Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Connecting the dots

You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards
In the grand scheme of things, man, perhaps an insignificant speck of the universe, crusades with the force of a lone ranger against the travesties of fate, the constrained contours of his world and mind. If life were a game of chess, man oblivious to the greater designs in store, plans his course of action till the last move. However, in retrospect he often realizes that the Invisible Hand guided his soul in his stratagem. Countless experiences and remarkable reminiscences bequeath humans with poignant embrace of self-reflection and even an entropic evolution. With this background, we begin the narrative of the trilogy of a pauper-prince- priest. 

From the forsaken lands, in a deep veil of consummate innocence, a young cowherd boy was tending his cattle in the lush green outfields of the northern turfs, oblivious to the fractious contentions over lust for power, wealth and material riches that threatened the fragile peace of his nation. It was a time when bloodshed was pervasive in the royal families given the greed for command and it had further divided the states, making the nation intricately vulnerable to foreign invasions. A time had come when someone had to take an oath of unswerving loyalty to the people, and expunge the State from individuals in the higher echelons of authority who had become hostages to avarice. A learned brahmin priest, better known by the name of Kautilya took an oath upon himself to restore Akhanda Bharat. Perhaps, his oath was based upon the depth of his conditioned knowledge for the betterment of entire populace, and it was just too intense to be rather dismissed on feeble grounds of seeking singular vengeance against the Nanda dynasty. As fate would have it, an insignificant actor in the annals of history - the young cowherd, was the chosen savior of Magadh by Kautila. Kautilya adopted him like his own son, trained him in scriptures, war-craft and the essence of philosophy.

Unaware of his future prospects, the young boy was made to work through an arduous schedule. Never before in his life had he, known the alphabets of Pali or felt the grip of the hilt or learned the philosophy of mankind or seen a life beyond cattle and livestock. Food imbibed with small doses of poison was served to Chandragupta without his knowledge to make him immune to any similar effort at regicide. A serene and blissful life of a cowherd, deeply unconnected to the gross manifestations of politics and ascendancy was the sole repertoire of the innocent cowherd. Yet, he had to summon his will and courage to undergo the teachings of his master, leaving behind elements of his self-defined future. 

Shortly after completing his training, Chandragupta witnessed the legendary prowess of the mighty Macedonian army of Alexander the Great.  On the advice of Kautilya, he had to serve the Macedonian army to learn the ways of strategically superior battle units and along with it, he had to fine tune his own proficiency as a warrior. Consequently, he had to raise an army which was composed of both light and efficient battle units to fight in all kinds of terrain. During this period he had some level of ambiguity in the both the effectiveness and the consequentiality of his preparation.

After a period of intense conquests, Chandragupta stopped his expansion and focused on consolidation and development of his empire. He had made his empire huge and given it a great system of governance; now that he had all the land he wanted he settled down to focus on these domestic matters. Later during his reign Chandragupta came across a Jain sage named Bhadrabahu and converted to Jainism, renouncing his throne in favour of his son Bindusara.

Now the pauper-prince-priest trilogy resurfaces. In this brief narrative, Chandragupta as a boy was unaware of what future held for him while undergoing severities under the tutelage of Kautilya. Even as a pauper he had to let go of certainty to trade with a much austere and grueling phase. Only when he was fighting the battles, he was able to realize the hardships of training as a warrior and serving in the Macedonian army. The Macedonian experience fortified his battle-unit strategies for winning the internal wars with a light yet strong army. When he became the King, in his princely life he appreciated the value of the education he had received, which was apparently impractical for a warrior. Kautilya had foreseen that but for Chandragupta it was more like connecting the dots. Finally when in the quest for higher knowledge, he renounced the princely life for a simple yet intense priestly life, he appreciated the value of scriptures and the teachings of spiritual stalwarts. 

1 comment:

  1. Chee gratefully relishes your acknowledgement, Cho!