On Diwali, gamblers take the “auspicious” name of Yudhisthir before starting the game. How this patron of gamblers who told lies throughout his life has come to be known a s dharmaraj (Protector of religion) and how Karna, who did not even hesitate to give away his life in charity has been deprived of honour, are questions requiring careful consideration.
Ironically, historians, writers of Purans and great poets have ignored Karna, who imbued the nation with enthusiasm, strength, self – respect and love for truth, and have established Yudhisthir as a pillar of the nation by showering upon him epithets like Dharmaputra (Son of Religion) and Dharmaraj (Ruler of Religion).
Our ancient guides inadvertently, if not deliberately, declared as ideal men certain persons whose charachters were no better than a false weight or measure. Yudhisthir is one of them.
Poets Exalted the Honest People
In the begining of Hindu culture, poets exaplted the honest people. The portrayls of Harish Chandra and Ranti Deva are based on their deeds. But later poets who enjoyed the patronage of king stopped praising justice and virtue and made the exaltation of the acts – whether good or bad, reasonable or unreasonable – of their patrons the sole object of their life. It is on account of their insincirity that our nation is facing a crisis today.
Yudhisthir, the hero of Mahabharata, was an illegitimate child of Pandu. Not only this , he lacked honesty and truth. Karna was born to Kunti, when she was Virgin. Karna dedicated his whole life to charachter- building and on the basis of his supreme manliness tried to become the best man in his life. He left an everlasting impression on the minds of arrogant persons by saying – “You are born in the family of Gods, but i have only my manliness.”
Yudhisthir lost in gambling not only the whole kingdom but also Draupadi, the joint wife of his brothers. This proves that he was a confirmed gambler. Krishna saved draupadi from disgrace but never reprimanded Yudhisthir for his serious lapse.
It is said thatYudhisthir spoke only half a lie in his lifetime, when he manipuilated the cruel murder of Dronacharya by saying “Aswthama is killed in the battle – maybe a man or elephant.” But is that all. During their exile, he instructed draupadi and his four brothers not to divulge their identity or real names to King Virat. He also gave a false name, false caste and false profession to the king and repeated it again and again while training the king in the art of gambling.
Out of Shame
In fact Yudhisthir was not victorious in real sense of the term. The devastation wrought by the war put him to such a shame that he went quietly to the Himalayas to die there in snow. It was a refined form of suicide. When Rama left the royal palace to began his exile, all his subjects followed him, weeping bitterly. But the Pandavas were followed only by a dog. To satisfy the Pandavas, the poet-chroniclers named the dog as an incarnation of religion.
From his very childhood he was called the son of charioteer. This was disgraceful for him. In the atmosphere of inequality then prevailing Dronacharya could not train him in the science of Arms because he was not the prince. But Karna had inborn genius and natrul strength. In that caste ridden age he made parshuram teach him the science of arms and got through the test of Brahminism.
While Arjuna stood in the battle-feild maddened with the pride of his power and challenged the enemy soldiers, Karna accepted his challenge. Arjuna got frightened and to avoid battle insulted him by calling him sutputra, even then Kunti kept quiet.
Duryodhan who always recognised merit, at once declared Karna as a Ruler of Ang Pradesh. Karna felt obliged and always remained a true friend of Duryodhan throughout the life.
While dying, Karna said with Pride: “My Property was offered to the Brahmins and my Youth to my Wife. I have laid my life in the battlefeild for my master.”
At the instance of Krishna when Kunti, who had disgraced Karna to save her face, went to persuade him, he did not say a word about her evil deeds. He never held her responsible for all the disgrace that he sufferred, and assured her, that he will always remain the mother of 5 sons. Barring Arjuna, he promised not to kill any Pandava, and he spared Yudhisthir in the battlefeild. He fullfilled his promises even at the cost of his life.
What to talk of Beggars, Karna did not dissapoint the person who came to ask for his life. Indra, the king of perfidious gods who had molested even the wife of his teacher, disguised himself as a brahmin and came to Karna to beg for his Kawach (sheild) and Kundal (earrings). Before the arrival of Indra, his father, the Sun had forewarned him about the conspiracy and advised him not to part with the kawach and kundal. But Karna refused to accept his advice and said: “I would prefer death than dissapoint beggar at my door.”
The perfidious Indra came to his door and begged for his Kawach and Kundal. Karna exposed Indra but still took out the symbols of his life and gave them in charity to Indra.
When Krishna found Karna in trouble on the battlefeild he prompted Arjuna to attack. Violating all the rules of war, they attacked Karna who had no arms. When he reminded Arjuna about the rules, Krishna smiled misceviously and said: “Karna where were your rules when you attacked Abhimanyu who was plaved in a similar situation?”
Krishna’s subterfuge won. If he were alive today, we would have asked him: “Oh protector of religion, is this your definition of religion that whatever the Pandavas do is reliion and whatever the opponents do is irreligion? Do you incarnate to Establish such a mischevious religion? Listen Krishna, Abhimanyu was killed only after Bhishma was murdered fraudulently by your faction. When your favourite Arjuna was peirceing the body of Bhishma with a shower of arrows, while hiding behind shikandi, and whe the 80 year old Bhishma exposed you, you got him killed fraudulently. Religion was then cremated by you and your Pandavas. At tat time where were your religious discourse which you dilivered to Karna ?
It is mentioned in the samhitas that when Karna was lying wounded in the battlefeild, both Krishna and Arjuna went ot him disguised as Brahmins. Karna got hold of a stone, broke one of his gold teeth and gave it to them.
Even Krishna the patron of Pandavs has praised Karna, “Even Indra, who is equipped with the Thunderbolt, cannot kill Karna on the battlefeild. What to talk of others, even you and i with our gandeeva and sudarshan chakra cannot conquer him.”
What a pity that Krishna got such a great man killed fraudulently. Sanjay expressed his sorrow over his death in these words: “The divine tree for the beggars is broken today. Karna who was considered as a great man is killed today.”
How far is it justifiable to refuse to recognise Karna as an ideal charachter who was religion-incarnate, charitable, brave, true and firm, and to recognise Yudhisthir as an ideal charachter when he was a coward, meek and a liar?
Worst sort of Alliance
Krishna and the Pandavas present the worst sort of Alliance in that age. Persons with such weak charachters can never be called ideal man. On the other hand, Karna was great in all respects. He is the right person who should be our hero, ideal.
We can help the moral regenaration of our country only by recognising Karna as our Ideal charachter.
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