I have already written a post on the same figure occurred in Mahabharata. I don't know why I have such a tremendous interest in the life of Karna. I have also researched on his life many times from the beginning to end. I think, we need to study the character of Karna in a different way. Many philosophers and historians have always appreciated the deeds of Karna towards the epic war of Mahabharata, towards Pandavas and of course towards Kunti as well. His approach towards Duryodhana, the main antagonist in the war of Mahabharata always been an interesting topic of discussion as well as of research for most of the historians. However, many have accused him by the allegation that he was main personality behind the epic destruction of the Kourava clan and they have also stated that he could stop the war if he wanted to do so, but as he wanted to avenge Arjuna he disagreed the offer from Lord Krishna and so did the the only hope of war prevention.
As hoodwinked by all this previous work, I had to start with the beginning which I followed and the things I got from it, needs to understand well. So, who was Karna before Mahabharata? it was a shock for me when I found out the answer. Karna was the demon in his previous life named as Dhambodhbhava or Sahasra Kavach which is the literal translation of thousand armors in Sanskrit. Dhambhodhbhava did a severe penance of Lord Surya (Here is some contradiction, some says Lord Surya some says Lord Brahma, but I am agreed with Lord Surya, readers are free to find out the truth ) and demanded a boon of thousand armors, and also demanded for one unique boon which was if someone wanted to beat him, that person had to fight him in the battle and also had to do a severe penance simultaneously, which was impossible and that is why he was kind of immortal at that time. To destroy the demon Lord Vishnu took the incarnation of Nara-Narayana who was the son of Ahimsa, daughter of Daksha Prajapati and the wife of Dharma.
As a twin, Nara-Narayana was nothing but the same which was needed to beat Sahasra Kavach. They educated themselves with all the supreme knowledge and went to fight Sahasra Kavach. When Nara was fighting with Sahasra Kavach, at the same time Narayana was doing a severe penance and also prayed for the success of Nara. In the battle, Sahasra Kvacha's nine hundread and ninety nine armors were destroyed by the Nara and Sahasra Kavach realized that he was beating by the great warrior. So he ran from the battlefield and went straight to the Lord Surya. Nara urged Lord Surya for the custody of Sahasra Kavach but Lord Surya ignored as Sahasra Kavach had done a severe penance of Lord Surya which was the example of his strong devotion towards him and Lord Surya was obligated that he had to protect his devotees.
Sahasra Kavach managed to release himself from the attack of Nara and lived in the palace of Lord Surya happily thereafter. In Dwapar yuga, once Kunti was exercising his first boon which Sage Durvasa given her by seeing her hospitality towards him. Lord Surya took it as a opportunity and gave Sahasra Kavach to her who emerged as Atimaharathi Karna in the future period. Although Karna was born into the good family and to the good parents, he had to die as he was carrying the Asur-tattwa with him. That is why Lord Vishnu and Lord Indra took the incarnations of Lord Krishna and Arjuna respectively as the Nara and Narayana and completed where they left the show.
This is the whole story of Karna's birth and his life in his previous birth. Many scholars have accused Karna on the only story that he was the main character behind the epic but unwanted war in Mahabharata. But, I think it was exactly opposite to it. I agree that Karna was born as Asur or demon in his previous life, but we should accept the fact that he did the sinful activities in his previous life but he was way different than his previous life in Mahabharata. Although he was carrying Asur-tattwa with him, he won over it by the divine activities he did in his life in the Mahabharata. I think the identity of a person is always depends upon how he lives his life in his ongoing life and not at all on his previous births or whatever. It will be totally unfair if we judge the people on the basis of the activities they performed in their previous birth. It is also true that Karna endured the punishment of his sinful deeds he had done in his previous birth and that is why he was always ignored by everyone and felt very lonely in Mahabharata.
The other severe allegation on Karna that he was responsible for the epic destruction, I think, is of no use and totally fake. Because, there were many personalities in Mahabharata who could stop the war of Mahabharata but they even never tried to do so in serious way. Karna was just friend of Duryodhana and it should not forget that Duryodhana never listened to his forefathers and the top-guns of Kuru clan and the hope that he would have listened to Karna is, I think, absolutely of no use. Duryodhana was very arrogant and wanted the only thing which was the total destruction of Pandavas.
These are few things I could gather while researching on that great man. We don't have the single right to accuse that man or to state severe allegations on him. He had washed all his sins by living his life according to Bhagvadgita of Lord Krishna and that is why Lord Krishna had also described Karna as his biggest devotee. He also known as a great warrior because he knew that he was going to die in the battlefield and Kouravas would be defeated by the Pandavas, but after that also he went, fought and died like a warrior. I bow to that great warrior, an unmatched donor and a Lord Krishna follower.
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