Being an Indian, Mahabharata is not something new to me. Since my childhood, I have seen, read, listened to various versions and stories from Mahabharata. I loved all those movies and stories which revolved around pandavas and kauravas. But these could not satisfy me and I desired for a teacher who can explain this gripping story from the viewpoint of a spiritual seeker. Finally, I found such teacher in Samavedam Shanmukha Sarma garu. He is a brilliant scholar and orator in Telugu. And he is also a Guru for many seekers.
By chance, on YouTube, I came across his discourses on complete Mahabharata. It is for the duration of 36 hours. I started listening to the complete version of Mahabharata for the first time in my life. This teacher’s viewpoint, analysis and way of giving discourse made me forget time. I felt like leaving all my work and just listen to these discourses. They felt like nectar to my ears. Wow! What an epic Mahabharata is!
I completed 36 hours of discourses and in these discourses, the teacher clarified many questions I had like – why Dharmaraja, inspite of knowing all dharmas, went for gambling? Why Karna was killed when he was helpless? Why Drona was killed with a lie? Why did Bhishma, Drona support kauravas? I felt quite amazed by the time I completed the entire Mahabharata. It was enlightening, brilliant and soul-stirring. All thanks to Shanumkha Sarma garu. He showed the dharmic, tatvic, mantric side of Mahabharata and made me fall in love with Hinduism.
I feel that I have become a better person by listening to these discourses on mahabharatha. Now, in various situations of life, I started thinking – am I acting like Dharmaraja or Duryodhana? There is a shift in my perspective towards life. Here are the 10 lessons I learnt from Samavedam Shanmukha Sarma garu’s Mahabharata.
- Jealousy is dangerous: I am a normal human being and at times, I become jealous. Thanks to years of practicing energy healing and arhat yoga, my jealousy has significantly reduced but its not zero. After listening to Mahabharata, I took a firm decision to work on this weakness and eliminate it completely. The downfall of Duryodhana is due to jealousy. He is successful, talented and prosperous in his own way. He had many ways to be happy in life. But his own jealousy brought him down.
- Dharma is the ultimate goal of life: One character that greatly fascinated me is Dharmaraja. He became my hero and role-model. In every situation, his only thought is – Am I acting in line with Dharma? Even in the most difficult situations, he chooses Dharma over anything else. All these years, my goal has been to fulfill materialistic wishes like health, prosperity, success etc. (which are very much needed) and I did not give much thought towards Dharma. But for the first time , I felt I should make Dharma the ultimate goal of my life. Yes, it will be difficult to choose dharma in every situation but its worth because that’s the only way to be peaceful in life.
- Respect Guru in every situation: There is a striking difference between pandavas and kauravas in the way they treat their Guru. Pandavas are full of gratitude and respect even when their Guru is fighting with them. Kauravas are disrespectful towards Guru even though the Guru is with them. This is a great lesson to me. Sometimes, especially when life is going great, we tend to forget our Guru. I decided not to make such mistake.
- Rise above anger: In the entire 36 hours of discourse, I have seen Dharmaraja respond in anger only twice – once during war and once after the war has ended. He did not burst in anger when people cheated him, disrespected him and his family members. He was in a great control over his anger. Once Drauapadi asks him – Don’t you ever get angry? He says – “Yes, I do become angry but we should rise above it. We should not let anger control us.” I am in awe of Dharmaraja. How can a human being act so perfectly even in highly imperfect situations?
- Walk with God: When Lord Krishna asks Arjuna and Duryodhana to choose between him and his army, Arjuna chooses him and Duryodhana chooses his army. Though Lord Krishna never fights, his strategies and suggestions bring victory to pandavas. Without Lord Krishna’s guidance, Arjuna, inspite of being highly skillful and gifted, would have easily lost the war. In every situation, pandavas have chosen to walk with God and this brought them strength to handle the situations. God is the true source of strength and wisdom and choice is in our hands – to choose God or the world.
- There is a reason behind everything: Before listening to these discourses, I could not understand certain instances like dying of Abhimanyu at young age, killing of Upapandavas. After listening to the entire Mahabharatha, I understood there is a reason behind everything. Nothing happens randomly or unfairly in this Universe. Every soul has a plan and life unfolds according to this plan.
- You reap what you sow: Lord Krishna clearly tells this truth multiple times in Mahabharatha. Mahabharatha shows the entire life of pandavas and kauravas. This truth about karma comes again and again in the lives of pandavas and kauravas. I feel very grateful to my Guru for teaching Law of karma in detail and how to use it to transform life.
- Be in good company: Karna was a great friend of Duryodhana but he gave several wrong suggestions to Duryodhana and became indirectly responsible for his downfall. Duryodhana surrounded himself with characters like Shakuni and Dussasana. On the other side, pandavas surrounded themselves with Rishis and Lord Krishna. The company around us can help us rise or fall. So, are we consciously choosing positive company? It is said a good company can bring us tremendous spiritual growth.
- Give your best and leave the rest to God: Sometimes, in life, we cannot understand certain situations and we are lost. But in every situation, we need to give our best, which is in line with dharma and leave the rest to God.
- You can change your life at any age: Dhritarashtra was always supporting Duryodhana and he too wished for the downfall of pandavas. After the war, he decides to change his life and starts spiritual practices. He performs intense penance and becomes rajarshi. Wow! His story taught me there is no need for regrets and one can change his/her life any day.
These are some lessons I learnt from Mahabharatha.
After I completed the entire version, I experienced a kind of detachment towards life. It is a profound experience to know about someone’s life from before birth to after death. Its like viewing the big picture of life. The greatest take way I had was – “no matter what is happening in life, be attached only to 2 things – dharma and God. Good times and bad times in life keep coming and going. Rise above them and stay rooted in dharma and God”. Its easy to write such things here but to make this statement a truth in my life, it needs years of spiritual practices. So, after listening to the complete Mahabharatha, I feel more determined to practice the techniques given by my Guru.
So, thank you Guru for giving me the priceless tools and techniques, through energy healing and arhat yoga courses, that help me strengthen the ‘Dharmaraja’ and weaken the ‘Duryodhana’ in me. Thank you for all your blessings and teachings. And thank you Samavedam Shanmukha Sarma garu for opening my eyes to the greatness of Hinduism and Mahabharatha.
Sarve Jana Sukhino Bhavanthu!
Contributed by Geethanjali Balachander