Duryodhana the Symbol of Imperialism - 2

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Vedic monotheism regards Brahma as “One but manifest as Many”. “Abrahmik” is in the sense of “A-Brahma” that denies the “Many manifest” in that “One”.

Understanding Duryodhana as a whole, his Asurik nature is deeply linked with his professed monotheistic creed.

1. The difference between Vedic monotheism and ‘professed monotheism’

Like any other student and prince of those days, Duryodhana received education, part of which was Vedas and Itihasa-Purana. However, the messages of the Vedas – of coexistence of pluralistic beliefs, did not sink in him. He was learned in the words of Vedas, not in the essence of Vedas. His brain was crammed with information, but he could not process the information and distil wisdom.

Human mind cannot work without images and concepts; the sense of reality has to be through images and concepts which constitute subjective perception. When feelings attach to the concept-image, they become stronger and take hold of the mind. The mind may even turn obsessive. Even if not, it becomes a circular process, concept-image feeding the feelings, and feelings, fuelling the concept-image. The concept-image God is no God [Nasadiya Sukta (?V. 10.129)].

Realization of oneness or Nirvana is not everybody’s cup of tea; and most followers who have ordinaria psyche, that is, functioning within ‘normal’ patterns, would definitely form concept-image of even that One Formless God (by whatever name), because Nirakar is a matter of realization and not discourse.

Herein lies the danger of professing insistent absolute monotheism. While ordinaria psyche would reduce Nirvana or One Formless God into concept-image, the compulsion to believe in SHunya or Nirakar, coupled with the fear of violating injunction to not form concept-image results in a state of Denial of Reality (of concept-image) within the self. This tension makes one more sectarian and communal.

In any normal case, an individual has the natural propensity to favour own concept-images over others. No individual’s concept-image can be the same to another; every individual carries a unique Universe in the brain. However, while forming groups out of common insecurity, human assumes common identity (as in religion or sect), and further assumes that all members of the group have homogenous concept-image.


What we generally call Astikya for belief in God, the belief manifests in different ways -

i. Realization of God, in which case, no discourse on God is necessary (Ideal State)

ii. Belief in God, where the believer tries to justify the belief, and therefore, engages in discourses – debates and arguments; the imagined or real opponent is the Nastika in the sense of ‘non-believer in God’. Actually this is belief in claim only stemming out of insecurity; the believer actually believes in a Concept, and thinks that Concept to be God.

iii. Belief in God, where the believer claims ‘My God is superior to your God’. Actually, this belief is no real belief. The believer is actually slave to a script programmed in his brain. Communalism and religious fundamentalism take birth from such belief. The belief is belief in a Concept of God.

iv. Claim of belief in One God without the belief manifesting in conduct and action. Actually the person is Artha-centric and Kama-centric, and his belief is a show hiding the actual motive of Possession-Pelf, Pleasure and Power. He is often a blend with point-iii. He may actually be a non-believer within, and/or his belief is belief in a Concept of God.

Duryodhana falls under category iii and iv combined. His monotheism is therefore, showy, wordy, dogmatic and communal.

Unless an individual is actually category i, his monotheism is dry words of belief in One God, and such monotheism is bound to be communal.

The problem is not in genuine belief in monotheism, or a self-realized individual, because genuine Heart automatically knows and learns coexistence and sees oneness in variety. The problem is with shallow characters, the traders in learning, and those who blindly follow Brain-Programmed Script instilled by others, and lacks in self-enquiry.

The simple criteria whether monotheism is OK or Not OK –

i. if monotheism fosters love for humanity irrespective of others’ belief, it is OK

ii. if monotheism fosters hatred for others, if it makes one communal, it is Not OK

Since for most people, God is only Concept-God, and monotheism means exclusion, then by that majoritariansim, monotheism is problematic unless the Concept-monotheism is deconstructed by liberty to polytheistic belief. Vedas does that.

