Recognising Mistakes

There are many times when we are able to recognise our mistakes. The natural course of events that follow such a realisation should be one of apology and redress.

If the situation is irremediable, about of repentance or reparation will prove to be the apt attitude. Such a response will make our conscience feel lighter, help us to overcome our guilt, fill us with courage and confidence, besides giving us a moral boost.

Most of us do not mind apologising when we err inadvertently. Yet the word “sorry” weighs down our tongues and heart heavily when the degree of our blunder is at the higher end of the scale.

Often our ego and pride prevent us from doing the square thing, especially where our dear and near ones are concerned.

Sometimes doubt and fear prevent us from admitting our faults because we are unsure how the other person may react to our admission.

It is at such times we must learn to gracefully acknowledge our faux pas and set it right impervious of the consequences.

An episode in the Mahabharata elucidates the importance of this quality. Duryodhana harboured a deep-seated hatred for the Pandavas and never lost an opportunity to see them killed, or at least exiled forever.  Once he went with his entourage to the forest where his cousins lived in exile to gloat over their misery. During this period, Duryodhana encroached upon the privacy of Chitrasena, the Gandharva and his companions. The latter used his magical powers and captured the Kuru prince.

Since the Kauravas and Karna were in an inebriated condition, they could not face their enemy effectively. The Pandavas, who were in the vicinity, learnt of their rival’s plight. Yudhishtira convinced the reluctant Arjuna and Bheema to free Duryodhana unconditionally.

This act filled the Kuru prince with a sense of shame and incompetence. He was overwhelmed and angered by the greatness of his cousins who saved him, though he had never spared a good thought for them.

He contemplated on suicide to hide his humiliation. The Great War could have been averted if he had been repentant. Instead, his best friend Karna and his brother Dushasana coaxed him out of his spell of disgrace and instigated more hatred for his foes.

If Duryodhana had been left alone, it is quite possible that he might have felt repentant, and hence liberated. But his well-wishers steered him back to the path of evil because he had not learnt the art of coping with his ego!

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