Karna – Hero or Villain?
Karna is among the most popular and complex characters in the Mahabharata, showing both nobility and nastiness over the course of the story.
 
Karna with his charioteer, King Shalya in the Kurukshetra battlefield
 

Karna is among the most popular and complex characters in the Mahabharata, showing both nobility and nastiness over the course of the story. In this article, Sadhguru looks at the basis of his undoing – his bitterness.

Sadhguru: In India, for people who are conversant with the Mahabharata, there is a whole culture where Karna is a kind of anti-hero. He is a sweet mango gone bad. He was a wonderful human being gone totally bad because he invested in bitterness. His bitterness took him into a disastrous life story. He was a man with a phenomenal sense of integrity and generosity but all this was lost. He died in the battle in a bad way.

The “low-born” king

He was resentful because he did not know whose child he was. But the people who brought him up, did so with utmost love. His foster parents, Radha and Athiratha, loved him immensely and brought him up very well, the way they knew. He always remembered how much his mother loved him. “That is one person who loved me for who I am,” he says. Out of his competence and the will of fate, he became Angaraja – the king of Anga. He got many things and was given a position and place in the palace. In many ways he was also a big king’s sidekick. Duryodhana held him dear and took advice from him. He had everything that life could offer. If you look at his life, the fact of it is that he was a charioteer’s son who became a king. He should have been really happy. A child who is found floating on the water grows up to become a king. Is it not a wonderful thing? But no, he did not give up his resentment. He was always unhappy and miserable because he could not come to terms with what he was being labeled as. Wherever he went, people referred to him as a suta or “low-born” because of his ambitions. Throughout his life he complained about this. All the time, he nourished bitterness within himself about his so-called low birth.

This bitterness made a wonderful human being into such a nasty and ugly character in the Mahabharata. He was a great human being and showed his greatness in different situations, but because of this bitterness, in many ways it was he who turned everything wrong. For Duryodhana, it did not matter what Shakuni said or did, it was Karna’s advice which always sealed the deal. After everything was decided, he would look at Karna, “What shall we do?” Karna could very easily have turned the direction of the whole story.

 

 

Tragedy and sacrifice

His life went through various pitches of tragedy and sacrifice alternately. He displayed this sense of sacrifice continuously, but no good came out of it because he was destroyed by the one thing that mattered to him the most – he wanted to be somebody that he was not, at least in the society. Maybe he actually was in reality, but as far as society was concerned, he wanted to be somebody he was not. Because of this obsession, he continuously blundered. He was an intelligent man. He had enough sense to see that what Duryodhana was doing was wrong. But he was not just a passive participant, he was an active participant who goaded Duryodhana on, many times. Duryodhana’s life could have been saved if only Karna used his intelligence rather than his loyalty and gratitude. He failed to use his intelligence and continuously went from one blunder to another.

A life full of wrong turns

When Krishna came to sue for peace, he spoke to Karna. “Why are you doing this to yourself? This is not what you are. Let me tell you what your parentage is. Kunti is your mother and your father is Surya.” Suddenly, Karna broke down. He always wanted to know who he was and where he came from. He always wanted to know who it was who let him off in the river in that little box. Suddenly, he realized that he had been actively trying to nurture hatred towards the five Pandavas, even though it was not naturally so. Because of his gratitude to Duryodhana, somewhere, he believed he must hate these five people. Though there was no hatred in his heart, he worked it up all the time and came out meaner than anyone. If Shakuni said one mean thing, he would say the next mean thing. And he wouldn’t stop there because he was always working up his hatred trying to prove his loyalty and be grateful for what Duryodhana had done for him. Somewhere deep inside, he knew that everything he was doing was wrong, but his loyalty was so strong that he continued to do it. He was a wonderful guy but he continuously made mistakes. All our lives are like that – if we make one wrong choice, it takes ten years to recover, isn’t it? He never recovered because he made too many wrong turns.

Life is fair!

Karna meets his end from Arjuna's arrow.

Existence is not making a judgment about who is good or bad. It is only social situations that try to judge people as good and bad. It is only individual human beings who try to judge you as good and bad. Existence never judges because it is not written anywhere that one thing is good and some other thing is bad. It is just that if you do the right things, the right results happen to you. If you don’t do the right things, the right things do not happen to you. I think that’s perfectly fair. All the Karna fans think it is unfair that he should have been put through so much. I think it’s perfectly fair. Society may not be fair, but the existence is perfectly fair – unless you do the right things, the right things will not happen to you. If existence was not like this, there would be no value for doing the right things or for human intelligence. Nothing that we value in our life would be valuable if you could do wrong things and still the right things happened to you. Life doesn’t work like that.

Editor’s Note: Watch the Leela series, for more of Sadhguru’s talks on Krishna.

 
 
 
 
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3 years 10 months ago

Hi Prashanth,

I cant make you believe me but if you believe the ved vyasa Mahabharata, here is how Karna was.

