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War Day 17: Karn as Commander-in-Chief-Day-2
17th day of War - The 2nd day under the leadership of Karn Contd...
Karn Goes to Fight

Seeing the Paandav army, Karn proceeded to fight with a great enthusiasm. They started for war. Karn organized his army in Makar (crocodile) style. Its mouth was Karn himself. Its eyes were Shakuni and his son Ulook. Ashwatthaamaa was its head. At the center of its neck was Duryodhan. At its four legs were Kritvarmaa, Sushen (Karn's son), Shalya and Kripaa. Paandav also came out of their camp to fight. After casting a look at Kaurav's army, Yudhishthir said to Arjun - "Look at the difference between this army and the army of 16 days before. But if you kill this one person, Karn, we are won. Others are not worth mentioning.

Arjun organized his army in the fashion of crescent. At its left horn was Bheem and at its right horn was Dhrishtdyumn. Arjun himself was in its center. Arjun's chariot was protected by Yudhaamanyu and Uttamaujaa. It was somewhat like first day's battle. Drone'e unorthodox methods of fighting was a contrast to the more dignified procedures of Karn. Karn said to Shalya - "Today I will surely kill Arjun." Shalya said - "Who can kill Varun from water? or quench fire with fuel? Better you fulfill some other aim of your life. See his other brothers and Draupadee's five sons standing with the desire of fight."

Karn ran to fight with Paanchaal and he killed five warriors among them - Bhaanudev, Chitrasen, Senbindu, Tapan, and Shoorsen.  Karn was protected by his three sons - Sushen and Satyasen from sides and Vrishsen from rear. Bheem killed Karn's another son named Bhaanusen. Seeing him killed Sushen came to fight with Bheem. Karn rescued his son. Then Karn turned towards Yudhishthir and killed his protectors - two Paanchaal princes (Chandradev and Dandadhar). He could not withstand Karn, but Karn pursued him. He cleansed himself by touching the shoulder of Yudhishthir with his hand and remembered the words of Kuntee. Shalya said - "Do not seize the best of the best king. As soon as you will seize him, he will reduce both of us to ashes." Karn said to Yudhishthir - "You are born in Kshatriya race still you don't know the duties of a Kshatriya. You are running away from the field? You look like a Braahman who likes to read Ved and do sacrifices. Do not come to great battle, do not fight with great warriors, do not harsh words towards heroes. You go back to your home or where Arjun is. Karn will never kill anybody like you." and released him. Yudhishthir soon fled away.

Bheem could not tolerate his brother's insult so he followed Karn. Seeing Bheem coming Kaurav army started running away. Duryodhan tried his best to stopping them back but they wouldn't turn back. Well one arm turned back to fight with Bheem. Karn ordered Shalya to take his chariot to Bheem in the expectation that if he will be able to make Bheem without chariot then he may encounter Arjun. Shalya said - "Look at Bheem. He is very angry with you. I have never seen him so angry except after the death of Abhimanyu and his own son Ghatotkach." Karn said - "You are right. Today I may fulfill my wish to kill Arjun or to be killed by Arjun. If I can make Bheem without chariot and without charioteer, Arjun will surely come to his help, and I will get the opportunity to fight with him." But Bheem soon defeated Karn and Shalya had to take Karn off the battlefield.

Seeing Karn going to fight with Bheem, Duryodhan sent his brothers to protect Karn - Shrutarvan and Durdhar, Krat and Vivitsu, Vikat and Som, Nishang and Kavashee, Paasin and Nand, Upanand, Durpradharsh, Subaahu and Vaatveg, and Suvarch, Dhanurgrah and Durmad, Jalaasandh, Shal and Saha. Bheem first killed Vivitsu, then Vikat and Saha, then Krat, and then Nand and Upanand. [Karn, 52] Many Kshatriya were killed in this battle. On the other side Arjun was busy with Sansaptak - Susharmaa and others. He killed them in thousands. Then he paralyzed their legs by invoking the weapon called Naag. It tied their legs with snakes. Then he again started slaying those soldiers stood motionless. Seeing this slaughtering, Susharmaa invoked Sauparn weapon. By this weapon many birds started devouring those snakes and those soldiers got free. Arjun invoked Aindra weapon and killed many warriors of Sansaptak. He had killed 14,000 warriors, 3,000 elephants and 3,000 horse-riders. Susharmaa found that there was none in his army who could face Arjun. Then many others came to face Arjun and other warriors of Paandav army.

Karn was busy with Paanchaal, Paandav army. In the meantime Bheem started killing Kaurav army in hundreds and thousand single-handed. Seeing this Duryodhan just stood motionless. Seeing Karn slaughtering his army asked Krishn to take his chariot towards Karn. Seeing Arjun going towards Karn, Sansaptak came again to face him. Arjun slaughtered them again in thousands. Seeing this Ashwatthaamaa came to fight with him and surpassed him. At this Krishn got very angry and instigated Arjun to defeat Ashwatthaamaa. Arjun did it within short time.

