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Handling Family Conflicts: Insights from Mahabharata

We have all got­ten used to the idea that fam­i­ly means con­flicts. We notice elders around us casu­al­ly say “In a fam­i­ly, fights and con­flicts are com­mon”. Though it is com­mon, it may not be nor­mal. Every­day we notice com­plex events at home that involve con­flicts between close­ly relat­ed kith and kin. Let us see what Nara­da Mahar­ishi has to say about man­ag­ing these con­flicts. These insights appear in the Shan­ti Par­va of the Mahab­harath as nar­rat­ed by Bhish­ma ji to Yud­hishthi­ra.

Shri Krish­na was always in very com­plex sit­u­a­tions. It was a tough bal­anc­ing act to keep the sub-clans of the Yadavas togeth­er. Every­day passed with hear­ing harsh words, man­ag­ing con­flicts, set­tling dis­putes and that too with a smile. Nara­da Mahar­ishi advised Shri Krish­na that clash­es among kith and kin occur due to one’s own mak­ing. When harsh actions are used, it results in the split of the entire fam­i­ly there­by col­laps­ing the whole struc­ture. Nara­da Maharisi asks Krish­na to use a weapon that is not made of steel, that is very mild and yet capa­ble of pierc­ing all hearts. When Krish­na is curi­ous about that weapon, Nara­da reveals that the weapon is “offer­ing food, for­give­ness, sweet words and respect”. With soft words, the heart of the rel­a­tives melt and this can set­tle all dis­putes. This weapon is greater than any weapon made of steel.


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