Seven little known facts about Karna from the Mahabharata

Karna – the most virtuous but tragic warrior from Mahabharata

Karna was the eldest son of Kunti. He was born before Kunti was wedded, so Kunti had to let him go and He, being the eldest and most deserving, had to live his life in obscurity. The only fault was his timing of birth, where he had no control over. Read some of the fate’s cruelty imparted to him.

1. Curses on Karna

One afternoon Parashurama requested Karna to bring a pillow to sleep on under a tree shade. Karna instead offered his lap to his guru. While Parashurama was fast asleep a giant bee stung Karna’s thigh, despite of the severe pain Karna didn’t move so as not to disturb his guru’s sleep. As the bee boared deeper the wound began to bleed.  Parashurama was woken by the blood from Karna’s thigh.

karna drona mahabharat indian story world mythology Seven little known facts about Karna from the Mahabharata

Karna – The most virtuous warrior from Indian mythology – Mahabharat

Then Parashurama deduced at once that Karna is a kshatriya and not a Brahmin because a brahmin  can not endure such pain. So he cursed Karna that all his martial skill including use of brahmastra would desert him when he needed them most. This means that Karna would forget all that he had learned from Parashuram during his hours of crisis. Karna who was unaware of his royal lineage pleaded that any student in his place would do the same and he was son of Vasusena  a mere charioteer and not a kshatriya.

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Parshurama’s curse to Karna

Though Parashurama regretted cursing him in a moment of anger but his curse was irrevocable so he gifted him a celestial weapon Bhargavastra along with his personal bow called Vijaya and blessed him with everlasting glory and immortal fame.

Departing from Parashuram’s ashram Karna wandered for some time. On his way he killed a cow that was rushing towards him by shooting an arrow. Incensed by this incident, the brahamin who owned the cow cursed him that he had killed a helpless animal he too would be killed in the same way i.e. when he was most helpless with his concentration being diverted away from his enemy at that crucial moment.

Once Karna was riding his chariot in his kingdom of Anga encountered a child who was crying over her pot of spilt ghee. On asking her reason for her dismay she stated that she feared her step mother would be angry over her carelessness. Being generous enough Karna told her that he would give her new ghee. But the child insisted that she wanted only the ghee which was mixed with the soil and refused to take new ghee. Taking pity on the girl, took the soil mixed with ghee in his fist and squeezed it with all his might to extract the ghee and pour it back into the pot.During this process, Karna heard the agonised voice of a  women. When he opened his fist he realised it was voice of Bhoomidevi, furious Bhoomidevi chastised Karna for inflicting enormous pain for sake of mere child so, she cursed him that in a very crucial battle of life she would trap his chariot wheel in the same way that he held the fistful of soil.

Thus Karna was cursed on three separate and independent occasions. Unfortunately, each of these curses became operational at the same crucial moment in the kurukshetra war thus making him weapon less, left without chariot and helpless. These three curses are the main reason of his fall.

2. Generous Karna

On the eve of Mahabharat battle, Lord Indra disguised as an old Brahamin went to Karna asked for his Kavach and Kundal in daan (alms) Indra asked for this gift so as to reduce his strength, as he was  apprehensive that Karna by virtue of his phenomenal skill as a warrior would defeat Arjuna. Karna was being cautioned by by Sun God about such move of Lord Indra. But Karna was so great hearted that he could not refuse anyone and inspite of knowing that Indra is playing a trick he parted his kawach and kundal, which were part of his body since birth and made him invincible. Indra was pleased with Karna’s generosity and granted him a vardan (boon) Karna asked for his weapon shakti which can destroy any enemy Indra granted him that on a condition that he can use it only once.

Karna parting with kavach Seven little known facts about Karna from the Mahabharata

Karna giving Kavach to Indra

When Karna was on his death bed Lord Indra and Surya had a dispute regarding his generosity. To settle this they disguise as a beggar and asked for alms. Karna responded that he had nothing left with him for them, to which beggar replied that he had some gold on his tooth which would be valuable for them. On realizing this fact, Karna took a stone and broke his tooth and gave it to beggar, epitomizing the ‘way of life’ he led.