Duryodhan said to Karn - "Now the occasion has come either to slay these Paandav or to be slain by them." Ashwatthaamaa sworn that he would not take off his armor until he had killed Ashwatthaamaa, and anybody would come against him, he would kill him. [Karn, 57] And all proceeded towards Paandav army. Arjun expressed his desire to see Yudhishthir, so Krishn took him to that place where Yudhishthir was. Krishn showed him the grand slaughter done only because of Duryodhan, but arjun asked Him to proceed to Yudhishthir. Krishn proceeding towards him, once again showed him the battlefield. Karn and Ashwatthaamaa were fighting with Paandav, Saatyaki and Dhrishtdyumn. As Drone saw Dhrishtdyumn as his death, Dhrishtdyumn also Ashwatthaamaa as his death. But at this time Ashwatthaamaa could not slay Dhrishtdyumn although he was without chariot, bow and horses.

Showing Yudhishthir to Arjun, Krishn described the scene of fight going on. He said - "Karn is very powerful and skilled in warfare. I think Yudhishthir is in danger while fighting with him. Karn is equipped with Sthoonkarn, Indrasjaha and Paashupat Astra. His standard is no longer visible. Many warriors are advancing towards you, show yourself to Karn." So Arjun appeared there. Duels were going on at various points. Once Karn made Nakul and Sahadev without horses and chariots, so Shalya said to him - "You have come here today to fight with Arjun then why are you wasting your time with other people? Are you tired? Or your charioteer is tired? Or your weapons are finished?" Still he continued to fight with Yudhishthir and at last he made him turn away from the field. Shalya again instigated him to fight with Arjun. In the meantime Ashwatthaamaa came to fight with Arjun. Arjun cut the reins of his horses so they ran away from the field.

Yudhishthir's Anger

As Karn saw it, he invoked Bhaargav named Astra from which emanated millions and millions of arrows which killed thousands of elephants and chariots and warriors. Arjun said to Krishn - "See Karn and his Bhaargav Astra. It cannot be counteracted in any way. I cannot run away from the battle." Krishn said - "He has afflicted Yudhishthir severely, so better you see him first, then you fight with him." So both proceeded towards Yudhishthir casting a glance towards battle field in the hope that they could find Yudhishthir there somewhere, but they could not see him there. So they came to Yudhishthir's tent where he was lying alone. They touched his feet, and Yudhishthir got very happy to see them. He thought that Arjun has come there ater killing Karn so he said to Arjun - "It is good that you have killed Karn. He was the savior of Dhritraashtra army. I was aved only because of Bheem. For thirteen years I could not sleep because of fear of Karn. Duryodhan considered him as your death. Tell me how did you slay Karn? You did a good job for me by slaying Karn. Did you really kill him who vowed that he wouldn't wash his feet as long as you lived? That Karn who vowed that he would not return from battlefield without slaying you? I have been waiting to see you."

Arjun filled with anger hearing this, he said - "When I was fighting with Sansaptak, Ashwatthaamaa came in front of me. He afflicted Krishn and me very much. He had eight carts, each drawn by eight bullocks, carrying a load of his arrows. He shot all those arrows and more at me. I also shot many arrows at him, then Karn came to me with 50 people. I killed them all except Karn and have come to see you. I will surely fight with him if I will see him in the field today. You come and see me today fighting with him. If I don't slay him today in the battle that will be the end of mine. Bless me for my victory."

Hearing this that he has not yet killed him Yudhishthir abused him very badly, he said - "You promised me in Dwait Van that you would kill Karn, if you have told me before that you wouldn't be able to kill him, I would have made some other arrangement. On the seventh day of your birth, Maa told us that a celestial voice said to her that "this boy will be very mighty and will be invincible even for Devtaa." You have an excellent chariot, you have an excellent driver, Krishn, an excellent bow and a sword, then why do you fear from Karn? You should have given your bow to Krishn and would have become His driver. Krishn would have killed Karn by now. If you cannot kill him today then give your Gaandeev to somebody else who is superior to you in handling weapons. It would have been better if you have never born to Kuntee. Fie on your Gaandeev, fie on your mighty arms, Fie on your inexhaustible quivers."

Hearing this Arjun went mad with anger, and took out his sword to cut the neck of Yudhishthir. Krishn asked him - "Paarth, For whom you have drawn this sword? I don't see anybody here to whom you have to fight. You came to see your brother whom you have already seen. He is well. You should be happy now, then why to be angry? You have come from the battle field, let us go back there." Arjun said - "It is my secret vow, that I will cut his head with this sword whoever will tell me to give my Gaandeev to somebody else. This King has said this, that is why I will cut his head and keep my words and for the same reason I have drawn this sword out. Otherwise I will do whatever you will advice me."