Most of what people think Karna was - IS TRUE. Where the distortions arise are as follows:

Karna, Arjuna, Bhishma, Bhima - these were the strongest warriors in Mahabharata contrary to what some karna fans think that he was the strongest. All of them fought against the other group(Arjuna, Bhima didnt fight each other and Bhishm, Karna didnt fight each other)

They were so equal that it was difficult to say who was the greatest warrior. While we have Virat parva in which Arjuna overpowered Karna, the 17th day Karna clearly overpowered Arjuna. Bhima made Karna faint in Karna parva but Karna regained , came back and cornered and overpowered Bhima.
Bhishma though never overpowered by anyone also couldnt clealy take down anyone , however there are evidences to believe Bhishma perhaps was the strongest of all. The day he took an oath to end the war, Krishna was genuinely concerned and that was the day that Krishna the god broke his promise and advanced to fight Bhishma.

However at the end of reading the 10 the parva despite various defeats and wins of all the characters, the good things they did and their misdeeds, you will be overwhelmed by two characters - Karna and Bhishma. Two strong honourable characters who fought from the wrong side and they are the ones who make Mahabharata the great epic it is.
If they hadnt fought from the wrong side or they were clearly evil Mahabharata would have ended up as another Ramayana or a conventional Good vs Evil battle

2 years 8 months ago

This has become a trend now a days that we relate these fictional events to Science. If science was so technically advanced at that time why they were riding on horse and fighting with swords and arrow Guns, Tanks and Jets. Moreover Science is base on the theories and logic. There is no logic behind a child can born through a sun. Sun is not a living object like i said" It is center of the Solar System ,mass consists of hydrogen and quantities of heavier elements, including oxygen, carbon, neon and iron.

Moreover If there is any technology exist at that time. Why there is only one incident mentioned in the entire text. if birth of child could be possible through mantras then why exactly these kind of incidents mentioned in other books and happened with other women at that time. The point is simple it was a myth to save the reputed image of Kunti

And it is not only about divine , You can read many story in Mahabharata and Ramayana they are written in dramatic and poetic ways such as Drona wadh, Shikandi and Bhishma story Krishan lila, Story of Jaydharat and his boons . Each any every correcter and incidents are dramatically interrelated to each other and interesting to read such as novels and films. Real life is not not that interesting and don't have twist and turn But if you read ancient and history books such as Ashoka , Akbar, History of Europe, Roman Empire, Reformation. You will fell that you are gaining information through them rather than entertaining

3 years 4 months ago

Its not about who is great warrior.. its about being truth and faith what a human gets back in this society. Karna Followed ethics, dharma and finally what he got is unfair death. Yes as it says "yannehasti na tadkvacit" Its same thing is happening in our daily life too. and in reality Karma concept will not work, as we know every human will die one or other day but reason behind the death is different thats all. Every human will suffer in his life coz there is no good nor bad.

2 years 5 months ago

Before declaring any body a psychopath one should define the yard stick for measuring their act.

4 years 2 months ago

So easy to say, yet so difficult to follow it my friend....

2 years 11 months ago

Both Ramayana and Mahabharata, are a historical incidents added with lot of myths and fictional stories to make them look interesting to read and to hide some controversial facts. That is why they are called mahakavya . Because in kavita or poetry author is free to write what he want. A sun in the sky can never be a father of someone . So who was suryadev. Actually hindu religion teach us to respect the nature as we get many things from them. A life can never be imagined without the component of natures such as earth, air, soil, fire so we called them a lords such as agni dev, pavan dev, surya dev and worship them

So who fathered Karna ?????

Now what i am going to say, most of you may abuse me and call me ignorant. Actually Kunti had a premarital affair with someone. It may be a possibility that Kunti had a affair with Pandu before marriage and Karna was the result of it. But according to many scholars Kunti had a premarital sex with Rishi Durvasa who gave that boon to Her. According to the text:

The king entrusted the sage to his daughter's care and tasked Kunti with the responsibility of entertaining the sage and meeting all his needs during his stay with them. Kunti patiently put up with Durvasa's temper and his unreasonable requests(such as demanding food at odd hours of the night) and served the sage with great dedication. Eventually, the sage was gratified

Why did rishi called a 17 year old girl to serve him at night. He could have called boy for that : The point is simple Rishi took the wrong advantage of his position and had a physical relationship with Kunti . Because Kunti belonged to a king family and was later became a queen of Hastinapur. They manipulated the facts and made a fictional story of Sun and boons to save the prestige of their family and hide this Scandal. Morover the vyasa who wrote the Mahabharata was also belonged to a Kuru Family.

Or there may be possibility that Karna was not a son of Kunti. It might have been just a political propaganda of Lord Krishna to over down him Because after acknowledging he promised kunti that he wouldn't kill four pandvas) and prevent the pandvas from him.

