A strange incident happened during the Mahabharata war.
On the seventeenth day of war, Karna was unstoppable. He caused tremendous destruction among Pandava army and either killed or wounded many of their warriors, including Yudhisthira, whom he let alive owing to the promise given to Kunti. However only after insulting him harshly with curse words.
Wounded and Humiliated, Yudhisthira retired to his camp, where he eagerly awaited news of Karna’s death. He was confident that the death of Karna’s news would come from Arjuna himself. After all, hadn’t Arjuna vowed to kill Karna. With Krishna as his charioteer, how could he not succeed?
A couple hours passed.Seeing both Krishna and Arjuna entering his tent, Yudhisthira became overwhelmed with happiness, thinking that he must have slayed Karna. Now that have Karna died, Yudhisthira revealed his inner thoughts.
“I have been frightened about him for thirteen years. I was not able to sleep at night. Nor could I be happy during the day… Whether I was awake or sleeping, Karna was always in front of me.” Now Yudhisthira eagerly asked for the details of war with Karna.
Now Arjuna said that he had not yet killed Karna, and had come to check Yudhisthira as he had grown anxious over his elder brothers absence in the battlefield.This bursted Yudhisthira’s bubble of happiness, and his frustration and fury boiled over. Quick words of anger jumped out from him. He called Arjuna worthless, and asked him to gave away his famed Gandhiva to some real warrior and that he would ask some worthy warrior like Krishna to kill Karna. Gandiva’s insult made Arjuna extremely furious. He draws his sword and rushes towards his brother. Krishna stopped him and asked him the reason for drawing the sword. Arjuna replied that he had made a secret vow that anyone who asks him to give up his Gandiva shall be slain by him.
In those days, Kshatriyas had the habit of making a secret vow at the time of completion of their training which by no means was to be taken lightly, they were expected to keep the vow at any cost.
However Lord Krishna, who was there at the moment, stopped Arjuna from doing the folly, and changed his mind with eloquent but strict words.Now that Arjuna had a change of mind, he fell at Yudhisthira’s knees and asked for his forgiveness. However, his vow too had to be fulfilled. Now Krishna came with the solution. Insulting an elder is equal to killing him. Hence Krishna asked Arjuna to insult Yudhisthira infront of everyone which would be equal to killing. Hence Arjuna criticized his brother with harsh words. By doing so Arjuna thus saved Yushisthira, but he felt sad for cursing his brother that he wanted to commit suicide.At this point, Lord Krishna again came up with a solution. Self praise and boasting is equal to suicide, and Arjuna boasting himself would be counted as suicide. Arjuna boasted about his stremgth and accomplishmentsand, thus saved his own life as he he did something equivalent to suicide.
Thus Krishna’s tactfulness and timely wisdom saved the Pandavas from totally ruining up themselves.
The two Pandava brothers forgave each other and embraced in tears. Arjuna left the camp with Yudhisthira’s blessings and set out to slay Karna.
Few facts about Karna
1. Karna received an indestructible chariot from Parashurama apart from obtaining Vijaya bow. Karna rode on this chariot for the first time on the 17th day.
2. Karna defeated Jarasandha in a wrestling bout within a short period of time. Gratified with Karna’s valour, Jarasandha gave him the city of Malini as a mark of tribute.
3. Karna conquered the entire earth riding on a chariot. His world conquest is mentioned in many authoritative versions of Mahabharata.
4. Karna defeated famous kings like Drupada, Bhagadatta, Rukmi and Nila en route to conquering all the directions of the earth.
5. Karna killed demons like Poulamas and Yatudhanas who were created by Ghatotkacha.
6. Karna stopped the wheel of Lord Shiva which was hurled by Ghatotkacha. Karna caught the wheel with his bare hands and hurled it back to destroy Ghatotkacha’s chariot.
7. Karna rescued Drona from Dhristadyumna in a battle on the 14th day of Kurukshetra war.
8. Karna’s prowess was more than Bhishma and Drona as mentioned by Sanjaya.
9. Karna was the only warrior who succeeded in capturing Yudhishthira in Kurukshetra war.
10. Karna was the warrior who succeeded in destroying Arjuna’s indestructible diadem.
11. Karna was the only Kourava commander who succeeded in countering Arjuna’s Aindrastra.
12. Karna was a possessor of Pashupatastra as stated by Lord Krishna. According to Lord Krishna’s narration, Karna defeated Yudhishthira with weapons like Sthunakarna, Indrasjaha and Pashupatastra.
13. Karna was the originator of the only weapon which Arjuna failed to counter in Kurukshetra war. The name of the weapon is Bhargavastra.
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