Originally known as Vasusena, Suryaputra Karna is the main character of the Hindu epic ‘Mahabharata.’ Being the King of Anga desh, Karna was the greatest warriors, who had all the traits and virtues of an excellent king. His martial exploits are recorded in great details in ‘Mahabharata.’ He was the only warrior, who could defeat the mighty Arjuna and was greatly admired by Bhishma and Lord Krishna.
The greatest warriors of all times conquered the entire world. It is great to note that Karna, single-handedly conducted the Digvijay Yatra successfully. He conquered all the kings coming from various directions of the world. This was to conduct the Vaishnava sacrifice and to establish Duryodhana as the king or emperor. It is said that Karna was equal to two mighty warriors of Mahabharata.
The story of Karna’s birth!
Karna, called ‘Suryaputra Karna,’ was the son of Sun God. He was, in fact, the son of Kunti and the Sun-God. Prior to the marriage of Kunti with Pandu, Karna was born. Kunti was the Princess of the Kunti Kingdom, who was granted the boon by Durvasa that she could invoke any deity to give her an offspring. She was very eager to test this, and still in maidenhood, she invoked the Surya or Sun God to give her a child. Sun God handed her infant Karna wearing Kavacha or armour and the pair of earrings or Kundala. She became an unwed mother, and thus, out of fear, she placed the infant in the basket and set him afloat on the waters. Infant Karna was found by the charioteer of the King Dhritarashtra. Adhiratha, the charioteer, and his wife Radha raised the child and gave him the name as Vasusena. He also acquired the name ‘Radheya,’ implying ‘son of Radha’.
His early life
Suryaputra Karna was very much interested in the warfare, and hence, approached Dronacharya to teach him the art. But then, Dronacharya refused to accept Karna as his student since he was not a Kshatriya. In fact, Dronacharya teased him by saying that since he is the son of a charioteer, he must help his father in riding the chariot rather than learning warfare. When refused by Dronacharya, he took Parshurama as his guru to teach advanced skills in archery. Although Karna was not a Brahmin yet he lied to Parshurama; Parshurama accepted him and trained him well. Parshurama said that Karna had become his equivalent in archery and warfare skills.
Interesting facts about Suryaputra Karna
At the end of the training, Suryaputra Karna offered his lap to the Guru so that he could rest. While Parshurama was sleeping, a bee stung his lap, but Karna did not move in pain. He did not want to disturb the sleep of his Guru. It is said that Lord Indra took the form of a bee, which stung Karna. Lord Indra was scared of Karna’s fighting prowess and wished to benefit his son Arjuna by stinging him.
When the blood was oozing out from Karna’s wound, Parshurama woke up and became furious saying that Karna was not a Brahmin. He then cursed Karna saying that he is going to forget all the acquired knowledge while wielding the divine Bhrahmanda astra. Suryaputra Karna pleaded to lift up the curse, and thus, Parshurama modified it by saying he would forget the acquired skills only when he fought with an equivalent warrior of similar strength.
In order to bypass this curse also, Parshurama gave Karna his own celestial weapon, namely, Bhargavastra, which was possessed by no one else. Parshurama was very repentant at what happened and further gave Vijaya, his personal bow. He blessed Karna by saying that, on this earth, no one will be Karna’s equivalent in bravery.
He was given another curse by a Brahmin whose cow was killed when Karna was practicing bow and arrow. The Brahmin cursed Karna by saying that he would also be in pain just like the cow and become helpless someday. At last, Karna is helpless when chariot wheels get stuck up on the ground at the battlefield.
Qualities and Virtues of Suryaputra Karna
Suryaputra Karna was the warrior of immense determination who always fought against misfortunes. Under every circumstance, he kept his words. Karna found the Karnal city, which is known as Haryana. In the entire Hindu religion, Karna, Harishchandra, and Mahabali are the famous personalities. All the three personalities earned great fame and name due to their deeds. They did a lot of charity and earned merits. Karna is quoted for his bravery, sacrificing nature, charity, valour, selflessness and his helping nature.
Karna surpassing Arjuna’s feats!
Guru Dronacharya arranged a friendly tournament to see the valour of Kuru Princes. Arjuna, the third of Pandava brothers, was a gifted archer. Uninvited at the tournament, Karna arrived and surpassed Arjuna’s feats. But Kripacharya refused to allow a duel fight between Karna and Arjuna. According to him, only a prince had the right to fight a duel with a prince and Karna was not the prince.
For mixed casts and lineage, Bheema insulted him. There started a feud between the Pandavas and Karna. Duryodhana noticed the valour of Karna and offered him the throne of Anga. Hence, Karna became eligible to fight a duel. It is so ironical that none of the Pandavas knew that Karna was their own brother and one of the Pandavas. Suryaputra Karna married Vrushali, the one belonging to Suta caste. He helped Duryodhana to marry Bhanumati, the Princess of Kalinga. Duryodhana abducted the princess from her ‘swayamvara’ and Karna fought with all the suitors.
The Honorable Karna
When prodded by Shakuni, Duryodhana agreed to plot against Pandavas and kill them. This was treacherous and not in accordance with the virtue of a warrior. All throughout the planning and execution stage, it was Karna who asked him to call it off and expressed his desire to kill them on the battlefield face to face and not by this treachery.
Suryaputra Karna took over the task of establishing Duryodhana as the ruler of this world. With Digvijay Yatra, he conquered all the kings from various directions. He had a worldwide military campaign and used it to impose the imperial authority of Duryodhana. Draupadi had the hidden love for Karna and not for her five husbands. Draupadi confessed her love for Karna when Lord Krishna asked to her speak the truth. Suryaputra Karna stands for fame and glory.