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Shakuni

Watch out! Revenge has a great sense of timing

He is the prince of Gandhar kingdom and brother of Gandhari. He didn’t like the idea of his sister’s marriage with blind Dhritrashtra on the insistence of Bheeshma. Earlier, too he had had a bitter experience with the Kauravas. They had not only defeated the Gandhars but also humiliated them by arresting him and his 99 brothers and serving each one rice grain every day. The brothers sacrificed their life and gave all the rice to Shakuni so that he could stay alive and take revenge from the Kauravas. Shakuni decided to go along with his sister Gandhari to Hastinapur in order to translate his  revenge dream into action. His main targets were Bheeshma and 100 Kaurava brothers. He was an expert gambler and sorcerer and hatched a silent plan to provoke the Pandavas against the Kauravas for the latter's annihilation. However, he himself  posed as a loyal adviser to the Kauravas. He  succeeded in his plan and the Mahabharata battle happened. He was killed by Sahadeva on the 18th day of the battle. Shakuni dies but he wins the battle of revenge.

 Real import

This is history. The Sanskrit word Shakuni means the hawk. Another shade of the word is “the one who knows the right time” to execute a plan. Shakun means “opportune time” and Shakuni, therefore, means the master of using or telling the right time for an action. However, the skill could be used both ways—one like a guide and the other like a revengeful opportunist. In fact, both the meanings connote the same sense—a hawk knows when to strike and kill its prey, like a time teller, who knows what is the perfect time to get the desired result.
The maternal uncle of Duryodhan in the Mahabharata represents a villainous opportunist. He scripts the entire Mahabharata war plot to take revenge from the Kauravas, especially  Bheeshma, who had prevailed on Subala (Shakuni’s father ) to get Shakuni’s  sister Gandhari married to blind Dhritrashtra. Earlier, the Kauravas had decimated the Gandhar kings and had become the cause of immense humiliation and with the killing of Shakuni’s 99 brothers. Therefore, Shakuni, who is also a great gambler and expert sorcerer, proves to be an inescapable instigator, provocateur and motivator backstage.

Hawk of ‘revenge’

He was intelligent as he knew full well that he would be able to avenge the death of his 99 brothers by pitching 99 brothers of Duryodhan against the invincible Pandavas.  He uses his sorcery, gambling and time skills to drag even Yudhisthir (a keen knower of subtle principles of cause and effect) into gambling and deprive him of everything. Shakuni knew unless he provoked the Pandavas, the 100 Kauravas wouldn’t be killed and his objective would remain unfulfilled.
Shakuni has two sons Ulukah and Vrikkasurah. They respectively represent focused wakefulness and constant hunger.  A hawk has a keen sight who can see even from an Everest peak an ant crawl on the earth.
So, what does Shakuni represent in our body-mind system? He represents a focused faculty of revenge. Revenge always has a keen sense of timing to attack the prey. It never chooses the direct way. That is the reason why Shakuni can’t walk straight due to his self-inflicted knee injury—he always walks diagonal keeping his injured leg first to evoke sympathy and hide his real walk behind it. His other leg always moves 90 degrees to his projected direction of his movement. Therefore, what he projects is not what he intends to do.  Revenge also takes an indirect route. It is revenge which forces man to resort to black magic and evil means to settle scores. This is what Shakuni  is—-he is an expert sorcerer and gambler. Revenge has two offsprings—wakefulness and hunger —which helps it keep moving towards its prey. Because, without hunger, the hawk doesn’t prey. When there is hunger, revenge remains wakeful and slowly inches towards the target.

Sahadeva vs Shakuni

Dry reason (Gandhari) is the sister of revenge and Duryodhan (lust-anger) his main weapon. Humiliating righteous consciousness his main strategy to see Bheeshma (ego) on the bed of arrows. Shakuni is killed by Sahadeva-- who is also a master astrologer--on the 18th day of the battle. Revenge always looks for your weak moments and Sahadeva always helps you sail through those moments by making you hop to the favourable time frame. Therefore, both are users of time skills. Shakuni uses his time assessment negatively and Sahadeva positively. The only difference between the two is that Shakuni, like a hawk, always has an eagle eye view of things on the earth and Sahadeva knows how geometric time coordinates on the ground can mislead  Shakuni’s vision and drag him into a killing trap--much like a bird is caught by laying a network of trap on the ground. Here, Sahadeva weaves a net of favourable time which draws Shakuni in and makes him fall in the death trap.  Remember! Like Shakuni, revenge always poses as a loyal guide to its real enemy. Shakuni remained with the Kauravas and got all the 100 Kauravas and Bheeshma killed. Revenge cuts both ways, but serves its own purpose.


Takeaway: Revenge can only be defeated by your right assessment and acting accordingly. Either you develop the power of right assessment in you or go to the one who already has this. You definitely require a help to neutralise revenge.


Next: Who is Dhristadyumna?

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