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Mahaabhaarat Stories

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Karn was the son of Kuntee an Soorya Dev. Since he was born to Kuntee when she was maiden, she flowed him in Yamunaa River. He was born with Kavach (armor) and Kundal (earrings). He was brought up by Adhirath (also called Vikartan, the chariot driver of Dhritraashtra) and his wife Raadhaa. They adopted him as their son and named him Vasusen. Since his mother's name was Raadhaa, one of his names was Raadheya, and because his father's one name was Vikartan his another name was Vaikartan too. Vaikartan also means "who has peeled off his skin of natural armor". He was called as "Vrish" also. MBH mentions his seven sons' names - Vrishsen, Sushen, Satyasandh, Satyasen, Bhaanusen, Prasenjit, and Chitrasen.

Karn and Parashuraam
When Karn grew a little, Adhirath wanted to teach him to drive chariot, but he refused to learn it and told him to learn archery. There was no other better teacher than Drone to learn archery, so he took him to Drone and requested him to teach archery to his son. As he saw Karn he asked his name. He told his name as Raadheya. Drone immediately said - "This name does not suit you, your name should be Karn." But Drone refused to teach him on the basis of that he taught only Kshatriya and princes. At the same time Karn saw Ashwatthaamaa in the Gurukul. He asked Drone - "Who is he and what he is doing here?" Drone said - "He is my son and is my disciple." he curtly said - "According to your conditions he is neither Kshatriya, nor prince." And he came back.

He wandered around in search of a Guru for quite some time then landed at Parashuraam's place. When he finished his education, he asked Parashuraam to ask for Guru Dakshinaa. Parashuraam was so happy to have Karn as his disciple that he told that he was very proud of having him as his disciple and he would take it at leisure.

But once Parshuraam Jee was sleeping keeping his head in Karn's lap, that a scorpion climbed up the thigh of Karn on which Parashuraam's head was kept, and started stinging in it. The blood came out, but Karn sat quietly. A little after Parashuraam Jee woke up and saw his bleeding thigh. He asked - "Why didn't you move it?" He replied - "You were sleeping, if I moved it, your sleep would have disturbed." Parashuraam Jee said - "This type of patience is not found in Braahman. No Braahman can bear so much pain, so tell me who are you?" Karn confessed that he was a Soot-Putra. Parashuraam Jee filled with rage, and gave him Shaap - "Whatever you have learned from me, you will not be able to use it when you will need it most. You will forget everything." And he went away. Karn pleaded for his forgiveness. Then he said - "My words cannot go lie, but you will get abundant fame. You will be known as the best archer, and you will be famous for your generosity."

Karn and A Braahman
While Karn was practicing his archery one day, he shot an arrow and it hit a cow. Te owner of that cow cursed him that "since he has killed a cow when she was trying to come out from a ditch, he would also die when his chariot's wheel will stuck in a ditch and he would be trying to take it out from it."

Karn and Duryodhan
When Karn asked Drone to participate in the demonstration of Kaurav and Paandav to see what Arjun could do he could also do, Drone denied it on the bases that he was not a Kshatriya, and he was not a king. Hearing this Duryodhan got up and said - "A warrior does not prove to be a Kshatriya, secondly he appointed him the king of Ang Desh. Thus he saved him from insult. but unfortunately the time for demonstration was over and the matter was also over.

Karn and Indra
Because of his Kavach and Kundal he was invincible in the whole Tri-Lok. Even Vishnu's Chakra could not harm him. To save his own son Arjun, Indra had to come to beg his Kavach and Kundal assuming a Braahman's form. Although Karn's father, Soorya, had already warned him about this and asked him not to part with them, but he did not agree for that. He said - "You know that after taking bath and worshipping you I donate to anybody whoever comes at that time. I cannot say no to him even if he asks my life." Then Soorya Dev suggested to ask Indra's Power in exchange of them. The same thing happened. Indra Dev came in the disguise of a Braahman to ask for his Kavach and Kundal, he certainly gave them to him and asked his Power. Indra also gave his Power to him saying that "you will not be able to use it twice, and after the use of first time, it will come back to me." Karn had to use that Power on Ghatotkach (Bheem's son) on the request of Duryodhan. Although he had saved it to kill Arjun but  he could not displease Duryodhan

Karn and Arjun
Karn's only wish was to have fight with Arjun. Karn was killed by Arjun in MBH war on the 17th day. His enmity with Arjun began the day Drone declared Arjun as the best archer - the demonstration day for Kaurav and Paandav's skills in weapons in front of Bheeshm, Dhritraashtra, and city people etc. There was no other way to kill him except to take his Kavach and Kundal off his body. That is why Indra had to beg for his Kavach and Kundal. He gave his Kavach and Kindal but on the advice of his father he asked him to give his Power named "Naikartan" to him to kill Arjun. Although he knew that that Power will not work on Arjun, still he wanted to use it on him; but eventually he had to use it to kill Ghatotkach, Bheem's son.

Karn's Death
According to Braahman's Shaap Arjun killed him when the wheel of his chariot got deep in the soil and in spite of his best efforts his Saarathee could not move the chariot. Then he himself came down to take it out but the Shaap wouldn't allow it to come out. Krishn said to Arjun to kill Karn at the same time. Karn requested him to wait until he is able to take out his wheel but Krishn instigated Arjun and Arjun killed him at the same time.

Besides, according to Parashuraam's Shaap he could not remember the Mantra to invoke Brahm Astra to kill Arjun when he wanted to do so
x ~ x ~ x ~ x ~ x ~ x ~ x ~ x ~ x ~ x ~x

Karn's whole life is very sad. When he was born, his mother threw him and he could not get the affection of mother. He searched for his lineage for his whole life. When he grew up, he could not find a Guru to teach him because of being a Soot Putra; when he found a Guru, he gave him Shaap which destroyed his all education. He again bagged a Shaap of a Braahman. When he became young, he could not marry Draupadee. Besides he always strived for a fight with Arjun; and when he got an opportunity to fight with Arjun, Arjun's father Indra begged for his Kavach and Kundal. And he died in a very pathetic situation.



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Created by Sushma Gupta on January 15, 2002
Modified on 03/30/12