Monotheism is a dangerous ideology belief system in the hand of Pravrtti-propelled Power-Mongers who would always use monotheism to deny others the right to existence and the right to religious beliefs.

The Rshis of RgVeda knew this. The whole RgVeda is message on this; why continuous-deconstruction of static concept is necessary. Thus despite saying ekam sad vipra bahudha vadanti, the Rshis respectfully worship the varied manifestations and expressions known as Devas and Devis.

Duryodhana’s problem was not with Krshna; it wouldn’t have mattered much had he not believed in Krshna’s divinity; Krshna’s elder brother Balarama and loyalist aid Satyaki did not worship Krshna as Ishvara or Avatara. What mattered was Duryodhana’s refusal to co-exist with believers in Krshna’s divinity. Monotheism, as always in such cases, was an excuse to Duryodhana to wipe out opponents, an excuse to non-share rights with his brothers.
2. Dhrtarashtra, Duryodhana and Namuci’s professed monotheism

Dhrtarashtra resorted to monotheism and Daivavad (belief in Providence) while permitting the Dice Game despite Vidura’s disapproval and foreboding that it would bring destruction: “If Fate be not hostile, this quarrel will not certainly grieve me. The whole universe moveth at the will of its Creator, under the controlling influence of Fate. It is not free. Therefore, O Vidura, going unto king Yudhishthira at my command, bring thou soon that invincible son of Kunti.” (KMG Sabha Parvan 56)[i]

Dhrtarashtra equates monotheism and Daivavad – and that is problematic, giving us the clue to Dhrtarashtra-Duryodhana brand of monotheism. Monotheism or belief in One Ishvara does not preclude human will; on the other hand, it accepts human will’s own responsibility and accountability, and accepts the chance factor too. Thus true monotheism incorporates Purushakara and Daiva.

In professed monotheism, the inaction is justified by Daiva. Dhrtarashtra does that. He justifies his inaction in the name of Daiva, and further rationalizes that with professed monotheism.

Dhrtarashtra was justifying his greed, swearing by monotheism and Daiva, and trying to ward of responsibility and put the burden on Ishvara. Bhubharaharana (De-Burdening the Earth) takes an ironic significance here. In contrast, Krshna’s Karma-Yoga is to take responsibility in one’s own hand according to one’s own Svabhava and explore Purushakara being pragmatic.

Like father like son, we may say.

When Vidura advised Duryodhana not to play Dice Game, Duryodhana said: “Tell us not harsh words always, O Vidura. We do not ask thee what is for our good. Cease, irritate not those that have already borne too much at thy hands. There is only one Controller, no second. He controlleth even the child that is in the mother's womb. I am controlled by Him. Like water that always floweth in a downward course, I am acting precisely in the way in which He is directing me.[ii]… …Therefore, O Vidura, go whither-so-ever thou pleasest. A wife that is unchaste, however well-treated, forsaketh her husband yet.”[iii] (KMG Sabha Parvan 63)

The whole Game of monotheism is manifest here. Duryodhana’s last statement on woman is one-sided and patriarchal – another inevitable symptom of professed-monotheism. All monotheism professing religions are patriarchal at the core.

That Duryodhana only professes monotheism is further evident from his utter self-centricity to the end. After the end of war, on meeting Dhrtarashtra, Samjaya tells him: “I told the king (Duryodhana) that we had at that time only three car-warriors left alive, for Vyasa had said so unto me when I set out.”[iv] Duryodhana showed no curiosity to even know the name of survivors, and entered Dvaipayana Lake telling Samjaya to tell Dhrtarashtra that he would be entering a Lake (pravishto hradam) (9.28.47-49).

