The story - in this serial
Karna's first appearance in this serial was at his birth, where Kunti gets flashbacks of her youth when she got a boon from Durvasa, and decided to try it w/ Surya deva. Karna is born, and Surya-dev tells her that he'd be known by that name, and that the armor and earrings he gave him would ensure that he'd always be secure as long as he wears that. Kunti sang him a tearful lulluby and set him afloat, in a basket filled w/ lotuses, and a cushion for his comfort. (When Kunti got married, she wanted to reveal this secret to her new husband. However, her close maid Priyamvada dissuaded her from doing so, and tied a black talisman around her wrist. Initially, Kunti untied it and was all set to tell Pandu, but when Pandu returned from his war w/ a new wife Madri, Kunti decided against it. Later, when Pandu's niyoga became the only way for him to get sons, Kunti tried to tell him, but an over excited Pandu was too happy to listen.)
When Pandu & Kunti come to Hastinapur as newly weds, Karna, who's now a boy w/ an enthusiasm for archery, wanted to welcome the new king & queen demonstrating his archery talents. He shot an arrow into a lake, and set off a shower of lotuses on the new royal couple. Pandu was impressed and wondered who it was, and a group of soldiers emerged to take the credit. Young Karna was chagrined, but Adiratha, who was strongly opposed to Karna practicing military arts, dragged him inside and scolded him for using his bow. That night, Karna discarded his bow.
Karna next appeared in a contest overseen by Bheeshma. He was a charioteer to a warrior whose wheel got stuck in the mud. Karna jumped off and pulled it out and kept advancing. The warrior fainted, and Karna took over, and fired an arrow that penetrated the target. Bheeshma was impressed but suggested to Adiratha that Karna leave for Magadha, since Hastinapur wasn't conducive to sutas learning warfare.
When Pandu died and Kunti along w/ the Pandavas were returning to Hastinapur, Kunti & Karna accidentally bumped into each other when citizens were rushing to greet her. Karna was thrown on her feet, and she almost blessed him, when Yudisthir pulled her away.
Karna's next appearance came in Drona's gurukul when he tried to join, but was rejected. So he approached Parashurama, and while the Kurus were learning from Drona, Karna practiced under Parashurama. Until the worm incident happened and Karna was exposed & cursed.
When the tournament in Hastinapur took place, Duryodhan was frozen by Arjun, and Drona proclaimed the latter as the greatest archer worldwide. When he asked Arjun to release Duryodhan, an arrow from nowhere melted the ice. They looked up and Karna was seen, and he jumped to below. Drona pointed out that the contest was just for Kuru princes, and Karna agreed, but pointed out that once Drona, in his excitement, proclaimed Arjun the world champion archer, Karna too was forced to respond, since he may not be part of the Kuru family but was definitely a part of the world.
After a number of barbs were exchanged, which included Karna being crowned Angaraj, a battle b/w Arjun & Karna started. Both fought a fierce battle. In course of the battle, a divine arrow from Arjun struck Karna, making his internal golden armor visible. On seeing that, Priyamvada recognized it as Karna, while Kunti fainted.
The next day, when the newly crowned Karna was leaving, he called on Kunti, and told her that the position claimed by Arjun was actually his. The Pandavas then joined and a number of barbs were exchanged b/w them & Arjun. Karna finally left after Bhima insulted him by stamping a lotus that he had laid @ Kunti's feet.
A few days later, when Subhadra was visiting Hastinapur and Arjun was entertaining her on the veena, Karna accompanied Duryodhan and joined him in mocking Arjun. This resulted in Arjun almost ready to stab him, and Shakuni alleged to Dhritarashtra that Arjun was about to start a war w/ a friendly country Anga. As a punishment, Arjun was ordered to wash Karna's feet.
When Drona came for his gurudakshina, Karna was all set to join the Kauravas, when Drona told them that he'd not have his achievements contaminated by having someone who wasn't his pupil attempt to pay the gurudakshina. Karna therefore stayed out, and the Kauravas were defeated by Drupada. Later, when Dhritarashtra denied Duryodhan the yuvraj role, Duryodhan asked Karna to avoid dharam for his sake. Karna refused, but stated that from that day, obeying Duryodhan would be his only dharam.
