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How To Choose Friends,a moral from story of a legend

Updated on December 4, 2015
Value of Friendship
Value of Friendship

What Friendship is all about

We had many films and stories, to let us know about FRIENDSHIP and FRIENDS. But, until now we don't understand the actual definition of FRIENDSHIP. We can say about Parents,Siblings etc. But when we need to speak about FRIENDSHIP, we don't find exact definition or meaning.Everyone has their own definition of it.

  • Sometimes, it happens due to loneliness,when we are all alone and we need someone to share our thoughts or feelings or someone to guide us when we are in a dilemma.
  • Sometimes, we may get fascinated cause someone may have the qualities we aspire for and we feel like watching them or following them.
  • Sometimes, it may be because the families have been maintaining this bond for years and it is being continued as a routine.
  • And sometimes, it may be because it has become a fashion to have a list of above 100 names on the friends list as in the social networking services.

No one knows, who the other person is, but adds them to the list only because they have sent for a request.

But, what happens when a person has no Friends at all ! Imagine yourself all alone, without any one to listen to you, share with you or ask about you.What would happen ?
This article is all about a person who faced such a situation and was all in vain for a person to care of ,share with and all he wanted was a FRIEND.
Let's know what happened to him and who he met with at last.

Mythology Speaks

Most of our scriptures are great sources for knowing about bonds and emotions.The characters are in thousands and thousands.Every character has got a different personality.

Each one teaches us of a moral with an experience in the story.These experiences are so intellectually narrated that even now, we come across such situations and we find it sometimes hard to take decisions and just recall the characters of the stories to opt for something better.

But, there are also certain characters by which we are moved.We can't imagine how difficult it might be for them to live their lives in spite of having extraordinary talents and a superb personality.

Yes ! its none other than KARNA the heroic warrior who was gifted with ornaments and an Armour by birth.The man who was equally talented as that of the other heroes of the Epic Mahabharata . But, the only wrong decision he had taken was in selecting a FRIEND.

Birth of Karna

Karna was the son of Kunti from the Sun God.

The story is that Kunti, while still very young, had occasion to serve sage Durvasha. She looked after him with great dedication. Durvasha was highly pleased. He gave Kunti a chant and said that whichever God she would think of after reciting the mantra, would appear before her and bless her with a son endowed with his own godly qualities and went away.

Later, Kunti wanted to test the mantra and so, she chanted it for the Sun God who appeared before her with a beautiful baby boy in his arms. Kunti got scared and wanted the Sun God to go away, but he pleaded his helplessness against the power of mantra. He, however assured Kunti that even after being blessed with a son, she would still remain a virgin and would not have to suffer any opprobrium.

Thus,Karna remained in the heart of Kunti but not in her life.She had to forget him,for the sake of the society but her conscious never accepted this and he was always in her heart as her own child or the eldest one !

And so the baby boy was none other than "Karna" who was born with kavach and kundal (armor which would make him invincible). Kunti was nevertheless afraid of social stigma and therefore she abandoned the child. She put Karna in a basket and placed the same in the Ganges river, the basket was seen by Adhirath, a charioteer, who had no issues. He picked up the baby and brought him up. That is why Karna is also sometimes referred to as Sarathiputra.

This is all about the birth of Karna. Here,we need to learn about one thing that, though he was a gifted boy, he was not lucky enough to live his life as it ought to be. He couldn't enjoy the riches or obtain the love of his mother.

Thus, his passions were completely against his surroundings.Fortunately he had very loving parents but he couldn't do anything against their willing, though he was passionate about learning archery, he couldn't do that as he was the son of a charioteer, and he would only be a charioteer in future.


Curse of Parashuram

However his passion led him to go against the rules and Karna was keen to acquire the Brahmastra mantra from the great teacher Parshuram. But as Parshuram gave instructions to Brahmins (the priestly tribe) only, he disguised as a Brahmin and beseeched Parshuram to accept him as a disciple.

Parshuram accepted him as such and started giving him instructions. One day when Parshuram was resting on Karna's lap, it so happened that a bee stung Karna on the lower portion of his thigh. It was very painful and he started bleeding. However, fearing that if he moved his legs, he would awaken Parshuram, he did not move at all and continued to suffer. When Parshuram woke up, he saw Karna bleeding. He asked, Son, tell me truthfully who you are?

A Brahmin cannot suffer so much physical pain. Only a kshattriya (the warrior tribe) can endure so much discomfort. Karna was obliged to disclose his identity. Parshuram was greatly annoyed because he was a sworn enemy of Kshattriyas. He therefore cursed Karna that as he had learnt through deceit, he shall forget the skill which Parshuram had taught him at the crucial juncture.

