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10 Stories From The Life Of Karna In Mahabharata

Ten notable stories of Karna, a complex and tragic hero from the Mahabharata:

Birth and Abandonment: Karna was born to Kunti before her marriage using a boon from the sun god Surya. Fearing social stigma, she placed the newborn in a basket and set it afloat on a river. Adhiratha, a charioteer, and his wife Radha found and raised him, naming him Vasusena (later known as Karna).

Education and Curse by Parashurama: Denied training by Dronacharya because of his perceived low birth, Karna approached the great warrior Parashurama, pretending to be a Brahmin. Parashurama taught him all his martial secrets. However, when Parashurama discovered Karna's deception, he cursed him that he would forget all his skills when he needed them most.

The Tournament Incident: At a tournament showcasing the skills of the Kuru princes, Karna challenged Arjuna, who was considered the best archer. However, due to his unknown lineage, he was mocked and refused the challenge. Duryodhana, the Kaurava prince, intervened and made Karna the king of Anga, thereby befriending him for life.

Generosity to Indra: Karna was known for his extreme generosity. Indra, Arjuna's divine father, disguised as a Brahmin, approached Karna and asked for his divine armor (Kavach) and earrings (Kundal), which he was born with and which made him invincible. Despite knowing Indra's intention, Karna donated them willingly. In return, Indra gave him the powerful Vasavi Shakti weapon, which he could use only once.

Curses and Ill Fate: Apart from Parashurama's curse, Karna was also cursed by a Brahmin whom he accidentally killed with an arrow while practicing archery. The Brahmin cursed that Karna's chariot wheel would get stuck in the ground during a crucial battle.

Loyalty to Duryodhana: Karna remained loyal to Duryodhana, despite knowing the latter's flawed character. This loyalty was due to Duryodhana's unwavering support and friendship when Karna was humiliated by the Pandavas and others due to his low status.

Meeting with Kunti: Before the Kurukshetra war, Kunti met Karna and revealed his true identity as her son, urging him to join the Pandavas. Karna, while deeply moved, chose to remain loyal to Duryodhana but promised Kunti that he would only kill Arjuna among her sons and spare the rest.

Role in Draupadi's Humiliation: During the infamous dice game, Karna insulted Draupadi, calling her names and suggesting that she be disrobed. This act intensified the enmity between him and the Pandavas, especially Bhima and Arjuna.

Battle with Arjuna: Karna's final confrontation with Arjuna is one of the epic’s most dramatic moments. Despite being an equal if not superior warrior, Karna was hampered by his curses. During their final duel, his chariot wheel got stuck, and as he struggled to free it, Arjuna, encouraged by Krishna, killed him.

Posthumous Recognition: After his death, Karna’s true lineage was revealed. The Pandavas, especially Yudhishthira, were filled with remorse for having fought their own brother. Karna’s heroism and tragic life earned him a revered place in the annals of history.

Karna's life is a blend of valor, generosity, loyalty, and tragedy, making him one of the most compelling characters in the Mahabharata.