I am sure you have heard of the Mahabharata, the Hindu epic that gives lessons on various aspects of life. But, what are the life lessons that the Mahabharata teaches us? Have you ever thought about that. What are those life lessons from Mahabharata that we can apply in our real lives?
Mahabharata is an ‘Itihasa’ which means ‘thus it happened.’ Mahabharata is one of those epics which can transform your life if you understand its essence of it.
Mahabharata(fifth Veda), or you can also call it Jaya, written by the legendary author, Maharishi Ved Vyasa is an ancient Indian epic that tells the story of two branches of a family, Pandavas and the Kauravas.
Many of us are aware of the intense animosity between them, so here are some valuable lessons life lessons you can study from their mistakes in the Mahabharata.
The teachings in Mahabharata are so well that they can be applied in our daily lives, and we all can learn the right way to live by those teachings.
In this article, you will find some amazing lessons that everyone needs to learn from this epic(Mahabharata) to gain wisdom and knowledge.
Let’s get started.
1. It does not matter how good your thoughts are. What matters are your actions
This lesson is something which we can learn by Anga-raja Karna in Mahabharata.
Though he was a wise man, had exceptional archery skills, was a giver, a believer of Dharma, and had many more virtues and qualities, he spoke harsh words to Draupadi(also known as Panchali) in front of the Sabha.
Karna made harsh comments on Draupadi’s character and called her a “vaishya” as she had five husbands.
This instructs us that it doesn’t matter how well you think or how good your thoughts are, but what does matter is the actions you perform. As there is a very famous saying:
Actions speak louder than words
2. Attachment makes you blind
Attachment to anything makes you blind. This is the most important thing which many scholars and saints have talked about. This is a crucial lesson that is really repeated in Mahabharata several times.
For instance, let’s say you want a specific dog that you love.
If any person offers you the most charming, loving, caring dog except the one you want, you will not take it.
It does not matter how unattractive the dog is; you want that specific one. But why does this happen? The only reason is attachment.
This was the mistake of Hastinapur, king Dhritarashtra.
Dhritarashtra and Pandu were brothers, and they knew their children were entitled to rule Hastinapur, but Duryodhana wanted the power, and he denied the right to Pandavas.
Duryodhana had committed many sins and tried to assassinate Bheem and other brothers, while Dhritarashtra knew his son was doing Adharma.
He was the king. He would have quickly overruled his son’s decisions, but affection and attachment to his son blinded him.
Excessive attachment to anything in life makes you enslave
3. Ego leads to the destruction of intellect
The next significant life lesson from Mahabharata’s characters is that ego is self-destructive, as it creates a mirage that you are the one, the best, and the mighty man/woman.
It is a deep, shallow well, and you should never fall in it as you can never rise again. Duryodhana, the mighty mace fighter and the eldest of the Kauravas had a significant ego in him, making him blind.
He was egoistic and prided over his strengths.
He tried everything to take the kingdom from Pandavas but failed because ego takes you nowhere. It eats you from the inside, burns your intellect, and destroys your decision-making capabilities.
And that’s what happened with Duryodhana; he failed, lost the battle, lost his brothers, and died.
Ego is a prison of wisdom
4. Giving up on duty is not a choice a wise makes
Bhishma Pitamaha, the most powerful warrior in Mahabharata, was a person of the vow.
Though he thought that he knew the real meaning of dharma, it was not the truth.
He just gave up all his duties to serve Hastinapur like a slave. Bhishma had the power, and knowledge; he knew what was right and what was wrong.
If he had been the king of Hastinapur, no war or deeds would have happened.
The truth is Adharma or unrighteousness happens because the people knowing Dharma or righteousness remain silent and give up upon their duties, which makes them the great sinner.
Only a person who knows what is right does what is right while thinking about his people with compassion in his heart. Such a person leads well or makes this world a better place.
Never give up on your duties howsoever it may be
5. Choose your friends wisely in life
There is always a moment in everyone’s lives where they think – Am I in pleasant company? Are my friends good for me? Etc.
