(Extracted from talks at Vikasa, Rishikesh, December 2016)
(Comparing Karna and Krishna from the Mahabharata) See for example, Karna is so very easy to relate with — “I have self-pity. I get bitter when people abuse me.” That is so very relatable. But Krishna shows a trajectory, a growth trajectory. That is very important. When you get into an organization, can you accept being in the same position..lifelong?. You will keep aspiring for something higher and bigger, right? You would be thinking “What should I do to get there?” That’s very important. You need intellectual content to back it up, then you see,”Hey! It is valid. Yes, I can aspire for that.” And what’s wrong with that? There’s nothing wrong. And it is in terms of greater and greater degrees of freedom. Right? But it does not happen automatically. That’s where your role, your effort, self-effort at self-mastery becomes the key factor, that determines your degree of freedom, nothing else.
See, it is like many people get into education, you have a lot of good time, and later on when companies come, you feel unprepared, and that restricts your degree of freedom Because of your own previous actions, you earn those consequences, where it is restricted manoeuvrability. Some dream company — “Oh! I cannot access it.” Why? Because of my own past actions. Otherwise it is very much open. You could access it. But it depends on, whether you had the understanding. That’s why many people say,”Oh! If only I had this idea, understanding in my first year (of undergraduate education) by now, I would be somewhere! ” But that’s theoretical, what to do? What is practical is now you have it, make use of it. That intellectual framework becomes so very critical. And what we are doing is not negating anything, we are expanding it. That you can even aspire to be a Brahmaji. It is a continuum. But what would it take? It would take a lot more! So we are not negating anything, but we are expanding it so much, so manifold, you know. And that is very critical, if you need to grow.
See you are limited by your imagination, the access to mental space that you have. That is the role of education, expanding that imagination space, that it is not just random imagination, it is proper imagination. Access to that, you can even say dreamscape, what you can dream to be, that is such a critical part of education, because all these great beings in the Mahabharata, Ramayana, puranas and all those are illustrated only to give us the dreamscape, that we can aspire to be like that, not just settle for what we are right now.
In fact, one of the tragedies that happens in many villages and rural areas now, is that their dreamscape is extremely limited, their aspiration window is extremely crippled. And hence you will see them crippled in their thought - “Life is like that”
They believe only in fate. And it is not just in rural areas, even in urban landscape, many students, that dreamscape is missing. It can be so much more, while it is restricted to just this. “If I don’t do this.…” many commit suicide. Why would that happen? Why would you take your own life? If you had an expansive dreamscape, actually so much can be done, if not what you had aspired for, so much more and there is no end. Why would you take away your own life? Because your mental scape is so restricted that if this is not, then you feel that is the end of life. Why would you do that? Do you understand how it affects us personally? That is how much important this mindscape, this dreamscape is. This aspiration window is. And Mahabharata, Puranas, all these what do they do? They expand your aspiration window to a very great extent, that you aspire for that degree of freedom. And that makes it possible since it is aspiration driven, it is your desire. Nobody can move you, but you. Nobody is your friend, but you yourself. You can lift yourself only by yourself. A very valid statement. Others can guide you, pat you, but you will have to put in the effort yourself. It is as simple as that. And we see this illustrated all through the Mahabharata. That’s beautiful.