Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Mahabharata/Jaya - Graduation day and KARNA

"Birth is obscure and men are like rivers, origins of which are unknown". Thus spoke Duryodhana in defence of that brave young man whose challenge to Arjuna was rejected based on him being a son of a charioteer. This shows that Duryodhana was wise and well versed with Dharma. He was indeed a big hearted fellow and his hatred was only against Pandavas. he would often question the legality of the Pandavas as they were not of royal blood but did not even blink an eye before supporting the young man. Maybe, this was fueled by the favoritism shown to Arjuna by Teacher Drona, hatred fueled by Uncle Shakuni and his ambitions of becoming a king triggered by his father. What a deep sentence, what deep meaning and yet not practised all the time. 


It was graduation day. All the elders, the king, the queens and the teachers were present. All the princes gave an exhibition of their skills in a friendly competition. Bhima and Duryodhana's duel got very personal and then the duel was stopped by Ashwathamma, on the directions of Drona. Then it was Arjuna's turn. Arjuna dazzled everyone with his skills. He was clearly the favourite among the masses as well as the family. Then as Drona announces Arjuna as the greatest archer, a youth objects to it from the gate of the arena. The youth makes his way to the center and throws a public challenge to Arjuna. He claims that he can do all that Arjuna can. When Drona asks his name, he replies, "Karna".

Karna is the greatest tragic hero in this epic and yet, he inspires all. Unknown to him, he was the son of Kunti and the eldest brother of Pandavas. Sage Durvasa was very happy with the service provided by young and unmarried Kunti. He blesses her with a chant with which she can invoke any god and have a child through him. A young Kunti tries to test this and invokes Sun God. She is apprehensive and requests Sun God to not impregnate her when He does come to her as invoked by the chant. But you have to pay for your actions and then there are somethings with which you cannot play. She begets a son from him. Kunti is an adopted daughter of the childless Kunti-Bhoja. So maybe along with this factor and the social stigma of having a child out of wedlock, she places the child on a casket and discard it in the river Ganga. This might be just an elaborate cover up by the poet to not disclose that the sage might have used the vulnerable and young princess for his own lust. It also awards a divine birth to Karna as he is one of the greatest, if the not the greatest, archer of his time. It is also said that Karna was born with a natural golden plated shield and earrings. They were awarded by the Sun God his protection. This made Karna invulnerable to any attacks. Is this some sort of a metaphor or a miracle birth or some other birth defect which might have enabled Karna to be strong? 


The baby was then found by Adirath, who was then the chariot of King Dhritarashtra. Adirath and his wife Radha take care of the baby as their own. Adirath resigns from his job and Sanjaya is employed in his place.   Karna grew up along with Shon, the younger son of Adirath and Radha. Karna always had an inclination towards archery and warfare. Seeing this Adirath had taken him to Drona to get trained. Drona insults Karna by saying that since he is not from the Kshatriya caste, Drona cannot teach him. Karna points out Ashwatthamma to Dronacharya who is studying along with the princes though he is a Brahmin. This clearly shows the double standards of Drona. Drona himself was a Bhrahmin - priestly order, and yet he was living like a warrior. He was teaching his son as well. But when it came to others, he will speak about the Varna Dharma - Caste Systems. Drona, though respected, yet was not following Dharma. Mahabharata/Jaya will speak that caste is not determined by birth but by actions as  we will see. 


Now this insult would have affected Karna. From birth he has been called as a Charioteers son, though he has an inner feeling that he has more. Drona did not educate him on this ground. He had heard about Drona's favorite student, Arjuna. Maybe, this incident sparked that eternal race with and hate towards Arjuna in the mind of Karna. Karna was a self taught archer as well. After listening to Arjuna's test on the eye of the parrot, he told Shon he can do better.. He had Shon hold a wooden Parrot high up in the tree. Karna released 2 arrows simultaneously and pierced both the parrot.

Then to complete his education he underwent training from Sage Parshurama. Maybe, he had tried getting into other schools as well but his background might have hindered it. So this he lied to Parshurama that he was a Brahmin. Parshurama hated Kshatriyas (the warrior caste). Completing education from Parshuram, he had come back to Hastinapur in time for the Graduation day. He would have to pay for the lie he told to Sage Parshuram. I will leave that for another chapter though.


So back to the arena where he had just made a dramatic entry, he throws a public challenge to Arjuna for a duel. Family priest and teacher Sage Kripa introduces Arjuna's lineage and asks for Karna's background. Karna knows that his background might be a problem. He knows himself as a charioteer's son but always felt the warrior in him. In the meantime, Kunti recognizes him as his son (through his ear rings and chest shield) but does not disclose it to anyone. Then Sage Kripa reminds him that only a prince or a king from a warrior clan can challenge another prince in this arena as per the rules. In this moment of silent insult, Duryodhana, the supposed villain of the epic, stands up and utters the lines mentioned in the beginning of this passage. He says "No lion can give birth to an antelope. Look at this young man and you can see that he is a brave warrior'. Keeping the rule in mind, he makes Karna the king of Anga. Karna's coronation is also done at the same time. Karna feels indebted and honoured at this act of Duryodhana. Did Duryodhana do this to win Karna to his side as he did not have anyone equivalent to Arjuna in his side? Vyasa does not answer this but as the story goes on, we are left to make our own conclusions. Karna asks how he can ever repay this act of kindness. Duryodhana replies " With your freindship for life".

