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Karna Questions and Answers, Notes, Summary
I. Answer briefly the following questions:
Why was a large crowd assembled in the arena?
The Pandavas and the Kauravas had learnt the practice of arms first from Kripacharya and later from Drona. A day was fixed for a test and exhibition of their proficiency in the use of arms in the presence of the Royal family. The public too had been invited to witness the performance of their beloved princes. Thus there was a large crowd assembled in the arena.
What did Duryodhana envy?
Arjuna displayed superhuman skill with his weapons and this earned the wonder and admiration of the whole crowd assembled there. This scene made Duryodhana envious and hateful towards Arjuna.
How does the writer introduce the Kama to the assembly?
The writer introduces the Kama in a very impressive manner. At the close of the day, there came suddenly from the entrance of the arena a sound, loud and compelling like thunder, the sound made by the slapping of mighty arms in challenge. All eyes turned in that direction. They saw enter through the crowd, which made way in awed silence, a godlike youth from whom light and power seemed to emanate. He was Kama.
What was the cause for Duryodhana’s exultation?
after Arjuna’s exhibition of his superhuman skill with his weapons, with Drona’s permission, Kama, then and there, duplicated all Aijuna’s feats with careless ease. This made Duryodhana feel exulted.
How does Kama challenge Arjuna?
Laughing is scorn, Kama says: “This arena is open to all, O Arjuna, and not to you alone. Might is the sanction of sovereignty and the law is based on it. But what is the use of mere talk which is the weapon of the weak ? Shoot arrows instead of words.”
Who were the divine parents of the two heroes?
Indra, the lord of the thunderclouds was the parent of Aijuna, whereas Bhaskara of the infinite rays, was the parent of Kama.
Why was Kunti stupefied?
When Kunti saw Kama, she recongized him as her first born, and now seeing him get ready to fight with her other son, Aijuna, she was stupefied with anguish not knowing how to stop the fight between brothers.
Why did Kripacharya object to Kama joining in the battle?
Kripacharya objected to Kama joining in the battle because his lineage and parentage were unknown, and, Aijuna being a high-bom prince, could not engage in single combat with unknown adventurers.
How did Duryodhana restore Karana’s honour?
Duryodhana announced that he would crown Kama as the king of Anga. He obtained the assent of Bhisma and Dhritarashtra, performed all the necessary rites and invested Kama with the sovereigns of the Kingdom of Anga giving him the crown, jewels and other royal insignia.
How does Bhima ridicule Kama?
On seeing the charioteer call Kama his son, Bhima roared with laughter and said : “O he is after all only the son of a charioteer! Take up the driving whip then as befits thy parentage. Thou art not worthy of death at the hands of Aijuna. Nor should thou reign in Anga as a king.”
How does Duryodhana defend Karna against Bhima’s accusations?
Duryodhana admonishes Bhima for speaking so contemptuously about Karna. He says that great heroes and mighty rivers should not be traced to their sources, and points out that there might be awkward questions about Bhima’s origin also. He points to Kama’s godlike form and bearing, his armour and earrings, and his skill with weapons, and says that he has to be of a noble birth, and is definitely worthy to rule the whole world.
How and why did Indra approach Karna?
Indra foresaw that a supreme contest was inevitable between his son Arjuna and Karna; and he put on the garb of a Brahman and came to Karna, who was reputed for his charity, and begged of him his earrings and armour.
a) Why couldn’t Karna refuse the gift asked of him?
Karna could not bring himself to refuse any gift that was asked of him.
b) What does this tell us about Kama’s character?
This tells us that Kama is a very kind and dignified person who will not deny anyone anything.
Why does Indra offer a boon to Karna? What is the boon?
Indra was filled with surprise and joy when Karna cut off his earrings and armour with which he was born and gave them to him. In return, he told Karna to ask for a boon. As Kama desired to et Indra’s weapon, the Sakti, Indra granted the boon.
Indra granted the boon with a condition. What was the condition?
Indra said that Karna could use the Sakti weapon only against one enemy, and it would kill him whosoever he might be. But after this killing was over, the weapon would no longer be available to him. Instead, it would go back to Indra.
How did Parasurama realise that Karna was not a Brahmana?
When Parasurama was reclining on Kama’s lap, a stinging worm burrowed into Kama’s thigh. Blood began to flow and the pain was terrible, but Karna bore it without tremor for fear that the master’s sleep should be disturbed. When Parasurama awoke and saw the blood flowing from the wound, he said : “Dear pupil, you are not a brahamana. A Kshatriya alone can remain unmoved under all bodily torments.”
What was Parasurama’s curse?
Parasurama curses Kama that, as he had deceived his guru, the Brahmastra that he had learnt from the Guru shall fail him at the fated moment. Karna would be unable to recall the invocatory mantra when his hour comes.
What does Bhishma ask Karna to do?
Bhishma asks Karna to befriend the Pandavas, since that was the right path for Karna who was their brother.
What does Karna say about his loyalty to Duryodhana?
Kama says that he has eaten 1 Duryodhana’s salt and so must be true to him, to be true to his own lineage. He says that Bhishma should permit, Karna ) to repay with his life the debt he owes to . Duryodhana for his love and trust.
How does Lord Krishna save Aijuna from Kama’s arrow?
