Here we have provided The Temptation of Karna Questions and Answers|Book of Effort Questions and Answers
Table of Contents
- What are the offerings that Srikrishna make to Karna in order to temp him to join the Pandavas?
- What was the plan of Duryodhana behind making Karna the king of Anga?
- How Karna becomes a victim of the caste system.
- How does Karna counter Kunti’s argument in the Temptation Scene?
- What idea of Karna’s moral judgment and unmoved loyalty is revealed in the Temptation of Karna episode?
- Does Karna know the real intention of Duryodhana?
- What idea does Karna possess about the righteousness of Yudhishthira?
How did Krishna plead Karna to join the side of the Pandavas?
In Vyasa’s Mahabharata, Vasudeva Krishna played the role of a skilled diplomat in the section “The Temptation of Karna” (Book V, The Book of Effort – Udyog Parva). Krishna attempted to persuade Karna, Kunti’s eldest son, to join the Pandavas’ side. According to the story, Kunti, who was unmarried and the daughter of Shurasena and the foster daughter of Kuntibhoja, received a boon from Rishi Durvasa after pleasing him with her hospitality. Durvasa gave her a mantra, which she used to conceive Karna with the blessing of the Sun, making him Kunti’s first son. However, out of fear of society, Kunti abandoned Karna by floating him in a river. Adhirath found the child and raised him as his own.
At the time of the Kurukshetra battle, Krishna attempted to bring Karna to his side but failed, despite his strong pleading. Initially, Krishna praised Karna for his knowledge of the Vedas and scriptures, calling him a Brahmin-serving and lawful individual. Krishna also cited examples from the scriptures to argue that Karna could be considered Pandu’s son. He offered Karna the kingship of the empire and assured him that all the Pandavas would worship him as their firstborn and offer their reverence. Krishna even promised Karna the hand of Draupadi in marriage.
Krishna also assured Karna that all the Veda-knowing Brahmins would ordain him as the sacred king. The five brothers, the Draupadeyas, the Panchalas, and the Cedis would all acknowledge him as their king. Bhima would hold an umbrella over his head, Arjuna would drive his chariot with white horses, and Abhimanyu, Nakula, Sahadeva, and the five Draupedeyas would serve him. Krishna himself would also comply with Karna, and the Andhaka Visnis, Dasarhas, and Dasarnas would be among his escort.
Krishna concluded his plea by telling Karna that if he accepted the offer, he would shine like the moon among the stars (the Parthas), and their foes would tremble in fear while their friends found joy. Krishna emphasized the brotherhood between Karna and the Pandavas.
What are the offerings that Srikrishna make to Karna in order to temp him to join the Pandavas?
Recognizing the inevitability of war, Srikrishna attempts to make a final effort to prevent it by approaching Karna. He knows that if Karna were to switch sides, the Kauravas would become weaker and the war could be avoided. Srikrishna uses his persuasive skills to make a diplomatic deal with Karna, revealing his true identity as the eldest son of Kunti and the sun God as his father. He explains that Kunti had abandoned Karna out of immature fear of degradation.
Srikrishna goes on to offer Karna a grand deal, with all the kings, barons, and dignitaries of the Pandava side paying tribute and honour to him. He would be consecrated as king and Yudhishthira would only mount his chariot after Karna. Bhima would hold the grand white umbrella over Karna’s head, while Arjuna would drive Karna’s chariot, drawn by white horses. Abhimanyu, Nakula, Sahdeva, and the five sons of Pandavas would also be at Karna’s service, forming a mighty alliance of brothers that could shatter all enemy sides.
What was the plan of Duryodhana behind making Karna the king of Anga?
Duryodhana always harboured animosity towards the Pandavas and constantly sought ways to bring about their downfall. He recognized in Karna all the qualities that were expected of a royal son, and even some that exceeded those expectations. Despite Karna’s true identity being hidden from the world, he had to endure rejection in all important spheres of life. Only Duryodhana extended him the courtesy of friendship and entrusted him with the administration of a separate province. However, it is revealed that behind Duryodhana’s actions lay a pre-planned strategy to eventually use Karna’s valour against the Pandavas. Despite this, Karna acknowledges that he cannot deny the services that Duryodhana has rendered to him, and he must honour his obligations of friendship and gratitude.
How Karna becomes a victim of the caste system.
Yudhishthira describes Karna as a passionate, fierce chariot warrior who is invincible due to his adamant breastplate and earrings, which represent his identity and life. However, Indra, the progenitor of Arjuna, tricks Karna into giving up his signs of invulnerability in order to ensure Arjuna’s victory in their upcoming duel. Karna’s loyalty lies only with his enemies, his masters and slaves, and his comrades and friends, as family holds no value to him. Throughout the epic, Kunti urges Karna to embrace his Kshatriya identity and follow his Dharma, highlighting the importance of royal women in matters of kingship. Kevin M Grath notes that these women serve as a reflection of the princes in the Mahabharata, being knowledgeable and eloquent in expressing their opinions on such matters. The epic portrays Karna as a dignified character despite his complex relationships and loyalty.
How does Karna counter Kunti’s argument in the Temptation Scene?
