Karna-the Real Hero of Mahabharata, the World's Greatest Epic From India (Part I)
The world's greatest epic 'Mahabharata' speaks the story of a great war between the Pandavas and the Kauravas. It is written in Sanskrit by Vyasa in the 6th century BC. It has hundred thousand couplets in 18 sections and is considered to be the longest epic of the world. The bloody war lasting eighteen days concludes with the victory of Pandavas over Kauravas. It is the triumph of good over evil.
The Mahabharata is also the story of Lord Krishna, Pandavas-the five brothers-Yudhishtira, Bhima, Arjuna, Nakula and Sahadeva and Duryodhana, the eldest of Kaurava and his 100 brothers. Kunti, Draupati, Dhrutarashtra, Pandu, Gandhari, Dhrona, Abhimanue, Shakuni, etc. etc. A mere mention of the character in Mahabharata itself is a Himalayan task, leave alone the story telling. And that precisely makes it the largest epic in the world.
You may be familiar with several heroes in the Mahabharata and may love or worship some warriors like Krishna, Arjuna, Yudhishtira or Bhima. Love and respect towards the brave and powerful heroes are common and justifiable. But when you go deeper into the complex stories of Mahabharata and immerse yourself into the characterization of this epic, you will find an unsung hero. Karna will definitely be your choice. Your research will undoubtedly clarify that Karna is the real hero of Mahabharata. Sadly, he is the most mistaken hero too. From his birth onward, he was a cursed, abandoned, rejected and a victim of taunts and ridicule. Listen here the sad story of Karna, which is one of the most tragic episodes of Mahabharata.
Unmarried, yet pregnant. This would bring disgrace both to the mother and her family. Kunti had no choice when she faced such a shameful situation. She decided to take the most painful decision: abandon the baby! She cried and prayed for her baby. Her prayer was to save her child from all troubles he may have to face. She also prayed that he be reached at a safe place and at the hands of a decent family. Then, Karna, the baby, placed in a basket was left to fate on the Sona river. Karna's ill fate thus begins from his very birth onward. He is abandoned by his own mother and left to the smoothly flowing waters!
How this unwanted delivery took place, you may ask. The story goes thus: Sage Durvasa once came to Kuntibhojha's (Kunti's father) Palace. Kunti treated him so well that he was totally impressed by her kind hospitality. As a token of his satisfaction, he taught her a mantra, which would bring any god before her. He (the god) would also give her a son, who has his own qualities.
Kunti being a young girl was unaware of the impact of the boon. One day while standing on the banks of Sona river facing the rising sun, she recited the mantra with Surya, the Sun God, in mind. This resulted in Surya's sudden appearance. Suddenly, the words of Durvasa flashed on her mind. Having seen Surya in all in his splendor, Kunti pleaded with him, "Oh my God I just tested the mantra out of curiosity. Please forgive me. But Surya was not ready to listen to her request. He replied, a mantra is mantra and once invoked, it has to be executed. If you stand against me, I will curse you as well your family too. He added, 'you shall have a son by me. You need not fear disgrace because you will still be pure'.
Soon, Kunti became pregnant and delivered a beautiful boy. The boy had all the splendor features of the powerful Sun. The boy was clad in shining Armour that was part of his body. Also, his face was resplendent with the brilliance of the earring that he wore. Yet, Kunti was sad. A child to an unmarried girl is a disgrace to the entire royal family. That made Kunti take that drastic step of floating her cute baby into the river!
Karna's Safe Landing
Sometimes, one's liability is an asset for another. One's pain may be a gain for another. Here, Kunti's pain was Radha's gain. Radha, the wife of Charioteer Adhiratha found the baby when she was having her bath. For her, it was God's gift as she had no children. She was praying all these times to God for blessing her with a child. She and her husband were performing all sorts of Pujas (rituals) to please all gods. She happily lifted the basket and took the baby out. The moment was the happiest in her life. The couple took the boy to their home and named him Karna. They loved him well and brought him with utmost care. Though they had other sons later, they loved Karna so special.
Part II & III of this Hub (Article) can be read on the following link:
- Karna-The Real Hero of Mahabharata, The World's Greatest Epic From India (Part II)
Karna is the most tragic character in the great Hindu epic Mahabharata. From his birth onward he faced the cruel fate. He was abandoned by his own mother. His life is a tragic episode of the epic.
- Karna-The Real Hero of Mahabharata, The World's Greatest Epic From India (Part III)
Karna, the great warrior of Mahabharata meets Arjuna on the war front. His tragic end is discussed here. He was killed by Arjuna with the help of Lord Krishna. Fate took Karna's life. Read more...
Karna's sad destiny
The fate of Karna, who was a prince by birth is destined to grow as an ordinary child for an ordinary couple. He had been denied his lineage of divinity and royal blood and brought up by an issue-less charioteer and his wife.
Karna's birth story was a topmost secret. Nobody including Kunti's family had an idea about it. Only Kunti and her most devoted nurse and, of course, the Sun God knew the truth. There was one more person aware of all these developments. It was Lord Krishna, but who kept it as a secret till a crucial moment in the Mahabharata war.
Being Kunty's first son, he should have part of the Pandavas. But destiny took him to grow as an ordinary child. Karna had no idea of his royal blood. His real brothers, the Pandavas too were ignorant about it. The case of Kauravas was too not different. None of them knew that big secret until Lord Krishna revealed it at a very later stage.
The poor Karna who was to have lived in a royal palace had to live in an ordinary house of an ordinary couple. It was his destiny. He had more to suffer in the days to come. That too was due to his ill fate.
How was his childhood, education, mastery on archery, to who he declared his loyalty, positioning in the great war.....A lot of troubles, turbulent turn of events. His life was full of dramas. These all will be discussed in the second part of this hub. Please wait for the same to know more about Karna.
+++++Mahabharata is the greatest epic in the world. Naturally, to extract even some simple stories from this great book, we need to refer and research a lot. I too referred a lot of available materials, both print and electronic, to tell you this story. My thanks to all those known and unknown authors, whose great efforts made my work comparably easier++++++
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2013 Sunil Kumar Kunnoth