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The power of keeping a secret

Thursday January 13 2005 08:57 IST

By Karmayogi

Secrets are the secrets of success. Some people usually keep them. They become successful in life and conscience keepers of friends. Others usually do not keep secrets. They are the human vehicles of Word of Mouth, socially known as gossip.

It has a powerful role to play in the society. The Mahabharata gives a subtle dimension to this social phenomenon, making it a universal phenomenon. It is the capacity to know the secrets of other without anyone telling them.

Karna's one burning desire was to know his mother. Krishna came to him and in the course of his conversation informed him of his birth to Kunti and Surya. It came to Karna as a relief and a revelation. He then understood why the Sun constantly figured in his life.

On the battlefield, Karna approaching Bhishma on his bed of arrows was greeted by the words, ‘‘Come, Kunti putra.'' Karna was startled and said, ‘‘Oh, you know.'' This again happened with Kripachariyar. It happened once more.

Socially, the word is passed on from mouth to mouth. Spiritually, ideas are afloat in the atmosphere and enter into minds that are receptive. Bhishma and Kripa are advanced souls living in a spiritual atmosphere. Such people can know anything they choose to know. On hearing of Karna's death, Kunti reached his dead body to mourn over it.

The Pandavas who were passing by were wondering why their mother subjected herself to such an indignity. It was an insult to Arjuna who beheaded him - Radheya, son of Radha the wife of a charioteer. To hear out of her sacred mouth that he was not Radheya but Kunteya, was an outrage to Yudhisthira.

One secret, an earth-shaking secret, kept by his own mother who was a virtual goddess to him, was the cause of this war, the death of thousands of soldiers, and scores of brave warriors on either side. Had he known it earlier, Yudhisthira said, there would have been no war.

Why did she ever keep it a secret? How did she come by the POWER to withhold such a secret whose might was equal to the 18-day war? Yudhisthira, an embodiment of Truth, was outraged at the magnitude of that power and was scandalised by the way it was used. He too felt thwarted. Mild as he was, he discovered in his human depths the revolt human nature is capable of. He wished to destroy that power at its genesis.

He instantly cursed all womanhood with a total inability to withhold ANY secret whatsoever. Having followed filial obedience in the extreme - which life does not approve of - Yudhisthira was driven to the opposite of a curse.
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