Cost of Greatness

The posting on the Chitrapur Saraswat network talks about Mahalaya.

Cost of Greatness
The posting on the Chitrapur Saraswat network talks about Mahalaya. This is the moonless night that marks the beginning of the Durga Paksha, or auspicious month of the Goddess. Mahalaya also marks the end of Pitru Paksha, or the inauspicious month of ancestral souls.

The post also contains the adventures of the soul of Karna, the ill-fated first-born son of Kunti from the Mahabharata. So famous was Karna for his generosity that he even parted with his invincible armour and golden earrings when Indra, the chief of the gods, came to beg them from him in order to save the life of his own son Arjuna! Karna’s saga — his armour, matchless valour and death at the hands of an archer — reminds you of the story of Achilles , the hero of the Homeric epic , Iliad.

Nor is their portrayal in the afterlife different. Karna’s soul is offered gold and jewels as food in heaven. But he craves for real food. “You didn’t feed your ancestors,” he is chided. He retorts sadly, “I didn’t know who they were!” Still, he is sent back to earth to makes amends, just to prove the adage that you only get what you give!

In contrast, the Aegean Underworld is a house of dust where spirits have bitter bread of dust and tears.When he meets Odysseus visiting Hades, for instance, Achilles laments, “It’s better to be the living slave of a poor man than king of all the dead.” But it is as difficult to imagine Achilles as a slave as it is to conceive of Karna deserting Duryodhana. That makes them such tragic heroes. In truth, both Achilles and Karna are emphasising the cost of their greatness!
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