Mahaabhaarat | Kathaa-G | 6-War
|8-Karn Parv, 31-45 of 96|
|Kathaa-G - 6-War - page 32|
|8-Karn Parv-page 3|
War Day 17: Karn as Commander-in-Chief-Day 2 (1)
17th day of War - The 2nd day under the leadership of Karn
Karn is Ready to Fight With Arjun
Dhritraashtra asked Sanjaya - "What did then my son do?" Sanjaya said - "Think of your bad deeds now done to Paandav. Many times you were warned not to act that way but you did not listen to anybody. Well, all that is past now, do not grieve for it. Listen to what happened next. When the morning broke, Karn went to Duryodhan and said to him - "Either I will slay him, or he will slay me. I will not come back without slaying him. Since other warriors have died, he will surely proceed against me. Now you listen to what is beneficial to you. I am not boasting myself but I am just stating the facts about both of us. Both of us have Divine Astra at our command. But in knowledge of weapons, grace and power I am superior to Arjun. I have a bow called Vijaya given to me by Bhaargav and it is superior to Arjun's Gaandeev. This was especially made by Vishwakarmaa for Indra. Indra gave it to Parashuraam, and Parashuraam gave it to me. He emptied the Earth from Kshatriya 21 times from the same bow.
And now I tell you how he is superior to me. The string of his bow is Divine and his two large quivers are inexhaustible. Even his chariot is also Divine, his horses are Divine both given by Agni to him. They are impenetrable. His banner (flag) has the great Hanumaan (see also Bheem and Hanumaan) presiding over it. Krishn, the protector is controlling the reins of his horses, I have none like Him. These three things makes him superior fighter to me. Still I like to fight with him.
I am superior to Arjun, but I have no good Saarathee (charioteer). I know Shalya is a better Saarathee than Krishn. His driving is much superior to Krishn's. If he becomes my charioteer then victory will be ours. Krishn knows the Ashwahridaya technique of driving, but Shalya is the master in that art. As I am good at weapons, Shalya is good at horses." Duryodhan embraced him and said - "Let us go to Shalya." and they went to Shalya's tent.
Duryodhan went to Madra's king Shalya and requested him to be Karn's Saarathee for his sake as Karn wanted a Saarathee like Krishn and there was no other Saarathee like Him other than Shalya. He said - "My all great warriors are killed. Karn wants a good Saarathee to kill Arjun. He can do this if he gets you as his Saarathee, so please accept this job for me. He wants to contend with Arjun today. Everyday we are losing our army. With you as his charioteer, he will be invincible." Shalya got very angry at this as how could he dare to come to him with such a request? He said - "You are insulting me, Duryodhan. Karn is nowhere equal to me. Besides, you are trying to make a Kshatriya a Soot-Putra to another Soot-Putra? Soot are just attendants at a king's court. They are supposed to take a whip and drive his chariot. I am a king. How can a king be a driver of a chariot of a Soot-Putra? With your permission I wish to return home."
Duryodhan said politely - "You are right, but I have a purpose in this. Neither Karn is superior to you, nor I doubt you. You will never do anything which is false. You and your ancestors have always spoken the truth. As Karn is superior to Arjun in many respects, in the same way people regard you superior to Krishn in knowledge of horses and might. That is why I request you to be his Saarathee." Shalya got pleased to hear this that he was a better Saarathee than Krishn and got ready to be Karn's Saarathee.
After this Duryodhan told Shalya the story of Taarakaasur and his son Hari.
After telling this story of Taarakaasur's sons Duryodhan said to Shalya - "As Brahmaa, the super Devtaa, the Creator of all the worlds agreed to become the Saarathee of Rudra, in the same way you also become the Saarathee of Karn to save us from defeat. In battle Karn is like Rudra himself and you are like Brahmaa, therefore you both are able to defeat Paandav. Today all of us depend on you. I tell you another story which a Braahman told my father. In the race of Bhrigu there was a Rishi called Jamadagni. He had a virtuous son named Raam (Parashuraam). He did an intense Tap and pleased Mahaadev. Mahaadev appeared before him and said - "I know what do you desire. Make your soul pure first then I will give you all the weapons you wish for. These weapons will burn a person who is not competent and does not deserve them."
After this Raam did lots of Yagya, sacrifices, Hom etc for many long years. Then pleased with his Tap, Mahaadev described his virtues in the presence of his spouse, Rishi and other Devtaa. Then he said to Raam - Now-a-days Asur are getting very strong and are afflicting Devtaa, so you go and kill them." Raam said - "What strength I have to kill these invincible Asur?" Shankar said - "You go with my order and you will be able to kill them. After you have killed them you will get fame." Raam went to Asur and said - "Come and have a fight with me, I have been sent by Shankar to kill you." The Asur started fighting with him and were killed soon. After killing them Raam came back to Shankar with many wounds on his body, but as Sthaanu touched his body he was healed immediately. Then pleased with him Sthaanu gave him Divine weapons.
