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5-About Karn

How Duryodhan Gave Ang Kingdom to Karn?
Duryodhan's installing Karn as "king" of Ang Desh is also questionable. How could Duryodhan do that? The ancient map (see wikipedia) shows that Ang Desh was far away from Hastinaapur. How could Ang be Hastinaapur's vassal bypassing Jaraasandh's Magadh Desh? (according to MBH, Jaraasandh held another part of Ang that he later gave to Karn being "satisfied" with his wrestling skill). Question is, how could Duryodhan - who, till then, was nobody, donate Ang kingdom to Karn?

Perhaps, there was some other Ang adjacent to Hastinaapur, or most probably, it is another instance of political propaganda to elevate Duryodhan's generosity that he donated Ang to Karn. Karn's father Adhirath was Dhritarashtra's friend, and Adhirath was already heir to Ang, so, Karn was already inheritor to Ang.

How Bheem Could Defeat Karn While on His Digvijaya Tour?
At the time of Raajsooya Yagya of Yudhishthir, when his all four brothers went for Digvijaya, Bheem went to East and he defeated Karn there, see Sabhaa Parv, 29. Till that time, he had not given his Kavach and Kundal to Indra in alms, it means he was invincible, then why was he defeated by Bheem. Beside, even with Kavach and Kundal on, he could never defeat Arjun too (See  "Karn Could Never Win Arjun")

Who Was Karn's Brother?
Karn's brother has been mentioned twice in Mahaabhaarat. Although we have heard that Adhirath had some sons after getting Karn, but they are never mentioned anywhere else in Mahaabhaarat except the war period.

We have never heard of any of his own brother. Then who was his brother? His name also has not been mentioned, except "Karn's brother".

How Karn Knew About His Mother
MBH Serial shows that Karn first learns about his mother - that he is Kuntee's son, from Krishn; whereas in the Mahaabhaarat, Karn already knows this long before Krishn tells him. In fact, Karn stops Krishn and tells him the story of his birth about how he was conceived by Kuntee before her marriage and so on.

Which one is correct?

Was There any Brother of Karn, Named Sangraamjeet?
Yes sir, he is unheard of... Arjun also speaks about that brother in Karn-Arjun Samvaad, just later in this Ghosh Yaatraa.

0040550131/. idaaniim. eva.taavat. tvam.apayaato. raNaat.mama. /{Arj}
0040550133/. tena.jiivasi. raadheyanihatas. tv.anujas. tava.//
0040550141/. bhraataram. ghaatayitvaa. ca.tyaktvaa. raNa.ziras. ca.kah./

Arjun said, 'Even now, O Raadhaa's son, thou hadst fled from battle with me, and it is for this that thou livest although thy younger brother hath been slain. What other person, save thee, having beheld his younger brother slain in battle would himself fly from the field, and boast as thou dost, amid good and true men?'

All the 105 brothers of Karn are younger to him...
It is quite intriguing that there are 105 younger brothers of Karn?

Brother of Karn has also a reference in Udyog Parv --
Bheeshm tells Dhritraashtra making mockery of Karn's bravery

05,048.036a ki cpy anena tat karma kta prva sudukaram
05,048.036c tair yath pavai sarvair ekaikena kta pur
05,048.037a dv viranagare bhrtara nihata priyam
05,048.037c dhanajayena vikramya kim anena tad ktam

'Beholding in the city of Viraat, his beloved brother slain by Dhananjaya who displayed such prowess, what did this one then do? When Dhananjaya, rushing against all the assembled Kuru, crushed them and took away their robes, was this one not there then?

Three Uterine Brothers of Karn were Killed by Arjun in Drone Parv, 30 - Who were these Uterine brothers of Karn?
"Then Arjun piercing Karn with seven shafts, dispatched the latter's younger brother by means of his sharp shafts. Slaying Shatrunjaya thus with six arrows, Paarth, with a broad-headed shaft, struck off Vipatha's head as the latter stood on his car. In the very sight of the Dhritaraashtra, therefore, as also of the Soot's son, the three uterine brothers of the latter were dispatched by Arjun unaided by any one."

We have never heard of any uterine brother of Karn (leaving Paandav whom nobody can refer to). First there cannot be any uterine brother; and even if there were, who were they? And how were they born? Here the names of only 2 brothers are mentioned - Shatrunjaya and Vipath.

Abhimanyu kills one in Drone Parv XXXIX (39)
"Sanjaya said, "Then the younger brother of Karn, uttering loud roars, bow in hand, and repeatedly stretching the bow-string, quickly placed himself between those two illustrious warriors. And Karn's brother, with ten shafts, pierced invincible Abhimanyu and his umbrella and standard and charioteer and steeds, smiling the while. Beholding Abhimanyu thus afflicted with those arrows, although he had achieved those superhuman feats in the manner of his sire and grandsire, the warriors of thy army were filled with delight. Then Abhimanyu, forcibly bending the bow and smiling the while, with one winged arrow cut off his antagonist's head. That head, severed from the trunk, fell down on the earth. Beholding his brother slain and overthrown, like a Karnikar tree shaken and thrown down by the wind from the mountain top, Karna, O monarch, was filled with pain."
There is no name given here.

