I share the burden of life with you, Karna


The movie, Karnan of 1964, was re-released again recently with new prints in Tamil Nadu and ran to packed audiences.

At around the same time I heard an interesting metaphor from a friend while watching the film Gandhi.  In the film, the Judge gets up with respect when Gandhi enters the room, quite pained that he had to punish Gandhi as he was such a sterling character. This shows the though Judge had to punish Gandhi as he had to uphold the law of the land, he was extremely pained to do so.  He had also said it was extremely unlikely that he would ever come across a character of such stature as Gandhi.  My friend said that this was similar to what Lord Krishna had to do during the Mahabharata to Karna.  Karna was on the wrong side but he too was a person of such integrity and generosity, that even Lord Krishna felt truly pained at having to ensure he did not win.

This made me remember Karna, and all the aspects of his personality to revisit his true message to humanity.  Karna, the abandoned child, Karna, the rejected suitor, Karna, the rejected disciple, Karna the underdog who never compromised on integrity as he remained a loyal friend till the end and of course, Karna had always been who was generous to a fault.  It is said in the Mahabharata that even when his mother wished to reunite the family, he did not do so as his loyalty remained with his friend, who had given him support when he most needed it. He also donated even his protective shield only because someone asked him for it, though he was at war.

I remember the time I had started learning Sanskrit in my college days and could never forget the  chapter we had to do on Karna’s conversation with his mother.  This is because most of us do face situations where we have to grapple with what is right and what is convenient.

Very often, we wonder why good people are made to suffer in this world. However, from another perspective, it is the dharma of good people to show us what is right in the most challenging situations. It is their dharma to uphold what is right whatever the external situation may be which is why they are a personification of the divine.

This is what is conveyed in the classic song, “Ullathil Nalla Ullam” from the Tamil movie, Karnan, where Krishna sings-

“The best among mortals indeed go through most difficult times and find peace always eluding them. “  According to Krishna, this is the Divine Law.  So, Krishna says – “ Karna, please accept whatever is coming to you and indeed whatever situations you are presently facing – indeed I am also facing them with you and feeling the same way.”

I am sure the Higher Consciousness would have said the same thing to Gandhi hence, although  Gandhi and Karna may have died lonely deaths, poor in the material sense, they would have been embraced by the Higher Consciousness as they epitomize goodness and dharma.

A slightly modified version of the above article was published in the October 2013 issue of Life Positive magazine

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