The mythical Eklavya in the Indian Epic, Mahabharat, when refused training by the legendary Royal Guru Dronacharya, epitomises the Guru in a statue and with extraordinary discipline trains himself in the art of archery to become better than the best than, Arjuna. When the learned Guru Drona realises that a non royal outcast has trained himself to be better than his best pupil, connives & conspires and asks for GuruDakshina – his fees … strangely enough for actually not having imparted any art to the poor trainee who had rather magnanimously assumed the learned Guru to be his spiritual teacher. The gullible and awestruck poor lad agrees. What does the Guru ask.. His Thumb. And the poor lad.. without blinking an eye cuts off the thumb and offers it to the Sage.
In the same Mahabharat, the Empress Draupadi is disrobed and abused in the most profane language that would put some of our uncouth lads of today to shame… bang in between a fullhouse royal court that had in attendance & dishonourable witness of the iniquitous act.. the then epitomes of character & wisdom, the mightiest of thé mighty warriors… Mighty Bheeshma.. akin to the Empress’s Grandfather.. Mighty Guru Dronacharya.. her fathers best friend, the blind conniving emperor, Dhritarashtra.. akin to her father in law, and her defeated husbands and the mightiest of them all.. Arjuna, Bheema… all bowing their heads in helplessness imposed by self preached dogmas… of purported dharma..chained in their own twisted philosophies of truth…. nevertheless a lady of the stature of an empress was being violated and shamed in their helpless witness.. the very act notarising their acquiescence of the concupiscence of the depraved brutes who were like her own brothers.
In Ramayana, Sita gets abducted and the entire epic gets written as she accepts the request for alms from a scheming treacherous demon king Ravana who is disguised as a sage and rituals have it that sages begging for alms cannot be turned away.
Alas. Alasss. Ohhh God… Alas…. All that these hapless victims of so called preordained fate had to do was take a stand. Say NO.
By saying No, the unsuspecting pupil perhaps would never have become an embodiment of sacrifice and a devout pupil of historical repute… but might have taken his rightful place as the best archer in the world .. better than Arjuna, as he was.
By saying No to being a mute spectator to the revoltingly perverted act of a woman’s public dishonour much less that of an empress.. that told of the plight of the women of the times, the Mighty Bheeshma, or the Mighty Guru Drona may never have been considered as epitomes of loyalty in servitude towards their motherland… but rather might have saved millions of lives from meaningless savage deaths in the name of the bloodiest of battles ever fought and may also have had history respect them as real men… of substance.. who refused to allow such depravity to be conducted in their witness to happen and were willing to let go of bogus oaths that shames humanity forever in its upkeep.
And by saying No, the Dharmaraj Yudhisthira.. The helpless emperor, whose wife was molested in front of his own eyes by agents of decadence may never have been respected as a man who could sacrifice anything for the pretentious upkeep of dharma.. which was not more or could ever be more than the honour of the woman whom he had vowed to protect… what use was his dharmic pretension or the might of Bheema with his strength of 10,000 elephants or the expertise of Arjuna who could destroy any chakravyuha or bore the eye of a fish hanging in sky with his arrow, when their collective strength & wisdom could not protect their own wife.. their honour.. their empress and least of all their subject of avowed protection.
By saying No, to the demon king disguised as a sage, Mother Sita would have bore the brunt of the ire of a wicked disguised demon.. who would have been unable to do anything actually… but instead would have saved the whole brouhaha of a massive war that killed so many and led to issues galore. Instead Lord Ram would still have got to know of this vile attempt and would still have befittingly punished Ravana.. minus the bloodshed of the innocent… perhaps…
And we face many such traumatic dilemmas daily in our lives. And our yes costs us dearly… We so want to say No.. Our heart and soul and mind cries out to say No and lo behold our tongue refuses and orders itself to parrot a Yes. And that ruins a lot of things.. potential to achieve greater good as we saw in the many examples above.. possibilities unexplored that could have resulted in far better outcomes… or plainly peace of mind .. in having done what YOU wanted to do and what YOU felt right.. instead of silently suffering .. for the sake of being goody goody.. being known as a pleasing personality.. an amicable fool. All that you are buying .. is not peace of mind.. or even the brownie points of someone else who disrespected you enough to ask you to do what you perhaps don’t want to.. rather you are bargaining for devaluation of your self esteem.. degradation of your self respect and a possibility of you slowly metamorphosing into a replica of the type of personality you so violently detest.
Mark Manson in his celebrated treatise, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck says “We all get dealt cards. Some of us get better cards than others. And while it’s easy to get hung up on our cards, and feel we got screwed over, the real game lies in the choices we make with those cards, the risk we decide to take, and the consequences we choose to live with. People who consistently make the best choices in the situations they’re given are the ones who eventually come out ahead in poker, just as in life. And it’s not necessarily the people with the best cards.”
There are only so many yesses that you have.. to so carelessly squander away. I say the real game lies in the choices we make with our yesses and nos… the risk we know is comparative happiness and the consequences… calculated.. yet not self defiling & self destructive. For the want of saying a No at a right time, many a possible great has been defrauded of his/her magnanimous future .. many a human parasite has gotten away with his/her devious plans and many an extraordinary possibility vanished into the dismal cavernous abyss of nothingness…
If you want to be happy… If you want to earn your rightful respect, if you want to pursue your well earned peace of mind.. learn to say NO. You have only awfully limited yesses in your life to keep dishing it out at every given opportunity. A simple no would have changed the course of Indian History many times.. from Ekalavya to Bheeshma.. to Dhritarashtra.. to Yudhisthira.. to Bheema.. to Arjuna… to those who said yes to Robert Clive’s convoluted plans.. to Gandhi… to Nehru… to those who said yes to the partition.. to those millions of hapless coward parents who said yes to selling their daughters… to those millions of children across generations who said yes to their parent’s dream of making them an engineer or something like that.. against their passionate pursuits … to those who said yes to anyone buying their right of franchise for a few pennies or a quarter bottle of cheap alcohol… to those who said yes to every whims and fancies of their bosses against what is right for the organisation that feeds them… to those who said no to their thinking minds and said yes against their conscience.. against their values… against the good and against the primal possibilities of intrinsic greatness inherent to be nurtured.. cultivated and bloomed.
Every ill-timed Yes sets you back irreparably and the nation’s clock with many an unsaid no keeps turning its possibilities back to centuries… as the breed of the No Sayers keep diminishing through the altered inherited DNA.
Just Say No My Friend… When the Heart and Soul says so. Heed the Right. Change the course of history… Just imagine the possibilities with the right No.. said at the right time in the limited examples above… India would have seized her rightful place in the comity of nations… in the front ranks..
At least, if not the country.. we would have been happier.. by saying NO at the RIGHT time.