THE RIVER MAN
Humans are destined for life, including exams to meet with themselves in the past. Reminding, that life, as a call, is actually a sad, sad call. In that sorrow, we should be on duty.
In the Mahabharata
One hot day in the dense forest, four of the five Pandavas died one by one. Hours earlier, Yudhishthira, the eldest, asked his brothers to go to find water. He was thirsty, so was everyone else. One by one had departed, but no one returned.
Anxiously, Yudhishthira went to the edge of the clear river. He saw the bodies of his two siblings a thousand, Bhima and Arjuna lying. Lifeless. Then he found the bodies of his two other brothers, Sahadeva and Nakula, Son of Pandhu from Madri‘s mother. Yudhishthira was shocked. The four siblings died without a battle.
In the midst of such a dark and gloomy thought, Yudhishthira heard an unseen weight of its source. “Listen, Yudhishthira”, the voice said. “These four Kshatriya, your four younger brothers, one by one die for violating my words. They were told not to drink the water of the lake. But they, with full confidence, even arrogant against the restrictions.”
Who is speaking? Yaksha the intangible? Ghost water-dwellers who know him? Yudhistira fell silent, he listened to the next words. Not the dharma of a Kshatriya to hear, they act and decide based on what they learn, he understands his brothers against the Yaksha.
But then in the shadow of Yudhishthira, beneath his calm tide, he trembled. He saw that afternoon was like a nightmare. Suddenly a journey, a process, from the day that the five of them entered the forest because of the waste, cut off. Only nine days to 13 years of exile will end. The Indraprastha Kingdom throne will be returned to the Pandavas. But now what happened? Only he, Yudhishthira, lives.
“Just tell me, I am the soul of this river water. I know your four brothers are thirsty, I know you are thirsty, but you should not do what they do.”
In misery and difficulty, the wisdom of the heart is not pride. At that time Yudhishthira realized, in this world beyond the god, there are beings that are much stronger than him. And when it feels superior to others, that’s where defeat begins. “Allow me to drink”, Yudhishthira begged, asking for something that might not be given, without knowing what to do if not allowed.
“I will let you drink. But you have to answer some questions before they can drink this water.” Humility is not always better than pride, but when it is humble, the opposition almost always makes a requirement. (Maybe) that’s because most people are reluctant to be humble.
At that time he could choose. He lets himself die like the other four Pandavas, or he is willing to question the occult voice. But he does not know what happens if the answer is wrong. Will he die too? Or will he be allowed to live but still can not drink the water of the lake? In the Mahabharata narrated, Yudhishthira decided to be willing to answer the questions that will confront him. With that, it is actually like jumping into the dark ravine in front.
In the masterpiece as it is told, some questions are advanced. Yudhishthira responded with resignation. Until the most recent, the most decisive.
Said the unseen voice, “One of your brothers will soon be revived. Who do you want, Yudhishthira?”
Yudhishthira fell silent. He closed his eyes, and difficult choices collided in the dark. Finally, he said softly, “Nakula.”
“Nakula?” The voice was astonished. “Not Bhima, your real brother you care about, his strength is equivalent to dozens of elephants? Not Arjuna, the great archer?”
“No,” Yudhishthira replied, his words increasingly solid. “For who protects people is not a weapon, not a force. The main protector is dharma. Nakula I choose because I, the survivor and alive, is the son of Kunti. It is fitting that Madri’s son should also be living like me. That’s fair.”
The word “fair” is like shaking all over the water. Hearing that, the unseen voice seemed to be silent, and soon Shiva appeared in front of Yudhishthira. The god of death lovingly embraced him. Kahyangan was fascinated by the words of Pandu’s eldest son who had just been phrased. Grace was revealed. The four brothers, not only Nakula revived.
Yudhishthira, 13 years ago he was a failed gambler. But in life, when is gambling over? Earlier when he decided to answer the occult voice, he felt himself like a dice thrown and could not determine how he would fall. Each throw is the recognition that life is an accidental accident. Unclear direction. Absurd.
Also on the banks of the river. Yudhishthira does not really know which face of the dice will appear and what caused it. I picked Nakula, but I do not know what will happen next with the rest of my life in this forest. I do not know and I am afraid, but there is something that instantly strengthens itself, the feeling of choosing the just.
Perhaps that is why 13 years ago, he accepted the challenge of the Kauravas to play dice, with a confusing patience attitude. He wants to face a tough and cheating gambler, Shakuni. He was defeated, humiliated, expelled and exiled for 13 years.
He does not count with the calculation of possibilities. There is no strategy to get a dice look that fits with the guess. He just stared at the dark ceiling, feeling that every pitch was never the same, even though many times. Each falling dice is an inconceivable coincidence. Probability theory unduly simplify.
Yudhishthira is brave, but it is not that there is no problem here. His willingness to deprive himself as a subject, and surrender to fate, was unable to make him touch the world outside himself. So his behavior became part of the abominations, he made his property, his kingdom, his brothers, even himself, and finally his wife, so the bets. All fall into the hands of the opponent.
At that time he appeared with a solid askesis. Able to accept the absurdity of life while eliminating itself as a subject that controls things. But in that patience, he was not moved by others, not called to think of others. He chose silence.
Finally, 13 years later he changed. From the scene on the edge of the lake was visible, that day Yudhishthira is no longer a flabby dice in front of Shakuni. Fate and future can not be mastered, but he was not passive. He is not a pile of robots. He chooses with heart, Nakula. He sacrificed his love for Bima and his hope for Arjuna.
That is, it is present in a strong subjectivity. At that time dharma was not the actualization of the “me who is firm”, but loyalty to the word “just”, something that made himself firm in that decisive moment, something that made sense of life infinite. Something magical in the event, he felt hope, love, and willingness, though in anxiety and incompleteness.
Since then, in the Mahabharata. Yudhishthira is an odd knight. He is different, ascends the throne and considers himself a sinner, so many humans are killed so that the Indraprastha Kingdom returns to the Pandhu family. For him, the behavior of the Kshatriya, the warriors, resembles the dog’s fighting over food scraps. He knew the position of power and dharma would always be contradictory. And he must choose, every option will open the following options, and he will not run from that choice, again.
Thus he did not completely obey the rules of the scriptures about a man, varna, and Intermediaries. But as taught by the unseen voice on the banks of the river, one does not become wise just by studying the scriptures alone. He must live and make choices.
Sometimes in life, we make mistakes, we are only able to make sure that we will not repeat them again, without knowing how the results are.
Translate from: LELAKI SUNGAI