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The Meaning of Sisupala

All students of spirituality spend years observing their psychic structure. One of our inner traits is that we all have a spoilt child within us. This is our inner Sisupala who has to be killed.

‘Sisu’ means a child and ‘pala’ is to look after - to look after this inner immature child. A child plays with his toys but when a neighbour’s child wants one of his toys, he holds on to it tightly. Suppose the same child grows up to be a politician and someone asks for his seat, he will hold on to it in the same manner. Only the body has grown but nothing has matured or ripened. Patanjali calls this false ripening ‘vipak’. He says our actions lead to a ripening of fruit that he calls not ‘pak’ or ripening, but ‘vipak’ or wrong ripening.

The tragedy of our lives is that despite all our successes, as death approaches, most of us become children again. Yes, at the time of death, it is the same five-year-old child who dies. In between, we have done so much with no real ripening.

Krishna symbolises our inner consciousness. He kills his cousin Sisupala in the ‘Rajsuya Yagna’, which in our lives is that point when we start to practice self observation or looking in. This inner looking is called ‘sudarshana’ or right seeing. Krishna kills Sisupala with his Sudarshana Chakra. Before killing him, Krishna allows Sisupala to heap a hundred insults onto him. This shows that the inner childishness has to be observed and studied over a long period of time and in different expressions of life before it is eradicated.

When Sisupala was born, he had three eyes and four arms. This shows a young child is not bound by normal ethics and morality. He can peep through holes and do crazy things.

When Sisupala is killed, his son Drishtaketu becomes the King of Cedi. ‘Drish’ means bold and ‘ketu’ to shine. Cedi means to make aware. It is that inner space in all of us that provides an awareness of right and wrong. This intelligence lies hidden within us and is awakened by killing the inner Sisupala. Then it shines and boldly warns us in every step of life.