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‘Mahabharata’, not only the word but even the volumes weigh tremendously maintaining the acme of being the largest epic on this earth. The pious epic has been teaching great lessons of life to society not only in the past but also in the present and coming future. Out of its manifold learning outcomes, let us learn about how Mahabharata teaches the values and qualities that an ideal student should possess. As the title manifests, it is very well scripted in our Vedas about the significance of truthfulness which is also reflected in the episodes of Mahabharata. Let us learn from it.
Karna, the great warrior son of Lord Suryanarayana and Kunti has always been a centre of sympathy and respect that he has earned by his dark fate and Karma respectively. Even though an absolute Kshatriya by birth but unfortunately, he was called as ‘suta-putra’, a comparatively lower caste in those times. Right from his childhood he aspired to excel in the art of Archery. Initially, he approached the veteran in this field, Guru Dronacharya – the educator of Kauravas and Pandavas. But because Karna did not belong to the royal family, he was ineligible for the Gurukul of Drona. Rejection on this basis led Karna to lie and he introduced himself as a Brahmin before Lord Parshurama who was strict enough to select his disciples. With a first step of falsehood Karna anyways started his training of archery and Parshurama being a responsible teacher taught him the best tactics of warfare and shaped him completely. Karna’s caliber was on its peak and the great archer was an emerging threat to Arjuna. During this period, one day Parshurama was having a nap on Karna’s lap and Karna was looking after his Guru’s comforts for a sound sleep. Suddenly, Karna noticed a big-bee on his lap which gradually started biting him with his sharp and poisonous sting. He was in great pain but still keeping calm he tolerated it so that his quick reaction or any physical movement might not disturb his Guru’s sleep. But slowly the blood started oozing out from his thigh and it reached Parshurama’s head, hair and face, due to which the Guru stood up with a disgusting gesture. Parshurama at once recognised that this warrior level tolerance is not a sign of a Brahmin who is generally considered to be soft at heart. With anger in his eyes, Lord Parshu raised his axe and asked Karna to reveal his true testimonials to which he came to know about the untruthfulness of Karna. Finding Karna’s dishonesty, Parshurama cursed him that the day or the most crucial moment when Karna will badly need his ‘Dhanur-vidya’ (science of archery) for his survival, the science will deceive him and it will be totally wiped out of his mind. He will forget all the lessons of archery, all the tricks and techniques, all the secrets and traits, when he will need them the most. And the doomsday arose on the battlefield of Kurukshetra during the final phase of war against Arjuna. A perilous impact of a single lie spoken before the teacher and Karna had to lose his life.
So, if we look at Karna as a student who sincerely wanted to learn something, we may think to pardon his one lie against his desire for true education. But when ‘Karma’ plays its role, nor does it give you anything extra nor does it snatch away the fruits destined to you. This story teaches us the value of honesty as one of the significant qualities to adhere to as a student. Not only to be honest with your parents and friends but one should be honest with your teachers, your educators, your Guru. Even though a student’s dedication towards his work is at its extreme, the quality of being honest is a must, so that the journey of education remains thoroughly pious.
Note : The above article nowhere supports or claims any kind of discrimination or superiority of any caste or creed, it’s just a narration of already established mythological content with a sincere agenda of learning something.
Dr. Vibha Kalayia, Assistant Professor, Textile & Knit Design, School of Fashion Design, Unitedworld Institute of Design (UID)
Disclaimer: The opinions / views expressed in this article are solely of the author in his / her individual capacity. They do not purport to reflect the opinions and/or views of the College and/or University or its members.