A story that many spiritual teachers use to illustrate the art/science of giving and also to illustrate how our ego works has once again been brought to my notice after many decades by a fellow spiritual traveler Geetha. This being the season for giving and receiving, I reproduce it below.

Once Krishna and Arjuna were walking towards a village. Arjuna was pestering Krishna, asking him why Karna should be considered a role model for all Danas (donations) and not himself. Krishna, wanting to teach him a lesson snapped his fingers. The mountains beside the path they were walking on turned into gold. Krishna said “Arjuna, distribute these two mountains of gold among the villagers, but you must donate every last bit of gold”. Arjuna went into the village, and proclaimed he was going to donate gold to every villager, and asked them to gather near the mountain. The villagers sang his praises and Arjuna walked towards the mountain with a huffed up chest. For two days and two continuous nights Arjuna shovelled gold from the mountain and donated to each villager. The mountains did not diminish in their slightest.

Most villagers came back and stood in queue within minutes. After a while, Arjuna, started feeling exhausted, but not ready to let go of his ego just yet, told Krishna he couldn’t go on any longer without rest. Krishna called Karna. “You must donate every last bit of this mountain, Karna” he told him. Karna called two villagers. “You see those two mountains?” Karna asked, “those two mountains of gold are yours to do with as you please” he said, and walked away.

Arjuna sat dumbfounded. Why hadn’t this thought occurred to him? Krishna smiled mischievously and told him “Arjuna, subconsciously, you yourself were attracted to the gold, you regretfully gave it away to each villager, giving them what you thought was a generous amount. Thus the size of your donation to each villager depended only on your imagination. Karna holds no such reservations. Look at him walking away after giving away a fortune, he doesn’t expect people to sing his praises, he doesn’t even care if people talk good or bad about him behind his back. That is the sign of a man already on the path of enlightenment”.



Blogger Mother had a post on Blog Action Day in her blog and we exchanged comment and response as follows there.

I: I wish that I had known!

Mother: I wish you had known, too. Do it now!

And that gives me the inspiration to write this post. As my regular readers know, I am finding it difficult to write every day on my blog and this gives me an opportunity to write.

Action inevitably leads to reaction which in turn becomes an action that creates a reaction. In the spiritual path that I am on, the whole purpose of the disciplines that one is expected to follow is to become action oriented and to give up being reaction oriented.

The way one goes about it is to stop performing any action with the outcome in mind. Outcomes of any action can be, 1. Exactly as expected; 2. Less than what was expected; 3. More than what was expected, or 4. Completely different to what was expected. The Yogi knows this fully and accepts whatever comes as a result of his action as the result of the laws of karma and prevents generating further action / reaction cycles.

This is best described in the Bhagwad Gita as:


You have the right to work only
but never to its fruits.
Let not the fruits of action be your motive.
Nor let your attachment be to inaction.

Ch II V 47

The most powerful part of that advice from Krishna to Arjun is in the last sentence where he is clearly told not to take recourse to inaction to escape the cycle of action and reaction.

Those who are interested can of course go deeper into this by just googling for Bhagwad Gita Ch.II Verse 47.

Half Truths.

I hope that you enjoy reading another post of the Friday Loose Bloggers’ Consortium when eleven of us post on the same topic chosen by one of us. Today’s topic has been chosen by Conrad.

Please do visit Ashok, Conrad, Grannymar, Magpie11, Maria, Gaelikaa, Helen, Judy, Anu and Ginger to see ten other views on the same topic. Some of these bloggers may be preoccupied with vacations, examinations, family problems and/or romance, so be a little indulgent in case they do not post or post late.

What is a lie, what is truth and what is a half truth? Humanity has struggled with these questions since time immemorial and even the blog world is full of posts on the subject.

Indians however are very clever people. They have role models and even Gods to come to their help in getting rid of guilt. Let me give you a classic case of deception that is part of India’s greatest epic, The Mahabharatha, which with about one hundred thousand verses, long prose passages, or about 1.8 million words in total, is roughly ten times the length of the Iliad and Odyssey combined.

Yudhishtira is the eldest of the Pandavas, the good guys. Yudhishtira is famous for his honesty and uprightness. Drona is the opposition’s greatest hit man. In fact, Drona was the teacher for both sides of the divide. Krishna, the God in human form is the charioteer for Arjuna the hero of the good guys.

In the war, the Kuru commander Drona was killing thousands of Pandava warriors. Krishna hatched a plan to tell Drona that his son Ashwathama had died, so that the invincible and destructive Kuru commander would give up his arms and thus could be killed.

The plan was set in motion when Bhima killed an elephant named Ashwathama, and loudly proclaimed that Ashwathama was dead. Drona, knowing that only Yudhisthira, with his firm adherence to the truth, could tell him for sure if his son had died, approached Yudhisthira for confirmation. Yudhisthira told him: “Ashwathama has died”. Yudhisthira, who could not make himself tell a lie, despite the fact that if Drona continued to fight, the Pandavas and the cause of dharma itself would have been lost, then added: “Praha kunjara ha”, which means he is not sure whether elephant named Ashwathama or the man Ashwathama had died.

Krishna, knowing that Yudhisthira would be unable to lie, had all the warriors beat war-drums and cymbals to make as much noise as possible at the critical moment. The words “Praha kunjara ha” were lost in the tumult and the ruse worked. Drona was disheartened, and laid down his weapons. He was then killed by Dhristadyumna, another hit man from the good guys.

If God could arrange for such deceptions, who are we, mere mortals to shun half truths or whatever else you want to call them? I refuse to be guilty whenever I have to speak half truths. Why, I often tell full lies, like Nick gives examples of. When the food is awful in my host’s home, I shall not feel guilty if I praise the food and manage to eat enough to back up that lie. And I am not God, I am just human.