Duryodhana’s speech after his fall (thighs smashed by Bhima), reveals his psyche and belief system. He seems to accept his oncoming death in the name of the One Creator’s wish. He seems to accept his death because death is universal and inevitable.[v]

However, this is more self-delusional than spiritual because his ego is intact as evident from his repeated use of the word aham (9.64.23-26). The ‘I’-ness persists with him. He is not willing to relinquish self-glory: “I who reigned over the whole earth have now been reduced to this plight! By good luck, I never turned back from battle whatever calamities overtook me.”[vi]

Duryodhana also expresses his belief in the Sakama Vedas: “Do not, from affection, grieve for my death. If the Vedas are any authority, I have certainly acquired many eternal regions!”[vii]

Now, remarkably, Duryodhana accepts Krshna’s greatness: “I am not ignorant of the glory of Krshna of immeasurable energy. He hath not caused me to fall off from the proper observance of Kshatriya duties. I have obtained him. On no account should anybody grieve for me.”[viii]

Duryodhana’s “I have obtained him (Krshna)” (sa maya samanuprapto) is his submission to Krshna.

Before death, Duryodhana’s psyche betrays a peculiar belief system –

i. belief in monotheism

ii. belief in Sakama Dharma of Vedas

iii. belief in Krshna as Supreme God

iv. belief in Carvaka

Going by conventional labeling of Astika and Nastika – which is actually paradoxical and has no real merit [See - The Absurdity of Astika versus Nastika Debates with reference to Vedic-Hinduism, Buddhism, Carvakaism and Leftism-Marxism] – Duryodhana professes belief in all modes of Astikya and even Nastikya.

Does he qualify as ‘Secular’ for such coexistence of belief systems in him?

This is the great deception – the ‘cover’ – for which he is Vrtra (from √vr - ‘to cover, to shroud, to hide’) – the very stasis and obstacle to progress.

The psychological danger of monotheistic belief is that fictitious belief in formless One God may lead one to disregard parents. ‘Terrosist’ – in modern term! Duryodhana’s concept-image monotheism is his disrespect for his parents. With Duryodhana’s instance in cultural memory, and observing the loss of Rama’s ideology of respecting parents, all later Scriptures – from Mahabharata, Dharmasutras and Dharmashastras, Buddha-Mahavira’s teachings and Ashoka’s edicts emphasize again and again that respect for the parents is primary without which Dharma is impossible.

The Dharma manifest in Rajadharma is simple: one (or, the prince) who does not respect parents cannot be worthy parents and Ideal King to Praja.

The disrespect is so deeply felt by Gandhari that she curses his son: she predicts Duryodhana’s death: “Thou covetous wretch that disregardest the commands of the aged, abandoning thy father and myself and giving up prosperity and life, enhancing the joy of thy foes, and afflicting me with deep distress, thou wilt, O fool, remember thy father's words, when struck by Bhimasena, thou wilt bite the dust (67.9-10).”

Duryodhana professes to be monotheistic, he professes belief in Vedas and Krshna, he professes liberality in accepting Carvaka as his friend, however, what betrays the ailment in his psyche is the clue why he accepts Carvaka – and the reason is Carvaka is vagvisharada (9.63.38) or skillful in Vac (speech, words, and language).

Carvaka is the wordy person whom Bhishma calls Rakshasa. Carvaka speaks well. It is all about words and word-game. Post-Kurukshetra-War, the allegorical narrative of Carvaka’s death by VagDanda (12.39.46c-47a)[ix] is a clue to a great message to understand.

It is a great lesson to our present times.

Carvaka, the wordy ‘Shabda trader’ who dupes others with words, must be destroyed with words. Carvaka will twist words, interpret words literally and invent narratives, and he must be destroyed with similar strategies.

And Duryodhana, the ‘professed Monotheist’ who truly does not believe in Vedic ‘Oneness but manifest as many’ but claims belief in ‘one God’, has his main support in Artha (economics, money, wealth, possession, social power). Now, these are Vaishya Guna, and ‘Thigh’ is the metaphor for Vaishya Guna.

So, the ‘professed Monotheist’ and actually communal and greedy and imperialist Duryodhana must be destroyed with thighs mangled. In modern context, it means ‘cutting off his funding sources”. Bhima smashes Duryodhana’s thighs. Bhima as Vayu’s son metaphorically represents Prana. Bhima is the allegory of Life-Force.

