A very well known character of the Mahabharata epic is Karna who is popularly known as Danveer for his extraordinary character to fulfill the seeker’s material desires. Karna is one of Mahabharata’s pitiable and loved character as his story is relatable to all, hence we tend to ignore his wrong-doings. The injustices done to Karna were innumerable however the path he treaded was debatable even by his standards.
A few spotlights of his life :Abandoned by his birth mother, adopted by a charioteer, constantly mocked because of his caste as he was unaware of his true parentage, cursed by his teacher, a farmer and Mother Earth, affronted when he wanted to challenge Arjuna, disgraced in Draupadi’s swayamwar, despised by his own brothers (The Pandavas), given false sense of friendship by Duryodhan, insulted his sister-in-law. He even gave away his protective armour and ear-rings to Indra (The latter’s arrangement to protect his son i.e., Arjuna). During the great war of Kurukshetra, he lost his life due to the curse given by his guru at the hands of his sibling Arjuna who was still unaware of the fact that Karna is his elder brother.
Karna’s life offers an incite in our life:
- Firstly, just because life has given us problems or has done “injustice” to an individual, one doesn’t have the right to choose the path of Adharma to right the wrongs done to us. No matter how comforting the darkness is, we lose ourselves into that darkness and when the truth is broken out, one cannot withstand the light. We always have the power to choose what’s right no matter how hard it is because in the end, righteousness always triumphs.
- Whatever one earns by deceit, he/she is bound to lose when one needs it the most just as how Karna forgot all his education in his final moments against Arjuna. This isn’t just the curse given by Parashurama but the law of nature!
- Karna’s life inspires us to work towards our goal no matter how much difficult situation you come across in your life. If you are honest and dedicated towards your Goal you will eventually get that and will conquer all the difficulties.
- He never gave up on his friend. No matter what the situation, he was always by his friend Duryodhan’s side. Just as a coin has two sides, similarly, one can look at this friendship in two ways- One- Always be loyal. Karna was loyal to Duryodhan to his very last breath and two- Choose your friends wisely.
- It isn’t wrong to say “NO”. Credited to one of the main reasons as to why the war was waged. Had Karna refused to side with Duryodhan in the war, would it have even happened?
Here’s some food for thought for those who have a deeper incite of Karna’s life:
- Why do you think Karna wanted to learn archery so desperately? Was it for the thirst of knowledge/ Was it to learn and impart that knowledge to the weaker section of the society?
- If Duryodhan was actually his friend, wouldn’t he have uplifted the entire lower caste of those days? Think about it, Duryodhan only maintained his friendship for alliance. It’s a well known fact that Duryodhan relied on Karna’s strength and archery skills to wage the war against Pandavas.
- What did Karna do once he became a King? I might be wrong here, but did he do anything to encourage the Sutas/Shudras to follow their dreams?
Karna was constantly praised even by Lord Krishna as a great warrior, an excellent archer (surpassing his arch rival Arjuna), the greatest of donors however he chose a path of Adharma in spite of being aware of his transgressions. Karna was and is still an inspiration for many generations. His life is worth reflecting upon because, one can’t do justice to the morals that can be learnt from his life in a few words!
“The more you want to go the other way, the path you were destined for is the one you will have to follow”.