The ‘Other’ Reality
“War – What is it good for? – Absolutely nothing!” ~ Edwin Starr
Who are the people around you? Who are your loved ones, your friends, your enemies? Why do they sometimes take on one role, and at other times the opposite? The fact is that the people in your life, including uninvited strangers, help you to take a glimpse into that Other Reality.
Mythology can help you examine the theme of mediocrity in life, or it can reveal life’s true meaning. It can also teach how you can allow relationships to either harm or heal you, or something more.
Take The Mahabharata, for example. On the surface, it’s about a family whose local feuding has escalated into global war. When you first encounter this theme in any myth you might find yourself asking, what’s the point then, if it’s to end so badly? Read the paper, watch the news; it’s part mythology and part melodrama in the making. But it’s deadly real stuff, people are leaving the planet over what, escalated disagreements between leaders? Now, as then.
Guarding Our Thought-Feelings
Like most mythology, The Mahabharata provides a classic example of the melodramatics of relationships gone wrong. Filled with poignant reference to the pitfalls of keeping company with those whose ideals sharply oppose your own, it also shows how doing so can lead to even the destruction of the cherished world you built around your fondest dreams. To get the most from the story as metaphor, substitute the family members who suddenly become enemies in a war for out of control thoughts and feelings.
Whether you believe the story as historical fact, or find enlightenment in it and cherish it as a beautiful teaching, its unique philosophy contains the metaphysical remedy for the pain of being human. Though based on the Hindu belief in karma (past deeds and their consequences) and reincarnation (soul taking new bodies in succession), you can choose to see a past life as the ‘old you’ before enlightenment, the current life as ‘you now’, ever growing and evolving in the moment.
Mahabharata has themes revolving around the classic metaphor of the “warring of the members”. Like Revelation in the Christian New Testament, you can choose to see it as personal and planetary energy records of the past or prophesies for the future. Or you can see both Mahabharata and Revelation as philosophical reminders for guarding your thought-feeling energies. They also have much to offer as treatises on how to discern which of your human energy creations are friends, which your foes.
Life’s secrets unfold as the great archer, Arjun, has a mini-meltdown on the battlefield. He begins questioning the meaning of life at what appears to be the worst possible moment: just minutes before the battle is to begin. At this point, Krishna, who is Arjun’s charioteer, friend and guru, stops time long enough to discourse.
Healing Secrets of the Universe
In this discourse, called Bhagavad Gita, or Song of God, Krishna tells Arjun not only what’s what about mortal fear and doubt, but also reveals heady secrets of the Universe. Amid these mysteries are the Gita’s jewels on relationship. When you read it, look for its quantum secrets on healing by love and enlightenment.
And so Krishna begins by saying things to Arjun like (I’m paraphrasing loosely something that is beautifully translated elsewhere), “You don’t even remember your past lives or who these people were to you before, so why are you so concerned now that they will die at your hands? Will they remember you?”
He also shocked Arjun by speaking of certain facts of life that most don’t dwell on, such as how, after a sociably acceptable period of mourning, most people largely forget the dearly departed to move on with their own life. This is a natural unfoldment. But, when taken out of context or literally, this seems cruel. But this discourse is really about developing a higher consciousness that includes non-attachment.
You can look at Krishna’s message as the ultimate metaphor for your own consciousness and soul’s evolution. You may decide that former thoughts or ways of perceiving life no longer serve you or may be harmful. You find some are obstacles that you must also stand up to, face and remove. If not, you might invite the consequence of such perceptions that lead to spiritual ruin.