Life-Force will always defeat Duryodhana, the Stasis of Pravrtti-propelled and empty ‘professed monotheism’.

When Duryodhana the “Big-Fish” of ‘Political-Matsyanyaya’ hides in Dvaipayana lake with his Maya, Yudhishthira calls that daivim mayam (9.30.4), Krshna advises Yudhishthira to destroy Maya with Maya: “With thy own powers of illusion, O Bharata, destroy this illusion of Duryodhana who is an adept in it! One conversant with illusion should be slain with illusion!” [mayavina imam mayam mayaya jahi bharata / mayavi mayaya vadhyah satyam etad yudhishthira // (9.30.6)]

Since Duryodhana is superior in skill, Krshna suggests that Bhima should fight with Maya – ‘The instruction received by them hath been equal. Bhima, however, is possessed of greater might, while the son of Dhritarashtra is possessed of greater skill and hath laboured more. If he were to fight fairly, Bhimasena will never succeed in winning the victory. If, however, he fights unfairly he will be surely able to slay Duryodhana. The Asuras were vanquished by the gods with the aid of deception. We have heard this. Virochana was vanquished by Shakra with the aid of deception. The slayer of Vala deprived Vritra of his energy by an act of deception.’ (9.57.3-5)

This is Krshna-Niti, the Upaya (Strategy/Policy) suggested by Krshna.

It is not without significance that Krshna remembers Rama on two occasions. In Shalya Parvan, Krshna while encouraging Yudhishthira to kill Duryodhana reminds him that Rama had killed Ravana[x]; and in Shanti-Parvan, Krshna consoles Yudhishthira mentioning Rama and praising his rule (12.29.1-55).

Though Samjaya conceives Krshna as God, his recurring referring to Krshna’s Maya has at least dual dimension. That becomes evident from his dialogues with Dhrtarashtra. Dhrtarashtra asks: “O son of Gavalgana, what is the nature of that Faith which thou hast in Janardana (ka bhaktir ya te nitya janardane) and in consequence of which thou knowest the slayer of Madhu to be the union of the Gross, the Subtle, and the Cause? (4).” Dhrtarashtra wants to ascertain why Samjaya glorifies Krshna. Samjaya says unequivocally that he has no regard for Maya and he never practices useless virtue (mayam na seve bhadram te na vrthadharmam acare, 67.5a). This suggests that Samjaya is aware that Krshna’s Maya is a ‘Political Weapon’ (that Jarasamdha and Duryodhana too regards as such elsewhere), and that his regard for Krshna is owing to his obtaining purity of Soul through Faith and devotion (shuddhabhavam gato bhaktya), and his knowledge in SHastras (shastrad vedmi janardanam, 5c).

In other words, Krshna’s Maya is not the reason why he regards Krshna, but beyond that, he is aware of Krshna’s real merit, and he has already obtained that ‘Divine Eye’ through the qualities of Heart and Head – that is, Head-Heart Balance.

Then Dhrtarashtra advises Duryodhana: “O Duryodhana, seek thou the protection of Janardana, otherwise called Hrishikesa. O child, Sanjaya is one of our trustiest friends. Seek refuge with Keshava (duryodhana hrshikesham prapadyasva janardanam / apto nah samjayas tata sharanam gaccha keshavam, 5.67.6).” But Duryodhana is adamant: “If the divine son of Devaki united in friendship with Arjuna, were to slay all mankind, I cannot, even then, resign myself to Keshava (bhagavan devakiputro lokam cen nihanishyati / pravadann arjune sakhyam naham gacche 'dya keshavam, 67.7).” Vyasa endorses Samjaya’s words by calling Krshna “the ancient and exalted One (puranam yac ca vai navam, 67.12a),” certifies Samjaya that as Dhrtarashtra’s envoy he would lead him to his good (yasya te samjayo duto yas tvam shreyasi yokshyate, 11c), and endorses Gandhari’s prediction with indirect directness, “O son of Vichitravirya, subject to wrath and joy, men are entangled in various snares. They that are not contented with their own possessions (ye na tushtah svakair dhanaih, 13c), deprived of sense as they are by avarice and desire, they repeatedly become subject to Death in consequence of their own acts (yamasya vasham ayanti kamamudhah punah punah), like blind men (falling into pits) when led by the blind (andhanetra yathaivandha niyamanah svakarmabhih, 14c).”