Sun is the star at the center of the Solar System and is by far the most important source of energy for life on Earth ,mass consists of hydrogen and quantities of heavier elements, including oxygen, carbon, neon and iron
But it is not a living being that have a sperm and give birth to a child

3 years 10 months ago

You have nailed it. It is not being average or above, you are just thinking what is sensible. As I said, Karnas actions were in effect reactions to his circumstances. And even the panda vas were partly responsible in triggering it. Karna still had some of the greatest qualities despite the tragedies and curses he had which none of the pandavas had.

2 years 8 months ago

actually krishna is not cunning he is a cheater,

4 years 2 months ago

If we make one wrong choice it makes years to recover....But the thing is at that time it seemed like there can't be anything better than that..But mind kind of likes fooling us all the times....

3 years 3 months ago

pampa-one of the greatest writer of mahabharata in Kannada wrote that- If anyone needs to be remembered in mahabharata it is KARNA.

2 years 3 months ago

Society did made the existence into unfair which is why the Supreme Lord through Kurukshetra War destroyed all the Kings (Kshatriyas) who were anti social and the root cause for the existence to become unfair. Since the lord doesnt wanted to take weapons by himself just made Pandavas as a tool and this doesn't make any of the panadavas good souls. They all went to Hell except Yudhisstra.

4 years 2 months ago

That's y isha ;)

2 years 10 months ago

"All the Karna fans think it is unfair that he should have been put through so much. I think it’s perfectly fair. Society may not be fair, but the existence is perfectly fair – unless you do the right things, the right things will not happen to you. If existence was not like this, there would be no value for doing the right things or for human intelligence. Nothing that we value in our life would be valuable if you could do wrong things and still the right things happened to you. Life doesn’t work like that."

I agree with most of the post, except for the point mentioned above? What wrong had Karna done, before his birth that he took birth as an illegitimate son and was left afloat in a river? It is only natural to harbour such hatred towards the society, after what he has been through, even before properly coming to his senses.

3 years 10 months ago

Actually I would like to make one point here. Karna might be wrong to insult Draupadi but It was Draupadi who started it long before laaksha Griha Incident at the time of Swaymvara. Karna was able hit fish eye but draupadi insulted him badly. "SutPutra" I'll not marry you. Karna was right in his way.. At every point life was unfair to him. Good / Bad Deeds always payback.

2 years 8 months ago

Nobody seems to look at the most intriguing aspect of Karna. Suryaputra or not, how can someone be born with an armour that protects the heart and the ears? What kind of armour are they? Metallic, solid or something that has to do with spiritual strength? Karna had such a cold heart that he never really lost his mind during any amount of stress. And yes, he could bear any insults from society soberly and sanely. How can someone be moulded into such immense protective emotional casing unless he is born in a dark cold world, away from the light and warmth of true love? A little warmth shown to such a person can buy him for the entire lifetime, which Duryodhan realized before anyone else. Karna never made a wrong choice. He begged for love and respect and returned it manyfold to whoever bestowed him with that as long he lived. He had more love in him that any of the noble born guys raised among loving parents and siblings. He was a bastard, a so-called bad blood which is what separates him from everyone else by making him the noblest one to have walked the earth at that time. All is fair in love and war, and no one can teach that better than Karna. A perfect masculine, duty-bound, caring character.

4 years 2 months ago

Thank you Sadhguru for explaining Karna's life.. too many variables, yet once the core is fixed, rest all falls in place.. If Karna has identified with his true identity, we would have got a different Mahabaratha all together.. Understood how the role of one person could impact the plot for many years to come :-)

3 years 3 months ago

it will be a matter of discussion now. I listen to a talk recently by Dr Karan Singh, who said, Krishna could have easily avoided the WAR of Mahabharata. He did not do it.
He should have convinced Kunti to accept publicly that Karna is her son, and convinced Dhuryodhana that karna your great friend is going to be the King.
He did not do this....because.....

2 years 3 months ago

Karna with no curses and with his actual powers all along with himself could have slayed bhisma if they would have fought a war. It's tough to accept, but it is truth.

4 years 2 months ago

Duryodhana was supposed to be extremely generous to his folks

2 years 10 months ago

Hmm interesting thinking,different interpretation, many more are welcome

3 years 9 months ago

Karn is one of my favourite characters, always.

2 years 7 months ago

According to TV series Karna is great, based on british translated mahabharat(in which 3 parvas are not even translated)
ACCORDING to M.K ganguly, gita press, arjun is far more superior.
He defeated karna 3 times and won 13 FACE-OFF.

4 years 2 months ago

I no big fan of karna but he had some enviable qualities, traits and possessions. He is also known as dana veera and extraordinary bow and arrow man. he is very loyal to his friend and and wears his loyalty proudly. Society ill treated him I think it is accepted by all.....so he as a human is entitled to his follies and weakenesses, But it is unfair to lay all the blame and responsibility of all that happened. He was just a grateful person who stood by his friend and leader. Afterall duryodhana was a stubborn person who just wanted to hear what he wanted. I feel karna was a victim of social abuse, he may have suffered but he lived a glorious life.

