One of the most interesting books I ever read is Mahabharatham. It has hundreds of fascinating stories which teach us valuable lessons to lead a happy life. What fascinated me greatly about this book is – For every lesson taught, there is a story to back the teaching. One such story which amazed me is the story of a rabbit. This story is narrated by Bhishma pitamaha to Dharmaraja(Dharmaraja was in his forties but teachings are still given to him in the form of stories like it is done for children).
Dharmaraja asks the question – How do we get hurt in life? Bhishma pitamaha says – One of the ways we get hurt in life is by giving unsolicited advice. To drive home his point, he narrates the story of a rabbit and a group of monkeys.
One day, in a forest, weather is very cold and monkeys are trying to warm up themselves. They are shivering and suffering. They try to warm up themselves but their efforts are not successful. A rabbit sees their plight and comes to them. It is moved by their suffering and gives them a suggestion on how to warm up themselves. Monkeys ignore the rabbit. But rabbit persists. It keeps on telling again and again that – “Oh monkeys, I am here to help you. I cannot see you suffer. Please warm up yourselves in this way”. After a while, monkeys are fed up and kill the rabbit, unable to bear its unsolicited advice.
So,Bhishma pitamaha says that one of the ways we invite suffering in life is by giving unsolicited advice to people around us. This story touched my heart. Being a Therapeutic Energy Healing(TEH) teacher, I come across people in difficult situations/challenges like relationship problems, job stress, forgiveness issues etc. Sometimes, these people can be my friends, students, relatives, family members. I feel very tempted to talk about the techniues of TEH and help them with the knowledge I have but many times, I have seen that unsolicted advice brings arguments, defence and friction in relationships. Not everyone wants/likes to be taught. Many times, people need only empathy and not wisdom. (I am not perfect and not a super achiever in any way but when I see others suffering, I feel like sharing TEH knowledge as this has really taught me how to make suffering optional in life. I learnt from TEH that it is in my hands to suffer or not in life. Yes, sometimes situations are not in our hands but how we respond to them and how we deal with them is ALWAYS in our hands and thats a great freedom.)
When I look at life in general, I find this rabbit teaching to be very important in family life. At times, we step into the boundaries of our family members and become that nagging spouse/sibling/child/friend who wants to give unwanted advice again and again. It could be a good advice like – hey, do your meditation or sleep early etc. Of course, we do it for their good but every soul has its own evolution plan and not every soul needs our advice. We can avoid many conflicts in relationships by giving advice only when asked. When people ask for advice and then we give advice, it is valued and put into practice. But no amount of unsolicted advice, however good it is, is of any use. This is my take away from the story and I am trying to Master it in my own life.
There are many such fascinating stories in Mahabharatham. I was in a trance when I was listening to these stories. I wanted Mahabharatham to go on forever but every good thing/bad thing comes to an end. Nothing lasts forever(except soul). I regret for not reading complete Mahabharatham in my teenage. I am happy that atleast now, I got a chance to hear the complete Mahabharatham. Thank you great sages and all the great ones for giving me such amazing stories to reflect on and apply in my life. Thank you for pampering the child in me through these amazing stories.
Sarve jana sukhino bhavanthu!
-Contributed by Geethanjali Balachander