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Birthplace: Panchal, Bankura, West Bengal, India
Death: Died in Kurukshetra, Kurukshetra, Haryana, India
Cause of death: MAHABHARATA WAR
Immediate Family:

Son of Adiratha and Radha Adhiratha

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KARNA IN MAHABHARATA Karna (Sanskrit: कर्ण written Karṇa in IAST transliteration) is one of the central characters in the epic Mahābhārata from ancient India. He was the King of Anga (present day Bhagalpur). Karna is considered to be one of the greatest warrior of Mahābhārata by authorities including Krishna and Bhishma, as stated in the original text by Maharishi Ved Vyasa.[1][2][3][4] He was the son of Surya (the Sun god) and Kunti. He was born to Kunti, before her marriage with Pandu. He is described as the closest friend of Duryodhana. Karna fought on his behalf against the Pandavas (his brothers) at the Kurukshetra war. Karna fought against misfortune throughout his life and kept his word under all circumstances. Many admire him for this courage and generosity. It is believed that Karna founded the city of Karnal.

Mahabharata:Karna Karna or Radheya is one of the central characters in the epic Mahābhārata, from ancient India. He was made the King of Anga by Duryodhana . Karna was one of the greatest warriors whose martial exploits are recorded in the Mahābhārata, an admiration expressed by Krishna and Bhishma within the body of this work. Contents [hide] 1 Childhood and Education 2 Curse from Parashurama 3 Karna's coronation 4 Karna's encounter with krishna 5 Karna's charitable nature - Vaikartana 6 The fall of Karna Childhood and Education Karna was the son of Surya (a solar deity) and Kunti. He was born to Kunti before her marriage with Pandu.The baby was wearing armour ('Kavacha') and a pair of earrings ('Kundala'). Though Kunti had not physically given birth to the baby, she was unwilling to be accused of being an unmarried mother and so with the help of her maid Dhatri, she placed the baby Karna in a basket and set him afloat on a tributary of the holy river Ganges, the Ashwanadi, in the hope that he would be taken in by another family. A charioteer named Adiratha found this baby afloat in the river and decided to foster him, with the help of his wife Radha (Hence Karna is also known as Radheya, the son of Radha) . They named him Vasusena . Karna happily performed his duties as their son, but as he grew up, he became more interested in the art of warfare than in merely being a charioteer like his father Adhirata. Karna met Dronacharya, who was an established teacher in the art of warfare. Dronacharya taught the Kuru princes, but refused to take Karna as his student, since Karna was a son of a charioteer and Dronacharya only taught Kshatriyas, or warriors. After being refused by Dronacharya, Karna sought his brother Shona's help. But according to Indian culture, to learn an art you must have a guru (teacher), so Karna appointed the sun god as his guru, learned to wield his weapons during the day by gathering information about the various ayudhas (weapons) and practiced with them after sundown. He became extremely skilled with his weapons. He was a quick learner and was able to learn various martial arts in a very short time . After being refused by Dronacharya, Karna decided to learn from Parashurama, Dronacharya's own guru, who was known to teach only Brahmins. He appeared before Parashurama as a Brahmin and requested that he be taken on as his student. Parashurama accepted him and trained him to such a point that he declared Karna to be equal to himself in the art of warfare and archery. Curse from Parashurama Parashurama later found out that he was deceived by karna into teaching him although he was not a brahmin. This incident happened when Parashurama deduced that Karna was a kshatriya when he was able to endure extreme pain and bleeding after being stung by a bee when he was one day resting on his lap . Parashurama got enraged and cursed Karna that that he would forget all the mantras required to wield the divine weapon Brahmastra, the most destructive weapon in archery, at the moment of his greatest need. Karna pleaded that any student would have acted in the same way and that he was the son of Vasusena, a mere charioteer and not a Kshatriya. But while Parashurama regretted cursing Karna in a moment of anger, his curse was irrevocable. So he gifted Karna the celestial weapon called Bhargavastra, along with his personal bow called Vijaya, for being such a diligent student. Throughout his life, Karna faced a lot of misfortune and was subject to many curses which eventually acted together resulting in his downfall. Departing from Parashurama's ashram, Karna wandered for some time. On his way, he slayed a cow that was rushing at him by shooting an arrow. Incensed by this incident, the Brahmin who owned the cow cursed him, stating that as he had killed a helpless animal, Karna too would be killed in the same way when he was most helpless with his concentration being diverted away from his enemy at a crucial moment.

