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Man is a slave to circumstances!

Updated on September 28, 2013

Akbar, Birbal and brinjal; Krishna and Pandavas!

How we are slaves to circumstances?

It is said, that man is a slave of circumstances. In majority of the cases, this seems to be true. None can act really freely. Many things decide his thinking. It is our habits and mentality which is the chief among the deciding factors. The second factor is opinion of the family especially, the spouse influence our thinking. Here I am reminded of a humorous anecdote from history. Emperor Akbar wielded great influence among the public and the courtiers. Once, Akbar invited his minister for lunch. On that day, a special preparation of brinjal attracted the emperor. He expressed his appreciation and asked the minister ‘how is the preparation of brinjal? The minister said, it is quite nice.

After few days, once again brinjals were used for preparing curry. Somehow on that day, Akbar didn’t relish the dish. He told his minister that brinjals do not taste well. Immediately, the minister said, “Indeed your honor, brinjals are no good! Then Akbar intercepted him and asked him “Last week you said brinjals are nice, to day you say, it is no good, what is the reason? The clever minister replied, your honor! I am working for the King and not for the brinjals! Everyone around had a hearty laugh at the quick wit of the minister.

This is how our thoughts follow some pattern. It may be due to fear or affection or love or even hatred. Yes, hatred too taints our thought process and they influence our views.

This again brings the question, whether we are really independent? Many events prove that we are fully dependent on the circumstances. For instance, you happen to encounter a rude element en route. He compels you to toe his view point on certain issues about religion or politics. At that time, you cannot bare your chest. You have to use diplomacy in dealing with such rude fellows. Hence a wise man will avoid direct answering but will reply in riddles which the rude man cannot understand. Here also, I am reminded of an anecdote in the life of Pandava brothers of the great epic Mahabarath. The brothers were in exile after the defeat in a queer game resembling chess! They lost everything they had and they were deprived of their right to live there and sent to the forest for thirteen years.

Their cousins who are hundred in numbers connived, many a plan to obstruct the Pandavas to return back to their Kingdom. Once the cousins bent upon killing them tried to chase out the Pandavas in the forest. They wanted to know the whereabouts of them. Then they thought over a plan. Sage Durvasa is notorious for his temper. He was always uttering Truth irrespective of his short temper. They wanted to consult Durvasa regarding the whereabouts of the Pandava brothers. Lord Krishna smelled their plan and he wanted to protect his devotees, the Pandavas. Hence he approached the sage Durvasa and told him a plan. A big trench will be dug beneath where the Sage used to be seated. It will be covered with leaves and bamboos. The Pandavas will be sheltered in the pit over which the sage will be seated. When the cousins come and enquire the sage about the whereabouts, the sage need not tell lie. But he has to alter the tone as an angry rebuff and tell them “What? Pandavas? They are just below me” in an enraged tone. Fearing the repercussions, the cousins will move away without searching below the seat! It was really a nice plan to save them. The sage need not utter any lie but at the same time he only need to alter his tone of reply! This worked well and the five brothers were saved!

Thus every little thing is decided by the circumstances and not otherwise. Hence the expression “we are all slave to the circumstances!


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