Hara Hara Shankara, Jaya Jaya Shankara

Hara Hara Shankara, Jaya Jaya Shankara

Monday, January 27, 2014

Who was Right??

Karna and Vibheeshana

Karna and Vibheeshana- Both characters of the Mahabharatha and Ramayan respectively are often topics of discussion. The discussion is always about who did right? Did Karna did the right thing by supporting Duryodhana given the fact that he got the status of a king from the latter. Or is what Vibheeshana did was right that he left his own brother to support his brother’s enemy Rama. Before we conclude, a small background of both.

Karna: He was the first son of Kunti. Born even before Kunti got married, she had to forgo him as she feared shame and infamy. Karna was brought up by a charioteer and hence came to be known to the world as a son of a charioteer. 

During an occasion when the princes of Hastinapur were showing off their valour, Karna challenged Arjuna for a fight. There, he was humiliated by Bheema saying that only equals could fight each other and that Karna was a “suta putra”. This insulted Karna. Duryodhana is a person who always looked to win over strong people to his side. Though he didn’t know Karna’s valour, the very fact that Karna challenged Arjuna was sufficient for him to understand the talent. He cleverly,  rather cunningly made Karna the king of Anga ( a small kingdom) and gave him name and status in society. It was for this single favour that Karna remained with Duryodhana till the end of his life.

On the other hand, Vibheeshana was the own brother of Ravana. Tough Ravana was evil, Vibheeshana was a great Vishnu bhakta. He advised Ravana several times about returning Sita to Rama and that Rama was Vishnu incarnate. Ravana refused to budge. Finally, when Ravana did not listen to him, he decided to desert his own brother and join hands with Rama. He left Ravana for good and later became the kind of Lanka.

So, who did the right thing? Karna who did not leave Duryodhana irrespective of what atrocities Duryodhana did or Vibheeshana who left his own brother,  a brother known for unrighteousness.
Now, on the face of it, it would seem that Karna did the right thing that he did not deceive Duryodhana, and gave a fitting return by pledging his life for his friend. And Vibheeshana deserted his very own brother for the sake of a kingdom.

It is true that one must not give up gratitude in life. We must always remember people who have helped us in times of distress. But karna’s big mistake was that in the name of gratitude, he supported all the atrocities of Duryodhana. He didn’t dare to oppose any of his friend’s acts. He didn’t bother to correct him when something wrong was done. A true friend is one who tells the right and wrong not minding the bitter words he may have to listen. He “supported” Adharma which is equivalent to “doing” Adharma. 

But even Bhishma, Kripa and Drona supported Duryodhana. Even though they did not support Duryodhana’s wrong doings, they fought for him. So, were they wrong too? In a way, yes. They also supported Adharma. But they were bound to the king and the kingdom and not to Duryodhana. All the above people were committed to save Hastinapur. The king and the kinddom had given them shelter, food and occupation. They, however, did not hesitate to try and correct Dhritarashtra. They did their best to avert a war. They did all that was possible to change Duryodhana but failed. Having failed, they resorted to fight for their king which was their dharma.  But Karna did not fight for the kingdom or the king, he fought for his friend which was again a mistake. Had Karna advised his friend, he would not have got so much of disgrace.

On the other hand, Vibheeshana was Ravana’s own brother. He had shared all the ups and downs of Ravana from childhood. But still, he had the courage to to leave Ravana to join Rama in the fight for dharma. He advised Ravana several times about the power of Rama and pleaded Ravana to leave Sita gracefully. But Ravana did not listen. In turn, he insulted Vibheeshana. Vibheeshana had no other option but to leave Ravana because supporting his brother would be like supporting Adharma. And being a staunch devotee of Vishnu, the best he could do was to leave Ravana and surrender unto Rama.

So, friends, at the face of it, we would definitely think that what Karna did was right. But with true analysis we would be happy to know and conclude that Vibheeshana was right.  Though Karna can be exalted as a good friend, he cannot be spoken in high esteem because he supported wicked Duryodhana who was the embodiment of cunningness and atrocity. In fact, Karna cannot be spoken of as a true friend too for the reasons already mentioned.

Adharma in any form must be condemned – even if it is your own kith and kin. We must never fear to speak out the truth. A wrong is a wrong and a right is a right. We cannot change positions for our convenience. And what is our dharma? Our dharma shastras have many rules laid down for us to follow which will make lives easier, happier, more contended and satisfying., It is up to us to take it or leave it. We in turn choose our mode of happiness – temporary or permanent. Some are not practical in today’s life. But we can definitely follow many of them which are not difficult and very much possible in our day today lives. The change should be in our minds.

Long live sanathana dharma!!

Ram Ram


  1. Well put and certainly very well written article
    I was impressed at the quality of this blog- You have articulated it very well.

  2. Unfortunately we seem to have more Karna's than the Vibheeshanas.
    Only if were taught to think of the difference between Dharma and Adharma - by giving such examples - then I think we can make a better judicious decision and follow the Dharma way of things.

  3. Hi we have moved recently to White House Apartments,RT Nagar. Woud like to know where you conduct Sloka Classes. Interested to join.

  4. The classes are conducted at my home E2-501. Pl call my extension -659 or my mobile - 9448718218 after 7pm.