The case of Shishupala… and what I learnt from it II

This has been one of the posts I never got back to completing for a long time, in this case for nearly a month. But then, better late that never, as they say… thiugh I must recapitualate a little of the story.

I was writing about Shishupala or Sisupala, who was a cousin of Krishna being the son of Vasudeva‘s sister, but an implacable foe despite the prophecy at the time of his birth that he would insult his cousin greviously and be killed by him.  

As can be expected, his mother approached her nephew and begged with him to spare her son and he assented that he would forgive him an even hundred transgressions before he took any action.

Nevertheless, Shishupala had  reasons to feel great ill-will against his more famous cousin, who utterly humilated him by running off with his beautiful bride to be (And lets be honest, which red-blooded male could countenance such an insult?)

However, as I was saying, Shishupala over reached himself when he sought to insult Krishna at the conclusion of the Rajasuya Yagya conducted by the Pandavas (again first cousins of Krishna but having much more cordial ties with him) , after they gained their patrimony.

I was telling you how this scene of Shishupala‘s eventual come-uppance was portrayed in the 1960’s film version of the epic Mahabharata. As I said, it was an admirable depiction with some deft casting, including the inspired choice of Abhi Bhattacharya as Krishna.

As far as I recall, the film does not mention the background of the Shishupala story but dovetails it at the point where the Pandavas are celebrating their spiffy, new capital (built with divine assistance, it must be said) and are preparing to honour Krishna.

Suddenly, there is a clamour and into the chamber, bursts in Shishupala, spewing abuses and angrily contesting the choice of Krishna for being honoured.

He demands Krishna step down from the high rostrum where he is waiting to be annointed as the best of all the kings. ‘Neeche aa (come down here),” he  

A remarkably patient Krishna, with the barest hint of a smile, replies – in true Bollywood style: “Jitna tum gir gaye ho gir gaye ho, utna neeche main nahi aa sakta (I cannot descend to the level you have fallen to).”

As you might make out, this fails to have any effect on Shishupala, who insteads retorts with a string of abuse. Krishna, maintaining his cool, merely strikes off the numbers….”Ninnave, Tiranve….(92, 93…. as I recall)” . Shishupala merely continues with his vituperative outburst and the numbers keep on counting as they approach the lethal three figure mark that will spell his doom.

As Shishupala continues and breaches the margin, Krishna then merely raises the index finger of his right hand and on it magically appears his whirling Sudarshana Chakra (the discus with razor sharp edges…. and operating on the principle of a boomerang) .

As Shishupala views it, all his hateur and anger seem to evaporate without a trace and are replaced with a expression of pure terror (no other sight can be as poignant as the sudden realisation that the odds are overwhelmingly stacked against you). He turns to flee but cannot outrace his fate….. (thankfully the gory incident when the weapon meets its intended target happening offscreen).

However, this was the incident and now I must deal with the reference that follows the ellipse in the title.

On what I learned from the case could superficially be deemed that one should forgive transgressions to a defined number of times before countering the affronts with all the powers one possesses but that is too simplistic.

I will not go into a lengthy discussion but it will suffice to say forgiveness… forbearance, to be more exact, is a better course to pusue – notwithstanding accusations of being weak, inert and the ilk. It requires a great internal strength (which not many being capable of, instead choose to deride).

You may not be in accordance with me but do note that when a Scorpio – whose whole life is geared to the dictum of devastating vengeance for any slight, real or imagined, and the concept that a man who takes his revenge in forty years is acting in haste –  says so, it bears consideration. Just think about it – and deeply when you do – is all I can say.


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