The Real Culprits of Mahabharata war


Some might blame the fabulous four of Mahabharata viz. Duryodhana, Dusshasan, Shakuni, Karna. One may claim it’s Dhritarashtra, while some may assert that it’s Krishna! However, please understand that answers aren’t that simplistic.

In the book, Secret of Nagas-Shiva trilogy 2, Amish Tripathi says:

Lord Manu had said it’s not people who are evil. True Evil exists beyond them. It attracts people. It causes confusion amongst its enemies. But Evil in itself is too big to be confined to just a few.

So what’s the blessed answer? Keep reading!

Karna was one of the finest men born on the planet. However, he had one problem. He was living a lie due to the attachment to his friend Duryodhana along with the fame and power he enjoyed out of this friendship. He became Duryodhan’s reflection and his only desire was to prove his loyalty towards the latter.

Does a natural question follow that what was Duryodhana’s problem? It was his attachment to the dream of being the only heir of the Kuru Kingdom. This led him to intense hatred for Pandavas and in turn, his desire to destroy them knew no bounds.

Also read: ‘Ajaya’: Analysing the invincibility of Duryodhana

However, Duryodhana was a fruit of the tree; the root being the attachment for the throne within Dhritarashtra. This tree was nurtured by Shakuni’s attachment to towards his sister, which fueled the desire in him to destroy Pandavas for the sake of his nephew Duryodhana.

In the same book mentioned above i.e. Secret of Nagas-Shiva trilogy 2, it is said that Good and Evil are two sides of the same coin. Injustice is wrought upon someone actively by wrongdoers but passively backed by men of knowledge and learning. A classic example being Drona, who was deeply attached to his son. His attachment towards took him to seek riches with Drupada. However, after being humiliated by the latter, his desire for revenge leads him to Dhritarashtra. Owing to the blind king’s favors, Dronacharya blindfolded himself from truth to the extent that it took the Saptarishis to stop him from using the Brahmadanda weapon.

Another great man Bheeshma attached himself to his vow to protect the throne of Hastinapur-which was an outgrowth of his father’s uncalled Desire to marry the fisherwoman called Satyavati -resulted in almost every Injustice done in Mahabharata.

Also Read: From Ganga ji to Gandhi ji: Remembering the Mahatma

In India, it’s a classic saying that bearing with Injustice is a bigger crime than wrecking it on someone. Here comes Yudhisthira’s whose attachment to gambling and his vow to avoid a fight with his cousins along with his desire to win hammered the final nail into the coffin of the Mahabharata war.

Careful observation in all the above cases reveals that the root cause of all problems is ATTACHMENT and DESIRE.

Krishna summarized this beautifully in the Bhagavad Gita Chapter 2:

ध्यायतो विषयान्पुंसः सङ्गस्तेषूपजायते ।
सङ्गात्सञ्जायते कामः कामात्क्रोधोऽभिजायते ॥६२॥

क्रोधाद्भवति सम्मोहः सम्मोहात्स्मृतिविभ्रमः ।
स्मृतिभ्रंशाद् बुद्धिनाशो बुद्धिनाशात्प्रणश्यति ॥६३॥

-When a man thinks of the objects, attachment to them arises; from attachment, desire is born; from desire (unfulfilled) anger arises. (2.62)

-From anger comes delusion; from delusion the loss of memory; from loss of memory the destruction of discrimination( Intelligence); from the destruction of discrimination he perishes. (2.63)

Prasad Kulkarni is a Data and Analytics professional. At work, he analyses historical data and ponders over historical events otherwise.

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