What do you think is important in life? Being loyal Or Being right?
Let us assume you are in a relationship with someone who is indulging in activities that fall beyond the boundaries of your principles, character and moral values. However, this individual holds a special place in your life. They held your hand tight when you needed the most, soothed your soul with words that changed the course of your life, helping you turn into a happier and calmer person.
Yet, this person continues to hurt your moral compass simply by being themselves. Would you choose to be loyal to such a person for the reason that they nurtured your soul when you needed it the most or would you strive to follow the call of your conscience, thank them for their help and quit being in a relationship with a person who seems to have no integrity?
Karna’s Lifelong Struggle For Acceptance
Before you think for an answer, let’s look into the life of Karna, one of the most favored and popular characters from the Mahabharata.
Karna’s life is a lesson for us at so many levels, however here I will discuss the ones most relevant to the scenario shared above.
Karna was a noble human being who had a magnificent personality and great talent. He never turned away anyone who sought his help, a faithful friend who shared a wonderful love for his family. But he was always unsettled because he did not know whose child he was.
His rivals constantly poked him on this matter, particularly because he was highly ambitious. He was made to feel like a lesser person in spite of being blessed in so many ways. His competence and the strength of his character gave him the opportunity to become a King through Duryodhana. He had the final say in all of Duryodhana’s decisions. He earned power, money and recognition of his competence yet the resentment he felt inside would not leave him.
In spite of being privy to Duryodhana’s malicious character, Karna stuck to him for Duryodhana recognized his greatness and offered him acceptance which he craved. His gratitude for Duryodhana was so overwhelming that he never let his mind steer him towards righteousness.
Finally when Karna came face to face with Krishna and learnt about his parents, he broke down only to realize that all the resentment and hatred that had plagued him until that moment were not really his.
He had worked so hard to be loyal to Duryodhana that he had chosen to ignore the voice of his soul.
To fulfill his need for acceptance, he had traded his morality to prove his undying loyalty to Duryodhana. It was his ‘choice’ all the way – right from trying to accept who he was, to feeling contended with what he was given, to staying away from things and people that deterred his soul’s peace.
One wrong choice, one bad mistake and his life was cut short and not lived to the best of his character, ability and nature.
Now let’s pose a question to ourselves – Should we rather be loyal to a wrong person or be honest to our own character?