Yudhishthira describes Karna as a passionate and skilled warrior, proficient in all weapons and covered by an invincible adamant breastplate. The earrings Karna wears are symbolic of his identity and life. Kunti urges Karna to follow his Kshatriya identity and take up his rightful place, reminding him of his duty as the firstborn of Pandu. Despite her eloquent persuasions, Karna is unwilling to accept his parentage and remain loyal to his current side. Kunti herself reflects on her past and the dangers she faced as a woman and child, highlighting the vulnerability of youth. The gods, including Krishna and the Sun god, intervene to prevent war and urge Karna to join the Pandavas, but he remains bound by his oath and loyal to his current masters. In the following section, we will examine the class differences between Karna’s foster and real families, the Sutas and the Kshatriyas, respectively.
Comment on the character of Karna.
Karna, one of Vyasa’s greatest creations in The Mahabharata, is depicted in The Temptation of Karna (Book V. The Book of Effort – Udyog Parva) as a heroic and principled character. Despite being rejected and abandoned at birth by his mother Kunti, Karna was raised by Adhirath Suta and his wife Radha, whom he considers his true parents. Karna’s loyalty to his friend Duryodhana is unshakeable, even when Lord Krishna pleads with him to join the Pandavas and become their king.
Karna’s unwavering dedication to dharma, or righteousness, is evident in his logical response to Krishna’s attempts to convince him to switch sides. Karna acknowledges Krishna’s omniscience but refuses to betray his friend and ally, even though he knows that the destruction of the Kuru dynasty under Duryodhana’s rule is inevitable. Karna also interprets various astrological and natural signs as portents of Duryodhana’s defeat.
Despite recognizing the strength and prowess of the Pandavas, including Arjuna, Nakula, Sahadeva, Satyaki, and above all, Krishna as their charioteer, Karna refuses to join them. He predicts that Yudhisthira’s army will be victorious due to their adherence to dharma. Karna expresses his conviction that they will meet again, either in battle or in heaven, but he remains steadfast in his loyalty to Duryodhana and rejects any offer of kingship from the Pandavas.
In conclusion, Karna’s unwavering loyalty to his friend and his commitment to dharma makes him a truly admirable character in The Mahabharata.
What idea of Karna’s moral judgment and unmoved loyalty is revealed in the Temptation of Karna episode?
Karna is a dignified character in the Mahabharata, and the Temptation of Karna episode is a vivid section that depicts his supremacy in a deeper tone. The episode is significant because Karna’s true identity is revealed to him. He learns that he is not the son of a charioteer but rather the son of Kunti and the Sun God, making him a Kshatriya. However, the revelation is untimely, and Karna is saddened by it since he cannot change his current situation. Srikrishna informs Karna of his true identity to weaken the Kaurava side in the upcoming war, but Karna’s loyalty to his foster parents and Duryodhana prevents him from switching sides. Karna’s knowledge of scripture also informs him that the Pandavas are on the side of truth and morality, and he believes that they will win the war. He is attributed with the qualities of a prophet as he foresees the victory of the Pandavas and believes that the war is a purificatory ritual. In all respects, Karna is a sensible man who remains loyal to his sense of responsibility and gratitude.
Write a note on the significance of the temptation scene of Karna.
Karna plays a central role in Vyasa’s Mahabharata, without which the epic would be incomplete. According to his birth story, Karna was gifted to Kunti by the Sun God after she had uttered a boon to the Sage Durvasa. However, as it was considered shameful to have a child out of wedlock, Kunti abandoned Karna, who was then adopted by a couple named Suta Adhirath and Radha.
Many years later, before the great Kurukshetra war between the Kouravas and the Pandavas, Lord Krishna revealed Karna’s true identity and praised him, offering him numerous favors if he would fight for the Pandavas. Krishna tempted Karna with promises of respect, a kingdom, and even the love of his real mother, whom he had never known.
In response, Karna rejected Krishna’s offer, stating that no amount of temptation could make him betray Duryodhana, who had given him refuge when everyone else had rejected him. Karna could not bring himself to betray Duryodhana, who had made him the king of Anga and had always treated him well. Moreover, Karna knew that if he were to side with the Pandavas, Yudhisthira would not accept him as king, and he would be forced to accept the vast kingdom alongside Duryodhana.
Karna was aware of the ultimate outcome of the war and knew that the events that were meant to occur would not transpire if he were to switch sides. Thus, the scene in which Krishna tempts Karna to join the Pandavas is one of the most significant parts of The Mahabharata.
Does Karna know the real intention of Duryodhana?
Karna has been supported by Duryodhana despite being insulted and ostracized by society due to his lower birth. As the king of Anga, appointed by Duryodhana, Karna is obligated to him. However, when Srikrishna enlightens Karna about Dharma and reveals the wicked intentions of Duryodhana, Karna realizes the true nature of the conspiracy he has unknowingly been a part of. Despite this, Karna is unable to undo the benefits he has received from Duryodhana and feels duty-bound to remain loyal and grateful to him, regardless of whether Duryodhana had nefarious motives for their friendship.
What idea does Karna possess about the righteousness of Yudhishthira?
Yudhishthira’s righteousness is widely acknowledged, as he is known for being fair and just to all, regardless of their status or affiliation. Karna also shares this view of Yudhishthira, despite being on the opposite side of the conflict. When Karna learns of his true identity as the eldest brother of the Pandavas and is offered the throne in their kingdom, he realizes that Yudhishthira must not be aware of this fact. He fears that if Yudhishthira were to learn the truth, he would willingly give up his own claim to the throne and offer it to Karna. However, Karna knows that he would feel indebted to Duryodhana and would, therefore, feel compelled to hand over the throne to him, even though he may not be deserving of it. This would mean that Duryodhana would win the war without having to fight for it, which Karna sees as an unfair outcome.
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