When Duryodhan, Dushashan & Shakuni were plotting the house of lac, Karna protested, and Duryodhan emotionally blackmailed him into agreeing. When they saw off the Pandavas, Kunti blessed Karna that he'd always follow the path of dharma. Karna was tear stricken, and that raised Vidura's suspicions. On top of that, Adiratha too reported strange things to Bheeshma, who set off to prevent any untoward incidents. Shakuni told Duryodhan that Karna's piousness would make his very appearance betray them.
After the news of the house of lac arrived, Duryodhan, Dushashan & Shakuni rejoiced, but Karna was too grief stricken and refused to join in the celebrations.
After the coronation of Duryodhan as yuvraj of Hastinapur, they went off to Draupadi's swayamvara. On the way, they had an encounter w/ the disguised Pandavas, who Karna helped in getting their cart wheel out of the mud. The Pandavas were appreciative of his gesture.
Along w/ Duryodhan, Shakuni & Dushashan, Karna attended Draupadi's swayamvara. After everybody failed to even move the bow, when Duryodhan's turn came, he asked Karna to contest on his behalf. Karna went, but was forbidden by both Dhrishtadyumna & Krishna from participating on Duryodhan's behalf: he could only participate on his own behalf. Duryodhan then permitted him to do so, and Karna went. He plucked the bow from its stand and picked up the arrow, but just as he was taking aim, a nervous Draupadi announced that she would not marry a sutaputra. Karna then withdrew from the contest.
After Arjun won the contest, Karna recognized him, but prevented Duryodhan and the other kings from fighting the Pandavas. They then withdrew from there.
After the Pandavas married Draupadi, Duryodhan persuaded Dhritarashtra to abdicate the throne in his favor. While Duryodhan was in the process of being crowned, Bheeshma came & challenged him, and called on anybody to oppose him. Karna, in support of Duryodhan's coronation, stepped up and told him that he was willing, but Dhritarashtra refused to authorize a battle.
After the Pandavas returned to Draupadi & staked their claim to the throne, a new argument arose as to whether their claim to the throne was valid. When Yudisthir was about to assume the throne, Duryodhan asked how a yuvraj who had just committed the adharm of polyandry could sit on the throne, and how his wife, who had committed adharm, could guide them on matters of dharam.
On hearing this, Arjun drew his bow, ready to shoot Duryodhan, but Karna stepped in b/w. At this, the Pandavas withdrew, and Vidura proposed the partition of the kingdom.
After Dhritarashtra agreed to let Yudisthir choose a part of the kingdom that he wants, he allowed him to go, but detained Kunti in Hastinapur, thereby upsetting Karna. Among the people who left w/ the Pandavas was a soota family of Vrushbhan, who was headed to Indraprastha w/ his daughter Vrushali. Vrushali was upset at having to leave her comfortable home in Hastinapur and settle in a new place, and didn't see the differences b/w different rulers.
When Takshak's Nagas/snakes attacked, Vrushali, who was attacked by a snake, jumped into a river and was washed away to Hastinapur There, she was retrieved by Adiratha, and heard the message that the Pandavas had defeated Takshak and everybody, including her father, survived. So she decided to accompany the next batch of exiting Hastinapur citizens to Indraprastha.
In the meantime, however, Duryodhan was discontented on seeing most citizens of Hastinapur leaving for Indraprastha, and Shakuni instigated Dhritarashtra to stop the exodus. Karna & Dushashan were given orders to prevent people from going. At the city gates, Karna let a child join his father, but then sealed the gates of the city.
Vrushali, who was among the party and an old acquaintance of Radheya, told him that she needed to go to Indraprastha since she had originally gone there, but had been washed back to Hastinapur due to the snakes. Since her father was alive, she needed to go back. However, Karna refused permission, and this started an argument b/w them. Karna then warned her that he'd order her arrest if she dared cross the line, and when she did, he ordered her arrest. Suddenly, Kunti appeared from nowhere and ordered Karna to release the girl, and that she would herself take Vrushali to Indraprastha. Karna had no choice but to release her.
