“K” for Karna मुद्रण ई-मेल
KarnaKarna is one of the most fascinating characters of the great epic Mahabharata. Besides being an invincible warrior he was also known for his generosity. The character of Karna also demonstrates how great abilities, if not used for the right purpose, can lead to one’s destruction.

Karna was the eldest son of Kunti received as a blessing from the Sun God. At a young age, Kunti got a chance to serve Rishi Durvasa. The Rishi was pleased with her devotion and dedication and gave her a mantra to chant.
Whichever God she would think of while reciting the mantra would appear before Kunti and bless her with a son. Kunti decided to just try the mantra out of curiosity and thought of the Sun God, and was blessed with a son. Thus, Karna was born. However, Kunti was young and unmarried, and was scared of social unacceptance for her son. Therefore she decided to abandon Karna, by putting him in a small basket and letting it float into the Ganges. Karna was later found by a charioteer and was raised by him.

Karna wanted to receive education from Sage Parshuram who had decided to offer his teachings only to Brahmins. Karna went there in disguise as a Brahmin to receive his education.

One day, Sage Parshuram was resting in Karna’s lap. A bee came and stung Karna’s leg. Karna was a devotional disciple and hence did not wish to move or react to the bee sting as his Guru was resting. However, the blood oozing from Karna’s thigh reached his Guru who awakened with surprise and anger. A thought crossed his mind about how a Brahmin could sustain such physical pain. He asked Karna to make his identity clear. Karna admitted that he was not a Brahmin. Parshuram got angry and cursed Karna that whatever he had learnt from him through deceit would be forgotten at a critical juncture. Disappointed with the incident, Karna returned to his parents and later went to Hastinapur.

At that time, a great competitive festival was being held in Hastinapur. All the Pandavas and Kauravas were exhibiting their skill and art. It was Arjun’s turn. He was excellent and incomparable in the field of archery. Arjun with his skill in Archery would hit the clouds and bring rains down to the Earth. Karna couldn’t resist his desire to compete with Arjun and challenged him. However, Guru Drona suspected the intentions of this young man and hence asked him to share his identity with others. As Karna was from a humble background being raised by a charioteer, he kept quiet. However, Duryodhan, Arjun’s cousin was jealous of Arjun and hence he grabbed this opportunity and declared Karna as the King of Anga Province and accepted him as his dear friend.

Thus, Karna was put under the obligation of Duryodhan forever. Karna performed his duty for his friend and remained loyal to him lifelong. In spite of knowing what was right and wrong, Karna chose the side of the wrong under the moral obligation of being accepted and befriended by Duryodhan at a critical juncture of his life. Probably such action finally brought his end at the hands of his own half-brother Arjun under the guidance of Shri Krishna.

What would I like to learn from Karna?

a)   Dedication for learning

b)   Ability to excel even in adverse circumstances

c)    To not use one’s abilities for wrongful purposes

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