Karna and the Mystery Of His Birth

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Karna and the Mystery Of His Birth

Before leaving for Upaplavya, Krishna wanted to speak privately to the one who was Duryodhana’s closest friend and ally: Karna. He was the only one of the great warriors who fought on the side of the Kuravas who hated the Pandavas, and for this very reason he was considered the most formidable.


Krishna told him:

“I know that you have a great desire to know the true story of your birth, which seems legitimate to me as it has greatly influenced the course of your life in a negative way. If you want I can reveal this mystery to you.”

“Did you know how I was born?” Karna answered. “Why didn’t you tell me before? Please reveal to me this secret.”

Krishna told him the story of how Kunti had pleased the sage Durvasa and how the knowledge of the mantra to call the Devas allowed her to call Vivasvan. Then he told him of his birth and of when he was abandoned in the current of the Ganges where he was picked up by the Suta Atiratha.

Karna now knew; but, what did he know? That the hated Pandavas were his brothers? This news shocked him.

“Now you know the truth; you know how things really are,” Krishna told him. “How could you now fight on Duryodhana’s side? Go to the Pandavas. You are their elder brother, and you have the right to the throne of the Bharata kingdom. They, including Yudhisthira, will accept you and love you. Go to them and win this war.”

Karna thought for a long time, then he said:

“Why are you coming to tell me these things now, a few days before the start of the battle? I know why you do it. It’s to protect your friend Arjuna, because otherwise you would have told me before that I’m also a Pandava. Now you’ve put a deadly blow to my enthusiasm.

“It is true that I have never shared Duryodhana’s ungodly decisions, but I cannot fight against him because all I have achieved has been thanks to his friendship, which will always be dear to me. In addition to this close relationship, the other thing that until a few moments ago had given meaning to my life was hatred of Pandu’s sons, especially Arjuna, who has been the symbol of what I could never become.

“Is it now that you come to tell me that they were born to my own mother and that they are my youngest brothers? My hatred for them has collapsed. You have achieved your goal, Krishna; you have dismantled my fury, but in spite of everything I cannot go over to their side. I will fight for my friend and do everything in my power to give him the victory, including giving my own life if necessary.”

 That day Krishna left for Upaplavya.


This is a section of the book “Maha-bharata, Vol. 2”.

To buy the complete book, click above

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