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Karna born with Kavach and Kundal

3. Karna’s promise to Kunti

As the war approached Kunti met Karna to reveal his true identity. Kunti asked him to join Pandavas and become king. Karna stated that he can’t betray his friend Duryodhan. However he promised that he would not attempt to kill any of the Pandavas except Arjuna. Karna knew very well that Arjun is under the divine aegis of lord Krishna and hence invincible. This way he would be able to pay off Duryodhan’s debt while performing the duties of elder brother. So he told Kunti that she could only keep her 5 sons being him or Arjuna.


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 Seven little known facts about Karna from the Mahabharata

4. Karna in battle field

Bhisma the commander in chief of Kaurava’s refused Karna to participate in war under his leadership saying that Karna has insulted his guru Parshuram by insulting Draupadi and nobody insulting his guru can fight under my leadership. Bhisma also knew about Karna’s true ancestry and did not want him to fight against his own brothers . Consequently Karna entered the battle field only on 11th day after the fall of Bhisma on 10th day.

5. Birth of Karna

Karna was born before his mother Kunti was married to  prince Pandu. Kunti was granted a boon from sage Durvasa who was very pleased with her service and hospitality. The boon was that she can call upon any God to beget a child. Out of curiosity Kunti still being unmarried wanted to test the power of mantra. She invoked the mantra and called Sun God (Surya), bound by the power of mantra Surya appeared and handed her a son, who was radiant and robust as Surya himself. the baby had a Kavach (armour) and kundal (ear ring) attached to his body. Though Kunti didn’t physically give birth to the baby, she was unwilling to face the world as an unwed mother so she placed Karna in a basket and set him float on the holy river Ganga.

Karna was founded by charioteer, he and his wife Radha raised Karna and named him Vasusena. He was also known as Radheya after her foster mother.

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Birth of Karna and Kunti letting him go away

6. Karna as king of Ang Desh

Once Drone held a competition in Hastinapur to find out who is the best warrior among all the princes. Arjuna was the winner At that time Karna came forward and did all that Arjuna could do but he was not accepted as competitor because he was a son of a charioteer. This was a great disrespect which Karna has suffered in front of the public. Kunti was also sitting in the audience was a mute spectator she did not dare to say that Karna was her son. At this time Duryodhan came forward and made him king of Ang Desh. This made Karna a friend and follower of Duryodhan for life.

7. Karna, a loyal friend

On the onset of war when Kunti met Karna and revealed his identity and asked him to take the side of Pandavas he replied that he can’t betray his friend Duryodhana. Krishna also revealed his identity and asked him to join Pandava side. Krishna assured him that being the eldest Pandav he will be given the crown of Hastinapur but, Karna refused this enormous offer for his friend Duryodhan. Though Krishna was sad with his decision but appreciated his loyalty.

Further reading:

Seven little known facts from the Mahabharata(2)

Pandavas exile – seven little known facts from the Mahabharata (3)

Seven unknown facts about Karna

When incarnation of Lord Vishnu could not defeat his bhakta

Karna – the unfortunate who deserved


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  1. It seems that everybody was interested in cursing Karna only. Why Bhoomi would curse Karna for a good job ? How squeezing a very small amount of soil can harm Earth, who bears even volcanoes ? This is a myth that was added in Mahabharata in latter days.

    • That is a base less story both the curses were given by Brahmin. If the story is true bhumi would have cursed everyone who digged wells for water

    • Presensty Karna is nown as MAHU NAG. In Himachal Predesh there was 108 temples of (Karn) The Lord MAHU Nag

    • You should visit a temple called Manaskamna nath Mandir situated at Nathnagar, in Bhagalpur District of Bihar, India. It is said that King Karna used to give away few kilos of old everyday in alms to poor. And before giving them, he worshipped Lord Shiva at this temple. Nearby the temple you can find the Palace of King Karna, which is known only by few localites.

      • In history, Nathnagar was known as Angh pradesh, of which Karna was the Ruler (Raja). The capital city of Nathnagar was Champanagri which in present days is known as Champa Nagar.

    • Looks like you are a nutcase. What karna did was very wrong, cheating guru was considered as big sin in any yuga. So he was cursed for doing that din

      • i know karna did wrong but think why he did that.he knew that he was a sutaputra and it would ne very difficult for him to learn archery from a guru.that is why he lied. so none of parsurama and karna was nutcase.the social system was to be blamed as they looked on lower castes badly.

