Showing posts with label Adhiratha. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Adhiratha. Show all posts

Hinduism - Who Is Karna In Hindu Mythology?


Karna is the oldest of the Pandava brothers in the Mahabharata, the later of the two major Hindu epics, albeit he is unaware of his actual identity until a few days before his death.

He is born when his mother, Kunti, stares at the sun while repeating a mantra, which grants her the ability to have a son by any deity.

She is quickly visited by a dazzling person who bestows upon her an equally dazzling son.

Distraught and despondent by the birth of this kid, which she believes she will be unable to care for as an unmarried woman, she places him in a box and throws him into the Ganges.

Adhiratha, a charioteer, adopts the boy and raises him as his own son.

Later, Karna visits King Dhrutarashtra's palace, where he befriends the king's son, Duryodhana, the epic's adversary.

Karna starts a lifelong feud with Arjuna, one of the five Pandava brothers, while in court.

Arjuna's remarks concerning Karna's unknown paternity are intended to deprive Karna of the respect he deserves as Arjuna's equal.

Karna practices archery with Drona, the archery teacher, as do all the princes.

When Drona refuses to reveal Karna the secret of the Brahma weapon he intends to employ to assassinate Arjuna, Karna seeks guidance from the sage Parashuram avatar.

Because Parashuram despises the kshatriya (ruling) class and refuses to accept any of them as pupils, he disguises himself as a brahmin.

Karna learns all he needs to know from Parashuram.

Karna, on the other hand, obtains two curses during this time that will ultimately decide his destiny.

Karna kills a brahmin's cow, and the brahmin curses him, saying that his chariot wheel would stuck in the mud and he will be murdered by his opponent while riding on it.

Parashuram is the source of the second curse.

A beetle bores into Karna's thigh, which is a metaphor for the genitals in the epic, one day as Parashuram sleeps with his head on Karna's lap.

Despite the agony and blood, Karna maintains still so as not to wake his master.

When Parashuram wakes up, he recognizes that Karna's endurance for suffering indicates that he is a kshatriya, and that Karna has learned under false pretenses.

Parashuram curses Karna, saying that he would forget all he has learnt at the crucial time.

Both curses are finally fulfilled; although fighting valiantly in the Mahabharata battle, Karna is slain by Arjuna when his chariot's wheel becomes stuck in the mud.

Karna's mother, Kunti, comes to him on the eve of the great battle and reveals his actual identity, pleading with him to return and fight with his brothers.

Karna refuses, claiming that things have progressed too far for such drastic measures, but he promises Kunti that he will not harm any of his brothers except Arjuna, whom he has sworn to kill.

Karna's decision is also influenced by his devotion to Duryodhana, whose companionship and support he has enjoyed for many years above any commitment to a family he has just recently discovered.

Karna survives as one of the Mahabharata's tragic heroes because he is prepared to stick by his friends and convictions, even if the cause is faulty. 


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Hinduism And Hindu Theology - Who Is Adhiratha?

Adhiratha is Karna's foster father in the Mahabharata, the ancient Hindu epic.


  • Karna is born when his mother, Kunti, recites an unique mantra given to her by the sage Durvasas, which grants a woman the ability to conceive and carry godly offspring. 
  • Kunti employs the chant rashly to summon the Sun, through whom she conceives and bears Karna. She puts the kid in a box and abandons him in the Ganges in her distress at becoming a mother unexpectedly—she is still unmarried and worried about what others would think. 
  • Adhiratha discovers the kid while bathing (snana) in the Ganges, and since he and his wife are childless, they raise the boy as their own. 


The tale of Adhiratha has a lot of intriguing elements. 


  • Despite his low social position, he becomes the country's monarch. 
  • He hails from a social group where driving chariots is a customary profession. 
  • This contradiction may be seen in the epic's acknowledgement that the hierarchical, occupationally oriented societal model is an idealistic projection, not necessarily the truth. 
  • It may also be claimed that Adhiratha and the nation are doomed since he is not performing his own religious obligation (dharma) but is usurping the ruling class's. 


Karna has struggled for much of his life with the realities of his family's poor social standing and the mystery surrounding his birth.


You may also want to read more about Hinduism here.