L’Etat c’est moi ! – I am the State !


Seeds of the French revolution were sowed when Louis XIV of France thought he was the STATE.  Over the generations, French kings became so removed from the common man, that they did not know who or what they ruled.  Whenever there is a huge gulf between ruler and the ruled, revolutions are inevitable.  Even now, we have the rulers of Syria, North Korea, Russia etc who feel they are God's gift to their nation.  Yet, when these arrogant rulers fall, like Gaddafi and Saddam, their own people come to gloat over their carcass.

Similarly, the great Bharata battle was inevitable because of the arrogance of rulers of India at the time who felt “L’Etat c’est moi !”

Likes of Kansa, Jarasandha, Shishupal and Duryodhan felt that could do anything they wanted because they were the state.  They were above the law and indeed, they were the law !  Yet, as they lay dying, no one came to sooth their haughty brows.  Even as they lay dying, most of these men did not realise the folly of their own ways.

Croaking praises of sycophants over inflated the egos of such rulers.  They felt they could do anything they wanted and it would be automatically sanctioned by law.  Deluded by their own propaganda, they believed they were synonymous with the state and its institutions.  Any doubts, any questions, any criticism of them was a direct attack on the state and its institutions and should be treated as high treason. 

Surrounded by coterie of “yes men”, they believed they could do no wrong.  They felt they were the proverbial “son of heaven”.  They justified their transgressions of law, ethics, morality and dharma because they presumed they had the “mandate of heaven” to do as they pleased.  Any misdemeanours by their opponents were seen as lese-majesty at best and blasphemy at worst

In their arrogance, they felt they could set the standards of ethics, morality and even dharma !  Such grandiose ideas made them feel they were so much more important than anyone else around them.  How shocked must they have been to realise that like all dictators and generalissimos throughout history, when they fell, they found that no one even bothered to acknowledge them.  Unlike truly great rulers, their rule and their minimal achievements were soon forgotten. 


Kansa personally killed several children of his cousin sister and sanctioned the death of many more to avoid “death”.  He imprisoned his own father to usurp the throne.  Fed up of his bully boys, Krushna led a popular revolt, killing him and his wrestlers.  However, after Kansa’s death, no one bothered to even house his wives and they were forced to returned their father’s kingdom of Magadh.

Jarasandh, like all megalomaniacs, thought he was always right and he was doing the world a great favour by planning to be its Emperor.  His gory plan to kill 100 kings to celebrate his Imperial glory was abhorrent to any right thinking person.  Uncaring and unfeeling, he couldn’t care less about how others felt.  In his haughtiness, he forgot that he was a mortal and he too could be defeated in a one-to-one duel.

Narakasur was hoping to establish his sway over the earth by forcing kings and kingdoms to marry their daughters to himself.  16,000 virgins were to be sacrificed to this grandiose plans.  Having rescued them, these 16,000 ladies presented another dilemma.  They could not stay here – there was no one to marry them.  Having been “captives” for so long, they could not go back to their parent’s home as society would not accept them.  They would have been unwelcome in any other sphere of society.  Under these circumstances, the ladies only had two options - either commit suicide or adopt the life of vice to survive.  Shri Krushna rescued those maidens by marrying them, thus offering them an honourable position in society.

Shishupal was so blind to his own shortcomings, that he couldn’t see if Rukshmani rejected him publically, why wouldn’t others !  Just being born in a royal family isn’t enough.  You have to have the physical strength and an agile mind to maintain your status as a ruler and a warrior.  Shishupal forgot, you have to give respect to get respect.  Someone who keeps insulting his peers, especially powerful peers, is unlikely to build alliances that will help him in the future. 

Dhrutarastra, though blind and aged beyond the span of most other rulers, clung on to his throne despite loosing all his sons and grandsons to his greed.  So desperate was he to rule, he repeatedly supported surreptitious attempts by his sons to deprive Pandavas of their rights.  Knowing full well that he ruled as a regent for his nephews, Dhrutarastra clung on despite all advise to the contrary.   

Dhrutarastra felt aggrieved that he lost his chance to rule only because of his mother’s fault.  Had she not been so careless, he wouldn’t have been born blind and his “right” to the Kuru throne would be unopposed.  Cynically, he used his son’s wickedness and ambitions to hide his covetous greed. 

Likes of Duryodhan were unable to share god-given-earth with anyone.  Their “attention seeking” behaviour was so extreme, it went beyond being a disorder and bordered on to being deadly disease.  They were so sure of their “divine right to rule” that they disregarded anyone and everyone that disagreed with them.  To the likes of Duryodhan, lives of others mattered not a jot.  To get his own way, he was willing to sacrifice the lives of millions.  Lives of others were of no concern to him.  Even the lives of his own family members mattered less to him than “getting his own way”.  His reckless selfishness wiped out several generations of kshtriyas in the great Bharata war and yet he was still not remorseful !  Indeed, even whist he lay dying, he desired the death of Pandavas and his own nephews !!  Total annihilation of the Kuru clan.  His juvenile attitude can be summed up as – “If I can’t have it, no one can !!”  

Having engineered the terrible war that embroiled warriors from across the subcontinent and beyond, Duryodhan lay dieing, all alone, surrounded by jackals and vultures, waiting to hack him to death.  Sadly, even at the end, Duryodhan could see nothing wrong in what he had done.

Kings like Jayadratha, Karna, Rukmi, Banasur, Narakasur etc were heedless of the misery they caused others by their thoughtless actions.  Even the likes of Drupad and Virat showed how corrupt the institution of monarchy had become during the Mahabharta time.

Shri Krushna caused a nationwide revolution to remove such arrogant haughty rulers from their thrones and established kings and kingdoms who actually cared for the common man..  Getting Yudhisthir to lead such nations as their emperor was the crowning glory of Krushna’s life.  Through Rajasu Yagna and Ashvamedha Yagna, Shri Krushna established Dharma Rajya for all !


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