Introduction

The lesson ‘Friend in Need’ is an excerpt from the great sage Ved Vyasa’s sacred masterpiece ‘Mahabharata.’ The Pandavas have an older brother named Karna. This excerpt is about Karna, who was Kunti’s son and he was born to her before her marriage. 

A Secret Verse And The Abandoned Son!

Kunti had learned a Mantra from Sage Durvasa. It was a secret verse that was used to summon the Gods. When summoned, they would come in front of her and bless her with children who would be comparable to them in grandeur. Kunti, who was still a child, was waiting for her Swayamvara at the moment. She had, however, summoned Surya, the Sun God, out of curiosity. Surya blessed her with a child, the one born to be a hero.

Kunti had been given the opportunity to pick a husband through a Swayamwara. After Lord Surya blessed her, Kunti was unsure how she would explain the infant born to her. So, she put the infant in a basket and tossed it into the Ganga. The infant was soon discovered by Adiratha, a washerman, who raised him as Karna.

After many years of animosity, the fight between the Padavas and the Kauvravas broke out. Kunti was told by Sri Krishna, the Pandavas’ beneficent adviser, that a conflict was approaching between the Pandavas and their relatives, the Kauravas, which would result in excessive bloodshed.

Kunti was in a state of distress. The Pandavas would battle the Kauravas, and Karna would defend Duryodhana! Karna would go to war with his brothers. Perhaps he would assassinate them or be assassinated himself. He was her beloved firstborn, whom she had never acknowledged or bestowed with maternal love.

Kunti decided that she would tell Karna the truth. That was the only way to persuade him to abandon Duryodhana and join the Pandavas in battle. Duryodhana’s power and spirit would be weakened without Karna. The Pandavas would have little trouble defeating him. Karna has come to the perfect place in his life to discover the truth about his origin.

She walked to the banks of the Ganga the next morning, where Karna had a routine of praying every morning. He opened his eyes after his prayers and saw Kunti. He addressed her with respect. Kunti told him about his birth and pleaded with him to join his brothers, the Pandavas, in fighting the Kauravas. Karna gently reminded Kunti that he was truly Kunti’s son, but that Adiratha and Radha had raised him.

He told her that things would have turned out differently if she had revealed the truth when Krupa challenged him at the tournament to disclose his origin. Even though he was the son of a charioteer, Duryodhana had befriended him and given him wealth and faithful friendship. Karna questioned if abandoning Duryodhana was a respectable act.

He had a sad expression on his face but took the difficult decision without hesitation. Above everything else, he valued dignity, responsibility, and friendship.

Conclusion

Karna reminisced his friendship with Duryodhana, which guided him in making a choice. He made the responsible decision by remaining loyal to his long-time friend. This reminds us of the old adage, “A friend in need is a friend indeed.”