Next day, on Dushashan's insisting that Kunti be punished, Dhritarashtra announced that nobody from the Kuru royal family - Kunti included - would be allowed to go to the Indraprastha bhumi puja. That upset Karna, and he went to Duryodhan and begged him not to extend the enmity w/ the Pandavas to Kunti. Duryodhan refused, and Shakuni told Karna that sometimes, as a ruler, he'd have to do adharm. In protest, Karna announced that he was abdicating as the king of Anga, and a furious Duryodhan, addressing him as a suta-putra, accused him of ingratitude. Shakuni however persuaded Duryodhan to accept Karna's request to give up the crown. Karna, despite the insult, vowed never to ask for his life from Arjun, and never to spare him either.
Next day, Karna offered to take Vrushali to Indraprastha since Kunti could no longer do so, due to her city arrest. She also gave Karna a message to deliver to the Pandavas - an order to declare their independence from Hastinapur, following which she would go to Indraprastha. Vrushali and Karna set off for Indraprastha.
On the way, Karna met some Brahmins and wanted to donate some wealth to them. The Brahmins declined. Karna asked them why, and the Brahmins told him that since he was no longer a king, it would be adharm for them to accept alms from a sutaputra. A furious Karna reminded them that he was still just as capable of scaring them, and drew his dagger to which the Brahmins agreed to accept it. However, Karna told them that he couldn't accept their tainted blessings. Vrushali then asked them why they disrespected Karna. They told her that it was probably a sin from a past life that Karna is now suffering. Vrushali asked them whether they were prepared for the consequences of insulting someone like Karna coming back to bite them in their next life. She then went up to Karna & stood beside him, and they continued.
Karna & Vrushali arrived @ Indraprastha just as the Pandavas were getting ready to leave for Hastinapur to ask Dhritarashtra to release Kunti. After a brief hostile face-off, Karna gave the Pandavas the message from Kunti, and told Krishna that he didn't need his protection - he got his from Surya Narayan. He then asked the Pandavas to return Vrushali safely to her father, and left. Vrushali looked @ him sadly, and Krishna encouraged her to follow him, and not to let the chance go.
Vrushali then approached Karna and asked him to give her something as a gift. Karna told her that he had given away everything and had nothing left to give. Vrushali asked him for himself - she wanted him in marriage. Karna told her that it would be a tough life for her if she married him, but she assured him that being w/ him would make it easier. On that romantic note, the sun set on the new couple
A few years later, when Shakuni, Duryodhan & Dushashan were captured by Jarasandha, he sent Sukhra to Karna to get him to release them. Vrushali & Karna had now been married, and she begged him not to go, revealing to him that she was pregnant. Karna however went ahead and saved them just in time from being executed, and then went on to fight & defeat Jarasnadha. In return, Jarasandha now made him the king of Malini, and Duryodhan persuaded him to accept it, and apologized to him for his words. Karna accepted, and Vrushali was disappointed when he returned as a king. However, Karna told her that he didn't want her unhappy, and to live w/ his parents and raise his son well, which she could do equally well be it in a palace or in a hut.
Karna then joined Duryodhan, Dushashan & Shakuni & went to Indraprastha, joined on the way by an insulting Sishupala. At the sabha, after Sishupala was slain for exceeding his count of 100 sins, Duryodhan confronted Krishna, and had a face-off w/ the Pandavas. Karna & Dushashan joined him w/ drawn weapons, and on Draupadi's advice, Yudisthir ordered them to surrender their weapons. Karna pleaded for an execution but was denied. Duryodhan stormed out of the place, but on the way, fell into a pool. Everybody laughed, and a maid remarked that a blind man's son is also blind. Duryodhan turned around & saw Draupadi. He returned to Hastinapur & attempted suicide, but Karna prevented him.
They now decided that they wanted to humiliate the Pandavas, and to that end, sent them an invitation for a game of dice.
At the game of dice, since Duryodhan had no legal possessions beyond his personal wealth, he decided to stake things that were of pride to him. He staked Vikarna & Ashwatthama against Nakul & Sahadev. When it came to staking someone against Arjun, he chose Karna. Bhima derided him for equating Karna, a sutaputra, w/ Arjun, a prince, while Karna protested to Duryodhan for equating him w/ a pervert like Arjun who abducted other people's brides from their marriage. Duryodhan assured Karna that he'd make Arjun his slave, and requested his consent for staking him. Arjun helpfully answered for Karna, assuring Duryodhan that Karna had already sold him his soul, so requesting his permission was redundant.
