What are the 10 things we can learn from all Mahabharata characters? by @balajivis
Answer by Balaji Viswanathan:
Each major character has one epic flaw that put them through unspeakable misery.
- Yudhisthira: Even the wisest and best men can have gambling addiction. Leaders especially have to guard against addiction as it is historically the biggest cause for their fall. Your addiction not only ruins you, but also everyone you love. It rips apart families and brings you to unspeakable humiliation. Stay off the drugs, bro.
- Duryodhana: If you want to be an epic villain the #1 quality you need is jealousy. This quality alone can destroy everything you have. In every epic, the jealous guys always go through humiliating deaths. Take it easy, boss.
- Karna: Your good deeds will never help you if you choose to keep a bad company and fail to raise your voice against their injustice. Sidekicks always die first. Grow some spine, dude. If you see something, say something.
- Draupadi: When you are really awesome, you have be extra cautious against hubris. Even a moment of arrogance can cost your honor. In the same way, your good deeds also will come to help you at the right time. Show some respect, miss.
- Dushasana: When you prey on the weak and the meek, look to humiliate, your days are numbered. Someone is waiting with vengeance.
- Dhritarashtra: The exhibit #1 for bad parenting. He was blind to his children's faults & follies. He took no effort to correct them and way too biased towards his own children vs the duty he had. For such a bad parent, the just desserts was in seeing his dear ones go.
- Kunti: The exhibit #2 for bad parenting. You cannot just toss your unwanted baby and pretend that nothing ever happened. Her Karma and Karna caught up so was her sin and son. Some day your sins will catch up with you. Karma is a bitch, ma'am.
- Arjuna: Battlefield is not the place for family melodrama. You had a duty to your people and the society. You cannot give up all those responsibilities just because you had to fight your uncles and cousins. You are lucky that you made a great friend in Krishna, in sharp contrast to the bad company that Karna got. Having good friends can save your life .
- Bhimasena: Anger kept you from getting what you deserve. Your elder brother got all the kingdom and your younger brother got all the girls and wisdom. What did you get? You could have been nearly killed by Dhritarashtra after the war. Cool down, bro.
- Sahadeva: You are the smartest, wisest, perfect genius who could foresee everything, but still had to put up with a dumb world that chooses to commit its mistakes. You are sheer awesomeness, but the world still praises your brother's big arms. Life is not fair, man.
There are also some excellent characters like Yuyutsu, Dronacharya, Kripacharya, Vidura and Bhishma Pitamaha.
Some commented that I have painted only the negative quality of these people. That is only because they have so many positives. Some positives.
- Duryodhana: Value for friendship. Helping a person in need can go a long way.
- Karna: Value for loyalty. Even if is to fight your own brothers and promised the empire, you don’t give up your friend. And help those in need.
- Yudhisthira: Value for humility. He might be the chakravarthi, but he would still listen to the junior members.
- Arjuna: Listening skills. Great people sometimes get tempted to close their ears. Arjuna was always open to wisdom.
- Draupadi: Patience. She was a famed princess and later an empress. However, she didn’t shirk from serving her spouses in poverty. She never looked to return back to her father’s prosperity that she could have done any time.
- Kunti: Shrewdness. She lost her husband and raised all the kids of both herself and her husband’s second wife without fault. She never saw any difference in them. She raised these 5 boys to society’s excellence.
- Sahadeva. Be super awesome. Never give up your integrity even if God asks you so. He was a perfect karma yogi – never was touched by the pressures to win.
- Bhimasena. Staying off jealousy. Bhima’s brothers were often better treated than he was. Yudhisthira and Arjuna were way more respected than he was [the perils of being a middle child], but he showed no indications of jealousy. That is a massive quality.
- Bhishma. Always stay true to your vows. Don’t promise something you cannot keep up. The pitamaha was a master of vows and word.
- Yuyutsu. The elder son of Dhritarashtra was ill-treated his whole life [for being born to a low caste woman] by the Kauravas. He was a scholar and found respect in Yudhisthira. Like Vibhishana in Ramayana, Yuyutsu mutinied and joined the other side. At the end of his term, Yudhisthira passed on his empire to Yuyutsu [who later passed on to Arjuna’s grandson – Parikshit Maharaja]. As Yuyutsu’s story shows, there is some justice after all – if you stand up against injustice.
And, at last to please everyone let me add the Paramatma too.
Krishna: Hack your way out of trouble. Victories don’t come merely by linear and simplistic thinking. Like a startup founder, Krishna worked around the rules. Let me give you an example.
Duryodhana asked the counsel of Sahadeva to decide the day of sacrifice before the war. Deciding that day will provide a strategic advantage in the war. Sahadeva was so known for integrity and scholarship that even opposite side came to him for this critical advice. Krishan asked Sahadeva to either decline or provide wrong advice, but Sahadeva decline to mess with his professional integrity and chose the day of new moon [Amavasya].
As a hacker, Krishna simply worked around this. He went to the nearby river the day before new moon and started doing the tharpanam [sacrifice]. Seeing Krishna Himself do this activity normally done on the newmoon day, everyone else assumed that they wrongly calculated that date and everyone [including Duryodhana] preponed their newmoon date by 1 day. Making Duryodhana do the sacrifice on the wrong day provided a key strategic advantage to Krishna.