See CCCVII (307) Section of Van Parv for the information that Adhirath had many sons himself after he had got Karn. Of course they were not his uterine brothers, not even half brothers, because Adhirath and Raadhaa were not his real parents.
But their number is not given.

Did Karn marry Eklavya's sister?

Is there any references cited for this?

When in His Life Does Karn Meet Eklavya?

What is the Karn's Period of Study Under Parashuraam
At what point in the chronology of his life, Karn went to study to Parashuraam? We have been unable to find this information in the Mahaabhaarat. Also, the reason traditionally given for Karn's approaching Parahuraam in the guise of a Braahman is that the sage was unwilling to accept non-Braahman (especially Kshatriya) as is students. But this doesn't seem to be stated explicitly in either of the 2 places that we know of that give us any details of Karn's period of study under Parashuraam:

(1) One of the Karn Parv chapters, Chapter 42, Shlok 6-7, describing the lengthy war of words between Karn and Shalya (Karn Parv Chapter 42 in Ganguli's translation) Karn Parv : Section 29 of the Critical Edition; Section 41 of the edition provided in the Sanskrit e-book, "Shaastraani", produced by the Ramakrishna Mission Aashram. Karn has just told Shalya that he studied under Parashuraam in the guise of a Braahman to obtain divine weapons, as well as the incident with the worm.

Mahabharat, 8/42/6-7 - (He) asked (me who I really was) and I said to the great seer, I am a Soot'. He then cursed me, saying, "Soot, because of the deception through which you have obtained this weapon, it will not, in your time of need, when the time of your death approaches, appear to you by inward light! Indeed, Brahmaa cannot stay in a non-Braahman!' (Thus,) I have forgotten that exceedingly effective weapon in this terrible, tumultuous battle, Sir. Would I be correct in deducing from this that he said he was a Braahman because he would not otherwise have been taught the use of the Brahmaa weapon? This would seem to be further reinforced by the following:

(2) The Shaanti Parv, 2-3 chapters where Naarad narrates some of Karn's back story to Yudhishthir, (Shaanti Parv: Section 2 of both the Critical Edition and the "Shastraani Edition" - "Karn has just asked Drone to teach him the Brahmaa missile so he can fight Arjun, but Drone, because he's partial to Arjun and knowing Karn's nature, replies:

Shlok 13 - "None but a Braahman who has observed all vows may know the Brahmaa weapon, or a Kshatriya who has practiced penance; no other." Again, would I be right in deducing from this that it must have seemed to Karn that his birth prevented him from learning the Brahmaa missile, so his options were either pretend to be a Braahman or a Kshatriya?

After the incident with the worm, when Karn revealed his true identity to Parashuraam, who then angrily says: 30-31. "Fool, because you have acted deceitfully here from (your) greed for weapons, hence, this Brahmaa weapon shall not appear to you by inward light at the time (you) are slain when you see a warrior equal to you! Brahmaa cannot ever stay fixed in a non-Braahman."

(3) Shaanti Parv : 3/30-31 of both the Critical Edition and the "Shaastraani Edition" After the incident with the worm, Karn has just revealed his true identity to Parashuraam, who then angrily says - "Fool, because you have acted deceitfully here from (your) greed for weapons, hence, this Brahmaa weapon (Brahmaastra) shall not appear to you by inward light at the time (you) are slain when you see a warrior equal to you! Brahmaa cannot ever stay fixed in a non-Braahman!" Would we be right in reaching the same conclusion? Also, what are we to make from the difference in the pronouncements of Parashuraam and Drone?

It is true that Parashuraam cursed Karn, but it is a pity that Parashuraam, being an Avataar of Vishnu, did not know the fact that like the Paandav, Karn also had a divine birth and the same mother. It is understandable that with the same blood as that of Arjun was running through his body he would have wanted to get the Brahm Astra, which Arjun had. In spite of the curse of Parashuraam Karn was safe by the grace of his father Soorya. His father warned him about the impending deception by Indra through his cunning move to take away his Kavach and Kundal. Karn invited his own death by donating his protective armor. The Dharm Shaastra say that the gift (or Daan) should not be given to an A-Paatra. Thus Karn broke two rules
(1) He disobeyed his father, and
(2) He gave a Daan to a disguised Braahman, who is an A-Paatra (because a Braahman does not need armor, secondly what he would do of his life when he had already told him that both were his life). He had thus committed a suicidal act himself, which is another sin. Karn is probably the greatest hero of the mankind ever had but it is a sad thing that he lost his life through foolishness.

Some say that since Parashuraam Jee told him to get Guru Dakshinaa at his will. And when he came to know that Karn was not a Braahman, he cursed him - "Since you lied to me, I take all your education back in Guru Dakshinaa." Any comments?

So when was the time period when he was educated by Parashuraam?



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Created by Sushma Gupta On 03/09/02
Modified on 04/17/13