Duryodhan heads back to the pavilion. The duel was about to resume when Adirath walks in all happy to know that Karna has been made a king. Karna falls at his feet to take blessings when Bhima heaps his insults "He is a charioteers son. Duryodhana, give him a whip and leash and have him drive your chariot. Arjuna, come up. He is not worthy to be your opponent". Duryodhana gets angry and there is a commotion in the pavilion. Kunti faints. The sun was about to set and the elders decide that there cant be any use of weapons after sunset as it is against the rules.

The more we try to empathise with Karna, we are forced to reckon if any act of kindness or favours should be gleefully accepted. Should we see who is the person helping us? Should we make us so indebted that we might not be happy again?

2 comments:

  1. For all karna's Fans:

    (SOURCE-TRANSLATION OF ORIGINAL MAHABHARAT OF VYAS BY KESARI MOHAN GANGULY
    & WHICH IS THE ONLY PRECISE TRANSLATION AVAILABLE ON PUBLIC DOMAIN):



    Incident 1:Karna fled rom battlefield from Arjuna(Virata Yudh):

    http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/m04/m04060.htm




    Incident 2:Karna defeated by Gandharwa chitrasena:

    http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/m03/m03239.htm

    http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/m03/m03240.htm




    Incident 3:Arjuna defeat Ghandarwas & rescued Duryodhan & kurus:

    http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/m03/m03243.htm

    http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/m03/m03244.htm



    Incident 4:Karna defeated & freightened by Abhimanyu in chakruvyuhu:

    Hearing these words, Karna, afflicted with the shafts of Arjuna's son, once more said unto Drona, 'Exceedingly afflicted with the shafts of Abhimanyu, I am staying in battle, only because (as a warrior) I should stay here. Indeed, the arrows of this south of great energy are exceedingly fierce. Terrible as they are and possessed of the energy of fire, these arrows are weakening my heart.'

    http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/m07/m07045.htm




    What Karna's own friend Ashwathama & kripacharya think of karna:

    http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/m04/m04049.htm

    http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/m04/m04050.htm




    what Lord Krishna think of karna's bravery:

    Krishna said(To Arjuna):.I swear by Truth to thee, O friend, that my limbs are burning at the thought that while the son of Subhadra was thus advancing, consuming the hostile army with his shafts, even on that occasion the wicked-souled Karna was engaged in acts of hostility to that hero,Unable, O Partha, to stay in that battle before Abhimanyu's face, mangled with the shafts of Subhadra's son, deprived of consciousness, and bathed in blood, Karna drew deep breaths, inflamed with rage. At last, afflicted with arrows, he was obliged to turn his back upon the field.

    http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/m08/m08073.htm



    & Finally karna himself accepting Arjuna's supeority:

    Source:origial mahabharat by vyas..trans by km ganguly!

    http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/m08/m08079.htm




    FINAL KARNA ARJUNA BATTLE(DAY 17 OF MAHABHARATA):


    http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/m08/m08089.htm

    http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/m08/m08090.htm

    http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/m08/m08091.htm

    ACCORDING TO MY ANALYSIS OF THIS TRANSLATION IN THE FINAL BATTLE OF MAHABHARATA,ARJUNA & KARNA ASSAULTED EACH OTHER 35 TIMES WITH NUMEROUS, THOUSANDS & LAKHS OF ARROWS ………8 TIMES THEY NULLIFIED EACH OTHER ARROWS ,12 TIMES BOTH KARNA & ARJUNA PIERCED EACH OTHER BUT THE REMAINING 15 TIMES ARJUNA PIERCED KARNA IN EVERY PART OF HIS BODY & KARNA’S LIMBS,YOKE,STANDARD,STEEDS,CHARIOT WERE RIPPED APART & KARNA WAS LEFT MANGLED BATHED IN BLOOD & KARNA HAD NO ANSWER FOR ARJUNA’S ARROWS!!!



    Authenciaty of vyas original mahabharat by km ganguly:

    http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/maha/

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kisari_Mohan_Ganguli

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  2. FOR ALL THOSE WHO CALL ARJUNA INFERIOR TO KARNA,VISIT THIS LINK & FIND OUT THE TRUTH YOURSELF FROM ORIGINAL VEDA VYAS' MAHABHARATA TRANSLATION:

    https://www.facebook.com/karnavsarjuna

    ReplyDelete