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Questioner: Sadhguru, Karna and Parikshit died due to curses. What is the qualification to curse someone? Were the brahmana who cursed Karna or the Yogi’s disciple who cursed Parikshit more powerful than Karna and Parikshit?

Sadhguru: They say that if a shudra curses you, nothing will happen. If a vaishya curses you, you will miss a meal. If a kshatriya curses you, you may lose your limb or life. If a brahmana curses you, you may lose everything.

Whose Curse Is Most Powerful?

Originally, brahmana, kshatriya, vaishya, and shudra were not seen as sects of people who are born in certain families as it is understood today, but as descriptions of qualifications. A shudra was someone who did menial jobs; all he knew was his body. A vaishya was someone who was using his body, and to some extent, his mind. He was largely free of emotion, except for his own family. His body and his calculations ruled his nature. A kshatriya was passionate to the point of involving his life energies. He was more in his heart; otherwise he could not rule or lay down his life for what he believed in.


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Whether you curse or bless someone, both ways you are giving away something that you have earned.

A vaishya would never sacrifice his life – he would negotiate and make any kind of deal that was necessary. A kshatriya was honor-bound and would rather die than negotiate. For him, a compromise was death. A brahmana was someone who was supposed to have touched Brahman or the ultimate nature within himself. If someone like that cursed you, it would come true for sure.

Karna received curses from two brahmanas. One was a very powerful one; another was an ordinary one, but both of the curses stuck. The second brahmana only cursed him that his chariot wheel would get stuck. Even if his chariot wheel was stuck, had he remembered the mantras*, he still could have killed Arjuna. But the bigger curse was Parashurama’s, which made Karna forget the mantra for his astra* at the right moment.

When Karna’s chariot wheel got stuck, he could have still jumped down and fought. But the problem was that he forgot the mantra. He was trying to remember it while working on the chariot wheel. The more he thought, the more confused he got. That was sure death.

What Is the Cost of a Blessing or Curse?

Whether you curse or bless someone, both ways you are giving away something that you have earned. You have to expend some of the energy that you have built up which is positive for your life. How much a curse or blessing costs depends on how far-reaching it is. This is the reason why if you go to any sage in India, he will first look at you, look away, and say, “Jai Ho.” Very rarely do they look at you and say “Vijayi Bhava”* because that is going to cost much more. “Jai Ho” is for your inner victory, which is a real victory.

This is what they are generally blessing for. That is, if they are really a sage or saint. People who are wearing the uniform, but are actually beggars or businessmen, are a different game. They can do or say anything. If there is nothing in your treasury anyway, you can open it up all the time. When you have something valuable, that is when it matters.

So, the blessing is generally towards spiritual wellbeing. If you have to bless someone towards material wellbeing, it costs much more because it needs to manifest in the physical world. Let us say it costs one unit of energy to bless you towards your inner wellbeing. If I have to bless you to pass an examination for which you have not studied, then it would cost a hundred units of energy.

How Do Blessings Actually Work?

If you come to me for a blessing for an examination, I will bless you to pass the final exam, not the tenth standard exam. I do not care whether you pass the tenth standard exam or not. I did not care even when I sat for the exam. So, do not come to me for such things. Instead of seeking a blessing for the outer world, it is best to live with grace.

If you live with grace, your own energies will blossom and you can manifest your material life effectively. But if you are a blundering idiot who does not do anything and expects things to happen, then it costs phenomenally for the one who blesses. They cannot withdraw it. Whether it is a blessing or a curse, they have opened up a certain field that cannot be closed suddenly.

How much a blessing costs simply depends upon the intelligence, skill, and dedication of the person who receives it. Suppose I want to ensure that you succeed in some mission that you have taken up, and I bless you. If you are intelligent, skillful, and dedicated towards that mission, it will cost me less. If you are really focused and on, the blessing is just a gentle nudge when you cannot cross some hurdles. But if you receive the blessing and go home and you start doing your own idiotic things, then it will drain me on a daily basis. It costs not only at the time of blessing, but it will continue to cost me even afterwards.

Why Who Is Being Cursed Makes a Big Difference

Both a blessing and a curse will cost, but a curse will cost even more. If I bless you towards what you want, apart from my blessing, you will also work towards it. With a blessing, there is hope that you will work for it. But if I curse you, you will work against it. This costs tenfold more than a blessing because you are trying to work against it, while my energies are trying to work for it.

Karna was cursed to forget his mantras. I am sure he chanted the mantras a thousand times every day to ensure that he would not forget them when he needed them. Karna was determined to see that the curse would not work. But Parashurama was determined to see that the curse would work, so it cost him enormously. Depending upon the determination and skill of the person who is cursed, it may cost phenomenally more than a blessing.

To be continued…

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Editor's Note: This article first appeared in the Oct 2021 issue of Isha Forest Flower. Click here to explore the all-new Isha Forest Flower!

The articles of this series are based on talks by Sadhguru during the Mahabharat program at the Isha Yoga Center, Coimbatore, in February 2012. Guided by Sadhguru, participants went on a mystical exploration into the wisdom of this immortal saga, through music, dance, and spiritual processes.

*mantras: Key sounds, in this case to invoke certain powers or weapons
*astra: Supernatural weapon
*Vijayi Bhava: A blessing for victory in material life that is more immediate or tangible, for a specific event.