In the last two pieces I have discussed how relevant is the advise of Chanakya given 2500 years ago both for parents and children of today. This mega mind also exhorted the Indian society to shed its hypocrisy as it makes India weak, inefficient and non credible.
He says that a physically weak person develops a friendly nature. That is when you are physically weak you pose to be friendly because that is the only behavioral option you have. You can’t be aggressive when you are physically weak. You have to be friendly. So your friendliness is not worth much. It is coming from your helplessness and not from your evolution.
In the same vein, he says that a poor person may hail himself as Spartan. Because one is poor he can’t afford a luxurious lifestyle so he makes a greatness about Spartan-hood.
Further Chanakya goes on to say that a sick man becomes a devotee of God. When one is sicke he goes to the doctor. If the sickness is severe he also goes to the temple. That is because he really starts feeling helpless and vulnerable. Often the greatest realizations don’t happen in the monasteries- they happen in the hospital. Usually a man who is admitted to a hospital starts looking at life in a completely different way. He becomes mellower. The first visit to a hospital when one is admitted for a serious problem will change him in more ways than a spiritual guru can. So he says that a sick man becomes a devotee of God. It is quite natural. It is not any great spiritual leanings which are making him a devotee. It is the problem which has come to his door which he wants to take now to the divine which is making him become a devotee of God.
I am also reminded of an instance in Ramakrishna Paramhansa’s life. He used to tell a devotee of Kali, who came to him regularly, to give up non-vegetarian food. But this devotee never listened. Till one day the devotee came and said, “Sir, I have become a vegetarian. I have given up non-vegetarian food.” Ramakrishna Paramhansa was very happy and said, “I am glad you listened to me.” The devotee said, “No Sir, my teeth have fallen”. Transformation in this man had not come because of any intrinsic change, it came because he no longer had the teeth to chew non-vegetarian food.
There is another anecdote I remember. It is about two friends. One of the friends had borrowed one thousand Rupees from the other. The borrower had not returned the money for many years. The borrower was also known to usually not return the money he borrowed. One day they were passing through a jungle and they saw a gang of dacoits approaching them menacingly. They knew that they will definitely be robbed. Suddenly this friend, who had borrowed one thousand Rupees, took out a thousand Rupees from his wallet and gave it to his friend saying, “Here is the money I owe you. I don’t want to be in your debt”. Why?
Because he knew then whatever money his friend and he had will be robbed very soon. These are examples of sham, of hypocrisy. These things are only for show. Chanakya is not for show. Chanakya is for blow. He does not believe in show and so he enumerates, explains and attacks the many hypocrisies of the Indian society. As we progress as a nation it is time for us to examine ourselves threadbare as he did, stop being phonies. This will make us efficient, strong and trustworthy.