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How many transgressions are too many to forgive?

Updated: May 1

Blog #36

#wegohigh #passive #ahimsa #diplomacy #force #trigger #war

Questions for the reader

  • We all like the quote- "When they go low, we go high" but is it practical to assume that will always be the case?

  • When and how should we determine enough is enough?

  • Is there a bright red line that we should not let anyone cross?

  • What is the best non-violent recourse to stop a bully from his bullying?

  • While we don't ever seek violence or war, what triggers should we watch for before we make the hard choice to act decisively?

  • How should we secure support from other stakeholders to an unambiguous clarity that once the bright red line is crossed, we will be forced into hard action?

  • How to ensure that the it is neither too early or too late?

The Mahabharata Context:

Prince Sishupala was born deformed at birth with four arms and three eyes. The child regained a normal look once Lord Krishna placed it in his lap. A voice from the heavens announced that this child would be super powerful, handsome and an unbeatable warrior whose death could only happen at the hands of Lord Krishna . Upon hearing the mother's ardent pleas, Lord Krishna promised her that he would generously pardon 100 abuses and crimes from Prince Sishupala before he would take his life. Everyone assumed the child would now live a normal life.

Prince Shishupala grew up to be a fierce powerful ruler of the nation of Chedi and was a formidable warrior. Upon learning that Lord Krishna had killed his friend King Kamsa, Pri

nce Sishupala publicly became an adversary of Lord Krishna. When Krishna eloped with someone he desired, Princess Rukmini, Sishupala now was livid with rage. Sishupala befriended the mighty Emperor, Jarasandha to mount an attack on Krishna's kingdom, Dwaraka. Sishupala even defeated Prince Balarama himself and the formidable Narayani sena that was under the command of Lord Krishna himself.

When the Kurukshetra war became inevitable, Lord Krishna knew that his role would be that of an unarmed advisor now. At the court of King Dhritarashtra, when Prince Sishupala piled on insult upon insult on him, Lord Krishna kept a quiet count of the transgressions. The whole court watched in shock as Lord

Krishna finally counted the hundredth transgression. Prince Sishupala brazenly unleashed a 101st insult daring Lord Krishna to do something. Finally, in front of all the mighty warriors from both sides, Lord Krishna unleashed his discus- the peerless, omnipotent Sudarshana Chakra. The discus completed its act of final warning of the impending war to all present, decapitating the foul mouthed Prince Sishupala in front of the entire court. This demonstration left a strong message, stop now or the consequences of making the decision to start the war was now in the hands of the warring siblings.

Our null hypothesis for the use of the 100 transgressions

The core attribute of the 100 transgressions is that it conveys a transparent, public and consistent message to all parties. There will be use of deadly force not before, but only after the countdown is complete.Those hoping for peace worriedly counted down fervently hoping the count never reaches 100. It gives clear incentives to both sides that they should stop the transgressions and avoid the use of the unstoppable force. The burden of the decision is clearly on the transgressor after the metric is breached. So often, bullies need a clear metric to let them know we have a limit.

Relevance in today's world:

The countries that possess nuclear weapons fully understand the grave consequences of owning them. There seems to be an unspoken compact among the nuclear nations that exists. Don't be the first one to use the terrible weapon, please. We have not used them to hurt any human now for over 78 years now. The first and only time was in 1945 to bring WWII to a quick end.

We know that multiple nations possess these weapons and sometimes test each other's wit and strategic patience. We sincerely hope that they never run out of the wisdom and the patience needed so peace prevails.

Lessons learned:

  • A hundred transgressions are probably way too many. Most of us don't get so many chances

  • Not all lines are that clearly laid out in reality

  • One should be more self-aware and humble enough to know that repeated acts of brazen provocation will inevitably lead to bad consequences

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