Karna’s past life and reason for his hardship

Why Karna suffered

Followers of Indian mythology always wonder why Karna had to suffer so much in life despite being a good human being. As we know, every incident in Indian mythology has some reason behind it, this time also, we have a riveting story of Karna sufferings.

The boon of Dambodhav

Much much before Mahabharata there lived a asura named,a Dambhodbhav. He wanted to be powerful so he prayed to Sun God. Pleased with his devotion God appeared before him and granted him a boon. Dambhodbhav asked God to make him immortal. Surya said it was impossible to make him immortal. Then he asked for thousand kavach (armour). It was not only this  Dambhodbhav also asked that these armour could be broken by someone who perform penance for thousand years. And also, whoever break the armour should die immediately.

Karna the son of Surya
Karna the son of Surya

Surya granted him the boon despite knowing that he is not going to use his powers for good.

He becomes reckless

Immediately after getting the boon, Dambhodbhav started wrecking havoc on people. people were scared of him and started calling him Sahasrakavacha (one who has thousand armour).

Lord Vishnu agrees to kill Dambodhav

Meanwhile, King Daksha (father of Sati) got one of his daughter Murti married to Dharma, son of Brahma. Murti knew about Dambhodbhav and wanted to put an end to to his menace. So she prayed to Lord Vishnu for help.Vishnu pleased with her devotion appeared before her and agreed to kill Sahasrakavacha.

Avatar of Nara and Narayana

Murti gave birth to twins and named them Narayana and Nara. Twin brother were noble, brave and great warrior. They decided to kill Sahasrakavacha. First Nara went for the fight and Narayana went for penance  After thousand years, Nara broke his first armour, but lost his life. On other hand Narayana also completed his penance and obtained Mrityunjaya Mantra (it was mantra to bring back dead to life) and he brought his brother back to life.

Nara and Narayana
Nara and Narayana

The fight begins

At this moment Sahasrakavacha realised that Narayana and Nara are two persons with one  soul. Thus the penance done by one brother gives the other one more power. After thousand years, Nara retired to forest to perform penance while Narayana started the fight.

The fight went on like this. One brother performed penance for a thousand years while the other one fought with Sahasrakavacha. The minute his armour broke, the person fighting with him fell dead and was brought back to life by the other.

Dambodbhava takes shelter

when Sahasrakavacha lost his 999 armour to twins. He gave up and ran away. He decided to take refuge with Surya.

Narayana and Nara both went to Surya and asked for Sahasrakavacha. Surya said that Dambhodbhav and is his great devotee and has worshipped him with great devotion and he came to him help so he has to help him.

Nara on hearing this got angry and cursed Surya that he will be born as human and suffer for this. Surya bowed his head, he knew that he should not shelter a demon but he was willing to pay the price for his devotee.

Dambodhava reborn as Karna

This incident occurred at the end of Treta yuga. In next yuga (Dwapara yuga), Surya and Dambhodbhav and both were born as Karna. Karna was born with his kavach or armour, the one left with Sahasrakavacha.

Karna born with Kavach and Kundal
Karna born with Kavach and Kundal


End of Karna by Shri Krishna and Arjuna

To fulfill the promise to kill Sahasrakavacha, Narayana and Nara were reborn as Krishna and Arjun.  As Arjun would have died if Karna had the kavach so, Indra went to him in disguise and got the kavach much before the Mahabharata war begin.
As Karna was a demon in his previous life so he had a very difficult life to pay for all the sins he committed in his previous life. But Karna also had Surya within him so he was a hero as well. He was the most powerful, bravest and tragic warrior in Mahabharata.

Karna killed by Arjuna with weapon anjalika
Karna killed by Arjuna with weapon anjalika

4 thoughts on “Karna’s past life and reason for his hardship”

  1. Karna is the “SLAVE OF COURAGIOUS HERO” in Mahavarat and , his one weekness is the “unconditional support to Durayadhan”which was exploitated by Sakuni .And our history, democracy in realtion to social development is still victim of such type of heroic talented humanbeings.So, we should be always aware of this story from Mahavarat

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