In Mahabharata, there is a very important episode of the Yaksha Prashna. When Pandavas go through their Van-Vas and Ajnat-vas, they survived many a calamities through jungles and mountains. It was sheer endurance of highest quality. Then they came to a lovely and calm looking pond. They all wanted to rest and recuperate there after drinking some water.
Most of us know the story. The four younger brothers and Panchali don't heed to the warning of the Yaksha and fall dead after drinking the water. Then comes Yudhistir and he agrees answer the questions of the Yaksha. I don't want to dwell upon all the questions. But one question is so very relevant even today and the answer is more so!
Yaksha asks Yudhistira, "What is the most surprising thing in the world?". Yudhistira says after deliberation, "The most surprising thing in the world is that the man commits the same mistake again and again in spite of knowing that what he is doing is wrong". Now Yudhistira was definitely thinking of himself. He knew the Game of Dice was an evil and had destroyed people before. He himself lost all his pride and even the modesty of Panchali was at stake before some divine intervention. In spite of this knowledge, he went on to play the evil game again and lost all his bearings. He had to suffer the life in jungles and made his wife and brothers suffer with him as well. So he was very clear in his mind about the answer!
Where does this question and answer attain significance in modern day society? We all know "SMOKING IS INJURIOUS TO HEALTH". Most of the smokers say they know this. But they can't quit. Most of the normal people know it also pollutes the environment and also puts their own families at risk. In spite of this knowledge, they smoke and often in presence of their children!
Today this is what surprises me! Why do people who know "Smoking causes a hell of a lot of problems" still smoke? There are a lot of things like alcoholism, gambling, adultery and so on which fall into the same category of known evils. But still people can't quit or they don't! Why is this so? Is there an answer to this question?