Duryodhana, negativity personified

Scriptures say we have been born upon this planet earth to play a certain role; to act a part. Instead, we take this part to be ourselves. The symptom of this is that we react to every event in life, and this very reaction hypnotizes us to the event. Sadly, we are in this semi-sleep state all our lives. Swami Ramdularay used to tell his disciples to go to a theatre and instead of watching the movie take a chair and sit near the screen facing the audience; then one can see the kind of hypnosis everyone lives in.

Spirituality is to wake up from this hypnosis and to do that can take a lifetime of effort. This means making an effort to remain awake in every event of life. There are two centres within us. The first is the attachment centre, which has always been with us. It gains strength every time we are hypnotised by an event and keeps us bound to the sleep of life. The second centre is born when we make a decision to wake up from this sleep of life. This is the detachment centre and this centre has to be made strong as we relate to each moment of life. If we observe correctly, we will see that we are most hypnotised by life when we go along with our negative emotions or our mechanical reactions to life. Whenever we pause before reacting, and allow consciousness to enter rather than going with our automatic negative reactions, our detachment centre becomes stronger.

Duryodhana is the epitome of negativity within us. This negativity, and thereby, our hypnotic attachment to life, is so strong that the scriptures very aptly describe Duryodhana as the warrior that cannot be defeated.

If we look within, Duryodhana is present in all of us.

  • He hates being laughed at, and stops us from laughing at ourselves.
  • When two people are whispering in a corner, he feels they are talking about him.
  • When a few friends gather, he always feels they should talk about him. Similarly, every event talked about should reflect upon him. (Instance: He does not want to share even a pinpoint of land with the pandavas.)
  • He feels the need for people to admire him. Deep down, he actually feels that people should bow to him.
  • He has a continual feeling of being hurt when people do not praise him.
  • If anyone even slightly criticizes or makes fun of him, he feels deeply offended; even more so if it is done in the presence of an audience. (Instance: He feels hurt when Draupadi jokingly says ‘a blind man’s son is blind’ when he mistakenly slips in the water.)
  • He cannot take any insult or injury and is smugly satisfied at putting someone right. And if he is wounded he can be burning in intense anger, which can easily turn into hate and violence, He enjoys extracting his revenge and will go to any ends to achieve it. He cannot accept anyone saying that he is selfish or haughty.

On the other hand, to those who praise him, he portrays the very epitome of modesty. For his own self-interest and to be admired as a great donor, he will donate money to schools and hospitals. Just to appear honourable, he will speak the truth and behave well. He always wants to have his own way and will not listen to any one.

Here is a man governed by his vanity and sadly, he is in all of us and controls us. He is the person who feels resentment within us.

A baby in his cradle is the centre of attraction of a household. He feels hungry and his mother runs to feed him, his nappy gets soiled and is changed immediately. The whole family is running about for him. He starts feeling he is the centre of the world – a king and everyone else his subject. This Duryodhana is born very early in us and most of us don’t realise we spend our lives as his slave. This is our lowest form of ego consciousness. To walk on the spiritual path, this inner Duryodhana must be done away with. We have to mature from those attitudes, prejudices, and habits that were formed in the cradle.

It is said that vultures, jackals, crows, and donkeys howled when Duryodhana was born. This signifies that our psychic nature is animal. This has to be refined and purified so that the energies can rise to higher spiritual centres within us. My teacher taught us the refining exercises which purify our base energies. Duryodhana symbolises that man whose energies remain animal and are not refined to be human. These animal energies form tendencies which lie in our psychic structure and bind us to animal-type behavior. Every time we fall a victim to a negative emotion we reinforce our animal tendencies.

If we can become aware of the Duryodhana within, throw the light of observation on his workings, and slowly let him die completely, then we will have taken a big step in the journey to awaken our consciousness and be free from the slavery of our psychic nature.

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