Gautam Buddha states that he sees no other thing that is so much responsible for the arising of unwholesome qualities in a person as bad friendship, nothing so helpful for the arising of wholesome qualities as a good friendship.
We are who we associate with. Association with great people not only make you feel life is worth living but also guides you to live a meaningful life. If you are lucky you will fall in the company of great people automatically but most of the time you have to make the effort to connect and associate with great people.
There are many life lessons from Mahabharat and the below narration would highlight the power of associating with Great people.
In Mahabharat, Duryodhana was considered as a very Bad person. Some would say Shakuni is the worst and some would argue the worst character in Mahabharata is none other than Dhritarashtra.
Let us look at Duryodhana’s life: Duryodhana never obeyed his parents, tried to murder his cousins multiple times, tried to kill Pandavas in Lakshagruh, disrespected and insulted many elderly and wise men. He was responsible for hurting the modesty of Draupadi by insulting in public and molesting her, played the dirty game to send Pandavas to Exile, refused to give the Kingdom back to Pandavas.. not even 5 villages, tried to capture Krishna, the messenger of peace with chains and finally responsible for the death of all his brothers and teachers. Shakuni is a partner in this and facilitated all the crimes mentioned above. Duryodhana’s life was never peaceful, always working on destructive and selfish ideas, always fearful of losing the Crown…
Now let us look at Dhritharashtra’s life: He was blind in his love for his son despite the Ego and evil nature of his son. He never objected to all the wrongdoings of his son. He failed to guide Duryodhana on the right path. Because of his silence, Duryodhana has become more and more notorious. In fact, his blind love and silence over his son’s wrong deeds actually encouraged them to carry more destruction. When he was to split the kingdom between his sons and Pandavas, he gave Hastinapur to Kauravas and Khandavprasta to Pandavas. He intentionally gave Khandavprastha to Pandavas because it was barren land. Remained silent when Draupadi was disrobed in the assembly hall in front of everybody. He tried to crush Bheema with his bare hands, but Krishna saved Bheema by switching Bheema with an iron model. Needless to say that Dhritarashtra could have prevented all the wrongdoings of himself, Duryodhana, and Shakuni. Despite all these evil acts Dritarashtr’s life was peaceful, powerful, and joyful.
We looked at how they lived, now let us look at how they died: Dhritarashtra’s last days were extremely good considering he lived in the forest accompanied by Gandhari, Kunti, and Sanjay. On the other hand, Duryodhana was left to die all alone and his death was brutal. Duryodhana had to die a slow and painful death by succumbing to infinite suffering. Shakuni has similar life and death…
Being the characters they are, the Karma should have come heavy on both of them punishing them for their evil deeds. Why Duryodhana had a painful life and death despite being less criminal than his Father Dhritarashtra. Why Dhritarashtra had a peaceful life and death despite being the man who is responsible for the collapse of the entire Kuru dynasty?
Clearly, the difference is,” Who did they associate throughout their life?” Duryodhana spent all his life associating with Dussashan, Shakuni, Dusshahasa, Durmukha. All of his associates are selfish and evil. On the other hand, Dhritarashtra associated himself with Bhishma, Vidur, Kripacharya, Dronacharya, Sanjaya, etc.. all his life. These people need no introduction and are examples of leadership, statesmanship, Integrity, Bravery, Loyalty, and Service. No wonder Dritarashra had such a good life and death. Imagine how Dritarashr would have been without these great people around him constantly mentoring him on right and wrong things?
There are many great souls around us and it is up to us to connect with them, learn and lead a purposeful life. You have seen in the above story how even a bad person just being in a great company has lived a peaceful life and died with honour.