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War Day 17: Karn as Chief Army Chief-Day 2 (4)
17th day of War - The 2nd day under the leadership of Karn  Contd...
Fall of Karn

Sanjaya further said - "Krishn said to Arjun - "See now, Karn is coming to you to do what is agreeable to Duryodhan, be careful. You have got several boons from several Devtaa, this Karn is coming to fight with you, slay him now. Let prosperity be ever with you, and you obtain victory." Arjun said - "Victory is always mine, Govind is with me. He will see me slaying Karn today. I will not go back from the field without slaying you."

Both Arjun and Karn engaged in fighting. They were fighting as two elephants would fight. All creatures got interested in that fight, so they gathered to watch it. Karn had Shalya as his Saarathee, and Arjun had Krishn as his Saarathee. Both had white umbrella over their heads, both had Chanwar to be fanned, both had white horses, both had celestial fathers, both were armed with superior weapons. Seeing them engaged in battle everybody was thinking "Who is going to win?" Karn was the stake of Kaurav army and Arjun was the stake of Paandav army.

All the gems, precious jewels, Ved with histories as fifth, Upaved, Upanishad with all their mysteries, mountains, Naag, Takshak, Upatakshak, Airaavat, Vaishaalee and Surabhi and their children, Agni, Indra, Som, Pavan, Vasu, Marut, Saadhya, Rudra, Vishwedev, Ashwinee Kumaar took the side of Arjun; while smaller snakes, all the Aaditya, Vaishya, Shoodra, Soot were on the side of Karn. Indra said "Let my son kill Karn", and Soorya said "Let my son kill Arjun". Braahman said to Brahmaa "Let them not destroy the Universe, so they should be equal". Hearing this Maghaavat said - "Formerly you have said that where these two Krishn will be, the victory will be there. Let it be true now. Be pleased with me." Brahmaa and Shiv said - "Be it so. Victory will be of Vijaya. These two are Nar and Naaraayan, the best two ancient Rishi, there is none to rule over them."

Krishn glanced at Shalya and Shalya glanced at Krishn. Arjun glanced at Karn. Karn asked Shalya - "If Arjun kills me today, tell me the truth, what will you do?" Shalya said - "I myself will kill both Arjun and Krishn." Arjun also asked a similar question from Krishn. Krishn said smilingly - "The Sun may fall down from his place, the Earth may split in thousands pieces, fire may go cold, but Karn cannot kill you in this battle. But if such thing happens then the whole Universe will be destroyed. I will kill both Karn and Shalya with my bare hands." Arjun got encouraged hearing this, he said - "Karn and Shalya united together are not match for me alone. You will see Karn's wife being widow today. I cannot control my anger when he misbehaved with Krishnaa (Draupadee) during the dice game and Abhimanyu."

Meanwhile the battlefield was filled with Naag, Devtaa, Siddh, Yaksh etc. Gandharv also came with their bands. Duryodhan, Kripaa, Ashwatthaamaa. Shakuni, and Chief of Bhoj all showered arrows t Arjun, but Arjun cut off their bows, quivers, horses, elephants, chariots with drivers, at the same time. Seeing this Devtaa showered flowrs on Arjun. Seeing this all were filled wonder nd joy, but your son and Karn felt neither wonder nor pain.

As the fight started, Ashwatthaamaa held the hand of Duryodhan and said politely - "Make peace with Paandav. There is no need to quarrel. Our Bheeshm Pitaamah has been killed, other great warriors like Drone and Dushaasan have also been killed. About myself, I cannot be killed and so my maternal uncle ( Kripaa). Rule the kingdom for ever by sharing it with Paandav. If I will pursue, Arjun will not fight, and Krishn also doesn't like killings. Yudhishthir is always good to everybody and Bheem is obedient to him. So also are the twins. Everybody will be benefited from not fighting any more. Let all the kings who remain alive go back their homes. If you do not hear me, you will be grieved. You greatly honor me. Arjun is very great in his merits. He will never disobey me. I will persuade Karn also, if you are for peace. People say, "There are four kinds of friends - those that are natural; those that are made so by conciliation; those that are made by wealth; and those that are brought under subjection by the exercise of power." If you become calm, Paandav can be made friends. They are naturally your friends."

