Cikhandi Syndrome


Being used by others for their own ends or becoming the means for someone's ends is one of the worst that can happen to any human being. It is true that our life is not always in our own hands. Some say it is destiny and some others say it is just chance. In any case, the overall achievements and outcome of any human life is not necessarily a sum product of his or her efforts alone. Even if we admit that destiny prevails, most of us do not like to be pawn in other's hands in our day to day lives. But there are people who do get used or do not mind being used by others. It is this breed of people who do get used by others (whatever be the reason) that needs to be classified as Cikhandis in the twenty first century. If we bother to probe further, we can come across at least three types of Cikhandis.

Intentional Cikhandis

Cikhandi in Mahabharata was an intentional one. Though a great warrior himself, he was content to be used as a shield for Arjuna to killBheeshma. The background story is very famous and it needs no repetition here.Cikhandi fulfilled his own life's ambition by being instrumental in the killing of a great warrior like Bheeshma. He was fully aware of the underlying reasons for his birth as Cikhandiand he was only living up to it in whatever that happened in the battlefield. It is possible that there are people who do this even now. Some of the noble souls in our midst are born with noble goals and they struggle to do exactly the same during their life time. In the twenty first century, we also find this true of fundamentalists who are willing to sacrifice their own lives for the sake of some ideology. Right or wrong, the belief is so very strong that even the prospect of acute physical pain does not deter such people from destroying themselves. Suicide bombing is a growing phenomenon with no antidote in sight.

Innocent Cikhandis

There are people who are gullible and innocent enough to be tricked into situations, and they can be classified as the Innocent Cikhandis. It is not always true that such people are unintelligent. In the present day world, any of us can turn out to be one such Cikhandi if we are not careful. Conventional knowledge is not enough to escape from the tricksters in this highly competitive world. Scores of lottery scams on the net is a classic example of this. There are several highly qualified people who fall easy prey to the 'scamsters' and end up losing their entire savings in no time. It is their greed and desire that take them to their doom. Innocent Cikhandis end up as failures and it is rare to see them realising and recovering from making blunders. But the damage is limited to the individual or his own family at the worst.

Almost all characters from our great epicMahabharata have the unique quality of being alive and around at all times. One of the most significant and symbolic among them is Cikhandi, the king of Kasi.

Quite contrary to the popular perception, Cikhandi was an outstanding warrior. In the 17thsloka of Chapter 1 of Bhagavad-Gita, while describing the line up on the Pandava side, Cikhandiis rated as a maharatha ('kasyas ca paramesvasah Cikhandi cha maharatha').The rating is meaningful when we learn that even Karna is ranked only as 'ardha-rathi'. ButCikhandi's calibre and bravery were of no use in the war. On the contrary, he was used by Pandavas (and Lord Krishna) is a negative way to killBheeshma. And by all indicationsCikhandi was happy too with all that happened. History repeats and we find so many Cikhandisin our midst today. Currently a syndrome, the tendency is bordering on a full fledged ideology and Cikhandism may soon evolve into an ism in the days to come.

Indifferent Cikhandis

The worst kind of Cikhandism is displayed by the Indifferent Cikhandis, who does not care about what happens to others when they are well aware that someone else is using them. Their philosophy is to lay back and enjoy if it is inevitable. Enjoyment is their only intention even if it is at the cost of others. They do not care for the long term destruction of their land or people for enjoying the short term benefits. Generations after generations will have to pay the price of having a leader who turned an Indifferent Cikhandi. During the cold war era, it was not uncommon to find such leaders in the African continent where even ground rules for democratic governance were set by foreign colonial powers. Many a time we used to find a leader who is stooge of one super power or another. But the disease has spread and we now find more such in Asia. In the present world it is no more the evil super powers who hijack the Indifferent Cikhandis. There are dangerous institutions with hidden economic and religious agenda who are buying up the Indifferent Cikhandis to meet their own targets or agenda. Only individuals and nations with inherent vitality can survive the scourge of rule by such IndifferentCikhandis.

In short, Cikhandi Syndrome is AIDS that affect the mind of the victim. There is no sure medicine except for internal realisation and sincere attempts to overcome the syndrome. This should necessarily come from the afflicted individuals when they apply their god-given intelligence to realise that they are being used. Cikhandi could have become the hero of Mahabharata if he had fought and killed Bheeshmahimself. But by becoming a mere tool in the hands of others he denigrated himself to the level of an effeminate good-for-nothing in the eyes of generations, though he was a highly qualified professional himself. Those who refuse to learn from history or mythology are condemned to repeat the mistakes in a much more ridiculous fashion than the original.             


More by :  J. Ajithkumar

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