Garuda asks his father Kashyapa what food he can eat so that he may feel satiated. The father points out to a sacred lake, where an elephant is constantly tugging at a tortoise. The two animals were brothers Vibhavasu and Supratika in their previous birth, who were sages.
The brothers had a joint property and Supratika was not for maintaining that with his brother. So he constantly sought partition. Rishi Vibhavasu tried advising his brother about the evils of partition, how it could bring disaster in the family and how they would cease to have reverence for the divine books of knowledge and what was said in them, and even the guru who expounded the sacred scriptures. He cursed Supratika to become an elephant and Supratika in turn cursed Vibhavasu to turn into a tortoise.
Kashyapa narrates to his son about the foolish animals that are so gigantic. The elephant is 96 miles in circumference and 48 miles tall. The tortoise is 24 miles tall and 80 miles wide. The gigantic proportions are described to show how evil qualities assume hopelessly big forms and despite that the content of their personality is nothing but hatred. In the same way, if we entertain hatred in our life, it will continue even when we take other life forms. We will be fighting with each other, making a nuisance of ourselves for others.
Even modern-day science of hypnotherapy and past-life regression reiterates how hatred follows us lifetime after lifetime. Thousands of patients, who have been regressed, have come forward with amazing tales about their past lives. The conclusion by these past-life regression therapists is that in one lifetime, a person of one religion may be fighting with another person of another religion. At the end of their life time both die. However, since the person of religion A has all this time been focusing his hatred on the person with religion B, he is born in religion B and vice-versa. Once born in the other religion, their past life memory is erased.
However, the hatred they expressed still remains in their psyche and they continue to train that hatred towards each other in this lifetime too, little knowing that they have lived in that religion which they are now fighting. The word religion can be substituted with any object of fight—nationality, caste, creed, community, race etc.
The fate of these angry fighters is highlighted in what Kasyapa tells Garuda. “Eat them up and your hunger will be satiated. You will have the strength to proceed on your work of gathering the nectar to free your mother Vinata,” he blesses. The people who fight perish killing each other. The Mahabharata never misses any opportunity to highlight the need for forbearance and compassion.
The author is Sevak, Chinmaya Mission, Tiruchi; email@example.com; www.chinmayamission.com