  2. karna is the only danveer on this earth who had not taken anything from anyone.No debit on him, neither mother, father, guru nor god krishna.

    • In your dreams. There is someone before him called as Bali read about him before drawing in to conclusions

    • yes u r right… but he can do somthing more than that even more,,,,,,,,,,,by knowing everything …….but he should not make arjun life to pay for every his bad…… but the people sholud have become indipendent…and live in lovable nature,,,,,

    • Utter non sense … Read Mahabharata before making don’t trust tv serials. He is great warrior .. That is true but not beyond Arjuna… You should realize that was tested by lord shiva and was praised by lord shiva for his war skills. Mahabharata is not a story about individuals there much beyond individuals in it try to catch those points from it. Don’t waste your energy on these kind of useless discussions. Karna is a good and noble human but entire his life he failed to overrule bad and protect good and ultimately died fighting for bad, so one must understand that living like karna is just not sufficient but you should also have mindset and intention to counter bad and evil

  3. karna is the one whose sacrifices would be remembered till the end of the time he is the true hero my brother’s name is also karan

    • Tell your brother to take all good things from Karan’s life and learn from his mistakes and live better life then he did

  4. Can anyone please tell me that :- When Lord Krishna was present at that time,Why so much unfair was done to Dhaanveer Karan..?

  5. Karna has always been my favourite, specially after reading ‘ Mrityunjaya’ by Shivaji Savant. Perhaps greatness of character and soul is more prominent in times of adversity. His only fault was his loyalty to Duryodhan, the evil one. Inspite of some of his actions, he was a true dharmic at heart.

  6. Karna was far better than arjuna, Arjuna had luxury as prince, his father indra went on to do henious things for arjuna(asking kavacha & kundal from karna), bow from agni, lord hanuman on his chariot’s flag, & lord krishna itself as the saviour…. But karna had no one… his own mother rejected him!! How do u feel when ur own mother deserts U (Son of Bharat Desh)?? In short…. Arjuna can be anyone but being KARNA is not everyone’s cup of tea.

  7. Friends… . It was not duryodhan the villain…the villain were his mama and krishna … They could stop the fight but ………. Its krishna who killed all the people.

  8. And Wht abt the DHARMA. Being a friend of Dhuryodhan and accompanied to him when He was molesting Draupadi in Rajyasabha. was it there to called him a real hero of MAHABHARAT. So whatever the right things he was done but he failed to attempt the real situation of dharma. Krishna is a lord he was known about the all the facts and he choosed a right decision to kill him while he was helpless.

  9. Karna was greater than…..god krishna…sacrifice his life for a friend…bcoze he was the 1 who gave him a hand..whn whole world was hearting his kind heart…hence he sacrifice his life for frd and mom, brother and family..whc was never close to him…for me he was a through brave worrior….


  11. karn was a very gentle, loyel, brave personality but when draupati was insulted at that time he dronacharya and vishwapitamah should stop his friend which was the turning point of the downfall of kurubansh. this was only the point where karna was wrong due to which he was punished by mashudhan.
    god krishna or vishnu can never do wrong.even he offered karan to come with pandava as his elder brother , i know karan did well by refusing his proposal due to that decision Mahabharat happened and we got a much from that mahabinash .

    i will suggest you to read rashmirathi written by national poet ramdhari singh dinkar which will help to understand karns character.

    and no one is that much intelligent to understand what the author gita want readers to understand.

    read srimad bhagwat gita as much more time as possible. slowly and gradually all your doubt about all characters and the moral of gita will be automatically cleared.

  12. I am also very much inspired by karn and also my best favorite character of Mahabharata or my all time real hero

  13. Duryodhan hated arjun etc from his childhood shakuni only gave him the tools to finish them off.
    Tell me did shri krsna tell duryodhan to poisen bhim, to almost rape draupadi or to hate pandus. Shr krsna is god we people must tell him what we did in our life he doesnt need to justify himself to us.

    If we people can kill why cant he.
    Also when we are gonna die, God takes our souls does that mean he killed us.