Arjuna, having seen Lord Krishna’s Viswaroopa form, begs pardon for the many sins he must have committed in his life. He says that just as a father forgives his son, just as a man forgives his friend, just as a husband forgives an affectionate wife, so too must Krishna forgive him.

Understanding and forgiveness are the keys to any happy relationship. In the Mahabharata we have an instance of the perfect understanding between friends and the complete trust of a husband in his wife, said Rukmini Ramamurthy, in a discourse. Duryodhana has extended Karna his hand of friendship and treated him as an equal. Karna is grateful to Duryodhana for the kindness shown to him, and goes down fighting for his friend. But all this is much later. Long before the war, and in happier times, Karna and Duryodhana’s wife are playing a game of chess one day.

Karna has played a deft game, and the Queen is on the verge of losing. Just then Duryodhana enters. Karna has not seen him enter, but the queen has. She rises to show her respect to Duryodhana, for the king is to be treated with respect. Karna, however, thinks she is trying to leave because she does not want to face the humiliation of defeat. So he pulls her attire, and the beads in the attire come off and scatter all over the floor. Duryodhana is witness to all this.

Any other man in his position would have suspected his wife’s fidelity, and Duryodhana being the king, the punishment handed down to both wife and friend would have been severe.

But Duryodhana, despite his many faults, is an understanding husband, who has faith in his wife’s loyalty. And as much faith in his friend’s loyalty too. So he does not take Karna’s act as having any wrong intentions. He knows Karna’s action is an involuntary one.

A marriage that is based on such understanding is a happy one, and a friendship based on such implicit trust is an unshakeable one. Understanding and the ability to overlook trivial incidents and not blow them out of proportion are the hallmarks of any good relationship. It is not surprising that Arjuna craves understanding and forgiveness from Krishna for his actions.

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