In the Mahabharata is the story of King Nahusha who was cursed to live as a python. He could only be freed of his curse if Yudhishthira answered his questions. The Python is a symbol of our unconscious mind and deep animal nature. Yudhishthira answering his questions symbolises how knowledge frees us from the darkness of the unconscious. Let us go through their talk.
Nahusha asked, “Which enemy cannot be defeated and what is an eternal disease?”
Yudhishthira said, “Desire is an enemy which can never be defeated and greed is the eternal disease.” Here Yudhishthira is saying that by working on desire we can be free of its hypnosis, we can make it powerless but we cannot kill it completely. When his daughter leaves home every father will have a hidden desire that she should be safe. The warrior which symbolises desire is Ashwatthama. ‘swa’ means tomorrow and ‘aswa’ means not tomorrow, ‘tha’ means ‘sthayi’ or steady. So the meaning would go as that which was yesterday has changed today but is always. Yesterday’s desire has changed today but desire is always there.
Greed is the hypnosis of being attracted and possessing. Because gravitation is a natural phenomenon in nature, which becomes greed in man, one cannot be free of it totally. Thus one can be aware of its workings but it is the eternal disease.
Nahusha asked, “O King what is temptation, what is self love and what is laziness?”
Yudhishthira replies, “That which takes us away from our Dharma is temptation, if one has put a value or price tag on what they think of themselves which others should honour it is self love, and not performing the actions that lead to Dharma is laziness.”
Dharma is the path that leads to an increase in consciousness and an awakening from the dream of life. So, in any moment, that which leads us into deeper hypnosis is temptation. We all have a picture of ourselves which if someone criticises we feel hurt. This is self love. Laziness is of three kinds: physical of the body, emotional where we do not feel like doing it and intellectual where we keep on giving logical arguments about why we should not perform an action. This is called pramada or the movement of mada or intoxication.