Monday, March 16, 2015

The hero of Mahabharat: Karna

Among all the Amar Chitra Katha comics read in my childhood, my favorite one was that on Karna, perhaps because of his being an under-dog, his honesty and selflessness. Came across this story of his generosity and wanted to save it for a greater audience. Here it is:

Once Krishna and Arjuna were having a chat while walking towards a village. Arjuna wanted to know from Krishna why he thought Karna was a role model for all Danas (donations) and not Arjuna himself.
Krishna didn’t answer him straight away and thought a little demonstration would be the apt way to make him understand. Wanting to teach him an important lesson, Krishna snapped his fingers and came up with an idea.

Krishna came up with a challenge for both!

The mountains beside the path they were walking on turned into gold. Krishna said “Arjuna, distribute these two mountains of gold among the villagers, but you must donate every last bit of gold”.

Arjuna went into the village, and proclaimed he was going to donate gold to every villager, and asked them to gather near the mountain. The villagers sang his praises and Arjuna walked towards the mountain with a huffed up chest. For two days and two continuous nights Arjuna shoveled gold from the mountain and donated to each villager. The mountains did not diminish in their slightest.
Most villagers came back and stood in queue within minutes. After a while, Arjuna, started feeling exhausted, but not ready to let go of his ego just yet, told Krishna he couldn’t go on any longer without rest.

Krishna then called Karna. “You must donate every last bit of this mountain, Karna” he told him. Karna called two villagers. “You see those two mountains?” Karna asked, “those two mountains of gold are yours to do with as you please” he said, and walked away.

Arjuna sat dumbfounded and wondered ‘Why hadn’t this thought occurred to him?’.

And here’s the answer (and a great lesson)!
Krishna smiled mischievously and told him “Arjuna, subconsciously, you yourself were attracted to the gold, you regretfully gave it away to each villager, giving them what you thought was a generous amount. Thus the size of your donation to each villager depended only on your imagination. Karna holds no such reservations. Look at him walking away after giving away a fortune, he doesn’t expect people to sing his praises, he doesn’t even care if people talk good or bad about him behind his back.

That is the sign of a man already on the path of enlightenment.”.


Anonymous said...

Amazing. Well written. All d best.

Beautiful World said...

Loved the simplicity of the story and the depth of its meaning. Hence wanted to share.