We know that the wisdom of ancient India was shared through stories, and that therefore all the stories from the Indian mythology (and every single detail in them) are loaded with powerful lessons on how to live a meaningful, rewarding and balanced life. What then do you think is the meaning of the following story?

A beautiful palace was built for the Pandavas called the Maya Sabha. While filled with luxuries, it was also filled with deception. Real doors could not be seen, and illusory doors were everywhere. There was only one lake, but the floors were such that they made you believe that there were plenty of lakes. Duryodhana (the cousin, yet enemy of the Pandavas) came to visit. He tried to enter a door, but hurt his head because it was not really a door but a wall. When he went further he saw a pool of water and tried to enter it, but it was not a pool but glass which looked like a pool so he hurt his foot with the glass. Seeing this, Draupadi, the Pandavas’ wife, started laughing loudly. This insulted Duryodhana so much that he vowed to take revenge on her (which he did, and she got into a lot of trouble).

To me the message of this story is summarized here: http://goo.gl/0SeUl (3rd paragraph):

Hasya or laughter and wit is classified into six types:

  1. Smita, or gentle smile
  2. Hasita, or smile
  3. Vihasita, or gentle laughter
  4. Upahasita, or laughter of derision
  5. Apahasita, or vulgar laughter
  6. Atihasita, or excessive laughter

These 6 types of laughter are grouped into 3 pairs.

  • Persons of superior status use smita and hasita
  • Persons of middle status use vihasita and upahasita
  • Persons of inferior status use apahasita and atihasita

Laughter is prompted both by contempt and joy. Always choose joy!