Chapter 12: Live Now, Pray Later
In Mahabharata, the great Indian war - that is the meaning of mahabharata.. It must have happened somewhere around five to seven thousand years ago, or perhaps ten thousand years. It certainly happened - there is evidence - and it destroyed the whole backbone of the country forever. It was certainly a great world war: almost all the known nations participated in it. It was a family war in a way: cousin-brothers were quarreling over the kingdom. They were brothers, and all their relatives had to divide up: some relatives with one party, some relatives with another party - and they were all related. And they were so important that all other, smaller nations participated in the war, either from this side or from that side.
And it killed millions of people. It seems, by the description in the Mahabharata, that perhaps they had come to know something similar to nuclear weapons, because the destruction was so vast, so immense. By the time the war was over and one party, the Pandavas, had won it, they saw it was worthless to win it, because now, over whom to rule? There were only corpses and more corpses all over the country.
They became so frustrated that they renounced the world and went to the Himalayas. It was not worth this victory. What kind of victory was this? And they had lost all their people. On both sides they were friends, relatives; on their side were their friends, their relatives, and the other party’s friends and relatives too. And they had destroyed them all. Yes, they were victorious, but over whom? Over these corpses. That’s what will happen if there is a third world war. The one who wins will weep and cry. The one who dies and is finished, has lost the war, may be in a better position. At least he has not to see the ugliness of victory. You are victorious, but there is nobody even to applaud your victory.
And then the Pandavas realized, “It was absolutely worthless. We should not have fought, we should have given the kingdom to the other party; at least people would have lived. And now we are going to the Himalayas. We could have gone before; now we are going in utter frustration, in deep despair and anguish. Then we would have gone rejoicing.”
But it is not true that there was no violence, that there was no war, that there was no stealing. It is not true. But Hindus look at sat yuga as the golden age. And then began the fall. Treta yuga has only three legs. The sat yuga had four, like a table with four legs. Now it is a tripod with three legs, not so balanced. It can topple over very easily, it is crippled. One essential part of humanity is lost.
If you want to understand it psychologically, the Hindu psychology explains it. In the sat yuga there was the collective unconscious mind, the subconscious mind, the conscious mind and the superconscious mind, and the superconscious mind was in power. All the three lower minds followed it. These are the four legs.
In treta yuga - treta means three, the third; the English word third comes from the same root as treta, three, that has become three - the superconscious disappeared, the best part in man. Now there was conscious, subconscious, unconscious. Still, things were good.not that good. Before that time they were just divine; now they were human, but good, tolerably good. But a few things started happening which were not good.