Mahaabhaarat | Kathaa | 4-Van (Forest)

Kathaa - 4-Van (Forest)

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Indra Begs Karn

Soorya Dev rose in the sky next day in the morning as usual. At midday Karn finished his worship of Soorya Dev and waited for Indra to come. In the meantime he saw a Braahman coming towards him. Karn got excited to see him. The Braahman came near to him and said to him outstretching his hands - "Please give." Karn at once fell on his feet as was his custom. Karn honored that Braahman and offered him a seat. Then with folded hands he said to him - "Ask anything you wish for, I will give it to you." Braahman said - "I want your Kavach and Kundal, nothing else."

Karn smiled and said - "Your request is strange. These two are the parts of my body and cannot be removed from it. I will give you other armors and earrings which are more valuable than these. I will give you even my kingdom, but these are not to be removed." The Braahman said - "I have heard that you are a great alms giver and nobody goes empty-handed from your door. I need only these two. If you are truthful and righteous then cut your body and give them to me. This will be the greatest gift that you have ever given, and maybe you will ever give, to anybody."

Karn said - "They are not ordinary ornaments. They have been dipped in Amrit and placed on my body to grant me a long life and to protect me from death. I have vowed to my friend Duryodhan that I would kill Arjun in the war, and for that I need these two. That is why I am asking you to let me keep them." But the Braahman wouldn't listen to anything and he wanted the same.

Then Karn said - "I know who you are. You are the greatest of all givers, so I feel embarrassed when you have come to ask something from me. It is your privilege to give anything to us mortals. You know very well that by giving them to you I am giving my life to you. It means you are asking my life, but don't worry, I will give you even my life. I am very fortunate that today I, a mortal, is giving his life to Dev Raaj Indra. I feel proud."

Karn cut away his Kavach and Kundal from his body and gave them to that Braahman. Karn was very happy. His face glowed with the idea that he gave up his life even for the sake of his Dharm. His eyes were wet with happiness. Indra's eyes too were wet. Flowers were rained from sky. Indra said - "I have never seen a person like you. You had been told about my coming by Soorya Dev. You knew that what would happen if you gave me them but still you gave me them. Ask me anything you want except my personal weapon Vajra. I will give you anything."

Karn said - "Hey Dev, To ask for anything in return for alms is not proper. It shows that one is not a true alms giver. But in this case I have decided to ask you something. I will give you the reason also for this. Because of your love to Arjun and favor to Paandav, whatever you have done, it will renounce you. You, who is the greatest giver, has asked my life referring my principle. So to save you from this renouncement I ask you to give me your Shakti (Power). At least the world will say "Although Indra asked the life of Karn, but at least he gave him his Shakti."

Indra was amazed at the greatness of this mortal man. Indra took a very tall form and said to Karn - "You have conquered the king of Devtaa today. I grant you your Var. I also grant that you will have no scar on you body because of cutting away these things from your body. Take this Shakti, but you can use it only once. It will certainly kill the person against whom it is aimed, and after that it will return to me."

Karn said - "I also need it to use it only once, just against one person." Indra said - "I know you mean by Arjun, but as long as he is protected by Krishn, nobody can even harm him, not even my Shakti. Krishn, the incarnation of Vishnu, has taken the responsibility of protecting Paandav." Karn didn't pay any attention to his words. He was very happy. He said - "I still have hope to win the war. I have your Shakti. I will do my best. That is all."

Was it a courage or a foolishness of Karn that as Karn had taken vow to kill Arjun in the war, and now he could not kill him because he had no Kavach and Kundal, then also he was ready to kill Arjun, even when Indra told him that this Shakti could not harm Arjun then also he did not lose his courage. 

Indra said - "Whether you win or lose the war, it is immaterial, but you have won the everlasting fame. From today you will be called "Karn" because you have given away your Kundal, you will be called "Vaikartan" because you have give away your Kavach. Now I should go." Karn again fell on his feet and said - "I have one more request. Today I have found a friend in you. You seem to like me. If you really like me, please do me a favor. I have been suffering for the last so many years about my birth. Please will you reveal the secret of my birth. Who am I? Who is my father? Who is my mother? Can you put an end to my suffering?"

Indra said - "I wish I could tell you that, but it is a jealousy guarded secret, you must not know it." Karn accepted his words and got silent. He knew he was helpless against his fate. Indra went away. He had robbed Karn of his mortal life but granted eternal life.


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Created by Sushma Gupta On 03/09/02
Modified on 11/21/10