Shakuni then played Yudisthir and won again. Duryodhan then ordered Arjun to surrender his Gandhiva to Karna. Arjun did so and offered to gift him a bow from every deva that existed. Karna retorted that he had the knowledge of how to use any bow, and told him to keep it.
When Duryodhan urged Yudisthir to stake Draupadi, there was an argument of whether she was a source of pride or not. Karna announced that she didn't know how to respect guests in her swayamvara, and so there was little about her to be proud of. Arjun then cursed him that he'd lose his knowledge of weaponry when he needed it the most, and Krishna endorsed that curse.
After Duryodhan had won Draupadi, he ordered Pratikami, his charioteer, to fetch her. Draupadi retorted that Yudisthir didn't have the right to stake her if he had already lost himself, and the elders of the court agreed. Karna then pointed out that they were arguing out of both sides of their collective mouth: that Draupadi could not be staked if Yudisthir had already lost himself, while arguing that she was not lost when Yudisthir lost himself. He stated that if they allowed Draupadi to be staked despite it being illegal, then they allowed a great wrong to be done, and were unworthy of sitting in court.
After Dushashan dragged Draupadi in and Duryodhan ordered her vastraharan, Vidura pointed out that even if Draupadi was a dasi, that was not an appropriate punishment. Karna then perked up and said that in Indraprastha, the punishment that they received from Draupadi wasn't appropriate either, but Vidura had nothing to say to that. Draupadi then mocked him and said that if they were warriors, they'd have challenged them in war, rather than in a game of dice. Karna wanted to retort, but Drona stopped him.
After Duryodhan ordered her vastraharan, Vikarna intervened and pointed out that defeated warriors did have to surrender their weapons, and that it was not the equivalent of a woman surrendering her clothes. He also mentioned that Draupadi was the Kuru kulvadhu. Karna sneered @ that and pointed out that she had relations w/ 5 men, and just as a monkey w/ a mane didn't become a lion, a woman w/ a churamani didn't become chaste. After Dushashan was unsuccessful w/ the vastraharan due to the elongating sari, everybody's vastras, including Karna's, flew off.
Karna next appeared during Duryodhan's invasion of Matsya to try & uncover the disguise of the Pandavas. After Brihannala had emerged following the passing of the deadline, a battle ensued b/w him & the Kauravas. Brihannala fired an arrow @ Duryodhan, which was intercepted by Karna. The 2 then started a battle in which they launched divine weapons against each other. Bheeshma intercepted them w/ an arrow of his, and ordered them to stop. They then withdrew to their sides.
After the exile of the Pandavas were over, they demanded that Indraprastha be restored to them. At the behest of Arjun, a message was sent to the Kauravas that told them that the death of 101 of them - the 100 Kauravas and Karna - would be the goal of the Pandavas. Karna read out the message in court.
Some time later, Draupadi wrote a message in her blood, which Yudisthir tied around his javelin and hurled @ Hastinapur. It landed @ Karna's balcony. He picked it up and headed to the court, where an argument was on over whether the Pandavas had successfully completed their period of disguise or not.
Vidura was trying to persuade everyone to return Indraprastha to the Pandavas, when Karna arrived , telling them that the Pandavas had issued them a challenge for war, and so accepting any peace w/ them was worthless.
When Krishna went as a messenger to Hastinapur, he asked that the Kauravas return Indraprastha, and touch Draupadi's feet, so that their lives would be spared, w/o their honor. Karna asked him to offer a solution that had neither vengeance nor any loss of honor nor war attached to it. Krishna then suggested that the Pandavas be given 5 villages. Everybody was enthusiastic about this, except Shakuni & Duryodhan. So Duryodhan rebuffed Karna, and then made his attempts to capture Krishna, which ended disastrously for him.
Gandhari then apologized to Krishna for her son's misdeed, and told him that of Bheeshma's, Drona's & Karna's vows, Karna's was the most breakable, and suggested that he persuade Karna not to support Duryodhan. Krishna suggested that that's something that only Karna's mother could pull off. Nonetheless, he visited Karna's home, where Karna joined him, and then had a private meeting @ the Ganges beach. There, he told him that he was Radha's adopted son but Kunti's birth son, and suggested that he should therefore join forces w/ Arjun for the restoration of dharam.