I am not saying that it educates you to be selfish or make friends because you want something from them.
But it informs us that a good friend never leaves us alone and never lets us lose; on the contrary, a terrible friend always has a selfish motive behind their friendship.
Because of Krishna’s wisdom, Arjuna saw what was right and wrong. Sri Krishna always encouraged Arjuna whenever he needed him.
Though Karna was a follower of dharma because of Duryodhana, he became like him; he protected the wrong ones.
However, he knew Duryodhana was doing Adharma. Still, he followed him and never questioned him.
This enlightens us that only a loyal friend helps us and never permits us to do anything wrong in our life. And gives us the right advice. So, my readers, choose your friends and partner wisely.
Rare as is true love, true friendship is rarer – Jean de La Fontaine
6. Always choose God and have faith in him
I’ll tell you a popular story from Mahabharata, which will clear the meaning of this point.
So one day, Krishna was sleeping in his chamber, and Arjuna and Duryodhana both arrived.
Duryodhana enters first and takes his position at the head of his bed of Krishna, waiting for him to awake.
While Arjuna waits at the feet of Krishna.
When Krishna wakes up, he sees Arjuna first and then Duryodhana. So he offers the right of the first choice to Arjuna, asking him to choose between Narayana (Krishna) on one side, unarmed and not agreeing to fight, or the mighty, one million strong Narayani Sena (Krishna’s army), on the other.
For Arjuna, the choice was simple, and he instantly chose Narayana over the Narayani Sena.
Arjuna’s selection thrilled Duryodhana and the notion of adding the mighty Narayani Sena to the Kaurava’s army gave Duryodhana a feeling of great strength and belief that he will win the war.
We all know that Pandavas won the war because of Krishna, so I want to say that always choose lord when you are in a phase of quitting.
Also read: Mahabharata quotes on life
Do work for god’s sake; it doesn’t matter if you are Hindu or a follower of any other religion. Just do it for your lord to choose him over intoxicants, and negative energy in your lives. He will help you as he has created you; just have faith in God.
Trust God and leave everything on him just perform your actions
7. Try to be as good as possible but don’t ever compete to become better than other
Karna was a great warrior, and we all know that he was far better than Arjuna, but still, he lost the battle.
There are many reasons he lost all his knowledge when he needed it the most, but what he did wrong is what I will tell you next.
He wanted to become an excellent archer and wanted to show Arjuna and the world that he is the mightiest and the most skilled archer.
That’s where he went wrong.
Never compete so harshly with anyone as you will gain everything. You will become good, but the actual truth is that there will always be someone who will be better and far more outstanding than you.
Compete with yourself to become as better as you can be but never try to become more excellent than anyone because this will lead to an endless cycle of self-doubt and unhappiness from which you will never return, my friend.
Compete with yourself become a better version of yourself
8. Quality always matters over quantity
There is a profound lesson on friendship in the great epic Mahabharata. If you have read the 6th point(Always choose God) of this post, you will know what I mean.
Arjuna chose Krishna over Narayani Sena, and Duryodhana chose Narayani Sena over Krishna, as he thought he will win if he had an enormous army.
But Pandavas won the battle because Krishna was by their side. It doesn’t matter how many friends you have, or how many team members you have; what matters is the quality of your friends and the dedication of your team.
Let your guiding rule be not How Much but How Good
9. Envy is a door to hell
Duryodhana’s envy made him blind as he always wanted to achieve what Pandas have and did not. He always wanted to surpass them. He was envied when he saw the Indraprastha; and was jealous when Yudhishthira was on the verge of becoming the king.
What the envy gave him exactly NOTHING, he was left with nothing.
10. Little knowledge is like a gun without a bullet
Arjuna’s son Abhimanyu only had a little experience of the war.
He knew how to enter that Chakravyuha (Padmavyuha) or maze, but was unaware of how to exit it.
As he could not exit the Chakravyu, Kauravas killed him mercilessly. This gives us a valuable lesson that if you know little about anything, you should never take action, first have the proper knowledge and then take action.
Even you would have noticed people like Abhimanyu who risk everything though they have little information about something.
