In today’s world, competition is all pervading – from siblings to schoolmates to colleagues to companies to countries. No one is spared. Let us see how to deal with it from the life of Arjuna and Karna.
We are living in a world of competition
In this world, the availability and supply of resources is limited but the demand is unlimited. Therefore competition is but inevitable.
Unlike subhuman species, we are living in a culturally evolved society. Social systems and ethics are in place to ensure a fair distribution of resources. The situation is not that one who has the power gets everything and others nothing. More or less we get resources as per our ability and capacity to afford them. For most of us it is not that we lose fully nor we grab the top position, we are somewhere in the middle.
There is nothing wrong to enter the competition. We will get somewhere. On the contrary if we totally forget or reject the competition, we will get nowhere. Therefore at least to get the basic necessities, we need to enter the competition. [BG 3.8]
What is this competition for?
Competition in this world at times compel us to do things we don’t intend to do for ourselves and others. It can push us beyond our limits and make us neglect the other important aspects of life – our health, relationships, social life etc. It can force us to cross human ethics and indulge in falsity, bribery, theft, malpractice etc.
Therefore we need to enter this competition with a right and healthy perspective. We need to maintain a healthy balance in life. We need to preserve our virtues and ethics.
We are after all competing for resources of this world. We need them for our basic sustenance. They are finite in their availability as well as their ability to make us happy. They cannot quench our thirst for everlasting and ever-increasing happiness.
Every one of us is gifted with unique set of abilities in various capacities. We need to find over time the race and the pace which we are comfortable to run.
We need to find satisfaction with what we are and what we can achieve.
Even the toppers don’t last forever. Their abilities and capacities wane out with time. They are forced to make way for others. Everyone can try to get to the top. But there is no lasting fulfilment there.
Do we all have to end up as losers?
Definitely not. Every one of us yearn for everlasting and ever-increasing happiness. Every one of us can achieve it by connecting with the Divine Lord through yoga [BG 6.22].
Lord Krishna has the ability to satisfy all of us simultaneously forever. There is no competition.
Karna unfortunately made climbing to the top as the prime goal of his life. While pursuing it, he neglected his values, ethics and his connection with divinity. He was never fulfilled and met a sorry end.
Arjuna made the right balance between the competition of this world and the divine connection beyond this world. He harmonized them well. Though he achieved the top, he let it go for others at the end.
Therefore we should not forget the competition, we need to face it and ultimately we have to fly beyond it.