Taking all the weapons and all the Var as he desired, Raam came back. That same knowledge he has passed to Karn. If Karn was not competent for them Raam would have never given them to him. I don't think that Karn has been born in a Soot family. I think he is the son of a Devtaa born in a Kshatriya family. On that occasion, as Brahmaa, superior to Shankar, was chosen to become the Saarathee of Shankar, in the same way this is the time that you be Karn's Saarathee. In fact the Saarathee should be superior to the fighter."
Shalya said - "I have heard this celestial story several times. [But understand this also that] If somehow Karn will succeed in killing Arjun then it is sure that Krishn will destroy your whole army. There is no one here who can face Him." Duryodhan said - "Do not underrate Karn. He has defeated many great warriors like Nakul, Sahadev, Bheem etc. He is capable of killing even Indra. Besides you also know every kind of weapon. You are much superior to Krishn in the might of arms." At this Shalya got ready to be Karn's Saarathee with a condition that whatever he wanted to say he will be allowed to say. Duryodhan agreed and embraced Karn on Shalya agreeing on accepting being Karn's Saarathee.
Shalya further said - "These four types of acts - self-rebuke and self-praise, speaking ill of others and adulation of others are never practiced by noble people. Still if you say it about myself that I am fit to be the charioteer of Indra even, in watchfulness, in managing the horses, in knowledge of coming danger and of the means of avoiding it, and in competence to avoid it in practice, I agree it. Don't you worry now."
According to Mahabharata Serial on TV
According to them, they went to Shalya's tent in the night itself. They came back from Shalya's tent and Duryodhan asked Karn to take rest. Karn knew that it was the last night of his life, but Duryodhan didn't know it. When he was going back to his tent, he once looked back at Duryodhan with his full heart. He could not hold himself more and came rushing back to Duryodhan to embrace once again. Duryodhan was moved with his friend's love. Both wept, then Karn left his tent.
Again Karn could not sleep. How could he? He knew that it was the last night of his life. Tomorrow's fight was not an ordinary fight. He had to fight his brother and he had to kill him. If everything went normal he would surely kill him, but how could he expect to go everything normal for him? His whole life was not normal. As Krishn was there, Karn knew that Arjun would win. There was a bond between Arjun and Krishn which was not between Karn and Shalya. He remembered his both the Shaap, of his Guru and the Braahman. Both are going to be true tomorrow. He will not remember to invoke Divine Astra and the wheel of his chariot will stuck in the soil and it will not move. He will be killed at that time as he will not be prepared for the attack. He was happy that he loved Krishn, and Krishn was also very proud of him for his love. Kuntee should also know that all the Paandav were on his mercy but were spared because his promise to her.
The night passed slowly, but Karn could not sleep the whole night at all. It was the night for him haunted by his past.
Karn asked Shalya to get his chariot ready. Shalya immediately brought his chariot and announced - "Blessed be you, victory to you." Karn duly worshipped the chariot, asked Shalya to ascend that chariot, then he ascended the chariot himself. When he proceeded towards battle field, Duryodhan said - "Achieve what you are going for, which Bheeshm and Drone could not achieve." Karn said to Shalya - "Drive the chariot so that I can slay all Paandav." Shalya asked him - "Why do you underrate Paandav, all of whom are so mighty. When you will hear Arjun's Gaandeev's sound, you will not be able to talk like this." But Karn didn't pay any attention to Shalya and asked him to proceed.
Kaurav army got very happy to see Karn going to battlefield, thinking that now victory was at their hand. As Karn proceeded a shower of bones fell on Karn's chariot. Even his horses tumbled down to Earth, but nobody minded them and cried "Victory to you". Karn said to Shalya - "When I sit in my chariot, even Indra cannot face me. Who knew that Drone would not see today's sunrise. Now only I am left to fight with Paandav army. Either I will slay them or I myself would be slain by them. I will fight with them until my last breath. All these - beautiful horses, bow, mighty weapons, white conch, this shining sword, were given to me by my Guru Parashuraam. Today even if Death comes to save them I will fight with Him too."
Shalya pacified him and said - "Where is Arjun and where are you? Nobody else, other than Arjun, could take Krishn's younger sister forcibly from Yadu's house that was protected by younger brother of Indra himself. Who could challenge Bhagavaan Shankar himself except Arjun? For the sake to satisfy Agni Dev's hunger he has sacrificed so many Raakshas, Pishaach, Naag etc. Do you still remember the incident of saving Duryodhan from Gandharv? Do you still remember the Viraat's battle when Arjun defeated all of you single-handed?" Hearing all this Karn got very angry and just asked him to proceed. Whoever Paandav soldier he saw on the way he promised him to give anything who could tell him the whereabouts of Arjun - 100 chariots, 100 villages, 10,000 horses, etc.