People like Abhimanyu lose money in the stock market, cryptocurrency, and other things without knowing the subject.
Half knowledge is worse than ignorance
11. It is more important to give than to receive
Karna, though on the path of adharma, was a noble person and did many charities. He believed he owns nothing to himself, and it is more important to give others what they do not possess.
This quality of Karna teaches us to remain humble and give as much as we can to the needy. It is more essential to give others the happiness and joy they deserve than to just stay selfish.
Giving is the greatest act of grace
12. Think twice before you speak
Draupadi spoke many harsh words to Duryodhan, and Duryodhan wanted to hurt Draupadi in the same way as she did to him.
This act of revenge took place when Duryodhana planned to defame Draupadi by stripping off her clothes in front of the sabha.
Though Krishna saved her, and the way Duryodhana took revenge was unforgivable, the most remarkable thing we learn is that we do not know which words of ours are hurting a person.
We do not know how he/she will react. So it is essential to think thrice or twice before you speak.
The tongue is the mightiest sword
13. Revenge takes you nowhere
Shakuni was furious as no one discussed Shakuni about this decision, and he took the vow to destroy the kingdom of Hastinapur.
This vow of revenge was the seed of war, and this teaches us to just forget, move on, and forgive as revenge destroys the person you hate and yourself.
Before you embark on the journey to take revenge, dig two graves.
14. The mind is the greatest weapon
We learn this lesson from Shakuni that the mind is the greatest and mightiest weapon.
Shakuni had no fighting skills, but he had a mastery of making strategies to turn the table to defeat the enemy by his cunning moves.
He had the knowledge, and he used it in the wrong way, but, my friends, you should use it the right way because you will know one day that you possessed a mighty weapon of success, but you were unaware.
Your greatest weapon is your mind! And you should load it with the greatest ammunition; knowledge and protect it with your great defense, the lord.
15. The power of will
Bhishma Pitamaha always wanted Hastinapur to be ruled by a man who knew Dharma.
He had a strong will and did everything possible to fulfil his dream and purpose, which was fulfilled when Pandavas won the war.
This gives us a major life lesson that willpower if channelled in the right direction and with faith in the lord, do wonders.
Will power defeats all powers
16. Not raising your voice against the injustice makes you a culprit too
Bhishma Pitamaha, the knower of Dharma, was silent when Draupadi’s clothes were tried to be stripped off.
He had the power and authority to stop it, despite that, he was silent because Draupadi cursed him and every man present in the sabha or assembly.
We learn that it does not matter what vow you take or anything; what matters is the power and courage to raise your voice against injustice.
Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world…would do this, it would change the earth. – William Faulkner
Watch This Video To Get More Insights On Mahabharata
The essential life lessons from Mahabharata given above are vital, but we ignore them even after reading this epic.
Nowadays, many girls face injustice because someone does not come in front to raise their voice.
If everyone would read Mahabharata and know the universal message it provides to mankind, the lessons, then many crimes, would’ve been stopped.
Build the courage to say NO!, dare to raise your voice. Make this world a safer place.
I will end this blog with a beautiful quote by Paulo Coelho:
“Close some doors today. Not because of pride, incapacity or arrogance, but simply because they lead you nowhere.”― Paulo Coelho
Thank you for reading this blog post. I hope you learned new things and if you loved my post, tell me which lesson you loved the most in the comments.
What is the main message of Mahabharata?
The Mahabharata is the national epic of India, and one of the longest poems in the world. The dominant theme of this story is that all people must follow their duty, no matter what it may be.
What is the meaning of the Mahabharata?
The word Mahabharata means Great Epic of the Bharata Dynasty.
What can we learn from Arjuna in Mahabharata?
In Mahabharata, Arjun taught us to be focused and to be the best, but never envy someone who is better than us. Also, he gives us the lesson to respect everyone.
In what way is the message of Mahabharata relevant today?
Though the epic is thousands of years old. But it states the same message which is relevant today. The message is to respect women and to never touch her without her will. Also, one must not attach himself too much to his property.