robber into Maharshi Valmiki, did He not transform the miser into Purandara Das and did not Kartikeya transform the fleshhungry youngster into a poet saint Arunagirinathar?
The collective goodness of mankind seeks a medium to express itself and manifests as godliness in few individuals whom we worship as saints and prophets. Likewise the collective evil within all of us seeks to find an expression and manifests in a few individuals whom we call as demons. There is enough goodness outside of us and we need only to focus our attention on the canvas instead of the picture.
(SOURCE : By Murali A Raghavan, IN TIMES OF INDIA)