Krishn said - "Paarth, You have not waited upon the elders. You don't know the morality that is why you are acting like this. You are unable to think what you should and what you should not do. Of course, it is not easy to decide, that is why even learned people take the help of scriptures. You don't know the scriptures. You think that you know the morality and virtue but in fact you are ignorant about them. Killing a living being is sin, and saving an animal from an injury is the highest virtue. One can speak the untruth, but one should never kill. How could you become ready to kill your eldest brother who is so conversant with morality? Who is not engaged in battle, who is enemy, who is running away from the battle field, who is seeking protection, who has joined his hands, who has lost his chariot should never be slaughtered. All these attributes are in your superior. Don't rush to kill him in your foolishness without knowing morality.

You took your vow before in foolishness, and after that foolishness you are going to do another foolishness? There is nothing higher than speaking Truth, But there are some situations where speaking Untruth is better than speaking Truth. In the loss of somebody's entire property; or for the sake of Braahman; on an occasion of marriage, or of enjoying a woman, or when life is in danger; these five situations are when a lie can be spoken.  These five kinds of lies are declared to be sinless. On these occasions a lie becomes the Truth and a Truth becomes a lie. He is a fool that practices Truth without knowing the difference between the Truth and a lie. A man of wisdom, by doing a cruel act may obtain great merit like Balaak did by slaughtering the blind beast; and that a foolish and ignorant person earns great sin like Kaushik (living) among the rivers."

Arjun requested Krishn to tell him these stories to him to explain this better. Krishn told him the Story of Balaak and said to decide himself if his killing to Yudhishthir was right. Arjun was very sorry after hearing those stories, he said to Krishn - "You have saved me from sin today. Now my vow may become true and both of us live long." Krishn further said - "Yudhishthir was fatigued and afflicted after fighting with Karn that is why he said these words to you. Otherwise, he is religious, he is wise, he should be respected in all circumstances. He cannot be angry with you. He loves you very much that is why he spoke like this to you so that you may kill Karn. All have respected the king. An alive superior is already killed if he is addressed as 'thou'. You address him as I have said to you. The best audition has been told by both Atharvaa and Angiraa. Pay respects to your brother, then you will be ble to slay Karn happily." 

Then Arjun spoke in a very soft words to Yudhishthir. Later he touched Yudhishthir's feet, asked for his forgiveness and said to him - "Do not say such words to me. Bheem has killed may warriors in the battle - 1,000 elephants, and 10,000 Kaamboj, many thousands horse riders, elephants, and chariot riders. Learned say that Braahman's power is in their speech, Kshatriya's power is in their arms. Your words were very powerful and unwelcomed. You think about me like yourself so please do not say such words to me. Sahadev told you about the sinfulness of dice game still you couldn't resist that is why we fell into this situation. All this calamity was because of you only." After saying these bitter words to his eldest brother Arjun became very sad and he drew out his sword.

Krishn again asked him - "Now why do you need this sword? What happened to my advice?" Arjun said - "I want to slay myself who has committed this sin." Krishn said - "But why do you want to do this to yourself after saying such words to your brother? This is not right. If you have slain your brother today, think what would happened to you afterwards? Morality is subtle and is unknowable especially by ignorant. Listen to me, you would have committed a greater sin by killing yourself than killing your brother. First you tell your own merits, then kill yourself." Then he told his merits to Yudhishthir - "There is no other archer like me except Shiv; in a moment I can destroy the whole Universe with all its creatures; I defeated all kings and brought them as your subject; I helped you to complete your Raajsooya Yagya by giving Dakshinaa; No one can defeat me in battle; I have slain half of the enemy's army; I have killed Bheeshm. I will go with Krishn and will kill Soot's son. Either he will me, or I will kill him. I vow that I will not put off my armor before I have killed him."

He threw his weapons, and said to Yudhishthir - "Be happy now, I will surely complete this task very soon." Yudhishthir got up from the bed and said to Arjun - "I behaved very wickedly with you. I am the worst man, you may cut off my head. I am idle, I am coward, I am cruel. What will you gain after serving a cruel person like me? I will go to woods today." At this Krishn said - "O king, You know the vow of Arjun about his Gaandeev, So to keep his vow Arjun spoke such insulting words to you at my inspiration, otherwise you know Arjun, he respects you very much. For this you have to forgive me, I bow to you. Be assured that Soot's son will be killed today." Yudhishthir repented and appreciated Krishn - "You have saved us both. We are not without master."

Krishn further said to Arjun - "What would have been your condition if you had slain Yudhishthir? Behave yourself with virtuous behavior with him, and when he will be happy then only we will go to battle field." Arjun fell on Yudhishthir's feet and wept. Seeing this Yudhishthir lifted up and embraced him. Arjun vowed to kill Karn on the same day. Krishn asked Yudhishthir to console Arjun and permit him to go to battle field. Yudhishthir said - "Embrace me O Arjun and then go to kill Karn. Do not mind my harsh words."


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Created by Sushma Gupta On 05/27/04
Modified on 04/08/13