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6-Questions-Karn and Arjun

There are a few rivalries very well known in Mahaabhaarat, such as Drone and Drupad, Duryodhan and Bheem. Karn and Arjun is also one of them. All these three pairs could not see each other eye to eye. Let us answer some questions about Karn and Arjun.

Is there any reference of rivalry between Soorya and Indra as a possible motivation or justification for the enmity between Karn and Arjun?"
Not really as motivation or justification, but it depends partly how you look at it, and the poets do certainly play with the symbolism in this connection, especially in the final battle between the two. Yaroslav Vassilkov discusses sun/rain imagery in that battle in his (possibly rather obscure) 2001 article "The Mahaabhaarat similes and their significance for comparative epic studies" (Rocznik Orientalistyczny vol. 54 no. 1, pp. 13-31).

MBH, Aadi Parv 75 says that Kashyap had 12 Aaditya from his eldest wife Aditi, Indra and Vivaswat (Soorya) as their head - two heads cannot live together, maybe that is why this rivalry has grown since then.

In fact the Indra-Soorya opposition, paralleled by Arjun-Karn, is prefigured in both the Raamaayan, Tulasee's Maanas and Vaalmeeki Raamaayn, where these same two gods are fathers of the two rival brothers Sugreev and Baali. I is strange that it was only Vishnu-Raam and Vishnu-Krishn killed once Indra-Baali and another time Soorya-Karn. Why was it so?

The Rig Ved has evidence of an Indra-Soorya confrontation, where Indra wrecked Soorya's chariot wheel. But the difference is that Soorya is the last of the Aaditya (Maartand) while Indra is the first; on the other hand, both the times only the elder brothers had to die - first time Indra-Baali and second time Soorya-Karn.

"Mrityunjaya" may be one of the best sources of information about Karn. Any English translation available?

English translation of Mrityunjaya by P Lal and Nandini Nopany published by Writers Workshop, is available from A critique of this by me is on, "I am myself alone". If you look at the annotated bibliography on the resources page, many of your queries may get answered.
Kevin's book on Karn is available on the website The book is available online free of cost. In Brill's page they give a pointer to Google books site. This Google is trying to become a vast book library, these days. In Google search goto > more > books > and in this book search category, there are two options, full view books, or all books. select full view. OR, in Brill's page - read book or read through Google. Besides Kevin's book there are a host of other books too in full view > full screen. Of course, saving is disabled.



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Created by Sushma Gupta On 03/09/02
Modified on 04/13/12