Today’s topic is upasamhara.
An incident from Mahabharata. Drona testing his students’ archery skills. Arrow target is a toy bird’s eye placed on a tree. Bheema’s turn came and he shot the arrow. Soon Drona told that the arrow would miss the target. Bheema jumped and caught the arrow. Here Bhima is a good example of one who knows Upasamhara meaning to retract or to bring back. Shooting an arrow is easy but it is difficult to retract it. Similar is the case of the words we speak. However great a work may be, it is easy to start but difficult to complete.
There are two steps in the process of teaching. First one is its application or action. Retraction is the second one. The wise should know both of them.
Here is another instance from Mahabharatha which shows the consequence when one doesn’t know to retract. Mahabharata war had ended, the Pandavas had won. At night, Ashwathaama mercilessly kills Pandavas’ children who were asleep. He commits this sin for silly enmity. Panchali was distressed over it, Bheema and Arjuna console her and leave the place after assuring her that they would catch Ashwathaama or bring his shiromani (bead on his head). Ashwathaama was found sitting near Vyaasa on the banks of Ganga, wearing linen robes, having smeared ghee on his body. When Bheema tries to catch him, he uses the Brahmashiro astra (weapon) with the intention of annihilation of Pandavas. It is a very deadly weapon. Though he wasn’t eligible for it, he had forcefully received it from Drona. These weapons are not for the one whose mind and senses are not in his control.
How to handle a crisis is a science that everyone needs to know. Krishna knew that there was no counter to the weapon exercised by Ashwathaama through ‘darba’ grass. Krishna asks Arjuna too to exercise the same weapon. Arjuna did so. But his intention was noteworthy. He intended the good of Ashwathaama, Pandavas, the whole world and the neutralisation of Ashwathaama’s weapon.
It is for the reason of such high virtues that Krishna was by the side of the Pandavas. Both the weapons came face to face. With the view of protecting all creatures of the world, divine beings, Vyasa and Narada muni barricaded and asked them to take back the Brahmashiro astra. Because of these selfless beings, this world has still continued to exist.
Retraction is possible only for him who has control over his senses and follows brahmacharya. Arjuna retracted the weapon but Ashwathaama could not. Ashwathaama now changed the intention of the weapon to the annihilation of the womb of Pandavas.
Before, Ashwathaama had once come to Krishna seeking trade between their weapons. He asked Krishna to exchange his Brahmashiro astra with Krishna’s chakra. But he could not even lift the chakra. Krishna had then asked the reason for weapon exchange. Ashwathaama said that it was to exercise on Krishna himself. Such a shameless person he was.
Krishna was very angry and and says Ashwathama, “Your weapon won’t be unsuccessful; it will definitely crash the womb, but I shall give life to it again. But from now on for another three thousand years, you will lead a very miserable life. Even though you are a Chiranjeevi (immortal), you will be unidentified by anyone and you will wander the earth lonely like a ghost. Let your body be filled with pus and blood and let that stink. Let all diseases affect you. But this womb shall be refilled with life. It will live, study all knowledge forms and scriptures, and rule the world for 60 years. Even Kali can’t touch the world then. Watch out my power”
He vows again “If I haven’t uttered a lie ever, even as a joke, if I haven’t ran away from war, loosing and showing my back to the enemies, if truth and righteousness are established in me, if the seers are dear to me, then this infant shall survive.” Having said so, he touches the infant by his foot from head to toe. The baby is brought back to life. What a fortune baby! Wouldn’t we even prefer death if we would be touched similarly by Krishna’s foot?!
Here retraction is to be noted; just because Ashwathama could not retract his weapon, he led a very miserable life for thousands of years. Should there be a life like Ashwathaama’s for 3000 years? Should there be such a tragical life? See the effect of Krishna’s curse. There is no other scenario where Krishna has cursed. Ashwathaama suffered for his act of destroying a womb.
Messengers of God have born in various countries. But it is in only Bharath where various forms of God have themselves born. Only this land has the virtue of offering motherhood to the God.
A bird flying out from its nest is action, coming back is retraction. Won’t even humans who go out of home come back? Doesn’t an automobile need a reverse gear? Similarly we need retraction in our lives.
A small story: A businessman takes 2 oaths from his son while dying. First one is “Never break any promise”. Second one is “Never make any promise”.
We perform many actions in life using God given resources, do we retract them? A kite is waste if we cannot retract it once it flies, isn’t it?
These 2 are great lessons to life. God descends to earth for upliftment of the souls. Is it fair to get a curse from him?
We have lots of potencies. But we should not apply them if we don’t have the power to retract.
May we be empowered with the power of retraction.
May we be empowered with the power of control.
Let us offer everything at His feet.
TattvaBhaagavatam a special discourse by Sri Sri RaghaveshwaraBharathi Mahaswamiji: full Video :