We learned about various stories from the epic Mahabharata. This episode tells us the story of Krishna and Karna. Both of them had a very deep relationship. They are even considered as cousins. Karna respected Krishna’s authority, his words and his superior existence by heart. Karna is one of the clever characters in the Mahabharata.
The story of Krishna and Karna:
Karna fixes the arrow to his bow, pulls it back and releases. This arrow of his is aimed at Arjun’s heart. Lord Krishna, as we know is Arjun’s Charioteer (Carriage’s driver) drives it by his full strength up to several feet on the ground. The shot arrow hits the headgear of Arjuna and gets knocked off. It misses its target that was Arjuna’s, heart.
Krishna shouts, “It’s a great shot, Karna!”
Arjuna then asks Krishna, ‘Why are praising him?’
Krishna then tells Arjuna, ‘See Yourself.! You have Lord Hanuman on the flag of this carriage. Also, you have me (Lord Krishna) as your carriage driver. Arjuna you have the blessings of Ma Durga and your beloved Guru, Dronacharya before the battle.
You have a lovely Mother and a noble tradition. And this Karna has nobody behind, his own carriage and, Salya puts him down. His very own Guru (Parusurama) cursed him. His Mother left him as soon as he was born and he has no known family tradition. Still, look at the battle he is giving you. Without me on this carriage and Lord Hanuman on this flag, where would you be?’
The likeness between Krishna and Karna:
Comparison between Krishna and Karna on various occasions is given below. Some of them do not have a correct fact while some are pure facts.
- Immediately after when Krishna was born, he was carried across the river by his father, Vasudeva. He was brought up by his step-parents named Nanda &Yasoda.
Immediately after when Karma was born, his Mother, Kunti placed him into a basket in the flow of a river. He was carried to his step-parents named Adhiratha & Radha under the watchful eye of Surya Dev, his father.
- Krishna’s given name was– Vasudeva
Karna’s given name was– Vasusena
- Krishna’s mother was Devaki and Step-Mother – Yasoda. His Chief -wife was Rukmini. But he is remembered for his lila with Radha as ‘Radha-Krishna’
Karna’s birth-giving mother was Kunti, and even after being found out she was his mother. He told Krishna that he won’t be called as Kaunteya, son of Kunti. In turn, he will be remembered as Radheya the Son of Radha. Till the present date, the Mahabharata refers to Karna as ‘Radheya’.
- Krishna was asked by the Yadavas(Krishna’s people ) to become their King. He refused it as a result Ugrasena became the King of the Yadavas.
He asked Karna to become the Emperor (king) of India. That is the king of BharataVarsha, which extended to Pakistan, Bangladesh & Afghanistan at the time. Thereby, he prevented the Mahabharata War. Krishna told that Karna is an elder of both Yudhisthira & Duryodhana. So he would be the lawful heir (successor) to the throne. Karna refused the Kingdom on watching the rules and norms of the time.
- Krishna broke his promise of not picking up a weapon in the War when he rushed towards Bhishma Dev taking his Chakra.
- Krishna made a promise to Kunti that he will protect her 5 Pandavas.
Karna promised Kunti that he would leave the lives of 4 Pandavas but battle with Arjuna. In the War, Karna had a good chance to kill Yudhisthira, Bhima, Nakula & Sahadeva at time-periods. Yet, he saved their lives.
- Krishna belonged to Kshatriya caste, but still, he played the role of Arjuna’s carriage-puller in the War.
Karna was brought up in the Suta (caste of people who pull a carriage), still, he played the role of a Kshatriya in the War
- Karna was cursed to his Death by his Guru (Rishi) Parusharam for cheating him and saying he was a Brahmin. In reality, Parusharam knew about Karna’s true family background. Even, he knew the big picture that was to be carried out later. Apart from it, along with Bhishma Dev, Karna was his favorite follower.
Krishna was also cursed to his Death by Gandhari. As she felt he allowed the War to happen and he could have done much more to stop it.
Draupadi, Krishna, and Karna:
- Draupadi referred Krishna as her Sakha(Brother) & loved him openly. A day Krishna cut his finger from the Sudarshan Chakra and Draupadi immediately tore a piece of cloth from the sari she was wearing. She soaked it in water and wrapped it around his finger to stop the blood. Krishna asked, ‘That was your favorite Sari!.’ Draupadi smiled and said: “it was not bigger than you”. Krishna was touched by this. So, when her sari was unrolled by Dushashana in the Assembly Hall. Krishna by his powers made Draupadi’s sari of never ending cloth.
Karna was loved by Draupadi secretly. He was her hidden crush. When Dushashana un-rolled Draupadi’s sari in the Assembly Hall. Which Krishna made long enough. Bhima once told Yudhisthira, ‘Brother, never give Krishna your sins. He increases everything’.
- Before the War, Lord Krishna was looked upon with great respect. Even among the Yadavas, they knew Krishna was Greatest of the Greats.But they did not know his Divine powers. Very few knew that who was Krishna?
After the War finished, many of the Rishis and people became angry with Krishna. As they felt he could have stopped the harsh conditions and millions of deaths.
Before the War, Karna was looked upon as an instructor and right-hand of Duryodhana, jealous of the Pandavas. And after the war, Karna was looked up with respect and importance by the Pandavas, Dhritarashtra & Gandhari. For his unending sacrifice and they were sad that Karna faced such dishonor his whole life.
The bond between Krishna-Karna:
- Krishna and Karna had a great amount of respect for each other. Karna came to know about Krishna’s divine powers and admitted himself to his Lila.Whereas, Karna got glory doing this. Ashwattama was not able to accept that how his father, Dronacharya was killed and freed his superb warfare against the Panchalas (men, women & children). Ending, being a bigger villain than Duryodhana.
- Krishna questioned Karna, ‘how he knew the Pandavas would win the Mahabharat War?’ To which Karna answered, ‘Kurukshethra is a field in which sacrifices are made. Arjuna is the Chief-Priest; You are the deity who takes the chair. Me (Karna), Bhishma Dev, Duryodhana, and Dronacharya are the sacrifice.’ Krishna ended the conversation by telling Karna, ‘You are the best among the 5 Pandavas.’
- KARNA is referred as the creation of Krishna. He shows the world true meaning of sacrifice and acceptance of luck. And the message he gives is:
No matter how much bad luck or bad times you come across maintain: Your Spirituality, Your big heart, Your honor, Your worth and you’re Self- Respect and always have Respect for others.