Sunday, 5 February 2012

One sees what one wants to see

Swami Gulagulaananda said:
"One sees what one wants to see"

This is a short story I had read as a child in school, I think it was in the then-popular magazine for kids, Gokulam.

The story begins with Krishna and Arjuna having a conversation. Arjuna asks Lord Krishna why everyone thinks Yudhishtira is considered as great. Krishna takes Arjuna for a walk. He calls Duryodhana and then calls a random soldier. He then points the soldier out to Duryodhana and asks him to tell one hundred points about that man. Duryodhana says that the man was lazy, got his wife to do every thing for him, used to squander earnings, beat her occassionally, etc. He thanks Duryodana and a few minutes later asks Yudhishtira the same question. Yudhishtira looks at the man and says that the man was one who had helped out his friends and neighbours, was a loving father, never cheated on his wife, religious, etc. Thanking him, Krishna turns to Arjuna and says - "Did you see? It was the same person who was being described by two different individuals. The very same person, and yet, the perspective is so different. Never is any person completely good or completely bad - everyone has shades of grey. It is what we choose to see that makes them what they are to us. Yudhishtira is a man who sees good in everyone, and that is because of his own goodness. That, my friend, is the reason why he is considered as great". Arjuna bowed to Krishna on understanding the great words of wisdom and felt proud of his brother.

The story may not have happened in the real Mahabharata - but I personally always liked the story. Short, crisp and yet tells a lot about people... I notice many people nursing great hatred for Gandhi - Sure, the man had his shortcomings, but he had his strengths. Like Krishna said, no person is a hundred percent perfect. We need to respect goodness and criticise mistakes. However, people tend to take extreme steps and brand people. So, this is just a pointer to people to remember - the goodness you see in others, is a reflection of the goodness within you.