Lord Krishna, who was Aijuna’s charioteer, at the nick of time, pressed the vehicle down five fingers deep in the mud, so that the serpent shaft just missed Aijuria’s head but struck off his helmet.
What mishap happened to Kama’s chariot?
The left wheel of Kama’s chariot suddenly sank in the blood mire, and would not allow the chariot to move.
When Karna appeals to Arjuna’s sense of dharma Lord Krishna recounts many acts of Kama and the Kauravas which violated fair play and chivalry. Pick out any 3 such acts.
- Kama, along with Duryodhana, Dushyshana and Sakuni, had dragged Draupadi to thf^all of Assembly and insulted her.
- Kama had conspired with the wicked men who had sought to poison and kill Bhima.
(in) Kama had agreed to the plot to burn the Pandavas alive when sleeping in the palace of wax to which they had been lured.
a) What Nvas Kama’s response to Lord Krishna’s denouncement ?
When Krishna was denouncing him, Kama bent his head in shame and uttered not a word.
b) What does this tell you about Kama?
It tells us that Kama was not truly wicked, but was forced by his gratitude and loyalty to Duryodhana to assist him in all his wicked deeds. ‘
Why was Arjuna’s mind wavering when Lord Krishna asked him to slay Kama?
Lord Krishna urged Arjuna to kill Kama when he was vainly trying to raise his chariot out of the mud in which it had stuck. According to the code of honour and laws of war prevailing then, it was wholly wrong to attack such a warrior. Hence Arjuna’s mind wavered.
Was killing Kama when he was not ready for the fight wrong?
According to the code of honour and laws of war prevailing then, it was wholly wrong to kill Kama when he was not ready for the fight. But it was Lord Krishna who revealed the absence of fair play in Kama’s behaviour and how he had breached the dharma, and urged Arjuna to shoot. Arjuna had not done this on his own. Hence it was not wrong.
How does the poet justify this wrong?
The poet does not have the heart to impute this act of Arjuna who was the embodiment of nobility. It was Lord Krishna who had incited Arjuna to kill Kama when he was not ready for the fight. Except for the Lord Himself, no one could bear the responsibility for breaches of dharma.
II. Discuss in pairs and answer the following questions.
Kama is easily one of the most tragic and compelling characters of the epic. List any 5 great qualities of Kama which you admire most. Justify your choice of qualities.
- Kama’s superhuman courage to challenge Arjuna to a battle is admirable.
- When he was told by Bhishma that he should give his enmity with the Pandavas and not fight them as he himself is a Pandava, Kama told him that he couldn’t be disloyal to Duryodhana whose salt he had eaten. Even if he had to give up his life he’d fight the Pandavas as he was indebted to Duiyodhana for his love and trust. This showed that he was loyal.
- When the wheel of his chariot §0 stuck in the mud, he called on Aijuna to honour dharma and not take advantage of his accident and attack him. Lord Krishna taunted Kama for the number of occasions when he had himself violated dharma. Kama could easily have surrendered to Aijuna or run away from fighting him. Instead, he showed great courage and presence of mind and tried to stun Aijuna by sending him an arrow of great power to win a respite and set the chariot wheel free.
- When Krishna was denouncing him for having violated dharma, he had the discretion npt to say a word, but listen to him with his head bent in shame.
- Kama is known for his generosity. He couldn’t refuse any one any gift. When Indra asked for his earrings and armour he gave it to him readily.
Karna Summary in English
The Pandavas and the Kauravas learnt the practice of arms both from Kripacharya and Dronacharya.
A day was fixed for the test and the public was also invited to witness it.
Arjuna showed his skills with weapons and Duryodhana got jealousy of him. At the close of the day, a youth entered and challenged Arjuna.
Kripacharya, who knew the rules of single combat, told Kama that only a high-born prince can fight him.
On hearing this, Kama bent down his head but Duryodhana immediately^ crowned him as the King of Anga. ’
The combat was interrupted by the entry of Adhiratha, Kama’s foster father and Duryodhana drove away Karna in his chariot.
Indra, on the other hand, realised the gravity of the situation and put on the garb of a Brahman to ask Karna for his earrings and armour in charity. Despite Sun God’s warning to Karna, he cut off both the things and gave them to the Brahmana.
Indra became happy and bade Karna to ask for any boon he wanted. Karna asked for the weapon (Sakti) which had the power to kill enemies and his wish was granted.
Karna became the disciple of Parasuram. He learnt from his the mantra for using Brahmastra.
Once Karna told a lie to his guru that he was a Brahmana. When the truth came out, Parasuram got angry and cursed him saying that the Brahmastra would fail him at a crucial moment.
Before going for the battle karna went to Bhishma for his blessings and he got it from him.
Then started the great battle with Karna fighting from Duryodhana’s side.
At one moment, the wheel of his chariot sunk five fingers deep in the mud.
Arjuna aimed at him and Karna was reminded of Parasurama’s curse.
Krishna also reminded him of all his bad deeds which he had done in the company of Duryodhana.
Karna bent his head in shame but again tried to take out the wheel from the mind.
Arjuna’s mind was wavering but Krishna told him to severe the head of Karna which he did.
Thus, ended the life-story of a brave warrior.
Karna Summary in Kannada