Originally posted by .Vrish.
Actually, the Kuru family had several discontinuities in the lineage. Emperor Bharata adopted a son, who succeeded him. So by the above argument, if adopted children weren't recognized as belonging to their families, then a lot of the dynasties would simply have become illegitimate. Even Santanu wouldn't have then been a legitimate member of the Kuru dynasty, by that logic.
And in the Ramayan, Dasharath would have been the last descendent of Ikshvaku, and Rama started a new dynasty. But Rama always ruled as a member of the Raghukul, was himself known as Raghunath/Raghunandan/Raghuveer, even though he wasn't genetically Raghu's descendent.
The custom @ that time was that the children of any woman belonged to her husband, regardless of whether he created them in her or not. That's how RLBS were sons of Dasharath, Dhritarashtra & Pandu were sons of Vichitravirya, and how the Pandavas were sons of Pandu. Under those conventions, even Karna was son of Pandu, and Kunti really betrayed her husband and all her sons by not confessing to Karna's parentage in time.
Anyway, like I said in the previous post, Karna was the legitimate successor to the Kuru throne, even though Yudhisthir was probably more appropriate to rule than Karna. Both Krishna & Kunti offered him at least the chief of the Pandavas, if he switched sides.
However, since Karna was never the ruler, I guess Vrishaketu wasn't put in the line of succession.
To answer both Vanadhi and Vrish-
The births of Pandu / Dritarashtra and subsequently the Pandavas were very much in conformity with the social laws prevelant at that time. Karna's birth was not. Let me elaborate.
Pandu / Dritarashtra were concieved thru the process of Niyoga - a practice which could be resorted to when the ruler died without an heir and the dynasty was in danger of collapsing (as in the case of Vichitravirya /Chitrangada). There was no secrecy about this and the man chosen to father the future king(s) was chosen with care. The offspring of such a union was born into the gotra of the dead father (and therefore a legitimate member of the family) and the biological father would have no claim on the offspring.
Niyoga could also be resorted also when a man could not father children and he needed sons to both -continue the dynasty and - perform obsequies (as in the case of Pandu and Dasharatha). Here the husband gave his approval for his wife to beget children thru someone else and hence the children born were accepted as his own.
Karna was a kanina son- a son born to woman before marraige. The rules governing a kanina son were very different. If Karna were to be considered as a Pandav, he should have been adopted by Pandu before he died..
A Kanina son could be adopted by his mother's subsequent husband, especially when the husband has no sons of is own. Thus, on knowing that Pandu will be unable to father children, Kunti could have revealed to Pandu the existence of Karna and Pandu could have adopted him as his son, thus making him the eldest Pandav.
But even then a kanina son could only be considered a relative, not an heir.(Manava Dharmashastra)
Now Kunti chose to remain silent and after Pandu's death there was no way Karna could be considered a Pandav.
The reason both Kunti and Karna offered Karna the throne was they were relying on Yudhishtira's innate sense of propriety. They were sure that on coming to know of an existing elder brother, Yudhishtira's sense of justice would prompt him to offer the throne to Karna.
In fact in this whole drama, the only illegitimate offspring was the proginator of all- Veda Vyasa himself.
Edited by varaali - 08 November 2011 at 11:54pm