Showing posts with label Dhrutarashtra. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dhrutarashtra. 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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