Why is Karna so overrated
He is rather underrated in my opinion.
Here are a few points which might change your opinion-
- He was abandoned by his own mother and was forced to live a life of banishment.
- His Guru cursed him that he will forget everything that he has learned at the time of war, when it’s needed the most.
- While helping a child, he was cursed by Bhoomidevi that at a very crucial moment in battle, his chariot wheel would be trapped as tightly as he had held that fistful of soil.
- He was betrayed by his enemies who disguised and took his Armour.
- He was battling with enemies who were uncountable times stronger than him on paper.
- He was unethically killed by his enemies.
Even in such a miserable life, he didn’t give up. He always did his karma and never expected anything in return.
Speaking of his valor, skills and Dharma principles, there are many. many anecdotes, shortly mentioning a few-
- Karna managed to push Arjun’s chariot behind when Krishna and Hanuman were in it. Krishna praised him
- When Krishna proved to Arjun why Yudhishthir is called Dharmaraj (Dutiful king) and Karna Daanveer (Donation king) even though both never refused alms to anyone.
- Karna’s version of shooting the bird’s eye when he hit both eyes of the bird.
- Giving his armor to Indra in spite of recognizing his disguise.
- Refusing Naga Ashwasena to fire once again in the form of an arrow.
- Sparing the lives of other 4 Pandavas because Kunti had requested him to do so.
Here’s one of the anecdote which is undoubtedly the best one-
Dharma till death:
When Karna was on his death bed, Krishna came to test him. He disguised himself as a Brahmin saint , and asked Karna for some offering in the name of Dharma. Karna grabbed a stone from his macabre surroundings. He then thwarted the stone into his mouth and although his brutally beaten frame was cursing every movement he was afflicting upon himself, he kept doing that continuously. Meanwhile Krishna was surprised as well as awed by courage of this great warrior. After many strong blows, Karna was able to break two golden teeth he had, and offered them to the disguised Krishna. Krishna being extremely impressed by the valor of this great warrior , did not show any visible emotions. Instead he cursed Karna(to test him again) on how he was offering such saliva ridden teeth to such a pious brahmin. Karna deeply engraved by this statement, tried to crawl up to his bow and arrow. His bow was in tatters and the thread supporting it was nowhere to be seen. He cursed himself upon the defeat he faced to Arjuna in the earlier part of the day, and kept crawling to find an auxiliary thread to support his bow. Luckily he found one a few feet away from him. Every inch that he crawled made his wounds even more blood stained, and he was slowly losing his consciousness. But he kept crawling as the legend of Karna will not have an apt ending if this saint would not be satiated by him. Finally having reached the supporting thread he drew the thread in his bow. Meanwhile his hand continued to bleed profusely, and his nerves were on the verge of bursting up. He finally launched the final assault on his body and caressed the final arrow of his life into the ground. Subsequently, a stream of water came bursting out of the ground. He washed those saliva and blood stained teeth in this pristine stream of water and offered them to the disguised saint. Krishna embarrassed and visibly taken aback, gave up his disguised identity and came in his original form. Bowing to the great warrior he said, “Karna, if you want I can make you alive at this moment and make the world bow at your feet. Until you are there at the face of this earth, I am assured that Adharma shall never ever reign on this planet”. Karna replied, “O Lord Krishna, you are the creator and are omnipresent everywhere. Don’t insult me by bowing in front of me. I have had enough of travails and hardships in my life, so much that even the most ebullient luxuries are not able to lure me back into this life again. Let me die in peace and assure me that the legend of Karna may inspire generations to come. I beg forgiveness for all the wrongs that I have done unintentionally. Let the world turn into a righteous place, where the reign of Dharma shall ensure prosperity to everyone irrespective of their not caste and their not so noble beginnings”. Krishna silently nodded in agreement and in respect and adulation for his selfless sacrifice Lord Krishna shows his Vishwaroop to the greatest of Karmayogis.
Whenever I’m sad, depressed, broken or feel that life is unfair, I remind myself of Karna. His fighting spirit, his principles of Dharma inspire me, motivate me.
Karna reminds me of the saying ”Tough times never last, but tough people do.” Despite so much pain and ill-fate, he never gave up and always did his Karma.
If history would be remembered once again, there won’t be any character in the entire world as cursed, as hapless, as wretched as Karna. Even with his imperfect destiny, he has left a legacy which people look up to.
Still think he is overrated?
credits: Aditya Awalkar