But Shalya said - "Do not give away your wealth like this just to have a look of Arjun. You will see him today. Whatever you are doing, it shows that your end has come near." Karn said - "You look like a foe in the face of a friend. I seek a fight with Arjun on my own arms' might. Merits are known to only those people who themselves are meritorius, not to anybody else. You don't seem to be meritorious that is why you are not recognizing my merits. First I will slay both those cousins, then I will kill you with your relations. You are our friend and are talking like a foe? Madra people are very wicked up to the last breath of their life. There is no friendship in Madra Desh. There are no good women in Madra Desh, you must have been born from one of them. For the sake of Dhritrashtra's son, for avoiding blame, and from regard for a friend I forsake you otherwise I would have killed you here only. But if you uttered such words again I will surely kill you by my Gadaa." And once more he said Shalya to proceed.
Shalya said - "Well, I am born in a fine race. When you will face Arjun then you will repent for your this decision. I tell you a story - Story of a Crow." After telling the story of crow Shalya said to Karn - "You are also like this crow. You are also feeding on Duryodhan's food and disregarding your equals and superiors. Why didn't you kill Arjun at the same time when you were at Viraat Nagar's battle? At that time you were protected by Bheeshm, Drone, Kripaa etc also. You all were defeated by him as lion eats jackals. It is better if you seek the protection of Krishn like the crow sought the protection of the swan. They are like Sun and Moon."
Karn said - "I know, I know both of them, you need not to tell me about them. I repent for my student days at Parashuraam's Aashram. Devtaa wanted to save the life of Arjun that is why they bit me in my thigh. A pool of thick blood formed there. I did not move lest my Guru wakes up. But when he woke up and saw the blood, he asked my identity. I had to tell him the truth that I was a Soot-Putra. At this he gave me Shaap - "Since you have deceived me, whatever knowledge you have gained from me will never be useful to you in your dire need - at the hour of your death." But still I will kill Arjun. I have Brahmaastra. Arjun cannot escape from that weapon.
Once when I was practicing my weapons I accidentally killed a Hom (sacred) calf of a Braahman while it was wandering alone in the forest. That Braahman gave me Shaap - "Because in your insanity you have killed my calf, the wheel of your chariot will sink in the Earth at the time of battle and a fear will overcome you." I am indeed fearful of the words of that Braahman. I offered him 1,000 cows and 600 bovine bulls but that Braahman did not get satisfied. Even after this, adding 14,000 bulls, each black in hue with a white calf, and a wealthy mansion with all kinds of comforts and facilities could not satisfy him. So I know that it was sure going to happen. I asked his pardon, but he said - "Whatever I have said is sure going to happen. It cannot be otherwise. It will be your atonement for killing my calf."
Although you have been rebuking me, but for friendship sake I have told you all this. Now you stop rebuking me and proceed towards Arjun. Since you have already made a pact with me that is why I am pardoning you for what you said to me. Be silent now and listen to what I say to you." Thus he made Shalya silent and further said - "You cannot frighten me. There may be some others whom you can frighten. Without even 1,000 Shalya I can defeat Arjun. Who that injures a friend is sinful that why you live for now."
Shalya said - "You are talking irrationally, but as I am concerned, I can defeat the enemy without 1,000 Karn." Hearing this Karn's anger again got aroused, he said - "O Madra, Listen to what I heard in Dhritraashtra's palace. Many Braahman came there and they told that one should always avoid some people including those people who live away from Gangaa, Yamuna, Saraswatee, Kurukshetra and Sindhu and its five tributary rivers. One of them were Madra people. You should know that, still I tell you again. There was a Raakshas named Kalmaashpaad who taking bath in a pond said - "Non-observance of vows is a Braahman's dirt, Vaaheek are the dirt of the Earth, Madra's women are dirt of the whole female race. Paanchaal observe duties written in Ved, Kaurav observe truth, southerners are fallen, Vaahkeek are thieves. So do not oppose me and don't let me kill you before killing Arjun and Keshav." Shalya said - "Some bad practices are among Ang people also of which you are the king. Because of those faults only Bheeshm was angry with you at the time he was counting great warriors of both armies. Don't be angry everybody is found everywhere. Nobody knows his own fault, but when he is told about it, he feels shame." Then Duryodhan came and stopped their wordy warfare. Then Karn smilingly asked Shalya to proceed.
Created by Sushma Gupta On 05/27/04
Modified on 04/08/13