Faith Begets Loyalty
August 29, 2014 Leave a comment
Duryodhana’s wife Bhanumathi and his close friend Karna were playing a game of dice. The stake between them was substantial. As the game progressed, it was evident that Karna was winning and Bhanumathi was losing. Just then Duryodhana entered his queen’s chamber. Karna had his back to the door while Bhanumathi was facing it. Seeing her husband coming, she was about to stand up. As she was just rising, Karna, thinking that she was trying to get away from the embarrassment of certain defeat in the game, snatched at her drape, studded with pearls.
Tugged at by Karna’s powerful hands, the thread snapped and all the pearls rolled on the floor. Queen Bhanumathi was stunned and did not know what to say or do. She was afraid that, for no fault of hers, she would be misunderstood by her husband because of Karna’s behaviour. Seeing her shocked state and sensing that something was wrong, Karna turned round and saw his friend Duryodhana. He was also deeply shocked and distressed beyond words. Here he was, in the royal chamber, playing a game of dice with his friend’s wife and he had caught at her clothes, thus endangering her chaste reputation. He stood dumbfounded and transfixed. Surely, Duryodhana would not tolerate such immodesty. He readied himself for the inevitable punishment.
As both she and Karna look down sheepishly, unable to meet Duryodhana’s eyes, the Kaurava scion only asks: “Should I just collect the beads, or string them as well.”
Both Bhanumathi and Karna had misjudged him. He had implicit faith and great love for his queen and greater faith in his friend Karna. He does not suspect, does not get angry with Karna but helps him in picking up the pearls. Its this faith that ensured Karna’s loyalty in the Mahbharata war.