The Great Gamble

What would have been the turn of events in the Mahabharatha if Yudhisthira had not been an addict to gambling? What if Duryodhana was not adept at it or if Sakuni did not ever think of the game of dice that will result in the humiliation of Pandavas and their beloved wife?  Would the war had been averted? Is not the game of dice as relevant to the Mahabharatha as its character and their various actions? Why did sage Vyasa choose gambling as the vehicle of destruction to hurtle down the Kauravas into their inevitable end by provoking the powerful Pandavas?

Ha! questions which have been asked many times before and to which we can have no answer, just like the grand game of life where the dice is thrown not exactly to our likes or expectations,keeping us in a state of suspended disbelief, crying incredulously, ‘goodness, why and how on earth did this happen to me? Me of all people?!!!

When the proud Duryodhana incited by his uncle Sakuni decided to invite the Pandavas for the game of dice, Vidura,the wise advised King Dritharashtra to not allow the Kauravas to proceed with the plan. He warned the King of dire consequences resulting in a great calamity if he were to allow his beloved son, Duryodhana to invite the Pandavas for gambling and then cheat them into losing it. Dritharashtra it is said, was so blinded by his love for his fierce and arrogant son that he did not have the heart to  stop Duryodhana from going ahead his plan. Dritharashtra’s gamble of pushing his love for his sons too far did in fact result in the war which  led to massive annihilation.

Did not Kunti, mother to Pandavas, gamble the boon she received of the sage Durvasa, the one most difficult to please, by trying it out even as a young girl? Did she not then have to face the consequence of watching her younger sons kill her first born?

What did Karna gamble when he decided to go to Sage Parasurama in the guise of a brahmana knowing fully well of Parasurama’s oath to wipe out the Kshatriyas? Could he not have pretended  to be a brahamana,unused to the rigours of war and pain and cried out when he was stung by the bee, causing him to bleed, when Sage Parasurama, his beloved guru was lying on his lap thus hiding his true identity? Perhaps he would then not have invoked the anger and the subsequent curse of the sage which caused him to forget what he learned with much difficulty at the time of utmost need.

What was Gandhari’s gamble in choosing a life of blind-folded-ness to share the destiny of her husband, Dritharashtra?

What was Krishna’s gamble in choosing to play part hero, part villain, part human, part divine in the grand scheme of things? For has he not invited much criticism for allowing what happened to happen, even when he had the power to stall it all?

The Mahabharatha is, indeed, replete with instances of gamble, for the sake of wealth, power or love. So isn’t it with our lives?

Does the soldier not gamble his own life for the sake of his country, the politician his reputation for power and the student his duty for sake of pleasure and free will? Does not a woman sacrifice herself at the altar of family and honor and a man his freedom for the sake of family?

Aren’t we gamblers all, one way or the other, life itself being a great game of dice, with or without the evil mechanisms of Sakuni?