Mahabharata Stories: 8 – The Sun’s Brilliant Son

When we dole out to a beggar, we think it would earn us blessings and a place in the higher realms. Some among us give a part of their earnings in charity. Yet others dedicate some time and energy for the betterment of human life. There are some who dedicate their whole life for such charitable works and even among them, it is only a few who do it without thoughts of selfish gains, however elevated their thoughts may be.

For, to give what one has is one thing while it is a totally different thing from giving it without any thought or attachment for it. It is but mortal to have attachments: the ones who transcend such attachments are the ones who attain immortality. It is these immortals who show wretched mankind the way in times of adversity and hardships be they physical or otherwise.

Among those in the Kaurava camp, there is only one who stood by Duryodhana’s principles yet is etched in our minds – the unfortunate, great Karna. He, like his father the Sun, knew only to give and to give always and never once did he receive. But the Sun too could get scorching. In its own blinding light, the Sun fails to see the damage it causes. That was how Karna was. Nevertheless, the Sun stands alone as the life-giver and sustainer. Even in the darkness of all things dark, the Sun shines alone and bright!

suns son

This story from the great epic is one picked from Karna’s path to immortality: Arjuna’s envy of Karna’s reputation as the one who was unparalleled in charity reached a boil and he complained to Sri Krishna about it. In order for Arjuna to see Karna’s greatness for himself, the Lord created two great mountains of gold and gave one to Arjuna and the other to Karna and asked them to give these away by nightfall. Arjuna began breaking large chunks out of his mountain and giving them away to anyone who came by. Soon the news spread and there was a serpentine queue to get gold from Arjuna. But even by evening Arjuna was unable to give away even a small fraction of his mountain and the difference was there for him to see. For Karna simply had given his mountain to a wayfarer and gone away!

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