At the Fork

The legend says that when Gandhi was slapped by a man, Gandhi turned and showed his other cheek and asked the man to slap him again. 

In ‘bhagavaDgIta’, Krishna asks us to pluck a thorn using another thorn. 

What do I choose ?

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32 Comments on “At the Fork”

  1. Veena Shivanna Says:

    Interesting way of retrospecting.. Gandhigiri is in Air in India after the movie Lage raho munna bhai.. I would say neither choose gandhi way nor the ghodse way! Choose the Ravi Beleger way!… Take his slap as a lesson & grow. I like Gandhigiri much (only with the close one).. that is the best of making the other person realise his mistake. It needs lot of patience & time.., it works. Atleast its 100% that it won’t break the relationship. The results are more permanant though not very quick.. My 2 paise DS.

  2. Srik Says:

    It depends on who’s slapping you.
    If at all you think he can be rehabilitated, then we must follow and try Gandhigiri on that person. Because, Gandhigiri works most of the times when the opposition is made aware of your intensions.

    Or else we always have Laloogiri or whatever as the last resort….

    U know, even Krishna went as a negotiator before waging the war. One can not decide whether the other is an ADHARMI, ‘coz DHARMA is very abstract.

  3. Srik Says:

    P.S. It was my 2 paise.

  4. vin Says:

    In today’s world more of Krishna’s philosphy will work…
    Again, I guess it depends… we might have to gauge the person n situation before we opt

  5. Veena Shivanna Says:

    DS, Now that people have started relating the puRaaNa .. I would like to comment. Should we really get biased with the ideas behind the personalities or just the ideas. Srik said it Dharma is abstract.
    Recently we were discussing on to who can be called as a real hero in great epics. people had different opinion on their thoughts. Krishna is always referred as kaLLa krishna in many instances. I am sure that you would know lot of stories where krishna himself takes advantages of situation & tried the adharma way! Its justifiing the adharma with some reasoning!.
    Rama is called maryaada purushotamma, I dislike his very quality of sending his wife to jungle because of some person saying some junk against him/his wife. I would say Rama should have thought a little & decided, I know he wants to be so selfless king & wanted to look through his praja’s hitaa sakti at what cost ? When we marry , we say Dharmaichcha, Arthechcha, kaamechcha.. it means a lot.. It should be followed at all times at all cost, not just at ‘few’ times with some conditions(only- if).
    My 4 paise!!

  6. rk Says:

    “If any one strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.” Gandhi built a massive political movement on the ability of ordinary persons to respond to violence in a nonviolent manner; so did Martin Luther King, Jr. If civil rights activists could march from Selma to Montgomery under the threat of dogs and cattle prods and water hoses, cannot you and I take a slap in the face without slapping back?

    Remember: The Mahatma never showed “the other cheek” in meek submission to injustice, but only as a challenge to militarist might.

    According to the Vedanta, if a thorn gets stuck to the leg, it is carefully removed with the help of another thorn. But after the work is over, both the thorns are thrown away and one becomes happy. Even so, the evil qualities and ignorance born of Avidya should be removed by virtuous qualities and knowledge and after attaining Peace, one has to discard them both and transcend all differences.

    All of us have the same three instruments, but we hardly make good use of them. We are all blessed with a beautiful body, a potent mind, and a piercing intellect, but they need to be tuned.Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa would say, “To remove a thorn, use another thorn, and when the work is done, throw away both the thorns.” So we first use the three yogas as the means to tune our instruments, and then we eventually renounce both—the instruments and the methodologies—for the goal of the Self.

    Book knowledge, superficial knowledge, general knowledge, discriminative knowledge, experience knowledge, practical knowledge – all these pertain to inert matter and mundane things and have an individual bias. All these kinds of knowledge will not help in understanding the Self. You need a diamond to cut another diamond. You need a thorn to remove another thorn that has pierced your foot. To experience the Self (Atma), you require only Self-knowledge, Atma jnana. Today what we regard as knowledge (jnana) in this physical world is nothing but ignorance (ajnana.) Self-knowledge alone is true knowledge. In fact, whether you call it Atma (Self) or jnana (knowledge), they are both one and the same. True awareness is jnana. Jnana, jneyam, and jnanam (the knowing, the known and the knower) predicate,object, and subject respectively—such triads are not applicable to this Atma jnana or Self-knowledge.

  7. Veena Shivanna Says:

    Bellur, write this as a post in your blog! Admiring!! I can’t say much now.. Truely!
    I am waiting DS to comment. DS, what made you to write this post ? I am not curious.. I was reading Srik’s blog & I remember you asking this Q to him 🙂

  8. Ashish Says:

    I can’t help but recall a dialogue from another movie, translating it into English – First talk, then discuss further, and then if not solved, then resort to action.
    This is what Lord Krishna did – first try everything to negotiate, give a person chance (and enough rope to hang himself), and then do the punishing.
    Gandhiri is an extreme version of this where the theme is to let the punishment come from the person’s own conscious, where his sense of morals wake up and prevent him from doing further bad.