Again, he was unlucky to be cursed by his own guru, from whom he learned the skill with passion.He couldn't use the knowledge which he had acquired.But he never gave up.He kept on trying his best, to learn whatever he could and be the most knowledgeable and powerful warrior of those times.

Thus, he kept on competing with himself to learn more, though he had no one to compete with or no one to teach him.He kept on putting his best, improving himself day by day,and that was how he became a true warrior and the best archer, and thus proved that we can definitely improve ourselves if we keep competing with ourselves than with others.

He kept on mastering his passion by worshipping the Sun God who is believed to be the only one who is visible to us as God.He is considered to be eternal and true.Thus, Karna kept on worshiping Sun who was actually his father.

Karnaprayag is believed to be the place where Karna of Mahabharata worshipped the Sun God. The ancient temple dedicated to Goddess Uma and the mythological importance of the town attracts tourists from all over the country.

Friendship with Duryodhana

Duryodhana and his 99 brothers were jealous and sworn enemies of their cousins, the Pandava brothers (King Panadava's sons). Meanwhile Duryodhan, the son of Pandus brother (and now king) Dhritrashtra patronised Karna and made him the king of Angadesh. Duryodhan, in fact, built him up as a counterweight to Arjuna.

Duryodhana was the only person who accepted Karna as a Friend,Guide and an able warrior in spite of the continuous advise by his gurus and other elders.He made him the king of Angadesh only to have an equally skillful opponent for the pandavas whom he avenged since his childhood.

Karna was made a pawn, by Duryodhana ,lest he never dared to fight against Pandavas as there was no one as skillful in archery as Arjuna, in the Kauravas to fight against Pandavas.As Duryodhana was in search for such a warrior who could challenge Pandavas, he found Karna full of humiliation. This humiliation and rejection faced by Karna was actually a blessing for Duryodhana else Karna wouldn't have joined hands with Duryodhana if he had all the pleasures of life.

Karna could only feel that Duryodhana was able to see his tears and understand his humiliation and thus, was too affectionate towards him. He was full of gratitude for him as there was no one who could feel his humiliation and give him the required support and thus valued his friendship more than anyone else.

Thus, Karna's humiliation and Duryodhana's hatred for Pandavas were the main cause for their Friendship which were both negative thoughts which ultimately didn't give fruitful results.

Bitterness of the Tragic Hero

Karna is the quintessential tragic hero. All throughout his life he had suffered rejection. He was abandoned as a baby by his mother, he was rejected by Dronacharya, he was rejected by Draupadi and was denied the most coveted throne in the world although he was the rightful heir to it.

These were the main reasons which made him join hands with Duryodhana and featured him to be a negative character. He would have changed Duryodhana's attitude towards Pandavas,as he knew that whatever Duryodhana was doing was wrong and was only due to hatred.But , he was full of gratitude for Duryodhana and blindly followed his words.

He was too Loyal towards Duryodhana, which should never be a part of Friendship.
Gratitude towards a person, may be expressed by showing him the right path at the time of requirement but it need not be shown through the loyalty towards the person even if the other one is being a pessimist.

Karna kept on supporting Duryodhana instead of keeping quiet when it was needed.His silence may have changed the attitude of Duryodhana but he couldn't do that as he valued his friendship.

He always felt that leaving Duryodhana or not supporting him, was equal to betraying him or his friendship which he valued more than the path taken by Duryodhana, though he knew that it was a wrong path!

Friendship should never be misunderstood as substitute for rejections or humiliation.One should be wise enough to judge if a person is being supportive or friendly only for the qualities we bear or for some selfish needs.

If at any moment, we find the person to be selfish, we can try to change his attitude else we can just move on as there is more wisdom in stepping apart from a selfish friend than being loyal to him.

Thus, I conclude that, there is a lot to learn from the friendship of Karna-Duryodhana that life may never always give us positive results.There may be rejections but we need not show the resentment but be bold enough to accept the circumstances and be wise enough in selecting our friends.

As said by a well known preacher, Friendship should be a helping hand which covers the body when an outfit drops down suddenly.The hands cover the part of the body instead of the outfit which is an involuntary action.

This is how a Friend is said to be helping the other one at times of risk.Though both Karna and Duryodhana were very good friends, and trusted each other more than themselves,they would have been followed by others if the path taken by them was not wrong.The wrong path taken by them and the negative attitude made them good friends but not good individuals.


Whose friendship would you be inspired by ?

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