No two people respond to the same situation in a similar way.
Here are examples of two legendary mythological personalities who were faced with a very similar situation, but their responses were diagonally apart. Here is brilliant analysis…
This is a comparative study between the characters Bhishma in the epic Mahabharat, and Jatayu in the epic Ramayana.
Both of them were confronted with their character when they had to handle decisions based on an assault on womanhood. The metaphor comes equally handy in the world of decision making.
One chose to die protecting the victim, while the other chose to be a mute spectator to the crime.
1- POWERFUL or POWERLESS
Bhishma was a powerful warrior and if he wanted, he could have stopped the disrobing of Draupadi – the Queen, but he chose to be a silent witness to this act
whereas Jatayu was old and invalid, and knew that in all probability, Ravana would kill him but still, he chose to try his best to protect Sita – the Queen.
Bhisma was powerful yet acted powerless whereas Jatayu was powerless yet acted powerful. _
“Real power is not about physical strength but about the deep desire to help.”_
2 – ALIVE or DEAD
Bhishma lived on for long, but died everyday to his conscience, whereas Jatayu died once but lived eternally true to his conscience. _
” Our only constant companion is our conscience – better to be true to it.”
3 -FAME or INFAMY
Bhishma’s name and fame drowned in history because of this one act of not stopping the disrobing of Draupadi, but Jatayu’s name and fame went high in history because of his act of trying to save Sita. _
” We are all going to be mere names in history, sooner or later. Will we be equated with the bad or the good – its our choice.”
4 – CULTURE or VULTURE
Bhishma was supposed to be a highly cultured human, but acted highly insensitive & stooped low in values like a vulture
Jatayu was supposed to be a lowly uncultured vulture but acted highly sensitive and soared to the skies in values like an evolved human. Who would you call as a human – Bhishma or Jatayu? _
“One doesn’t become a human being by being born as a human – one becomes a human being by being a human.”_
5 – SPOKEN or UNSPOKEN WORDS
Draupadi begged and pleaded protection from Bhishma because she knew if someone could protect her, it was only him. But still Bhishma didn’t protect her
Sita didn’t even ask Jatayu for protection – she just wanted him to inform Rama about her kidnapping by Ravana, because she knew Jatayu was not powerful but still Jatayu tried to protect Sita.
Bhishma, being a human, couldn’t even understand the spoken words of Draupadi, leave alone understanding her unspoken sentiments, whereas Jatayu, even though he was a mere bird, understood not only the spoken words of Sita but also her unspoken words.
“The language of heart is more powerful than the language of words.”
6 – CLARITY or CONFUSION
Bhishma was so confused and engrossed in his Royal duty that he forgot that he had a higher duty – a moral duty
Jatayu was so clear about his moral duty that no other duty was a consideration for him. _
“When caught up in dilemmas, best is to follow the higher principles – to follow our heart because it always knows the truth.”
7 – GOOD or BAD EXAMPLE
Bhishma set a very bad precedent for generations to come
Jatayu set the most ideal precedent for generations to come. _
“If we can’t be a great example, at least, let us not be a bad one.”_
8 – RELATIVE or STRANGER
Another interesting point is that Bhishma was an elderly relative of Draupadi but acted as a total stranger in this episode
Jatayu was not at all related to Sita, he was a stranger, but acted more than a dearest relative. _
“True relationships are based on connections of the heart, not just bodily connections.”
9 – THE SAINTLY or THE WICKED
Both, Bhishma and Jatayu had a few moments to decide what to do.
Life sometimes puts each of us in situations where, in a few moments, we need to take crucial decisions.
What we decide very much depends on the kind of inner integrity we have cultivated by the association we keep.
Bhishma’s intelligence was clouded and it failed the test of life because he associated with the wicked minded, the selfish Kauravas, whereas Jatayu’s intelligence was crystal clear and it passed the test of life because he associated with the saintly, selfless Lakshman and the All-pure Lord Rama.
_”After all, who we are solely depends on whom we associate with.”_
10 – EMBRACE or NEGLECT
The Supreme Lord as Sri Krishna was not at all happy with this attitude of Bhishma, so much so that when He came as a peace messenger to Hastinapur, He didn’t even bother to look at Bhisma
The Supreme Lord as Ramachandra was so happy with the attitude of Jatayu that he embraced him and personally did his final rites – a honor that even Dasharath – His father did not receive.
The scriptures explain that the ultimate test of any activity is, if the Supreme Lord is pleased with us._ It is very clear, Bhishma displeased God whereas Jatayu pleased Him.
*This recount is not meant to criticize Bhishma – he is undoubtedly a great warrior and an amazing personality who sacrificed his personal desires for Hastinapur,*
We do vehemently criticize his inaction. The moral here is to learn from the choices made so that we are conscious history follows us. _
Many times we take action only when injustice is being done to us, when it is being done to others, we can see and feel it in the face, but still we will keep quiet. All the more, when you see, by speaking up the backlash may impact your interests, you keep quiet, and want to get your work done silently! And the oppressor takes advantage of this attitude of most, who remain silent.
So, there is more harm done by people who remain silent, than one perpetrated by the oppressors!
Your conscience will certainly ask you pointed questions!
*When we see some injustice, some problem, we have only two options – either close your eyes to it or do something about it; follow “the Bhishma way” or “the Jatayu way”* and whichever way we choose – remember there will be consequences of our choices
*~”the Bhisma result” or “the Jatayu result”._*
A very comprehensive comparison between two of the greatest Indian mythological characters.