  9. decemberstud Says:

    Thanks everyone for the wonderful comments. Don’t read too much between the lines, it was just another post 😉

    @ Veena : Yes, Gandhigiri requires a lot of patience and I do have tons of patience. And, to answer your question on biases, no, we should never be biased due to personalitites. it’s just the ideas which matter. As for why I wrote this post, I am being repeatedly slapped by the same eprson, for ABSOLUTELY no fault of mine. It’s just a matter of time before slapping turns into kicking and I am made a football. I am tired of Gandhigiri.

    @ Srik : I do agree that it depends on who the person is. There is another variable, though. How many times do we go behind Gandhigiri ? When is the time to say enough is enough. You definitely need to take that into consideration. Dharma is not all that abstract when it comes to a clear case of black or white.

    @ vin : First, thanks for visiting my blog. I agree with you, but then I guess we ought to give Gandhigiri a fair chance before going the Krishna way.

    @ RK : Wow, point blank truth, huh ? Gandhigiri works well at the people level, how well does it work at the personal level ? A group problem is so much different than an individual problem. Takiong the “slapping” literally, it’s no big deal to get slapped on the other cheek as well. But, when ‘slapping’ is not just that, but something much more, Gandhigiri is insufficient. I am a mere mortal. So, is the other person. But when the other person’s sole aim in life is to bring me down, I term the other person as ‘downrigth evil’, not just uneducated. I totally agree with Sri. paramahamsa, but when you know that the ‘evil’ person comes from the Paramahamsa school of thought, how do you reason ? For a long time, I believed that evil human beings were a movie director’s figment of imagination. Now, I know.

    @ Ashish : Spot on. I guess you are so right. Everyone needs a second chance, a third chance, a fourth chance, a chance until frustration creeps in.

  10. @ Rk – Amazing point of view. Thanks for sharing!

    @ DS

    Interesting question to ponder on. I don’t really have a definitive answer. RK raised a very valid point though when he said –

    “Remember: : The Mahatma never showed “the other cheek” in meek submission to injustice, but only as a challenge to militarist might.”

    Thanks for giving me some food for thought. Keep writing and raising such questions which helps in Atma-Gyan as RK put it. I agree, that is the best form of knowledge along with knowledge through experience.

  11. Veena Shivanna Says:

    Interesting DS! I am really surprised. I think everyone goes over this quite often. I remember that 5 lessons to be learnt from pencil then(do let me know if you are not able to relate to this one)..
    I think you are failing to see from other’s perspective, there is always a last chance & we need to give this to that person beleive me.. Offlate I was talking to my frustrated friend, & she told me that she wants to run away from the project or Company for some small thing(this is relative again).. I just asked a Q, how many times in life do you get to run away from relationships. today we have option to change companies but we don’t have luxuries to run away from all the relationships we have alva ?
    One good line which helps me many times, this is for you DS
    Whenever you are criticised remember this….No stones are thrown at a fruitless tree…….

    This is affect of Lage Raho Munna bhai, I watched this yesterday night from 11pm to lateeeeeeeee at night.. This was like a stress buster to me 🙂

    I am hoping to see you speaking Gandhi’s language, DS.! Management lessons can be tried always! Pls Take Care, & say HI to your lady! Go Chill Out, its thanks giving man… !.

  12. Srik Says:

    😀 DS, I think you need some more lessons of Gandhigiri(How to correctly use it to a context) to handle that ‘same person’ and escape becoming a foot ball 😀 RK can well take up the responsibility of giving out those lessons…

    Have patience and Gandhigiri wont let you down.

  13. decemberstud Says:

    @ OI : Sure buddy, I would love to post more blogs with such questions to make you think….as long as I don’t have to answer any of those questions 😉 I really liked Ashish’s English translation of a dialogue from a movie. I think that is the middle ground.

    @ Veena : I know one thing for sure….I have NOT failed to see the other person’s perspective. I have come to the conclusion that the other person is purely evil, and that person’s sole aim in life is to bring me down to streets.

    @ Srik : Thanks guru but patience is wearing out fast. If I don’t handle it the Krishna way, I will never have a chance to handle it in ANY way ;(

  14. decemberstud Says:

    oh and Veena “No stones are thrown at a fruitless tree”…that’s a gem..thanks !

  15. mouna Says:

    u know what? try to harm the ‘person’ by screwing him as much as possible silently, u know to satisfy the mind, on the outside, try to act the ‘gandhi’ way!! 🙂 🙂

    that’s what we always do!!