And that is precisely what professed monotheism means: ‘blind men led by blind men’. The imagery is found in Upanishad, and later used by Gautama Buddha too.

3. Conclusion

Since Duryodhana is immortal, since Duryodhana is everywhere, he will try to have his sway with ‘professed and Pravrtti-propelled monotheism’.

And Duryodhana can be destroyed by Bhima-Parakrama Will to Live (Life-Force) following Krshna – ‘with Dharma motive, with memory of and Shraddha for Rshis and Vedas, but with pragmatic wisdom to BE BLACK TO DESTROY BLACK’.

Bharatavarsha regards Krshna the Rashtra Purusha.

Bharatavarsha should adopt the Bhima attitude and Krshna’s policy too. Every true Bharatiya must assimilate that teaching in one’s own life.

Duryodhana submitted to Krshna before death and went to Swarga. That is the ONLY WAY to his redemption. Indeed that is the only way for redemption available to ‘professed Monotheists’. Let the world learn.


[i] 02,051.025a neha kshattah kalahas tapsyate mam; na ced daivam pratilomam bhavishyat
02,051.025c dhatra tu dishuasya vashe kiledam; sarvam jagac ceshuati na svatantram
02,051.026a tad adya vidura prapya rajanam mama shasanat
02,051.026c kshipram anaya durdharsham kuntiputram yudhishuhiram
[ii] ekah shasta na dvitiyo 'sti shasta; garbhe shayanam purusham shasti shasta / tenanushishuah pravanad ivambho; yatha niyukto 'smi tatha vahami // bhinatti shirasa shailam ahim bhojayate ca yah / sa eva tasya kurute karyanam anushasanam // 2.57.8-9
[iii] bhinatti shirasa shailam ahim bhojayate ca yah / sa eva tasya kurute karyanam anushasanam // yo balad anushastiha so 'mitram tena vindati / mitratam anuvrttam tu samupeksheta panditah // pradipya yah pradiptagnim prak tvaran nabhidhavati / bhasmapi na sa vindeta shishuam kva cana bharata // na vasayet paravargyam dvishantam; visheshatah kshattar ahitam manushyam / sa yatrecchasi vidura tatra gaccha; susantvitapi hy asati stri jahati // 2.57.9-12
[iv] trayah kila rathah shishuas tavakanam naradhipa / iti prasthanakale mam krshnadvaipayano 'bravit, 9.28.46
[v] idrsho martyadharmo 'yam dhatra nirdishua ucyate / vinashah sarvabhutanam kalaparyayakaritah // so 'yam mam samanupraptah pratyaksham bhavatam hi yah / 9.64.22-23a
[vi] prthivim palayitvaham etam nishuham upagatah / dishuya naham paravrtto yuddhe kasyam cid apadi // 9.64.23c-24a
[vii] ma bhavanto 'nutapyantam sauhrdan nidhanena me / yadi vedah pramanam vo jita loka mayakshayah // 9.64.27
[viii] manyamanah prabhavam ca krshnasyamitatejasah / tena na cyavitash caham kshatradharmat svanushuhitat // sa maya samanuprapto nasmi shocyah katham cana / 9.64.28-29a
[ix] 12,039.046c dhakshyanti vagbalah papam tato nasham gamishyati
12,039.047a sa esha nihatah shete brahmadandena rakshasah
[x] tatha paulastyatanayo ravano nama rakshasah/ ramena nihato rajan sanubandhah sahanugah (9.30.10)


More by :  Indrajit Bandyopadhyay

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