3 years 1 month ago

Dear friend,
All these r instruments, actual aim of mahabharatha was clean the society who follows tradition with out commensense which result in adharma, so here war is a must, you know one think sahadeva knows the entire truth before this war not only Krishna, sahadeva is a yogi & shatriya, he has instructed to keep quiet by Krishna & entire devas

2 years 2 months ago

Once you read Mahabharath without being biased to Lord Krishna or Pandavs , @ the end when you close the book and retrieve the characters the one we find shining over all the Stars is Karna, the one who never died because of following adharmma. This is very clear when we read through the slogas saying even after Arjuna strikes Karna's throat with Anjalika Astra his life remains in body because Dharma Devda showers her blessing over his life since he is the only human birth till that date on earth who followed only Dharma. Later Vasudeva Krishna the Human form of the Brahmam, Incarnation of Lord Vishnu understand this and he turns in the form of a brahmin and ask Karna an offering , the credit of all his Dharma to him and Karna does and that leads to his death. Another fact on this is Karna is here to live the remaining life of the Rakshasa Sahasra Kavacha, a devote of Surya who survives with his one last kavacha at the end of Treta yuga after a war with the Nara-Narayana. And Karna finishes the remaing 85 years of Sahasra Kavacha after losing his Kavacha. In the case of war with Abhimaniyu Karna gives him the only escape from his bleeding endurance to death. During the fight with Abhimanyu he not even raise his bow over Abhimaniyu. But he kills him with his showrd giving Abhimanyu relief from the sadistic activity of Kauravas.Now to Abimanyu, Krishna knows very well that the day Chakravyuha was formed was the last day of Abhimanyu not becasue he knows he will meet that cruelty but he knows the Boon of Brahma to His Son Chandra. Abhimanyu posses the soul of Moon's Son Varcha, it is a rule for Devas to take a birth on earth and it was Varcha's turn. Varcha was the most loved Son of Moon and he was not even ready to part from his son for So long.So he ask for a boon from Brahma that his Son will return in 16 years. Brahma bless him with this boon and thus he was born to Arjuna and Subhadhra. "If Karna is Ugly then calling Krishna Lord make no sense...He is the hero, the perfect example for all the good people suffer in this present :)"

4 years 1 month ago

Lived it! lessons in life for life.

2 years 10 months ago

Yes everyone dies, it how you die is the most important thing g in life or sumanambonum of life

3 years 9 months ago

Do right things and right things will happen to you!!! What utter nonsense! What wrong did karna do to be cast away by his own mother? What could a newborn baby do wrong consciously? This karma concept is trash.
Karna did several good things but what good was it to him in the end?
All our ancient scriptures say if you do something wrong all you have to do is a sacrifice or in the modern day version do some puja or vrat. Is that it? Something is wrong with our religIon. The more I read Mahabharata the more confused I get- it is full of contradictions,deceit, casteism, suppression of women and violence. What purpose did Mahabharata serve? Both sides got ultimately wiped out and there was a colossal loss of life. How could god allow such a thing to happen?
There seemed to be no place for forgiveness and ahimsa.

2 years 7 months ago

Plz dont judge KARNA on how TV series shows them,
judge each character according to original Mahabharat.
karna continues attacking arjun when his chariot got sinked in the ground, arjun did tit for tat.
i recommend you to read O.G mahabharat of MK ganguly, its available on Sacret text dot com

4 years 2 months ago

Karna - An overflowing Amrit Kalash facing towards gutter(wrong turn) instead of mouth. Unconsciousness vs. Consciousness.

2 years 11 months ago

There is not a single word of justification to make Karna as an orphan for no fault of his! If 5 pandavas were following dharma and hence, the Lord supported them, then what about Kunti. Kunti before becoming a kind mother to 5 (3+2) pandavas, she was a demon to the eldest of them all, Karna! It is not Karna who should be faulted and it is Kunti, who should be faulted and the Lord Krishna did take her side knowing very well about this. Why should Lord reveal parentage to Karna at the very end of everything. Why did not he inform, Karna before he could become friend of Duryodhana! Lord Krishna is at fault. I completely disagree with Sadguru's view. Compare this with Ramayana! When Bharath learns about the treachery of Kaigeyi, he goes with sword trying to behead his own mother! Lord Krishna nor Yudhister did not show the invincible honesty that Bharth showed. In comparison to Bharath, Yudhister of Mahabharath is a dwarf (no offense meant) in practicing Dharma!