  16. Veena Shivanna Says:

    ayyo! devare! It sounds very cruel Mouna…!!!!! :D)

  17. bachodi Says:

    Ahimsa paramo dharmah,
    but ..
    dharma HIMSA thathaiva cha ….

  18. some body Says:


    just trying to see if we know each other from a long ago era! do you have all of the following interests:

    – cricket
    – indian music
    – urdu shaayari
    – long distance running

    – s.b.

    p.s.: if yes, i will comment on your other blog :-).

  19. decemberstud Says:

    @ Mouna: LOL…bad girl…..don’t try doing that to anyone 😉

    @ Veena: I bet Mouna was just joking….

    @ Bachodi: Very true my friend, I guess that’s what this is all about . You are so right.

    @ SB: Now now, this is a very interesting comment. I do have a lot of interest in a breadth of things and fortunately or unfortunately, it does cover your list 😉 But, I am almost certain that you don’t know me, unless it is truly “long ago era”. I base it off of two reasons – One, I don’t think I know anyone who stays in “where you stay right now”. and two, if at all you knew me really well and wanted to choose the top four of my list, you would probably have listed cricket, indian music, literature and current affairs. I would still love to hear from you. So, how about commenting on this blog. Since I am pretty sure you don’t know me, you cannot find my other blog 😉 And, thanks for visiting !!!

  20. mouna Says:

    jokes apart, gandhigiri yes, upto some time, if nothing results out of it, then the krishna way, how long can we wait and see the harm done unto us.

    the logic of munnabhai, offer the other cheek if one has recieved a slap on one, if both have recieved it’s due, go the krishna way!! it’s basic instinct!

  21. some body Says:

    when i said i might know you, i meant ‘virtually’ of course. and you should have no clue i am where i am! having said that, if you are a.s., then you should also have seen me on your other blog too. but if you are not, well … ok, now we know each other, virtually, of course!

    i did not say top four, but that fourth one that i listed was a definite outlier to all of the things you have mentioned in this blog, so there!!

    – s.b.

    p.s.: if you think i am right and if it has ‘exposed’ you, feel free to delete this comment.

  22. what is that Bachodi said ? I didn’t understand the whole thing completely. I know its something to say about Dharma & Adharma… Translation pls… I had my first language in my 8th as kannada. I have never studies Sanskrit..

  23. bachodi Says:

    to Veena,
    Non-violence is ultimate duty/religion/Dharma …
    at times Violence too..

  24. Veena Shivanna Says:

    Example pls? How can a violence be a duty ? who says this one?

  25. some body Says:

    sri krishna does …

    having said that, as the original post implied, we cannot take everything in the gita (or any other holy book for that matter) at its literal meaning, else we would all be sinners now, wouldn’t we? …

    – s.b.

    d.s., there is an english proverb for the thorn plucking situation, which you doubtless know … ‘set a thief to catch a thief’

  26. decemberstud Says:

    @ Mouna : Bull’s eye. Yep, that is probably what most normal human beings resort to.

    @ SB : I am convinced, I am your latest friend on the net, and I wouldn’t have deleted the comment even if that was not true. Welcome to my blog !!! I have admired several of your comments in other blogs and am truly happy to see you here. On that note, I ahve to tell you that I am a big fan of Krishna, as you will soon see in my next post. True, the Krishna philosophy runs from India to Englad…so this is a very human attitude.

    @ Veena : SB has pretty much answered your question, I will leave it to Bachodi to add anything more.

    @ Bachodi : Yep, and the order in which things are executed differentiates a good human being from the bad.

  27. @ SB:

    Is there any doubt regarding all of us being sinners? I would be surprised if you say we are not or even that there is some doubt. We should take everything said in the holy books literally, its another matter though that we can’t apply everything in “today’s day and age”.

  28. […] A fellow blogger; DS, raised an interesting point which lead to this post. […]

  29. Ashish Says:

    I am pretty sure that no holy book (atleast the Gita) will claim that it is the only word to follow.
    It is a set of guiding principles to govern the human conscience, and as such, be the path that your actions are based on.

  30. decemberstud Says:

    @ Ashish : Absolutely, it will be foolish for us to ‘go by the book’ without intervention from our mind. You are perfectly right, these are all the guiding principles and they help us to choose the path. Ultimately, the destiny, to a large extent, is in our own hands.

  31. At times.. provided.. given a chance… if at all if…
    I somehow don’t like these.. Lets learn to live without thinking in these line! 🙂

  32. decemberstud Says:

    Sure…..just some things to ponder on, though. But, the ultimate decision is when you actually need to make a decision. Until then, it’s all just on paper….

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