[Advaita-l] Arjuna vs. Karna
kuntimaddisada at yahoo.com
Mon Jan 5 18:43:59 CST 2009
As the story goes - KarNa was a Rakshasa who can only be killed by Nara-NaraayaNa - they have to take turns and fight while the other is accumulating powers by meditation - There are supposed to be some number of kavachaas protecting the rakshasas and for each layer to be broken one has to spend 1000 years of penance -or something like that - Hence NaraayaNa and Nara they were take there turns while the other is doing his penance. When it came to last layer, and it was going to be Nara's turn, the rakshasa ran and hid himself in the sun. He took birth as Karna with his natural kavacha protecting him. It was Indra who came as disguise to get rid of that kavacha before the battle began.
Karna was defeated by Arjuna several times in the past - the last one during the battle when Arjuna was incognito as Bruhannala. Arjuna single handedly fought the most of the kourava army.
The other time was when kourava's army last their battle to a Gandharva. Arjuna has to fight with Gandharva and win over him so that he can release his cousins including Karna who was captured. This is not a direct battle but Karna lost to someone who lost to Arjuna.
There was also an incident when Karna challenged Arjuna and lost when Arjuna disguised as Brahmin won the hand of Droupadi.
The arrow that you are referring to was special one given to Karna which he was saving. Karna's driver who is uncle for Arjuna scolds Karna that he is aiming low - Karna readjusted his mark - Hence instead of neck it would have hit arjuna's face. But Krishna pushed to cart down to that it hit the crown not the face.
Karna may be better worrier but he is overpowered by his pride - amaanitvam adambhitvam... That obscures his abilities while Arjuna has surrender to Lord who was driving Him and he is endowed with Arjavam - straight forwardness. To claim that Karna won the battle goes against Mahabhaarata theme of good over evil. When Krishna say I am born again again to protect the good and punish the wicked, the purpose of avataar is last if KarNa won the battle. It is like claiming the operation was successful but the patient died. It is like claiming Kaikaayee chose to appear as bad person only to fulfill the purpose of Rama's incarnation. She did not care a hoot whether her husband will be devastated and dies or she becomes a widow but she wants her son to become king and that will not happen if Rama is still around in the kingdom. Such arguments only fulfill some fascinations but severs no purpose. Bhishma declared when Duryodhana returned back with yadava army
and not with Krishna, that he was a fool - wherever Krishna is there is dharma and wherever dharma is, there is the victory. That is the message of Mahabhaarata. There is no karna without Mahabaarata.
Krishna did not teach Gita to anyone but Arjuna only because He asked surrendering himself to the Lord. In Archery also Arjuna acknowledge that he is a disciple of Drona and his love for his teacher is the cause for his sorrow. Arjuna comes across as more satvik than Karna who is very rajasic ready to join Duryodana even to arrest Krishna when he came for sandhi.
Just some thoughts.
--- On Mon, 1/5/09, S Jayanarayanan <sjayana at yahoo.com> wrote:
I'm presently (re)reading the Mahabharata, and it seems to me that the
fighting prowess of Arjuna is exaggerated compared to some of his opponents,
especially Karna. I'm just wondering why Arjuna is often praised as a great
warrior, but fares rather poorly when he is pitted against others who are also
strong considered great warriors in their own right.
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