Karna refused to believe it & returned home agitated. He slammed Krishna to his mother Radha, who shared his pain. However, at the end, she blurted out that she hadn't given birth to him. Karna was shocked. Adirath arrived and admitted the truth that Karna was their adopted child however they dont know who his biological parents were. He added that Krishna is being considered Lord Vishnu's incarnation and hence cant be wrong.
Karna walks away to the shore of Ganges and cries his heart out thinking of how the rivalry developed between him and the Pandavas (particularly Arjun) and also remembers his attraction towards Kunti. Vrishali comes there and Karna shares his pain of being caught between brothers and friend. Vrishali consoles him to seek Kunti's guidance to get his confusion clarified.
Krishna while leaving Hastinapur after the failed peace mission asks Kunti to give a try to bring Karna to the side of Dharma. Kunti approaches Karna when he is done with his morning prayers and awaits Brahmins, the Poor and beggars to donate on charity. Kunti says she, his mother, is both poor and a beggar and asks him if he can donate to her. Karna call her 'Royal Mother' to show his disagreement of she calling him her son. He shares his displeasure of her 11th hour acknowledgement and tells her he cant abandon his foster mother by accepting Kunti. He rejects her proposal of coming to the Pandava side to lead them. Instead gives her a promise of not killing her 4 sons other than Arjun, and she will have to cry for either of their death. He falls on her feet for blessings and leaves before she could do.
The Pandava and Kaurava armies assemble at Kurukshetra, 3 days prior to the war and Krishna tells them that this place is named after their ancestor Kuru, which is blessed by Indra that anyone who dies here reserves a place in heaven. Duryodhan lists the strength of his army and says Karna's Divine Armor is impenetrable. Shikhandini the then commander of Pandavas says that Arjun is capable of it.
Next day while Karna does his morning prayers, Lord Surya appears and informs him that Devendra will be reaching out to him to get his Armor and earrings. He pleads that Karna should not stop his habit of donation. Karna refuses saying his vow is greater than his own life. Bheeshma on the other hand is unhappy that Karna is yet to declare his commitment towards him, the chief commander. Shakuni asks Karna to do the same. Duryodhan is not happy with it and says Karna will be on his own. Karna says he has don 4 conquests and is Bhishma's equal. Duryodhan shares his opinion and dependency on Karna's Armor.
Karna feels uncomfortable and walks towards a tree where a Brahmin was sitting. He reached the brahman with suspicion and seeks his blessing. The Brahman says that he has come to seeks something from him in the form of a riddle. Karna decodes it as his armor and earrings. He says giving them away will turn harmful to his friend as he depends on it. Indra leaves saying if he is not prepared he should not come to the river banks next day. Next day, Sunrise is delayed and rises only upon Karna's request. He is ready to give what Indra in the disguise of Brahman asked. Meanwhile Arjun, from his conversation with disguised Indra and Krishna understands that Karna's armor is about to be robbed and rushes to stop it.
Karna cuts off his earring hands them over to Indra with a smile. He cuts is Kavach with a knife which does not help much. He drops the knife and tears the armor with great pain and hands it over. Arjun who sees this is depressed and irritated with his father. He accuses him for reducing his pride over his victory. Indra asks Karna to seek a boon. Reluctant Karna later asks for a weapon that would kill his enemy. Indra gives him a spear. Karna says he will kill Arjun with it.
Bleeding Karna walks over to the Kaurava camp with great difficulty and faints. Kunti comes to his rescue and brings a doctor for his aid. Duryodhan cries for Karna but is taken away by Shakuni who is pretty confident that Karna is useless without his armor and earrings.
Adirath and Vrishali ask Kunti to convince Nakul and Sahadev to treat Karna. Radha taunts Kunti for securing her sons's victory by this cheap way. Nakul and Sahadev refuse initially and later agree so that Karna could die at the hands of Arjun in the war. Karna recovers.