2 years 1 month ago

Adharmi who used to DO WRONG THINGS, CRIME & DECEIT were killed by krishna by adopting adharma.
By Worshiping idols what harm is caused to humans, non-hindus & humanity?
Islamist who just think idol worshipers are Psychopathic criminals when those Idol worshipers are not harming anyone yet Islamist kill, rape those Idol worshipers, thats my friend is Adharma - The criminal actions.
It seems you have soft spot for Islam but ignoring won't change the truth.

4 years ago

Had it not been the breaking of rules of war by Pandavas by Krishna's consent. Karna and some other warriors were impossible to defeat. Karna's die hard intentions to kill Arjuna also could not make him break the rules being a man of integrity. Karna will always be my hero.

2 years 10 months ago

Yes today karna is more famous than Arjuna,therefore, he has won the battle & war

3 years 8 months ago

Dear Prashanth,

Karna fought with a vow not to kill bhima or any of the other 3 except arjuna, :) he did a controlled fight. Bhima or the other 3 can't be compared because they merely fought with mercy of the karna himself.

Now, the hot head arjuna, if it wasn't for the cunning krishna, who never played by rules, arjuna is long dead :)

No one can be compared with Karna, for he's the Greatest Warrior.

2 years 7 months ago

never judge any character how TV series show us, be it mahabharat or ramayan or vishnu puran etc.
..according to O.G mahabharat karna is inferior warrior if compared to arjuna,
krishan reveals karna's past life karma to arjun and yudhister.
arjun defeats karna 16 times.

4 years 2 months ago

being a victim of social situations is ones choice ...

2 years 11 months ago

Wait. What? It was Karna who broke the rule. In Mahabhaata it was a rule that one fighter will fight with only one enemy fighter and the one on chariot will fight only with another on the chariot, one on horse will only fight with another on horse etc.

However Karna along with 6 other fighters including Drona, Ashvathama etc attacked Abhimanu all at once. Abhimanu was fighting with 7 great warriors. Abhimanu was standing on ground and was unarmed but still 7 great warriors on their chariot kept attacking him.

Now comes the cruelty. Those warriors didn't give Abhimanu an easy death. They kept attacking slowly to make his death eally painful.

And in the end Shri Krishna advised Arjuna to do tit for tat. Just like Karna attacked Abhimanu while he was unarmed and standing on ground, Shri Krishna asked Arjuna to kill Karna the same way and that will be Dharma.

1 year 10 months ago

Lessons grasped from this blog

1) Do not nurture hate. Use it if it's there but before using it one must be righteously clear that such hate is not self-nurtured.
2) Use intelligence always. Intelligence will pay off in the long run.

4 years ago

Karna couldnt come to terms with the reality. Somewhere it felt hypocritical to him that his ability should not be accepted only because he was a Suta Putra and this is what got him rebelling. He was rejected in most places by the esteemed ones and this triggered everything that followed. Yes, after Krishna reveals his reality, he feels he has come too far to go back, and I guess that changed everything about Mahabharat. His indebtedness to his friend Duryodhana took the better of him. I guess being the average simple human that I am, my heart goes out to him and he still remains my hero from Mahabharat.

2 years 9 months ago

Thanks for the wonderful article Sathguru. It gave me another perspective on mahabarath again. And in a nutshell what I understand is 'Society might be unfair to you, just hold on and give them back a smile'. You have a great social responsibility so you might have told like that. We respect that.
But please don't make Karna's death happened as a result of not doing right things. People do right things, they do wrong things. Even from Pandavas side , they did lot of wrong things. Here the point is not about the weightage of wrong things we do or number of wrong things we do. Its just that, life is a random event like meteoroids collision in space. Karna died - he just died no matter what he did or how much good aspects he did. Abhimanyu died - he just died , that's it ! Nothing relates to nothing. But if this

3 years 8 months ago

karma concept is trash???

God allow such things to happen??? No.

Did krishna said that war is a good thing? definitely not. he wants dharma to rule the world and the dharma here is peace. not doing violence to womens.

moral : if a great queen suffered from this violence, what happen to ordinary humans? Thats why mahabharat started. God wants no one to do that cruel things.

Do right things and right things will happen to you!!! yes true.

Kunthi did one single mistake in her life so she suffered for saving her son but she couldn't do that.

moral here is one single bad thing also will give bad.

2 years 5 months ago

So it is fair to adopt unfairness towards people who were unfair once towards you.
Who will teach forgiveness?

4 years 2 months ago

really enjoyed reading the article ! there is also one point i would like to make here. Read this or heard this from somewhere, even Duryodhana had good qualities which is not spoken most of times. It was Duryodhana's materials what Karna who is known for his charitable nature was contributing. Never did Duryodhana claimed his name for Karna's charitable actions. So, everyone in life has some good and bad qualities, it is only the balance between the two decides which side you fall into.

