* AlternativeCharacterInterpretation: Every single story, play or dance dealing with the epics has an alternative character interpretation.
** Karna, an HonorBeforeReason [[PunchClockVillain servant]] to the wicked Duryodhana, was cursed by his guru Parashurama to have the mantras that he learned fail him. The reason? Karna outed himself as a kshatriya (which even he did not know) while Parashurama was resting on his lap and an insect bit the Karna, drawing blood. Later on, in the Mahabharata, Parashurama comes to Karna in a vision and explains that his death by said curse is fated, and that if Duryodhana wins then evil will fall on the land. This allows Karna to FaceDeathWithDignity, so it could be a form of LetThemDieHappy.
* BadassDecay: Indra is badass in early Vedic text, notable for killing the great dragon Vritra. He does much worse in later text.
* EnsembleDarkhorse: Kali is probably one of the most famous, if not the most famous, Hindu deities in the West. This often comes with the perception of Kali as a bloodthirsty monster who demands human sacrifice, which is entirely inaccurate. This image was popularized by Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, though it was present well beforehand. Still, if you ask a person in the West to name a Hindu deity, odds are they will name Kali.
* GermansLoveDavidHasselhoff: Skanda, who was a minor Vedic God, became so important in the South that he forms a major part of the Saivite pantheon.
** Guru Drona asking for tribal boy Ekalavya's thumb as a guru dakshina, so that Ekalavya is no longer the best archer and Arjuna could pass the former. It's hard to sympathize with Drona after that, especially when he refuses to teach lower caste boys like Karna for fear of history repeating itself.
** The Pandava brothers, especially [[JerkAss Arjuna]]. Arjuna as a kid wanted to be the best archer, which his guru Drona promised he would become, and he complained when a tribal boy Ekalavya surpassed him. Not to mention that he [[KickTheDog mocks Karna]], a "charioteer's son," for being of a lower caste. They [[MyGodWhatHaveIDone are shocked]] when they learn that Karna is their brother after the battle, and Arjuna afterward TookALevelInKindness, but still!