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Karna - The Great Warrior

Indian philosophy is enriched with numerous books and scriptures. These scriptures provide infinite knowledge to mankind. These books guide us on how to live our lives on this planet. Some of these greatest scriptures have been narrated to us in the form of poems. Mahabharata written by Vedavyasa is one such great epic. This ancient tale of wisdom depicts various aspectsof human life such as family, power, kingdom and warfare etc.

The epic also involves the Supreme God, Lord Krishna as one of the main characters who himself guides humankind on how to lead one's life here. He teaches us the various paths through which one can attain him through Bhagwat Gita which is a part of Mahabharata. The story revolves around two branches of a royal family the Pandavas and the Kauravas who fight in the Battle of Kurukshetra for the throne of Hastinapur. The epic is a compilation of several short stories revolving around the main script. The main message we get from this epic is that surrendering to Lord Vishnu is the only way to liberation. Only when one surrenders to God with utmost devotion, the Lord takes care of him and his needs. Only with faith and devotion the biggest battles of lives are won. Pandavas here had devoted and surrendered themselves to Lord Krishna and hence came out victorious in the war. The epic has shown aspects of human personality through different characters. All the characters are a blend of goodness and evil just like every human.

This post will talk about Karna who is one of the main protagonists in this story.

Karna was the son of princes Kunti and Sun God. Kunti had a boon by which she could bear a child from any God just by offering worship to that God. She wanted to test this power and hence invoked Sun God. As a result of the boon she was gifted with a child immediately. Kunti was an unmarried young girl at that time. Scared Kunti knew that the society will never accept that the child was born out of magic and will shame her throughout her life She decided to abandon the child in a basket on a river. This child was the mighty Karna. He was adopted and raised by his foster parents Radha and Adhiratha who was the charioteer to King Dhritarashtra.

Karna possessed the extraordinary abilities of a warrior right from birth. He was an exceptional archer and a great speaker as well. He was a close friend of Duryodhana (son of Dhritarashtra). Duryodhana was aware of Karna's exceptional military attributes and very well knew that only Karna could compete with the mighty Arjuna (one of the Pandava brothers). However in order to compete with the royal family one had to be a Royal himself. Hence Duryodhana crowned Karna as the King of Naga (Bengal).

This made Karna indebted to Duryodhana for life. He was a loyal friend to him and could now even die for him. Karna hated the Pandavas as Bhima (one of the Pandavas) had mocked at him for not being Royal. Also he was a friend of Duryodhana who was a Kaurava and an enemy of Pandavas. Legends say that Karna had a heart of gold and was a very good King. He could not see misery and hence did a lot of charity. Just before the battle of Kurukshetra Karna came to know of his real mother Kunti. Kunti went and told him that Pandavas were his half brothers and he was fighting his own blood. Kunti pleaded for Pandava's lives and begged him not to fight. Karna promised not to fight any of the Pandavas except Arjuna. In battle he didn't attack any of the Pandavas except Arjuna.

However he was killed by Arjuna thereafter. Karna was in a way unfortunate in his story. He was abandoned by his mother, he was manipulated by his friends however he is remembered till today for his charitable work and loyalty.

Art Credit: Unknown

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