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Wednesday April 20 2005 11:49 IST

By Karmayogi

Karna was the eldest of the Pandavas. He never knew it until Krishna told him the fact. On hearing it, he said that if Yudhisthira had known this fact, he would never sit on the throne. He was Suryaputra, born to Kunti, abandoned at birth, taken by a charioteers wife and brought up. His one urge was to know who his mother was. He used to see a bright sun in his minds eye. His social position was precarious. It was too much inner talent buried in a low social position. Kunti bore the child to a god. She bore all her children to various gods. Society would accept children born after wedlock, not before that. It was a period when society was all, caste was paramount. The inner urge was burning in Karna to learn archery. In the bitter world he lived in - it is still so - he knew he would not be taught unless he lied. He also knew that no knowledge was worth its name if acquired falsely. Born to an unknown mother and to a God, it was his life-long struggle.

As the guru was sleeping with his head on Karnas lap, a wasp bit Karna and was boring a hole into his thigh. Blood was flowing. As the blood flowed out, his mind was on his truthfulness. In fact, the wasp had bitten Karna just at the moment he began to doubt his integrity in lying to his guru. Doubt attracts destruction. The thought was raging in his mind. Being a kshatriya, it was possible for him to disregard the pain of such a poisonous wasp bite. The stream of blood touched the body of the guru and he woke up. In a trice, he knew Karna was a kshatriya. He cursed his beloved disciple that at the most momentous time of his life, all that he had learnt would desert his memory. All the valuable knowledge so painstakingly accumulated was now in vain. In this world of human affairs, it does not matter what you are, but it DOES matter what you appear to be. Even the gods born as avatars on earth are bound by the laws of man.

Society was the veritable GOD in those times, and even now it is so largely. Society first, society last was the ruling law. That was why Kunti had abandoned the child, though born of a god. Society, in that respect, was more powerful than God. Even today, society retains that power in a great measure. A Karna could not make it against that society. But Man is superior to society. Should he aspire to spirituality, he must be able to rise above society and accomplish. Mother says if you DECIDE to do what is spiritually right and rely on Her, She will protect you against that all-powerful society. She tells us the same thing about Truth. If you decide NOT to lie, I will not give you any occasion to lie. She never gives it, unless we are attracted to falsehood. Mother offers us a protection which Karna, the son of Surya, was not given by his own father. Mother is the mother of the gods. She is spiritually compassionate. In Her Grace, She offers us what is not on earth now.


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