Duryodhan said - "Yes, I heard what you said, but listen to me what I say to you. Bheem's words are still echoing in my ears. You also heard them, then how can there be any peace? Arjun will also not tolerate Karn in battle. Paandav also do not have confidence in me. But you don't worry, Arjun is very tired today, Karn will soon kill him today." He said these words repeatedly to Ashwatthaamaa and then he said to him - "Go with your weapons and fight against the enemy army."

Karn and Arjun were fighting at their best. Both were using their best Divine Astra to defeat each other. Once it seemed that Karn had won. Seeing this Bheem said - "O Arjun, How come that you who has never been defeated even by Devtaa, were pierced by Karn's arrows? Why are you taking so long to kill Karn?" Krishn also said the same thing to Arjun. Inspired by Bheem and Janaardan then Arjun invoked Brahm Astra which could be applied by the mind alone, remembering all Braahman and Devtaa. But Bheem said - "You are a master of this Brahm Astra, now use some other weapon of the same kind." Arjun used the other kind of Astra but Karn made it useless and wounded Arjun in return. Arjun shot many arrows that killed a lots of people in Kaurav army - 400 elephants, 8,000 chariot warriors, 1,000 horses with their riders, and 8,000 foot-soldiers. Seeing the the Kaurav army shouted - "Kill this Paarth, kill this Paarth, he has already killed our many warriors."

Ashwasen and Arjun

Yudhishthir also came there, seeing them both engaged in fighting, stood motionless. Once the bow string of Paarth was broken, in the meantime Karn shot hundred small arrows, steeped in oil, at Paarth. He then shot 60 arrows at Krishn also. Arjun also shot thousands of arrows and the battlefield became dark with them. Then Karn shot three arrows at Arjun and five arrows at Krishn. The five arrows pierced through Krishn's body, fell on the Earth and entered the Earth, bathed in the waters of Bhogvatee Nagaree (in nether region) and came back to Karn. These five arrows were five snakes who were on the side of Takshak's son Ashwasen whose mother was killed by Paarth while burning Khaandav Van. Arjun killed each of those five snakes in three pieces, consequently they all fell on the ground.

When Ashwasen came to know about this fight (Kurukshetra war), he also came out to take revenge of his mother's killing from Arjun. He rose in the sky and quickly entered the quiver of Karn in the form of an arrow. Arjun then downpour his arrows so that the army in the field could not see anything. Then Apsaraa fanned both warriors' faces with sweet-smelled water Indra and Soorya wiped their sons' faces. Now Karn knew that he could not win Paarth, so he took out a single arrow remaining in his quiver. It was long kept to destroy Paarth. He took it out of his quiver, kept it on his bowstring, and got ready to shoot it at Paarth. All directions were filled with fear. Karn did not know that Ashwasen had entered his quiver in the form of an arrow by his Yog power. In fact it was the same arrow.

Seeing that arrow, Shalya said to Karn - "This arrow will not work on Arjun, search carefully another arrow which can cut your enemy's head." Karn said in anger - "O King of Madra Desh, Karn never aims an arrow twice. Warriors are like us are never a crooked ones." and he shot that arrow at Arjun saying, "You are now killed, O Arjun." Seeing that arrow coming toward Arjun, Krishn immediately pressed down His chariot causing it sinking a cubit deep. At this His horses sat bending their knees. Still the arrow hit the crown of Arjun, it fell off his head breaking it into pieces. Brahmaa himself made this crown for Indra, and Indra gave it to him when he proceeded to kill the enemies of Devtaa. It could not be crushed even by Rudra, Kuber, Varun, or by any of the arrows. But Karn broke that beautifully made expensive crown now with his snake arrow. Arjun bound his hair with a white cloth and stood unmoved.

