Posted by Ray in ,

I have become a fan of Ramesh Menons' writing and I recently brought a few books written by him - Ramayana, Siva Purana and Bhagvata Purana. Currently I'm reading the second volume of The Mahabharata. There is only one character that seems to be more just than others. He is Karna.

The Kauravas:

Right from the day of the birth the Kauravas are portrayed in negative light. From the bad omens on the day of their birth to the enmity they develop with the Pandavas, you never get a good impression about the Kauravas. Perhaps, the one place where one might like Duryodhana is when he makes Karna the king of Anga. But we all know the motive behind it.

The Pandavas:

The Pandavas too have their own share of wrong-doings. killing of the Nishada women and her five sons in the Lac palace to deceive Duryodhana is unjustified. Also the insults that Arjuna throws at Karna during his one-on-one archery challenge with Karna made me feel for Karna.


So far the impression that I got about Karna was that he happens to be the most unfortunate character. The curse from Sage Parasurama was very harsh. So were the curses from the brahmana with the cow and BhoomaDevi. As Lord Krishna says Arjuna, Karna was killed atleast 6 times before he eventually dies at the hands of Arjuna.

The irony is that Karna should have been the actual king because he is the eldest son of Kunti devi. But fate can be cruel and he is the most unfortunate person in the whole story.

As I continue to read the book, I get a feeling that Lord Krishna sometimes was not just in his ways in dealing with the Kauravas. To me, Gandhis' concept of non-violence is much better than the means the Lord Krishna adopted.

So many questions keep popping. Why did Bheeshma, Dronacharya, Karna and a few other good people side with Duryodhana knowing that they would be fighting on the 'evil' side. But some guy in youtube gave a simple explanation. He says that the moral is that adharma (evil), no matter how well it is protected by the good (Bheeshma, Drona and Karna) will still be defeated and Truth will prevail at any cost (Krishnas' unjust means to defeat the Kauravas).

My friend Siva made an interesting observation. Nowhere in this book (or in other Mahabharata books) there is any mention of Radha. Not sure why.