2 years 11 months ago

Sadhguru i think society wasn't considered or focused on psychological conditions that time, its was all his karma now i don't know the lifestyle i got know right from my facial hair

1 year 6 months ago

Actually as per MK Ganguly also karna was far superior ,accepted karna lost in Virat war but the texts clearly says Arjuna had the help of Vishwakarma's illusions ,in Draupadi swayamvara it was inconclusive as karna retreated not out of Arjuna overpowering him but because he feared the wrath of Brahmins and mainly because he knew it was wrong ,at the Gandharva karna did retreat but he came back at the late hours and Bori and even KMG says karna was drinking something and was so probably intoxicated ,this is why he vowed to never drink wine after his Digvijaya and 13 face offs you say of is not mentioned in any MB so calling Arjuna far superior is wrong !

3 years 10 months ago

Life/existence is fair , but Krishna was not, hope you read Mahabharata with no bias towards good and bad and then relate the stories!! Also remember the victors of a battle become gods/good and the opposites are well known to you!!

2 years 9 months ago

IF jesus can come out of virgin womb why cannot karna come out of a Star.

3 years 8 months ago

karna has taken side of Adharma in Mahabharata.So he got his result.

2 years 5 months ago

When there is no alternative, it choice. Then word like racism etc has no significance.

4 years 2 months ago

Thanks for this lovely post Sadhguru. I've always been a Karna fan and because of that I could not understand Krishna and his way at all. The right and wrong judgement stopped me from seeing what was the real truth. This blog really opened my eyes.. its all in us after all, ~ to stay in bitterness or to be in happiness.

Pranaams

2 years 11 months ago

Ethics, ritousness and morality are very fundamental values for a human being and a mature society. Ever since I have started meditating though, I see all this talk about non-duality which makes sense but sometimes meditators behave inappropriately, naively or unethically and since they don't believe in morality as such, they think that it's fine. Somewhere a proper balance between the two is required. Your conciousness and sense of presence can sometimes be ok with sheepishly running away from situations, yet with ethics and ritousness you would stand up and fight. I would like to hear something about this. You might be a warrior and your society might need you but you will avoid conflicts for the sake of peace. Where is the line between ritouesness and peace?

1 year 6 months ago

Well Arjuna did kill so many Nagas at khandiva in cold blood ,it's the only reason ashwasena entered Karna's quiver and nagas weren't just animals because Arjuna even married one ,Arunachala literally slit Ashwasena's mother in 2 parts and when the kid ashwasena was fleeing he was cursed to never achieve glory !

3 years 10 months ago

everytime i hear about karna from someone ... its a different story.
he was a true human. the best warrior.
he defeated every pandava and then spared their lives. he spared arjuna's life also just coz the sun had set. now tell me - "what he gets in return? a fraud ridden death." where is ur concept of 'karma' here?
had it not been for fraud tactics of lord krishna karna was absolutely undefeatable.

2 years 9 months ago

If you were to go back a thousand years ago and tell people at that time that you fly on aeroplanes, use Apple Iphones to call or listen to music, drive cars 100 km/h, etc, etc...people at that time will think that you are either mad or stricken with delusion. Similarly what seems impossible now (or are called "myths"), would certainly have been possible several thousand years ago. Perhaps, they are even possible now, but we just don't know how to materialize those things. Take this example. Cell phone connectivity is possible through electromagnetic waves, which always existed, but just that we have enough knowledge now to figure out how things work. So don't dismiss things that you may not understand as 'fictional stories'.

3 years 8 months ago

Karna, to me is a man with a lot of good qualities but turned out to be conflicting mainly due to these very qualities. On the one hand he pledged loyalty to Duryodhana and it was his duty to defeat the Pandavas which he could have done by defeating and killing them, he refused to do so because of his promise to Kunti. He very well knew he was being tricked into gifting his armour yet he still choose to do so. A good friend should have guided Duryodhana on the right path yet he chose to play along though he knew it was wrong and later tried to rectify the mistakes like in the case of Ashwattama's torture and Karna killing him to put him out of his misery. But what's done is done and nothing could have changed the course of the war. These are just a few instances which show him to be conflicting in deeds and thoughts. Yet as a person he had one quality that put him on a par with the greats at that was he played fair.

2 years 5 months ago

I admire him he was denied opportunities slyly but he was strong and lord krishna used treachery to kill him .

4 years 2 months ago

I think karna's character is best portrayed in Mrityunjay - he, in my opinion, was the most complex character (barring Bhisham, I think he was the greatest warrior)

2 years 11 months ago

Why does Karna have to be labelled as wrong? He is the strongest underdog. The one person who has faced more injustice than anyone! And he does not deserve to be thought of as a negative person.

However, what the above article says is that he was destroyed not because of the society's injustice toward him, but because of the hatred that he had nurtured within him as a reaction to the injustice meted out to him.

I still feel so bad for this hero, who could have eclipsed all the others. May the future not blame him for the mistakes which he made, but bring out the other side of Karna as well.