The arrow came back to Karn, Karn had seen him but did not know him, Ashwasen said - "Before you shot me without knowing me, that is why I could not hit Arjun's head, but now since you know me, shoot me again, this time to kill your and my enemy." Karn asked - "Who are you who has taken such a fierce form?" The snake said - "Consider me the enemy of Arjun who has killed my mother. Shoot me once again and I will kill your enemy. Do not disregard me." Karn said - "I never desire to have victory relying over other's might. Even if I will have to kill hundred Arjun, still I will never shoot the same arrow twice. I will use other weapons to kill him, you be happy and go somewhere else." Hearing this the prince snake went away from there. And Karn proceeded to kill Arjun.

Krishn said to Arjun - "Kill this snake." Arjun asked - "Who is this snake who is advancing right in the mouth of Garud." Krishn replied - "He is Takshak's son. He was in the sky when you burned Khaandav Van and his mother was burned in that Van." Arjun immediately killed him. After that Krishn raised the chariot by His own hands. At the same time Karn shot arrows at Krishn, and Arjun shot arrows at Karn. Those arrows drank the blood of Karn and entered the Earth. Karn felt like a sick man.

At the time when the time of Karn's death came, the Kaal (Death) came to Karn, and according to Braahman's Shaap said to him - "The Earth is devouring the wheel." And according to Bhaargav's Shaap all high Astra escaped from his memory. The Earth had begun to devour the left wheel of his chariot, his chariot started sinking and stuck at one place like tree. When he noticed that the snake was killed by Arjun, his chariot got stuck and the highest Astra escaped his mind, he knew that his time had come now. Still he continued to fight but soon fell from his chariot. Steadying himself he invoked Brahm Astra. Seeing it called by Karn, Arjun invoked Aindra Astra. It showered so many arrows in the vicinity of Karn's chariot.

Seeing that weapon destroyed, Krishn said to Arjun - "Use some other stronger Astra, Arjun." At this Arjun fixed Brahm Astra on his bow, but Karn cut his bowstring. He cut his bowstring thus 11 times. But Karn did not know that Paarth had 100 strings for his bow. And Arjun replaced his broken string so quickly that Karn did not know when his string was broken and when it was replaced. At this time Karn baffled Arjun with his own weapons. Seeing Arjun baffled, Krishn said to Arjun - "Approaching Karn you should use superior weapons." Then Arjun used a superior weapon. At the same time Karn's chariot's left wheel had sunk in the ground. He immediately got down from the chariot and tried to lift the wheel, but it was not coming out anyway. Tears came into his eyes with anger, he said to Paarth - "Paarth, Wait, till I take this chariot out. Brave people behave righteously. You are the bravest in the world, you are the righteous too. You are in the chariot and I am standing weak on ground, it is not righteous to kill me now."

Krishn said -"It is good that you remembered virtue now. Where was your virtue when you, Duryodhan, Shakuni and Dushaasan brought Draupadee in the court at the time she was wearing only one cloth? Where was your virtue when Shakuni defeated innocent Yudhishthir in dice game by cheating? Where was your virtue when you allowed Bheem to be bitten by snakes, and mixed poison in his food? Where was your virtue when after completing the exile period you did not return their kingdom? Where was your virtue when you conspired to burn Paandav in Baaranaavat fair? Where was your virtue when you asked Draupadee to choose another husband after their defeat in dice game? Where was your virtue when you people killed lonely helpless Abhimanyu by cheating?"

Hearing all this Karn hung down his head, he could not answer any question, rather he continued fighting. Krishn again said - "O Arjun, Pierce him with a celestial weapon." Both Arjun and Karn invoked Brahm Astra and showered arrows through it. Then Arjun used a weapon inspired by Agni Dev, Karn pacified it by Varun weapon and created many clouds which were destroyed by Arjun's Vaayavya Astra. Karn shot an arrow again which made Arjun reel down. This moment gave gave an opportunity to Karn to drag his wheel up again but he failed. The then Krishn said to Arjun - "Cut his head before he gets onto his chariot." So first Arjun cut Karn's chariot's flag bearing elephant's rope, and then shot Anjalikaa weapon which cut his head. Karn was dead. Afternoon hour was the hour of his death. Krishn and Arjun and others blew their conchs to declare their victory. Kaurav Army started fleeing away from the battlefield in fear."

