A Blog on Mythology and occasionally on Reality.

This is a Blog on Mythology, both Indian and World and especially the analysis of the myths.

In effect, the interpretation of the inherent Symbolism.


Thursday, June 2, 2011

Importance of Asking Questions - Part 1

How many times have we felt – If only I had asked? The common thing about men not asking for directions and landing into trouble, children not asking questions in the class leading to not-understanding problems, and women waiting for men to ‘pop’ the question, and Executives not asking during official briefings, is all so very well-known with all the due complications and trouble.

Just what happens if one doesn’t ask questions? Besides remaining ignorant, it could also lead to a lot of trouble. Mythology is witness to this. Let us see how the course of mythical destiny might have changed, if only basic questions were asked.

The most classical case that comes to mind is from the epic Mahabharata. Have you ever wondered, what would have happened if only Kunti had asked – “What have you brought?” when her sons told her – “Look Mother, what we got”, while referring to Draupadi? Wouldn’t Mahabharata have been slightly (or a lot?) different if she had asked the basic question instead of saying “Share amongst yourselves, whatever you brothers have got”? Many might opine that probably the Pandavas might not have been as united as they were, or Arjuna might not have got to marry other ladies, which were the much-needed political alliances. Or just about nothing much would have happened! But definitely, a very sticky issue could have been avoided and Draupadi would have been spared many a humiliation which we get to see in the course of the epic.

Let us take another example from the same epic, and that is the case of Shahadev. It is said that Sahadev knew everything, including the outcome of the dice game. But he could not say anything without being asked! It is said that when Sahadev came to know about his divine capability, he rushed to tell everybody about it. On the way he met a stranger who advised him against doing that if he wanted God on his side. He further advised him that he should answer only when asked something, and not before. Some say, that Sahadev knew that the stranger was none other than Lord Krishna who was God himself, and so he did not go against the advice. Some versions say that he was warned that if he said anything without being asked, then his head would split into two. Sahadev went on to author many of the occult sciences and is also considered to be a great astrologer, who knew it all.   During the entire Mahabharata, nobody ever asked him his opinion on anything, and thus having known everything, including the outcome of every event, he could not help. Wouldn’t the outcome of the epic be a lot different if only someone had asked him some basic questions? Probably, Yudhishtir would not have played dice and lost everything, or even if he played, Sahadev could have warned Yudhishtir about Shakuni’s evil designs. But then nobody asked him!

Tomorrow we will conclude this article with a few more examples......

1 comment:

  1. Nice Blog Utkarsh!

    Most Upanishads collate the dialogue between the teacher and student, mostly in form of question answers, there are instance where teacher has reprimanded students for questioning his knowledge

    Here is one instance.
    According to legend.
    sage Vaishampayan had a brilliant student by name yagnyavalka who never accepted any argument from his teacher without questioning it first.
    Fed up by his constant questioning, Vaishampayan once asked him to return all the knowledge given by him. So Yagnyavalka 'vomited' the knowledge.
    As per the rule knowledge cannot be wasted , so other students of Vaishampayan turned into birds 'tittar' and picked all the vomited pieces. Eventually this was collated into Taittiriya Upanishad which is part of Krishna Yajur veda forming 7,8,and 9the chapter.

    Questioning is an essential form of learning and should be encouraged in all formal education systems.