I also want to ask that were the Pandavas perfect in their behaviour with Karna? Was the society perfect in its treatment to Karna? Does a human being not have the choice to pick his side and choose to react in his own way to the situation? Maybe that's what Sadhguru is trying to teach us, that we do have the choice and all that matters is to make the right choice.

But there's another point now. Now that we know that we must make the right choice, let's make a choice to not blame the person for what he has been portrayed to be, let's make a choice to criticize both the Kauravas and Pandavas equally, let's make a choice to question Shri Krishna's ways of winning the war as well! I still wonder in my heart, why did Shri Krishna have to cheat and win the war if everything in his side was so perfect? Why did he not let Arjun and Karna fight fair?

And how is Arjun right? He was also an active participant in the move to kill Karna! After all, he is one who shot the arrow, Shri Krishna was only advising him on what to do. But even he had a choice, his conscience was also equally closed or whatever to do what he did next! Had he been strong, he could have resisted and said let's have a fair game and it's okay if Karna wins! Why didn't he?

Enough said! I just can't stand the way in which Karna decayed throughout his entire life. True, the Mahabharat could have been something else!

1 year 6 months ago

You are absolutely right but now a days some Dharmic Arjuna fans state that karna Krishna meeting is an interpolation ,suddenly everything good related to Karna is interpolated on a later date to glorify him ,I am like out of all the warriors in Mahabharata why is only karna getting glorified ? And many of these so called interpolation are even mentioned in the the most authentic of text which is BORI (which as made after more than 50 years of research) so it's really hard to believe that some brahmins and sutas who were soul possessors of the knowledge of Mahabharata would glorify a villain supposedly ,the annals of BORI also mention that Draupadi vastraharan is an interpolation because all other instances mention only draupadi getting dragged by dusasana ,even Krishna during Karna's final moments only mention about his silence when Draupadi was dragged but what can we do ,the social media like quora to even this site is filled with Arjuna fans or Krishna bhakts that all of them are spewing against karna either subtly or directly !

3 years 10 months ago

Nicely put. Just wish to disagree where it says " It is only individual human beings who try to judge you as good and bad. Existence never judges because it is not written anywhere that one thing is good and some other thing is bad." Any soul's Existence be it a human or any living being is based on Karma. And by the Law of Karma each act or thought is either good or bad and the soul in each birth reaps the fruits . Society just acts according to the flow of Time (Kaal) where judgement is based on where the flow has meandered but judgement of Karma is always universal in any time and space. Karma is always fair and it does not have a grey area. It is either good or bad and Laws of Karma are written to be either good or bad.

2 years 8 months ago

I completely agree with u..we criticize reservation but considering the height of injustice and social evils like caste system that prevailed and is still prevailing,giving reservation to the classes who have been ignored in every field...who did not have any basic rights is completely justified
These social evils completely deteriorated the confidence,morality and efficiency of the so-called low born classes....Even the great personalities like karna and dont forget Ekalavya too who could not escape these bull shit social system and despite having great potential could not reach to the position where they should have

3 years 5 months ago

This whole article by Mr. Sadguru seems utterly ridiculous to me. Here is y :

1.kunti throwing a new born baby in an air tight container into the mighty ganges was also DHARMA ?

2.kunti blatantly lying abou the existence of karna even when pandu begger the former to reveal if she had any sons....That was also dharma ?

3.arjuna after seeing Eklavya's talent bcame jelaous; went on to emotionally blackmail his guru to cut off the tribal boy's thumb...that was also DHARMA ?

4.drona rejecting karna on the basis of his mixed caste was also dharma ?

5.panchali after inviting Karna to the swayamawar rjecting him was also dhram ?

6.bheema comapring Karna to stray dog when duryodhan crowned Karma as Angraj was also dharma ?

7.Indra piercing Karna's thigh in the form of an insect so that Karna will b cursed was also dharma ?

8.5 men lusting after 1 woman & consorting with her later, was also dharma ?

9.the very 'dharmik' arjuna referring to his wife as bhiksha, was dharma ?

10.Gambling was also dharma ?

11.Gambling ur kingdom, subjects, 'wife' etc too was dharma ????

12.When others insulted ur so called wife, keeping quiet was also dharma ???

13.Again when keechak molested panchali, 'dharmaraj' said tob quiet & deal with it....this was also dharma ?

14.Killing every single kuru warrior thru cheating & then to call it dharma was also dharma ??

15.krishna, kunti who threw away karna a a baby went to him just to emotonally balckmail & to save her so called legitimate sons...that was also dharma ?

16.indra again went to beg Karna's armour away from & akrna despite knowing indra's garbage attitude gave away his impenetrable armour...

so Karna was the adarmi. the likes of kunti, pandavas, draupadi, krishna etc bcame dharmiks !!! If it is so, then i would rather chose the side of Adarmik Karna & Kauravas. Besides, history is written by winners........ I can endlessly add more ''dharmik'' acts of pandavas, kunti, draupadi & krishna here but some people, like the author, is myopic to the core. So no matter what i write, people like the 'writer' will fail to c the truth.