Sanjaya further said to Dhritraashtra - "Bheem started dancing and roaring. Thus Arjun fulfilled his vow. Many warriors came there and surrounded Karn's fallen body. Shalya turned his chariot towards Duryodhan. He comforted Duryodhan - "Do not grieve so much, Duryodhan, it is destiny. Comfort yourself. Karn fought with two Krishn very bravely, of course, but the Destiny is all powerful and is under control of Arjun. Comfort yourself, this is Destiny. Success cannot always be attained." Hearing this Duryodhan sighed several times.

After the Fall of Karn

Sanjaya further said - "Hey Raajan, After Karn's fall, all his army could not gather courage to fight with any of the Paandav warriors. They were terrified, they were without the leader, they needed protection, so they fled away. They fled away with the fear that Arjun or Bheem was following them. Their faces were pale, they were trembling, and they were running with a great speed. Seeing his army without Karn, Duryodhan broke into tears.

Duryodhan said to his charioteer - "You take me to the back of the troops. If I fight Arjun from there he will not be able to know me." So his charioteer took him at the back of the troops. If I will be able kill Arjun, Govind and Bheem then we will be free from debt to Karn. Then 25,000 foot soldiers proceeded to fight, but Bheem killed all of them. Arjun also killed many other chariot-riders. Seeing all this, remaining army of Duryodhan ran away. Then came Duryodhan and challenged all Paandav. Although he tried to gather them for fighting but nobody stayed back.

Then Shalya said - "See the condition of this battle field. It is full of corpses. Let these troops retire. Sun is almost down. Remember that you are the cause of all this." Shalya thus stopped Duryodhan, deeply afflicted with the death of his best friend, from fighting. Celestials had left the place and gone to their homes. Karn and his sons were killed by Arjun. Karn who always said "I give" was dead. Both Krishn and Arjun blew their conchs. Hearing that sound Duryodhan got frightened and Yudhishthir got happy. Devtaa, Gandharv, Siddh etc worshipped Krishn and Arjun. At Shalya's advice Duryodhan had withdrawn his army. Ashwatthaama also comforted him. Duryodhan returned to his camp looking back repeatedly at Karn's body. Kripaa, Duryodhan, Susharmaa, Ashwatthaamaa all were drawing deep breaths on the sight of victory of Paandav. They all returned to their camp in a very depressed mood.

Krishn said to Arjun - "Go and now report to the king about the killing of Karn for which you have been longing for years. During your fight with Karn, Yudhishthir came once to see you but could not stay in the field as he was not well." So both went to Yudhishthir and told him the way Karn was killed. Yudhishthir welcomed them and said to Krishn - "It is no wonder that having you as his charioteer Arjun could achieve such feats. Naarad told me that you are Nar and Naaraayan - the two great ancient Rishi." Yudhishthir then came to battlefield to see Karn with Arjun and Krishn. He looked at his body for quite some time before he believed Karn was dead. Then he praised both of them and said - "Today we will sleep without worry after 13 years of wakeful nights." Then everybody Dhrishtdyumn, Yudhaamanyu, Nakul and Sahadev, Bheem, Saatyaki etc worshipped Arjun. It was all because of your evil policy, so why do you grieve now for it"

Vaishampaayan Jee said to Janmejaya - "Hearing all this account of war both Dhritraashtra and Gaandhaaree fell on the ground unconscious. Vidur and Sanjaya brought Dhritraashtra in senses and other Kuru women brought Gaandhaare in senses. Who reads or hears this story of Arjun and Karn battle attains every kind of bliss, every kind of happiness. A Braahman by reading it would obtain the fruits of reading Ved, a Kshatriya would obtain the strength and victory, a Vaishya would obtain wealth and a Shoodra would obtain health and freedom from disease. Listening or reading the Karn Parv will give the results of donating cows with calves for a whole year. Vyaas Jee's these words can never be untrue.

End of Karn Parv


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