Karna – My Most Admired Character in Mahabaratha

In this article I have briefed about a character I admired the most. I have explained the reasons and ideas what made me admire Karna. Although there are many characters in mahabaratha Karna was the most notable one for me. And he is been praised even by Lord Krishna many a times. Let me share a character we all need to know and remember. 

Karna’s birth

    Karna (also written as Karan) is one of the most controversial characters in the epic Mahabharat.  There are many controversies about him whether he is a hero or a villain. Here are a few facts as mentioned in the Mahabharat as events that took place in Karna’s life right up to his death in the war at Kurukshetra.

Kunti –  an unwed princess – gave birth to a son named Karna through a boon. She had got the boon been granted by sage Durvasa whom she had served like a daughter. She was also only a child and had tested the mantra to check the whether it works or not. To her surprise Sun God appeared before her. She bore the son to him for innocently testing the mantra.

Karna was born to Kunti with kavach – a natural shell-like undefeatable armour for the skin – and kundal (the earrings in his ears – Karna) due to the reason he was named as Karna.

Fearing the world she set him adrift down the river in a box and the box was found by Adhirath – the charioteer to Dhritarashtra, the king of Hastinapur.

Later Karna grew up as a charioteer’s child. Later Kunti married Pandu brother of Dhritarashtra. She had 5 sons all born with help of same boon.

Best things to know about Karna

In the Epic Mahabhrata, we all know about Lord, Arjuna and Yudhister. And the Kauravas known for the evil things. The character least we talk is Karna – the unfortunate guy, the low born king and the man accidently cursed several times.

But the role of Karna’s in the Mahabharata is important. I bring you lesser known stories about the ‘suryaputra’, proving he was nothing less than a hero. 

1.   Sharpness of Karna

Once, Arjuna asked Lord Krishna why he called Yudhishtira, Dharamaraj, and Karna, Daanveer. To answer this question, Krishna disguised himself and Arjuna as Brahmins and decided to visit both the kings. On visiting Yudhishitra, they asked for sandalwood to cook food. It was raining heavily at the time, and Yudhishitra couldn’t find dry sandalwood suitable to be used as a fuel. He apologised to both of them, and they returned empty handed.

A little later, they went to Karna and asked for the same thing. Karna searched everywhere for dry sandalwood but failed. But he did not let the Brahmins go home empty handed. He picked up his bow and arrow and destroyed the doors made of sandalwood. This, he gave to Krishna and Arjuna. 

2.   Fate of his Life

Rishi Parusharam cursed Karna for deceiving him. He lied to him to learn archery as he was the greatest teacher of all time. But it backfired. In reality however, Parusharam knew about Karna’s true heritage. But he also knew the big picture that would be played out later.  Parusram cursed him to be instrument for the death of karna.

3.   Trust and relationship with Duryodhana

After Karna’s coronation as Angh Raj, he spent most of his time with Duryodhana. They would play a game of dice in the evening. One day after sunset, Duryodhana had to leave momentarily. His wife Bhanumati, who was passing by, saw Karna waiting for her husband and decided to continue her husband’s game. At some point they had a casual quarrel about whose turn it was next. Playfully, Karna tried to snatch the dice from her hand. While they were wriggling, Bhanumati’s dress shifted out of place, and her pearl necklace broke. The pearls scattered everywhere on the floor. At that instant, Duryodhana entered and found his wife with his friend in a compromising position, with their clothes entangled and pearls all over the floor. Duryodhana asked Karna what the quarrelling was for. Upon knowing the reason he cracked a joke and laughed aloud and continued playing.

Later, when Bhanumati asked Duryodhana why he didn’t doubt her, he replied, “In a relation there is no scope for doubt, for when doubt settles in there will be no relation”. Karna is my best friend and I trust him because I have faith that he will never break my trust.

4.   Why he is most powerful man in Mahabaratha

In fact, even Arjuna couldn’t defeat Karna all by himself. During the war of Kurukshetra, Krishna and Indra helped the Pandavas kill Karna. Karna was born with armour and no one can kill him in battlefield. It was conspiracy by Indra who took away Karna’s armour leading to his death.  

5.   Thankfulness for Dhuryodhana

Before the war, Krishna confronted Karna and told him how he was the eldest of the Pandavas, and the rightful heir to the throne; not Yudhishthir. Although Karna was elated after he found out that Kunti was his mother and Surya his father, he refused to join ranks with Pandavas, because of his friendship and loyalty towards Duryodhana. In true terms, Karna was the only one who followed dharma throughout his life.

6.    Lord Krishna had praised Karna on several occasions.

In the middle of the war, Krishna even told Arjuna that Karna was indeed a real warrior, and far better than him. Karna reminds us of the saying”Tough times never last, but tough people do.” 

7.    Karna’s curses than most others in Mahabharata. 

Despite being the greatest warrior of all time, he was helpless. Karna’s life went through various waves of tragedy and sacrifice alternately. He was destroyed by the wrong attitude, because he wanted to be somebody he wasn’t.

  1. Mother Earth’s Curse

Karna once helped a little girl who had split Milk (or Ghee) on the ground and feared retribution from her mother. A kind Karna helped the girl retrieve the Milk by squeezing and twisting the ground; in essence, Mother Earth herself. So unbearable was the pain, that Mother Earth cursed Karna that she would be of no assistance to him whatsoever and will even try to make him vulnerable in battle. This resulted in the untimely incident of Karna’s Chariot Wheel getting stuck in mud.

