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From: Krishna Susarla (krishna_at_ticnet.com)
Date: Fri May 22 1998 - 13:19:37 PDT
Hare Krishna. >Was Dharmaputra, wedded to Dharma justified in indulging in gambling, >especially when gambling is condemned in the Sastras? >( i ) On the completion of the Rajasuya yaga performed by him in which >Sisupala was slain, Dharmaputra inquired Vyasa whether that signified the end >of the bad period predicted by some wise men. Vyasa replied that there were >more to come in the next 13 years after which a terrific war would ensue in >which the entire Kuru race would be annihilated. Dharmaputra was filled with >grief and took a solemn resolve that he would never speak harshly to anyone, >never give room for any conflict, never give way to anger and lust, the twin >causes of hostility. Being in such a frame of mind, he could not decline a >friendly invitation to the dice game. This is a very interesting point, one which I had not considered before. Another thing to keep in mind is that the Paandavas are all great devotees of Lord Krishna as we know from Shriimad Bhaagavatam. The Lord advents Himself to protect His devotees and annihilate miscreants, and His appearance at this time was also for the purpose of removing the burden of the kshatriya class. Since the Mahaabhaarata war took place according to His design, we can't fault Dharmaputra for participating in the dice game which planted the seed of discontent which gave rise to that war. Really, the dice game is an excuse, just as Ravana's apparent abduction of Sita was an excuse for Lord Ramachandra to go and kill him. The fact is that these things occur by Lord Krishna's design, and if one of His devotees' reputations is slightly tarnished from the perspective of mundane morality just to keep the story going, we as Vaishnavas can't fault him for it. >7. Why in spite of his great qualities and in spite of his being a Pandava, >Karna was killed? > >Just as Kumbakarna who sought to be true to his salt, stuck to Ravana, Karna >did the same thing by sticking to Duryodhana even after coming to know that he >himself was the eldest of the Pandava brothers. Invincible as he was, he was >struggling under the weight of curses and several choking pressures which >were responsible for his downfall. This is true, but again we must remember that this is external. The real reason Karna was destined for defeat was the fact that he was envious of Arjuna, who was Lord Krishna's devotee. Envy of the pure devotees of the Lord can only lead to destruction, as it did in this case. One could even argue that it was only hatred of Arjuna that actually motivated him to stay loyal to Duryodhana. When Dushasana tried to violate Draupadi, Karna for all his honor did nothing. Indeed, it was only Lord Krishna who could protect Draupadi at that moment, just as it was He who protected Arjuna. Karna probably could not grasp this and hence his mundane hatred led to his own destruction. The fact that Karna's death at Arjuna's hands was a violation of the kshatriya standards of honor strikes me as a punishment befitting him. After all, Lord Raamachandra killed Vali as if the latter were a common animal, and who but a common animal usurps a brother's wife? Similarly, Karna was cheated of the chance to die as a great warrior for his lack of attention to dharma when Draupadi was being assaulted.