Kunti pleeds Bhishma to keep Karna away from war. Bhishma says he knows the secret and add Karna is neither a Kuru descendant nor his Grandson . Bhishma says Karna cant participate in the war as he has not confirmed his tie up with Bhishma. An argument bursts and Dury says Bhishma can be out of the war. Karna makes Dury understand Bhishma's importance and says he will await Duryodhan's call.
On the tenth day, after Bheeshma's fall, Karna went to see him. Bheeshma revealed to him that he knew that Karna was Kunti's son. He however refused to bless him, since he had already blessed Yudisthir. Karna asked him whether he had a right to fight for his self respect, and Bheeshma said no.
Next day, Karna was involved in a battle w/ Arjun, while Bhima killed 20 of Duryodhan's brothers. Karna was furious to learn that the Pandava strategem had been to have him, Drona & Duryodhan preoccupied by Arjun, Dhrishtadyumna & Abhimanyu, while Bhima had a field day w/ the other Gandhareyas. The following day too, 30 of Duryodhan's brothers were slain by Bhima using a similar strategy. Following this, Karna vowed to slay Abhimanyu. The next day, Karna did come face to face w/ Abhimanyu, but had hallucinations about Kunti telling him not to quench his thirst for his own blood. So Karna defeated but spared Abhimanyu.
In order to do this, Susharma was assigned to invade Matsya, and Arjun and Krishna went to battle him so that Virata's akshauni - one of only two left - wasn't withdrawn from the war. Following this, Drona formed a chakravyuha w/ which to attack the Pandavas. Since Drupada had prior knowledge of the chakravyuha, he attacked it. However, Jayadrath, who just returned from his tapasya of Shiva, managed to block him and the rest of the Pandava army. Abhimanyu went through.
In the battle, Karna broke Abhimanyu's bow on Duryodhan's command, and then he was gradually disarmed. The Kaurava warriors started torturing him, and he was in great pain. Karna finally embraced him as a son, and put him out of his misery by putting him to the sword.
The next day, Karna stood in the path of Arjun's advance to Jayadrath. Arjun shot an arrow that lit up his chariot, and Karna dived to safety. Following that, Jayadrath was eventually killed. After that battle, Duryodhan reminded Karna that he wanted Arjun dead, and Dushashan demanded to know why Karna hadn't used his Shakti. Karna told them that he'd use his shakti that night.
So the Kauravas mounted a night attack on the Pandavas while they were doing Abhimanyu's funeral, killing Virata in the process. Arjun then lead the defense, and Karna led the attack, and prepared to use his Shakti on him. Just then, Bhima, on Krishna's request, summoned Ghatotkacha, who made a booming entry into the battlefield, & Karna's shakti disappeared.
Ghatotkacha launched a fierce attack on the Kaurava army, and Duryodhan urged Karna to use his shakti. Karna refused, stating that his entire life's work would be wasted if he did that. After some more fighting, Ghatotkacha captured Duryodhan, and offered him to Bhima to kill. Bhima had 20 of Duryodhan's brothers captive. Ghatotkacha was going to turn Duryodhan over to Bhima. Out of desperation, Karna, to save Duryodhan, invoked the Shakti and fired it @ Ghatotkacha. It bypassed Bhima and stuck Ghatotkacha, who fell on the Kaurava army, killing thousands. In the process, the Kaurava's lost all their akshaunis and were down to 2.
The next day, when Arjun set off to challenge Drona, Karna prepared to confront him, but was accosted by Nakul & Sahadev. He told them that since they had saved his life, he would repay them by fighting w/ their choice of weapon, the sword. He then drew his sword and dismounted, while Sahadev told him that while they saved him @ Kunti's behest, she's not around now, so they'd fight him freely, and so could he. They then set off to battle each other. The 3 of them fought long & hard, and Karna finally landed his sword on Sahadev's neck, but remembering his promise to Kunti, avoided killing him. Nakul then attacked him, causing a gash on his thigh
After Drona's death, the Pandavas set about hunting down Dushashan, and ending the vh nightmare. To prevent them, Karna decided to proceed to engage Bhima, but was challenged by Nakula. He offered to bless Nakul, and the latter sarcastically asked him whether it would be anything similar to the way he 'blessed' Abhimanyu. Karna defeated Nakul easily and told him that he wouldn't kill him, and since Nakul wouldn't accept his blessings, he might as well accept defeat.