2 years 5 months ago

Yes, it's very fair to adopt to unfairness to neutralize those who are psychopathic criminals. God Rama killed Bali by hiding from him as he was walking on wrong path. Also Krishna adopted to Adharma to kill Adharmi people but still he is considered God because his intentions were to form righteous Dharmic environment.

4 years 2 months ago

If anyone is loyal to a political party in this country and that party is doing all crooked plans to spoil the nation, standing for that party is a foolish thing. Only arrogant fools support worst administration.

2 years 11 months ago

In my eyes, he is a hero, but a hero gone wrong. One who goes to fight, ought to do it for the right reasons. He did go to fight, for all the wrong reasons and that is clear to anyone who reads the Mahabharat.

3 years 10 months ago

The last part of the article seems so predictable - 'Do the right thing'. Dear Author- have you ever wondered the difference between gods and humans. Humans DO NOT always do the right thing. That does not mean they are bad and deserve the worst. The biggest reason why Mahabharata is the greatest epic from India(even more superior than ramayana) is because of these two characters - Karna and Bhishma. Mahabharata was probably the only ancient epic which showed the grey shades in humans. Just imagine if - Bhishma/Karna were clearly evil characters or if they had made the right decision and fought with Pandavas.. would mahabharata be as great? No.. The fact these were strong men of honourable character but fought from the wrong side is what takes this epic to a different level.

It is easy to sit behind a screen and type - Do the right thing whatever the society does to you but a completely different thing to implement it. Most of our actions are in effect reactions. Karnas frustration, his hatred, his misdeeds in the form of insulting draupadi and being silent on the laaksha griha conspiracy show the grey side of the character. However if you come to think of it, all he wanted was acceptance in the first place. After the taunts initially from pandavas for being a suta putra, did those negative feelings develop.

Denying a capable person a chance in life(committed by pandavas) and insulting a woman(which karna did) are two different things and neither is pardonable. But these instances show that neither pandavas nor karna did the right thing. His being part of conspiracies which duryodhana did to kill was surely more, but who motivated him to accept Duryodhanas friendship. All of you guys ask yourselves - when you are being rejected and mocked by a certain group and everyone and you know you are capable, there comes a person giving you the opportunity. Do you guys think and contemplate about dharma and what happens in future or be grateful to the person who gave you the opportunity.

There are 18 parvas in Mahabharata and the war ends in the 10th parva. in those Karna comes in maybe 4-5 parvas. Given his limited presence, has anyone wondered why he still the most loved character of the greatest epic and gets the sympathy. Because he deserves it..Karna was not a perfect person but he surely did have some great qualities which neither any of the pandavas and certainly none of the kauravas had. Even today his name is as famous / more famous than Arjunas. Even today many parents keep their childs name after him. And that dear author is a testimony that he did the right thing many times despite the tragedies.

2 years 8 months ago

It was also a fictional story created by his followers.Mother Marry was already married to Joseph during the Jesus birth. So Jesus was born through him. Actually before the Jesus birth Sent Joseph spend most of his time outside home, so Jesus followers made a fictional story that Joseph didn't have a sex with Marry and Jesus come out of virgin womb

3 years 5 months ago

completely agree with u. I feel this dharma thing was invented by krishna just to hide the cruelties commited by pandavas in the war. no other epic, gives this much prominence to fake dharma. Karna's life is the tragic example for this. he was punished for others' crimes.

2 years 5 months ago

This argument is put forwards by Islamist. They consider all Idol worshiper as Psychopathic criminals. They are following all in human and unfair act to kill the psychopaths. Even if they do follow all the unfairness, Islamic people call them Martyrs and worship them.

But this is not the absolute truth. It is like some people call Robihood and god sent angel.

4 years 2 months ago

One mistake, 10 years to recover..how true!!!. Genius.

2 years 11 months ago

I don't know about you, but it seems to me that what the author is trying to demonstrate is that an individual can have great qualities, great virtues, and act right in many instances and situations, but that those same qualities and virtues and the merit of great actions, get wasted down the abyss of perdition if that individual adheres to vice, Only the fittest can enter heaven, and that is why, out of the five brothers, only Dharmaraja makes it to the very end. When you find a gold nugget, it comes with impurities, and those impurities must be removed in order for the gold in the nugget to be considered pure. Only so can it be considered 24K gold, other than that, it has a lower value, anywhere from 6k to 24k. If Karna was a gold nugget, the fact that he sided with the very epitome of selfishness, makes him unfit to be 24k gold. In other words, he wasn't pure and he did not achieved entrance to heaven. Arjuna was human too, and he wasn't pure, but he often sided with the good, and always ready to do what his good Lord told him to do. That's where grace comes from. Even if a person isn't fit, but is willing to surrender to a higher authority, for the good of the world, then grace gets showered upon him. If it makes sense to you of course.