The greatest war that the land had ever witness was over – the war of Mahabharat. All the great warriors had ascended to higher realms. Each of them were in a reflective space and were looking back at their own lives.
In one particular interaction between Krishna and Karna, Karna starts to say, “My mother left me the moment I was born. Is it my fault I was born an illegitimate child? I did not receive education from Dronacharya because he felt I was a non-Kshatriya. Guru Parashuram taught me, but then cursed me to forget everything I learnt, because he felt I was a Kshatriya. I killed a cow accidentally when I was practicing ‘Shabdavedi Vidya’ (the art of hitting a target by sound) and its owner cursed me that I will also die helplessly like the cow. I was disgraced in Draupadi’s Swayamvar. Even Kunti finally told me the truth of my birth only to save her other sons. Whatever I received in my life was actually through Duryodhana’s charity only. So how am I wrong in taking his side? My life was unfair and I did the best I could.”
Krishna smiled and said, “Karna, I was born in jail. Death was waiting for me even before my birth. The night I was born, I was also separated from my birth-parents.
From your childhood, you grew up listening to the sounds of swords, chariots, horses, bow and arrows, and were inclined for warfare. I grew up only among cowherds, cow-sheds, dung, and multiple attempts on my life even before I could walk. And I had neither the knowledge nor the army to fight my situation at that time. Instead, I heard people around claiming that I am the reason for all the problems in their village.
At an age when all of you were being appreciated for your valour by your teachers, I had not even received any education. I joined the Gurukula of Rishi Sandipani only at the age of 16.
You got married to the girl of your choice. I didn’t get to marry the girl I loved. Instead, I ended up marrying those who wanted me or the ones I rescued from demons.
When I was King, I had to move my entire community from the banks of the Yamuna to a far off shore to save them from Jarasandh. But then my own community called me a coward for running away.
If Duryodhana won the war, you would have gotten a lot of credit. What did I get when Dharmaraja won the war? Only the blame for the war and all its related problems. Did my life seem fair to you?”
And then Krishna continued, “Remember one thing Karna, everybody has challenges in life. Life is not fair to anybody. Nobody can stay away from unfairness. Duryodhan had a lot of unfairness in life and so did Yudhishthir.
But beyond the perceptions of ‘fairness’ and ‘unfairness’ lies a knowing of what is your righteous way forward in your life. That is your Dharma (Swa-dharma). Your Swa-Dharma is known only to your Inner Divine Self. No matter how much unfairness we are dealt with in life…no matter how many times we have been disgraced…no matter how many times we were denied what was due to us, what is important is how we react at that time. When life was unfair to me, I expressed my Inner Divine Self and set an example to mankind on how to conquer their challenges. When life was unfair to you, you started to complain and blame your life. Stop whining Karna! Life’s unfairness does not give you the license to walk the path of Adharma, and then justify it with blame and complaint.”