insect bites karna

When an insect decided the fate of someone great – KARNA

Usually, people weigh and measure everybody by their size (moneywise, physically) but, life and fate work in a mysterious way…A real story from ancient Indian history. When an insect became the instrument of existence to decide the fate of a great warrior, Karna.

Karna and Pandavas

The story is about the life of KARNA, one of the central figures of the great MAHABHARAT war. This biggest-ever war took place in India 5000 years ago between brothers of a big royal family (Kauravs and Pandavas). The Kauravs included Hastinapur king Dhritrashtra’s 100 sons and army, while Pandavas included Pandu’s (Dhritrashtra’s younger brother) 5 sons and their army. Almost all the states of India participated in this war by joining either of the group.

Who is Karna?

Kunti, a princess, while unwed, gave birth to KARNA. However, after her marriage, she became the mother of the Pandavas. The Pandavas (five brothers including Arjuna) were Karna’s primary opponent and key figures in the Mahabharat war. So, Karna and Pandavas all were born to Kunti.

However, Karna could never know this fact until the last days of his life. And when he came to know about this, then he didn’t disclose it to save Kunti’s public image. The Pandavas also remained unaware of this fact until Karna’s death.

Arjuna, one of the best warriors of that time, and Karna, both wanted to be called the best warrior of that time, so they remained in lifelong rivalry and enmity.

How Karna was born?

Princess Kunti, daughter of King Shursena (Kings used to be in Kshatriya class), served as an attendant to a great sage Durvasa for one year. It was a tradition in the ancient Indian culture for royal family kids to serve great saints. The sage, pleased with her services, granted her a boon. According to this she could call upon any god of her choice, and get a child in his image.

Out of curiosity, unmarried Kunti used the mantra on Surya, the Sun god. Surya, bound by the power of the mantra, appeared and granted her a son. The story says the son took birth through the ear (the ear is called Karna in the Local language).

Why Kunti left Karna?

Being an unwed mother, scared Kunti abandoned Karna and set him afloat in a box in a river. The child took birth with a unique Kavach (protective layer) and Kundals (earrings) on his body, as a part of his body. Later when this child grew up, Kunti recognized him with these kavach and Kundals.

On the way, Hastinapur King Dhritrashtra’s charioteer, Adhiratha picked up the floating child Karna. Adhiratha was a lower caste person (in those days, the caste system prevailed in many areas of India). He and his wife Radha adopted the child and named him RADHEY.

However, his famous name was Karna. According to some experts, Indra(a deity) gave him this title at the last stage of his life, when he donated his Kavach and Kundals to him. In the local language, the word Karna also means the peeler of his skin / natural armor.

Who Taught Karna? Did Karna learn from Drona?

Growing up, Karna wanted to be a warrior. He approached Guru (high-quality teacher) Dronacharya, a teacher of the Royal princes, requesting admission into his school. But, Dronacharya didn’t accept him. He said you are a ‘Sutaputra’, a lower class and I teach only the royal princes here. Karna soon realized that his caste would always be a barrier in his quest for knowledge.

Why Karna lied to Parshuram?

Then he approached Guru Parashurama, a great saint, and teacher of this art. But since Parshuram taught Brahmins (upper cast) only, Karna introduced himself as a Brahmins’ son. Karna urged his strong desire to learn the arts of war and Parshuram accepted him as a student.

As Karna’s education began, Guru Parshuram soon recognized his talent and dedication. Impressed Parshuram, apart from regular war techniques, trained him in the deadly and very powerful DIVINE weapons also, which could only be generated by the power of Mantras. Guru Parashurama said you are very honest, so I have taught you the complete science of war arts. But, he warned him to use this power only for a righteous cause.

Karan (Karna) Parshuram curse -The Fate

One afternoon, feeling tired in the jungle, Guru Parshuram asked Karna to bring something to be used as a pillow to rest for some time. Karna politely offered him to use his lap as a pillow. So, Parashurama laid his head in his favorite disciple’s lap and fell fast asleep.

While Parshuram rested on Karna’s lap, a big insect started to cut & penetrate Karna’s thigh. Despite the severe pain, Karna did not move an inch, so that guru’s sleep may not get disturbed. When blood started oozing out of Karna,s thigh, Parshuram woke up with the warmth.

Why Parshuram cursed Karna?

After knowing the whole situation, far from even Karna’s wildest thoughts, angry Parshuram declared “You are not a Brahmin, you are Kshatriya”. He said that no brahmin could endure such immense pain, it’s possible for a Kshatriya (a warrior caste) only. And said that he will not forgive him for this deception.

Image Credit: Google

Parshuram’s shrap (Curse) to Karna

Karna pleaded that he was a Sutputra (a lower caste), not Kshatriya (a warrior). In fact, he also knew himself as a charioteer‘s son. But, Parshuram didn’t listen to his excuses & said that you are lying again – you can’t be a Sutputra, you are a Kshatriya. He CURSED Karna – “You would forget all my teachings when you would require them the most”.

Who killed Karna? How Karna died?

Later, this curse played a decisive role in Karna’s defeat & death at Arjun’s hands in the Mahabharat war. In that war, when Karna fought with his lifelong rival, Arjuna, he could not remember the mantras to generate the divine weapons and Arjun killed him.

This is how the destiny works in unknowable and silent ways!

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  • Featured Image Credit: Indian TV serial “Mahabharat”
  • Reference: (My old blog)
  • Tags: The curse of Parshuram, who was karna, how did karna die.

1 thought on “When an insect decided the fate of someone great – KARNA”

  1. I have never heard of this tale before. It is incredibly interesting, and humbling how a creature of such seemingly little significance can wield such influence. xxx

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