Karna's coronation The guru Dronacharya held a tournament at Hastinapur, to display the skills of the Kuru princes. His student Arjuna was shown to be a particularly gifted archer. Karna arrived at this tournament, however, and after surpassing Arjuna's feats, challenged him to a duel. He was however refused the dual since he was not a prince. Duryodhana, the oldest of the one-hundred sons of the blind king Dhritarashtra, knew that the Pandavas, the five sons of King Pandu, younger brother of King Dhritarashtra, were better than he and his brothers at warfare and saw Karna as a chance to get on even terms with them. He immediately offered Karna the throne of the kingdom of Anga, making him a king and hence eligible to fight a duel with Arjuna. When Karna asked him what he could do to repay him, Duryodhana told him that all he wanted was his friendship. This established a strong bond between Karna and Duryodhana and Karna remained loyal to his friend Duryodhana until the war. Karna was a loyal and true comrade to Duryodhana. He helped him to marry the princess of Chitragandha. Following his accession to the throne of Anga, Karna took an oath that anyone who approached him with a request at midday, when he worshiped the sun, would not leave empty-handed. This practice contributed to Karna's fame as well as to his downfall, as Indra took advantage of it. Ultimately, Karna's unfailing generosity resulted in his death on the Kurukshetra battlefield. Karna , however faced wide criticism from historians on his act of "deceiving" Duryodhana in the Mahabharata war. Karna faced many opportunities to kill four of the pandavas but could not do so on account of a promise made to his mother Kunti. This resulted in the kaurava side being put at a huge disadvantage .

Karna developed intense hostile feelings against Arjuna throughout the Mahabharata story. Karna's encounter with krishna Karna successfully built a military camp during the war and reduced many strong enemies to submission. He was acknowledged as Duryodhana's finest warrior. He was met by Krishna after the failure of peace talks between krishna and Duryodhana during which he was revealed his true identity and asked to change sides. This created a lot of psychological turmoil in Karna who was forced to fight at the kaurava's side since he pledged loyalty to Duryodhana. This revelation was kept secret from the pandavas and hence did not impact their motivation to fight in the battle. Karna's charitable nature - Vaikartana Though Karna was shown in a subtle negative light throughout the story and developing hostile feelings against the pandavas ( esp. Arjuna ) , he was a person of noble character and would not reject any request for charity. This was tested by Indra on one occasion when he went to weaken the kaurava side. Indra disguised in the form of a brahmin asked him for his armor ,which was a natural attachment of his body. He gave it away by tearing it from his body without flinching ,fully knowing that it would bring a lot of problems later and after a previous warning from the sun god. Indra, shamed into generosity by Karna's gesture, reciprocated by giving Karna the boon to use his most powerful weapon, the Vasavi shakti, but only once. It was then that Karna earned the name Vaikartana. The fall of Karna Karna met his end in the hands of arjuna on the 17th day of the war. Although the duel was evenly-fought for a long while, Karna was suddenly stricken by the playing-out of the curses that had been thrown at him and which would now put him in grave danger. Hampered as his chariot wheel sank into the ground in loose, wet soil, he found himself unable to remember the incantations for his divine weapons, as cursed by Parashurama. He requested Arjuna to wait until he restores his wheel and Arjuna was postive. Arjuna , however was instigated by krishna to kill Karna . Lord Krishna told Arjuna that it was not adharma to kill a man who had supported evil all his life, and urged Arjuna to kill Karna while he could. Lord Krishna reminded Arjuna of all the adharmic acts done by Karna towards the pandavas and Draupadi. He also added that it would become impossible for Arjuna to win if Karna got restored to full strength. Thus incited, furious Arjuna complied with Lord Krishna's suggesstion and killed Karna. Thus ending the final chapter in a brave warrior's life. According to Karna's dying wish, Karna's Antim Sanskar was performed by none other than Lord Krishna himself. This was the honour given to him by Lord Krishna. Karna is the only person in the Mahābhārata epic who receives this great honour. Karna became famous throughout history as an epitome of generosity , struggling humanity and courage.

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Panchal, Bankura, West Bengal, India