  • The Teacher’s Curse

On the final day of the lessons from Parashurama, Karna unflinchingly bears a scorpion bite, when Parashurama is resting upon his lap. A bewildered Parashurama realizes that Karna can be none but a Warrior and curses Karna that he will forget the knowledge of the weapons, especially the Brahmastra, when he needs them the most. This curse came into effect when Karna forget the mantra to invoke the Brahmastra while fighting against Arjun in his last day on the battlefield.

  • A Brahman’s Curse 1

Karna, once when practicing the Shabd Bhedi Arrow, mistook a Cow for a wild animal and shoots it down. The Brahman to whom the cow belongs is distraught. He curses Karna that he will be killed by his enemy when his attention is diverted in the middle of a combat. This curse materializes when Karna is busy removing the chariot wheel from the mud and is shot by Arjuna, on the advice of Krishna.

  • A Brahman’s Curse 2

Next, once, long before the final war at Kurukshetra, Karna accidentally runs over a cow’s calf underneath his chariot’s heels. The aggrieved Brahmin who was herding the cow and calf curses him that he will find those very wheels of his chariot stuck on a war field.

8. His loyalty to Duryodhan 

According to Krishna, in order to avoid the war, he had requested Karna to become the king. He argued that Karna, being elder to both Yudhisthir and Duryodhan, would be the rightful heir to the throne. But Karna refused the offer. 

9. Karna’s wisdom. 

Lord Krishna asked Karna how he knew that the Pandavas would win the war, to which he replied, “Kurukshetra is a sacrificial field. Arjuna is the Head Priest, you -Krishna are the presiding deity. Myself (Karna), Bhishma , Dronacharya and Duryodhana are the sacrifice.’

10. An Example for Good human

There is a theory that Lord Krishna created Karna to show the world the true meaning of sacrifice, and how one should accept their fate. Despite bad luck or bad times, he continued to believe in spirituality, generosity, humility, dignity and self-respect, and remained respectful towards his loved ones. 

So how did Karna die?

The war between the Kauravas and Pandavas during the Dwapar Yug at the battlefield of Kurukshetra took place over 18 days. Karna was the Senapati or the General of the Kaurava army. He died on day 17 of the battle when Arjun fired a weapon upon a distressed unarmed Karna.

On the 17th day of the war, Karna was faced with Arjun – his ultimate rival. But by now, Karna had also exhausted the Divyastra that Lord Indra had given – as he had to use it on Ghatotachkach – the son of Bheema and Hidimba. 

He had no Kavach-Kundal to protect him anymore and he found his chariot’s wheels stuck in the squish of the battlefield. He forgot the Brahmastra as Parshuram’s curse came into effect. Lord Krishna had promised Lord Indra that he will protect Arjuna.

Also, Lord Indra walks up to Karna a few days before the war, disguised as a Brahmin and seeks the charity and alms of his Kavach and Kundal. Karna gives it with nary a thought. But Indra gives him a Divyastra that he can use once. 

Finally the night before the battle begins, Kunti walks up to him, tells him they are mother and son and suggests that Karna should join his brothers – the Pandavas. Karna refuses that offer but promises that he will spare all Pandavas except Arjun. 

At one point, Karna found himself stuck with an immobile chariot, all weapons lost, broken or useless. Krishna inspired Arjun to fire a salvo. Karna died at the hands of his own brother.

Most people find the tale of Karna very tragic and painful.

Was Karna Good or Bad

Existence is not making a judgment about who is good and bad. It is only social situations that try to judge people as good and bad. It is only individual human beings who try to judge you as good and bad. In the world there is nothing like good and bad. It is all the circumstances which decide.  It is like if you do right thing right things happen. And when you do bad thing you can’t expect right things to happen in your life. I hope that’s perfectly fair. All the Karna fans think it is unfair that he should have been put through so much. But that is what is called as karma.

In our life if good did not happen after being good in life it means we have messed something. So when we dnot get the good thing it definitely teaches you, what you did was not correct. So it gives us a chance to correct ourselves at times. But the chance is not is not always given in all situations.  If existence was not like this, there would be no value for doing the right things or for human intelligence. Nothing that we value in our life would be valuable if you could do wrong things and still the right things happened to you. Life doesn’t work like that.

So I leave to the readers you to decide whether Karna is good or bad. And what we have to learn from his character for the betterment of our life.

To Summarise:

As I told you in the article that karna was my most admired character in Mahahratha. To explain it I have briefed you my understanding and information I know about him. Hope it was useful for you knowing about him.

I found lots of learning from his life.

In a relation there is no scope for doubt, for when doubt settles in there will be no relation”

 ”Tough times never last, but tough people do.” 

“Karna was born with armour and no one can kill him in battlefield”

He was a Dhanveer.

Finally Karna always want to be what he was not. He was a great soul and good at heart. But he supported bad person and he faced the karma of it. This applies for all humans today. Let’s learn from karnan’s life how to lead a life having the wisdom to differentiate the good and bad person in life. Your choice decides you destiny.

Hope it would also inspire others knowing these facts.


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