Unpacking Wisdom

Once an ascetic visited Chandragupta Maurya’s camp. The army was preparing for battle as the attack on Patliputra against Dhana Nanda was just a few days away.

Chandragupta inspite of the wise counsel of his mentor Chanakya was still a little unsure. He was pacing in his tent meditating upon the death and destruction he was about to unleash. Also since the outcome of the battle was uncertain so he was aware of his own mortality too.

As the ascetic and Chanakya bowed to each other in deep reverence, Chandragupta too stooped to touch the ascetics feet.
Sensing his uncertainty the Sadhu blessed him thus:

“My dear one, be brave and be wise. All will be well”.

“Sire brave I am. I can act even when I am afraid. Wisdom I am not sure of. I have heard this word often, even Gurudev here mentions it but I don’t know what it means and how I can be wise”. He muttered.

“Wisdom is simple but never easy, O warrior King. It is essentially setting up of three practices. Thats all”

“What practices, O holy one. Do please tell”

“The three arms of wisdom my King are acceptance compassion and gratitude”. The seer sat down on the floor folding his legs.

Would be Empire Builder and Chanakya too sat down on the ground across him.

“World is created in duality of light and darkness, joy and suffering, love and loss. Because of our conditioning though we treat one as a guest and attack other as our enemy. Radical acceptance is setting up the practice of accepting both as equal aspects of nature. Only when we are able to accept both light and shadow without denials or complaints do we stop to live a life driven by fear”.

Chanakya nodded looking at the wise old man.

“Next since half of whatever will show up in our lives will be dark and troublesome so we need some preparation to deal with it. The idea of going and meeting our sufferings half way is called compassion. Starting with yourself and then for others, you must learn to feel the pain and offer it shelter. Second part of wisdom, o king, thus is to deal with pain empathically without mythologizing it”.

Chandragupta unconsciously touched the scar of a sword wound on his hand that had taken long time to heal.

“Third practice of wisdom, gratitude, automatically emerges once acceptance and compassion get strengthened. You  discover that life is full of everyday magic when you are truly grateful for it.

Being in serene awe of the miracle, that is unfolding right in front of your eyes thus, is both, the goal as well as true essence of wisdom”.

“To sum up, any person who completely accepts whatever manifests in his life, who offers compassion to all suffering and rejoices non stop at wonders of life is wise”

So saying the seer stopped. Even the kings guards had inched closer from their sentry duties to listen to him clearly.

“But O holy one I am going to war in a few days time. Should I ? Is that wise”?

“In acknowledging your duty of establishing the greater good, you must accept this conflict in its entirety. After the war, feel fully  pain of the injured and misery of kin of the martyred. Last practice of wisdom my warrior king, would be to gratefully serve your people when it is your chance to do so.

It is then that you would be hailed as a brave and wise king”.

Chanakya meanwhile smiled internally at the idea of secretly inviting this learned sage to meet with his young protege.

His dream of creating a new empire was about to get realized.

Leave a comment