Tony Robbins once said that “only those who have learned the power of sincere and selfless contribution experience life’s deepest joy: true fulfillment”. True fulfillment is a state of being that everyone craves, something that makes them feel complete and truly at peace. Hinduism, a major religion and the one represented in the Mahabharata, focuses on four steps to achieve self fulfillment.
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This quote can represent a myriad of figures in different cultures, but one figure in particular is King Sibi from the Indian epic Mahabharata. He demonstrates true sincereness and selflessness through his actions in the text “Sibi”. “Sibi” from the Mahabharata reflects the values of Hinduism through the act of selflessness and keeping one’s word.
Being selfless is what is being taught consistently in “Sibi”. The definition of selflessness is to have “concern more with the needs and wishes of others than with one’s own”, according to the Oxford Dictionary. In the text, Sibi is willing to do whatever it takes to make everyone happy, since he believes that it is his duty to do so as king. When Sibi protects the dove from the hawk, the hawk mistakes it for Sibi wanting to keep the dove all to himself. “‘I am not so simple-minded,’ said the bird haughtily. ‘By selfish I meant that you were thinking of your own feelings, totally ignoring my viewpoint’” (Narayan 195). What the hawk claims is exactly the opposite of what Sibi’s goal is. Sibi believes that his role as a ruler is to be selfless and make everyone in his kingdom as happy as possible. In Hinduism, being completely and truly selfless is something that many people wish to become, as it helps them achieve their ultimate goal in life- enlightenment, joy in life, prosperity, and being virtuous. In other words, Sibi’s actions not only in this text but in his life help him achieve moksha, artha, kama, and dharma- the four essential goals of Hindu life.
In order to achieve dharma, artha, kama, and moksha, Sibi chooses to make his subjects feel comfortable and is willing to sacrifice anything for merely one being. “But, bird, tell me how is it that you fail to notice the sheer duty I owe a creature that cries for protection? As a king is it not my duty?” Although Sibi is a prospering king who can do whatever he wishes, he chooses to put his people first no matter what situation is taking place. Even by just putting his subjects’ needs before his, Sibi achieves dharma and artha. He achieves dharma because he makes the most ethical choices and strives to act morally. Sibi achieves artha because yes, he is already prospering from his wealth as king, but he does not step out of the boundaries of dharma to chase wealth. Sibi is more than content with what he has and is willing to share his prosperity with anyone.
Keeping one’s word is a major value in Hinduism. It is looked upon as shameful when one cannot keep their promises, which is part of the reason why Sibi insisted on keeping his word of protecting his subjects. “‘One has no right to end one’s life, but this is unforeseen. Even if this means hell to me, I have to face it.’ he said” (Narayan 198). Sibi realizes that his cut out legs are not enough to balance the scales, so he goes onto the scale himself, ultimately giving up his perfect life all for his subjects and for the sake of keeping his word. When the scales balance out, Sibi learns that all lives are of equal worth, and it does not matter who or what it is. However, his sacrifice ends up being the greatest day of his life. Sibi is rewarded for his actions and integrity by two gods: Indra and the God of Fire. “They said, ‘O king, we put you to a severe test. We challenged your integrity; and we happily accept defeat. You are indeed blessed, and as long as humans recollect your tale, they will partake of the spiritual merit that you have acquired’- and vanished” (Narayan 199). Sibi’s test is grueling and disturbing, but he succeeds out of perseverance and the goodness of his heart. His reward is flowers and touchable gifts, but the most important gift is the promise from the gods that Sibi’s story would be passed down for generations to come.
Sibi keeping his word ultimately helps him find peace with himself. This ties back to the four essential goals for Hinduism. Sibi already achieves dharma and artha, and after the ordeal as a whole, Sibi achieves kama and moksha. He experiences moksha after almost sacrificing himself for the greater good of his kingdom. Sibi learns more about being a better ruler through this event. Putting his own people before anything else is instrumental to the enlightenment of Sibi. He also achieves kama when he is rewarded with the fact that his story will be passed down for generations to teach everyone the exact same things that Sibi learns. Sibi succeeds in achieving all four goals of Hinduism.
The values of selflessness and keeping one’s word in Hinduism is reflected in the text “Sibi” from the Mahabharata. Selflessness is shown when King Sibi puts his subject’s needs before his own by trying to save both the dove and the hawk’s life. When Sibi attempts to do this, dharma and artha are achieved. Sibi keeps his word when he vows to protect the dove that has taken shelter in Sibi. Sibi is willing to sacrifice his life to keep his word, and finds peace within himself afterwards. He achieves the final two goals of Hinduism: moksha and kama. Sibi became the model of Hinduism and achievement for generations to come, paving the way for future leaders today in present times.
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