No two people react to the same situation in a similar way.

Here are examples of two legendary personalities who were faced with a very similar situation, but thier responses were diagonally apart.

One has been elevated but the other only recognised.
It’s in between Bhisma and Jatayu.

Both, of them were confronted with character defining asssault on womanhood.

One chose to die protecting the victim while the other chose to be a mute spectator of the crime.


Bhisma was a powerful and capable warrior and if he wanted, he could have stopped the disrobing of Draupadi – the Queen
But he chose to be a silent witness of this act;

Where, Jatayu was old and invalid and knew that in all probability, Ravana would kill him. Still, he chose to try his best to protect Sita – the Queen.

Bhisma was powerful yet acted powerless, where Jatayu was powerless yet acted powerful. _

“Real power is not about physical strength but about the deep desire to help.”_


Bhisma lived on but died everyday to his conscience;

Where Jatayu died once but lived eternally true to his conscience. _

“Our only constant companion is our concience – better to be true to it.”_


Bhisma’s name and fame went down in history because of this one act of not stopping the disrobing of Draupadi.

But Jatayu’s name and fame went high in history because of his act of trying to save Sita. _

“Many of us are going to be mere names in history, sooner or later. Will we be equated with the bad or the good – is our choice.”_


Bhisma was supposed to be a highly cultured human but acted highly insensitive and stooped low in values like a vulture;

Where, Jatayu was supposed to be a lowly uncultured vulture but acted highly sensitive and soared the skies in values like an evolved human. _

“One doesn’t become a human, by being born as a human – only becomes a human by being a human.”_


Draupadi begged and pleaded protection from Bhisma because she knew if someone could protect her it was only him but still Bhisma didn’t protect her;

Where, Sita didn’t even ask Jatayu for protection – she just wanted him to inform Rama about her kidnapping by Ravana because she knew Jatayu was not powerful but still Jatayu tried to protect Sita.

“The language of heart is more powerful than the language of words.”_


Bhisma was confused regarding his Royal duty that he forgot that he had a higher duty – a moral duty;

Where, Jatayu was so clear about his moral duty that no other duty was a consideration for him.

“When caught up in dilemmas, best is to follow the higher principles – to follow our heart because it always knows the truth.”


Bhisma set a very bad precedent for generations to come;

Where, Jatayu set the most ideal precedent for generations to come. _

“If we can’t be a great example atleast let us not be a bad one.”_


Another interesting point is that Bhisma was an elderly relative of Draupadi but acted as a total stranger in this episode;

Where, Jatayu was not at all related to Sita, he was a stranger but acted more than a dearest relative.

“True relationships is based on heartly connections not just bodily connections.”_


Both, Bhisma and Jatayu had a few moments to decide what to do.

Life, sometimes puts in situations where in a few moments we need to take crucial decisions.

What we decide very much depends on the kind of inner integrity we have cultivated by the association we keep.

Bhisma’s intelligence was clouded and it failed the test of life because he associated with the wicked minded, selfish Kauravas;

Where, Jatayu’s intelligence was crystal clear and it passed the test of life because he associated with the saintly, selfless Lakshman and the All-pure Lord Rama. _

“After all, who we are solely depends on whom we associate with.”_


The Supreme Lord as Sri Krishna was not at all happy with this attitude of Bhisma so much so that when He came as a peace messenger to Hastinapur, He didn’t even bother to look at Bhisma;

Where, The Supreme Lord as Ramachandra was so happy with the attitude of Jatayu that he embraced him and personally did his final rites – a honour that even Dasharath – His father didn’t receive. _

“The scriptures explain that the ultimate test of any activity is, if the Supreme Lord is pleased with us.”_

It is very clear, Bhisma displeased God; where Jatayu pleased Him.

This recount is not meant to criticize Bhisma – he is undoubtedly a great personality, but we do vehemently criticize his inaction.


When we see some injustice, some problem, we have only two options –

Either close your eyes to it or do something about it – follow “the Bhisma way” or “the Jatayu way”.

Whichever way we choose remember there will also be a result – “the Bhisma result” or “the Jatayu result”.


* * *


About The Article Author:

Our mission with FutureSTRONG Academy – to grow children who respect themselves, their time and their capabilities in a world where distractions are just a click or a swipe away.

I see myself as an advocate for bringing social, emotional and character development to families, schools and communities. I never want to let this idea out of my sight – Our children are not just GPAs. I’m a Writer and a Certified Master Coach in NLP and CBT. Until 2017, I was also a Big Data Scientist. In December of 2044, I hope to win the Nobel. Namasté.

Write to me or call me. Tell me what support from me looks like.

Rachana Nadella-Somayajula,
Program Director & Essential Life Skills Coach for Kids and Busy Parents

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