KARNA – Eldest son of Kunti



In the Mahabharata war Karna had a divine birth. His mother, Kunti, was the daughter of King Shurasena. As a girl Kunti was in charge of arrangement in the palace for religious rituals. During a period of four months when the sage Durvasa performed rituals for the king, Kunti served him so well that Durvasagave her a wondrous mantra. She could only use it five times, but it had the power to call forth a god and to allow her to bear a child by that god that would have his qualities. Her curiosity got the better of her, and she chanted the mantra focusing on the sun. Surya descended from the sun in human form, told her that she would not lose her virginity, and gave her a son. Kunti was able to keep the child a secret with the help of her stepmother, putting the baby into a box and sending it down the river Asva. The box floated into the Yamuna and then into the Ganga. It was pulled from the river by King Dhritarashthra’s charĀ­ioteer, Adhiratha, and taken to his childless wife Radha. Karna was brought up by these foster parents in the country of Anga. Later Karna went to Hastinapura and studied archery with the great master (acarya) Drona. Karna lied about his lineage in order to study under another great teacher, Parasiurama. He became an ally of Duryodhana and fought on the side of the Kauravas. In the Kurukshetra battle he was a heroic fighter but was eventually killed by Arjuna. After he went to heaven, he merged with his father, Surya.

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