Karna next moved on to intercept Bhima, who told him that Arjun was hunting down Duryodhan, and YNS Dushashan. Karna told Bhima that nobody would kill them since they knew that it was Bhima who had sworn to do it. Bhima told him that their vows meant nothing in the face of victory, and they'd happily break any vows if it gave them that result Karna then bound Bhima in chains and then went on to free Duryodhan from Arjun's ice cast. Arjun told them that he'd not stop them from witnessing the slaughter of Dushashan. Following that, Bhima slew Dushashan after completing the killing of 98 other Kauravas, and Duryodhan, Shakuni & Karna could just helplessly watch.
Following that, Duryodhan vowed not to have Dushashan's funeral until he had a Pandava to accompany him. Karna swore to him that he'd kill Arjun for this purpose. They then invoked Takshak, and Karna told Duryodhan that it was unethical to involve the Nagas. Duryodhan reminded him that the Pandavas had used Ghatotkacha, but Karna pointed out that Ghatotkacha was Bhima's son, and a part of the family. Shakuni told him that an enemy's enemy is a friend, and great relationships arise out of that.
The next day, Karna confronted Arjun in battle, but Shalya was defiant. He kept on disobeying Karna, and finally, a frustrated Karna dismounted from his chariot. This angered both Shakuni & Duryodhan, and they ordered Karna to invoke Takshak and use him against Arjun. After protesting, Karna did as ordered, and unleased Takshak on Arjun. Krishna lowered the level of the chariot and it passed Arjun and struck another warrior, infuriating Arjun.
Krishna then turned the chariot and made a move of fleeing, angering Karna, who gave chase. Arjun asked Krishna about it, and Krishna reminded them of the strategy they used against Kalyavan. After a while, Karna's wheel sunk in a bog, and he asked Shalya to get the chariot out, but Shalya refused, stating that he was just the charioteer. Karna reminded him that one's actions, rather than one's status, is what makes one great. He then dismounted and started to lift the wheel, when Krishna returned.
Krishna told him that the challenge that he had issued to Arjun while standing was now accepted. Karna protested that his wheel had sunk and begged him not to deviate from dharma. Krishna scolded him for calling Draupadi a vaisya. Karna was embarrassed as he got that flashback. He then tried arguing about the ethics of this battle, when Krishna reminded him how Abhimanyu too was unarmed. Karna pointed out that he only killed Abhimanyu out of mercy, and a furious Arjun pointed out that he didn't speak out against his friends stabbing Abhimanyu from behind. He told Karna that there were 2 prahars left in the day, and that he'd give Karna one to recall his Brahmastra. If he couldn't, then Arjun would kill him in the next w/ his Anjalika. Karna tried recalling the Brahmastra, but it kept appearing & disappearing in his hands. He was frustrated, and then Krishna reminded him of his curse from Parashurama. Arjun then fitted the Anjalika on his bow, and released it on Karna.
The arrow went thru Karna's neck & he fell. Kunti came running barefeet into the battlefield & cuddled him. Arjun was shocked to see that and asked Krishna why she was cuddling the enemy. Krishna said that w/ his fall, the enmity came to an end, and as for the question, he needed to ask her. The other Pandavas gathered around her and were shocked. Kunti confessed to them the whole story, and all the Pandavas were filled w/ remorse.
Radha & Vrushali also appeared at the scene. Radha started crying & accused Kunti of being worse than a crocodile. Karna told Radhama that like Krishna, he too wanted 2 mothers. He then asked the Pandavas not to reproach Kunti, and asked Arjun to raise his son. Arjun promised him that his son would get what rightfully should have been his. He also asked the uttam Arjun to do the last rites of shresht Karna.
Vrushali then came up to Karna & Karna apologized to her for letting her down. He then folded his hands and asked to be released. The theme song that Kunti sang to him played, w/ flashbacks of Kunti abandoning baby Karna, and when Kunti had sung the last line, Karna's eyes closed and he had passed away. Everybody burst into tears and following that, Karna's funeral was held. With that, the glorious chapter of Karna came to an end
Edited by .Vrish. - 01 August 2014 at 5:28pm