Perhaps what I love the most about Mahabharata is the flawed nature of all its characters. Their grey features. Their is no cut-to-cut definition of dharma or ‘right’ in this text, for every circumstance, action and event has an indispensable backstory to it. And when you take all factors into consideration, there’s hardly any space for the judgement of who’s right and who isn’t. Amidst the throng of characters and the ocean of their flaws, there are five most dearest to that lord of Dwarka. In order to understand the Mahabharata as it is perhaps meant to be understood, one must firmly keep in mind the hypothesis that Krishn was the right-est of them all. When I see myself losing faith in the Pandavas (which is only natural because they are indeed too flawed to be anyone’s or any book’s heroes), I borrow some of Krishn’s faith in them. In time, if you keep reading, the hypothesis will turn out to be a self-fulfilling prophecy.
For Yuddhisthir was a year older than the eldest seed
in Dhristrashtra’s field, Duryodhana, the incorrigible.
Driven by envy and supported by Shakuni’s greed,
the Kauravas committed crimes, innumerable and abominable.
Little did anyone know, there existed another one
who’s claim to the throne was the strongest.
From the Surya himself, Kunti gave birth to her first son
Karna, the one born with the armour of invincibility on his breast.
Karna was born to an unmarried Pritha;
Afraid of being an unwed mother, she abandoned the boy.
Found he was, by a charioteer named Adhiratha
Who accepted and adopted him as a son with joy.
This fateful son of Adhiratha, ignorant about his origins, was never prepared to be
a charioteer for life. He persevered to learn art of war.
From the eternal warrior, Parshurama he mastered archery
By pretending to be a Brahim: a ruse, he later got cursed for.
For the Kauravas and the Pandavas, on the other hand,
Bheeshm chose the ultimately capable son of Bhardwaja as their teacher.
Under his instruction the progeny of Pourava outshined princes from all other lands
But it was the devoted Arjun who excelled as Drona had promised, all creatures.
While returning from Parshurama’s ashram, the dejected
Karna heard of an event where the Hastinapur princes were showcasing their skills
The charioteer’s son rushed forth to challenge the famed warrior Arjun, but was rejected
For in those days duels could be fought between equals.
To solve this predicament, Duryodhana chivalrously crowned
Karna, the king of Anga. But the sun had set and the duel was suspended.
Nevertheless, from that day on in Karna Duryodhana found
the most loyal supporter he could have befriended.
As the Pandavas grew older, so did their valour and fame
Much to the chagrin of their paternal cousins.
The Kauravas devised endless plans to defeat, diminish and maim
the seemingly limitless glory of the Pandu’s sons.
The blind king’s love for Duryodhana only blinded him more
and so did his affection was the throne.
Even when Duryodhana sought to kill his cousins, all the king did was ignore.
Avarice had turned his reasoning to stone.
With the help of Karna and Sakuni, Duryodhana gifted the Pandavas a palace
made of wax. And in the middle of the night, he set it alight.
It was by Vidura’s timely intervention that the Pandavas escaped Duryodhana’s malice.
They think it wiser to go into hiding than rebel or pick a fight.
Disguising themselves as poor hermits, Kunti and her sons
went from village to village while Kauravas rejoiced a false victory.
Wherever they went, the brave Pandavas brought relief to the helpless ones
thus, bringing goodwill to their ancestors and their history.