Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Mahabharata/Jaya - Indra visits Karna

"If you still wish to complete your vow of giving, then ensure that you ask Shakti (Indra's weapon) from him." Thus spoke Surya (Sun God) to Karna in a dream one night.

Actually this event happens during the exile of the Pandavas. Also Karna's identity is disclosed right in the beginning of the pic. For some reason, I took a cinematic liberty of keeping suspense and putting these 2 chapters of the Epic together.

Indra is worried about Arjuna as he knows that Karna will be unbeatable as long as he has his natural shield and natural earrings (Kavach Kundal). He plans on tricking Karna to rob him of these. I often wondered about this episode. Karna has shown to be vulnerable even when he had the Kavach Kundal. Take for example, in his battle with the Gandharvas or his fight with Arjuna after Draupadi's swayamwara. Maybe, this is just a later addition to magnify Indra's role in Mahabharata.

Surya (Sun god) is aware of this and comes in Karna's dream to warn him of this. This is before Karna's identity is disclosed to him. So Karna is not aware that Surya is his father.

Surya says, "Karna, tomorrow Indra will come to you in the guise of a Bhramana. He knows that after the morning ritual you never refuse a Bhramana. He will ask for your Kavach Kundal. He is doing this to protect his son, Arjuna. Don't give them to him. As long as you have them, you cannot be vanquished".

Karna replies, "I have taken a vow that I will never refuse anyone when they come and ask for a gift at that time. If they ask my life, I will give that too. No, I cannot refuse."

Surya tries to reason with Karna but Karna does not move from his stand. Surya then negotiates, "Ok, then you give the Kavach Kundal. You must ask for Shakti (Indra's weapon) in exchange for this. It is very powerful and no warrior can defy it. You can use that in your duel with Arjuna."

Next morning, Indra comes in the guise of Bhramana to Karna. Karna has just finished his rituals and asks, "O Bhramana, Ask for what you wish". Indra says, "I want your Kavach Kundal." Karna then remembers the dream he had and recognizes Indra.

Yet Karna tries to digress, "Ask for the riches of the world. Ask for the kingdom. I cannot give these things you are asking for. They have been a part of my body since birth." But Indra is firm on his demand.

In the end Karna remarks, "I know you are not a brahman but Indra himself. I was denying this so that no blame is placed on you for tricking a human. I will give you what you ask for." Then Karna goes on to remove his Kavach Kundal with a knife. He does not even wince while doing this but his body is stained with blood. Indra too melts seeing the sight.

Moved by Karna's act, Indra himself tells Karna that he would like to grant a boon. Karna recollects his dream and asks, "Actually I do not ask anything but only give. But I do not want you to be tainted with tricking a human. I am highly fortunate to be of use to you. To make this looks fair, I only ask for Shakti (Indra's weapon)." Indra agrees and grants him the weapon but on a condition, "You can have this weapon but you can only use this in a war and only once. After that, it will come back to me." Karna agrees , "I too want to use this once, to kill a great and powerful warrior". Indra confirms, "You will kill a great and powerful warrior with this weapon."

Kauravas are quite disheartened when they learn about Karna loosing his Kavach Kundal. But then they are elated to know that he has got Shakti from Indra.

Karna was known as Dhanveer (Highly chariotable person). There are fables wherein he broke off a wooden pillar from his own house to give it to a Brahman who was looking for dry wood (as it was raining at that time). Then there is a folktale wherein Karna gave away his golden teeth before taking his last breath to a old brahman (Krishna in disguise) who approached him for wealth at that time. Also, some folktales state how Krishna tricks Karna in giving away all his merits earned through righteousness during his duel with Arjuna. The goddess of righteousness was protecting him from the arrows of Arjuna and hence, Krishna had to do this. Karna gave them up as well without any hesitation. Karna's life is a great example of someone who tried his best to make his life successful and meaningful though outwardly, destiny and life treated him unfairly. Maybe, we all have a Karna in us. We all struggle against life and it's forces to derive something meaningful out of it. Not all are as righteous as him and yet, we all struggle. Some win, some loose. But it all depends on how you lived.

1 comment:

  1. during the fight with Gandharvas i.e.; in the Chitrasena episode, Karna, Duryodhana, etc. were almost in a hangover having been drunk. However gr8 a warrior u may be, u cannot fi8 when u r inebriated ----- think logically, Arjun rescued Duryo from Chitrasen & thereafter Karna promised that he would never ever drink wine until n unless Arjuna is slain by him; y would Karn take a drastic dismissive vow on WINE & not something else ---------- simply bcoz Arjun successfully accomplished something some act\deed which he waz failed to, bcoz of that Wine !!! & in the Draupadii Swayamvara, Arjun waz robed n clad az a Brahmin youth !!! Can u imagine a venerated king like Angaraaj & a glorified warrior like AtiiMahaaRathy Karn daring to publicly challenge to combat, that too at a holy ceremony, in a distant land from Hastinaapur & Anga, that too infront of Guruu DronaAachaarya, Lord Shrii Krishnna, Lord Balaraam & the bride's own father & 2 brothers, a Brahmin youth who's just won that bride??? Karn could not have attacked Arjun publicly 4 another reason apart from etiquette & ethics & virtues & moral ----- Duryodhan, Shakunii, Dushshaashana's evil vile cunning Vaarnaavarta plot would have exposed right infront of the entire nation 's all & sundry Raajaas & Mahaaraajas & Raajkumaars & Yuvraajs etc.