K – Karna ~ A-Z Blogger Challenge 2014

When I had signed up for this challenge, I had decided I would write Karma for K. And as I started, I typed ‘n’ instead of ‘m’ and the word became Karna. This happened twice and then I pondered, “After all Karna and Karma do have a relation in more ways than one”. For people who do not know who Karna is, allow me to introduce the mighty heart, courageous and impeccably skilled warrior prince of Angad, Karna from the epic Mahabharata, who was a victim of his own hostile destiny that was a direct result of one wrong karma committed by his mother, Kunti.

Karna, like Arjuna is the son of Kunti. When Kunti out of her childish curiosity to use her powers to invoke the powers of Gods, prayed to the Sun God, she was instantly gifted a son by him. Considering she was still too young and worse, unmarried she abandoned the child, who later was brought up by a poor charioteer, Adirathaand his wife Radhe.  But being of a warrior clan by birth, he was the only one who could match Arjun’s skills in archery, besides Eklavya. However, Karna is better known for his noble qualities like generosity and loyalty. When Krishna praises Karna for his unmatched generosity, Arjun gets offended. So, to make Arjun see the truth, he creates two small hills of gold. And then,
Krishna: “Arjuna, I want you to give away these treasures to anyone you meet. And, you must finish with your charity by dusk.”

Arjuna: “That is not some big task! I will do it right away!” 

And  he starts with chopping the hills into many small pieces. As dusk approaches, a lot of people gather around to see what the prince is up to. And then, he gives away the small gold and silver pieces to people who had gathered around. Now, Krishna calls upon Karna and puts him to the same test.

Karna (spotting two poor Brahmins coming his way): “Hey you both, come here!”

The Brahmins: “Yes sir?”

Karna: “There are two hills here. And, they are made of gold. So here goes, each for you!”

The Brahmins: “Truly, your generosity is unparalleled! God bless..”

And that is when, Arjuna realizes why Karna was praised so much for his noble qualities. There are many variations to this tale, but the message asserts generosity. The other quality that Karna is known for, is loyalty towards his friend. Even after being told by Krishna just before the great war of Mahabharata, that he is the son of Kunti and hence, is the brother of Pandavas, he stands firm like a rock, as he pledges loyalty towards Duryodhana, the Kaurava chief who took Karna under his wings when the world turned against him.

Not without a reason, it is said,

If you can help people, be as generous as Karna.

And, when you make a good friend, be as loyal as Karna.

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