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Karnan Story In Malayalam Pdf 138 UPDATED

He is a tragic hero in the Mahabharata, in a manner similar to Aristotle's literary category of "flawed good man".[8] He meets his biological mother late in the epic, and then discovers that he is the older half-brother of those he is fighting against.[6] Karna is a symbol of someone who is rejected by those who should love him but do not given the circumstances, yet becomes a man of exceptional abilities willing to give his love and life as a loyal friend. His character is developed in the epic to raise and discuss major emotional and dharma (duty, ethics, moral) dilemmas.[9][10][11] His story has inspired many secondary works, poetry and dramatic plays in the Hindu arts tradition, both in India and in southeast Asia.[9][12][13]

Karnan Story In Malayalam Pdf 138

The story of Karna is told in the Mahābhārata, one of the Sanskrit epics from the Indian subcontinent. The work is written in Classical Sanskrit and is a composite work of revisions, editing and interpolations over many centuries. The oldest parts in the surviving version of the text probably date to about 400 BCE.[26] Within Mahabharata, which follows the story within a story style of narration, the account of Karna's birth has been narrated four times.[27]

The story of his unmarried mother getting the child due to her curiosity, his divine connection to the Hindu god Surya,[31] then his birth appears for the first time in the epic in section 1.104.7. The epic uses glowing words to describe Karna, but the presentation here is compressed in 21 shlokas unlike the later books which expand the details.[32] These later sections with more details on Karna's birth and childhood include 3.287, 5.142 and 15.38.[32] According to McGrath, the early presentation of Karna in the Mahabharata is such as if the poets expect the audience to already know the story and love the character of Karna. The text does not belabour the details about Karna in the early sections, rather uses metaphors and metonyms to colourfully remind the audience of the fabric of a character they already are assumed to be aware of.[32] The complete narrative of his life appears for the first time in chapter 1.125.[33]

Krishna then went to Kunti and asked her to meet Karna and tell him that he is her first born son and the Pandavas were his brothers. Krishna left it to her to choose between Karna and her five other sons. Kunti then went to meet Karna, finds him praying. She waits. After he finished his prayers to Surya, Karna meets Kunti for the first time in his adult life. He greets her (he now already knows her to be his biological mother).[88][89] With folded hands, he introduces himself as the son of Radha and Adhiratha, and inquires about the purpose of her visit. Kunti then confesses that he is her firstborn. Surya also appears and confirms Kunti's story, and suggests that he follow her.[88][90][91] Karna says that though he may have been the firstborn, he never received the affection or care from her as the firstborn. "You discarded me", says Karna to Kunti, "you destroyed me in a way that no enemy could ever do to him".[89] It is too late. He reiterates that he loves the parents who raised him, they love him, and he will remain loyal to his lifelong relationships. No one should abandon those who give respect and affection, says Karna in these Mahabharata verses. The war momentum shall continue and he aims to kill Arjuna. Karna promised to Kunti that he will not kill any of his other four half-brothers, but either "Arjuna or I" shall die and she can still say she has five sons just as she did all her life.[88][92][93]

The Karna-Arjuna story has parallels in the Vedic literature and may have emerged from these more ancient themes. According to McGrath, the Vedic mythology is loaded with the legendary and symbolism-filled conflict between Surya (sun) and Indra (clouds, thunder, rain).[116] Indra cripples Surya in the Vedic mythology by detaching his wheel, while Arjuna kills Karna while he tries to fix the wheel that is stuck in the ground.[117][118] As another example of parallels, Surya too has a birth mother (Night) who abandons him in the Vedic texts and he too considers his adoptive mother (Dawn) who raises him to his bright self as the true mother just like Karna.[117] This idea was first discussed by the philologist Georges Dumézil, who remarked that similar mythology and details are found in other ancient Indo-European stories.[119][120]

Dharma is a complex concept in the Indian religions. It is not an atomistic or compartmentalized concept, rather incorporates "ways of living, ways of seeing and ways of relating to life's ultimate issues", according to Matilal.[125] Of those issues, ones relating to right or wrong behaviour, duties, rights, and expectations from others are the domain of dharma-ethics.[126] Karna's story raises the dharma-ethics questions both while Karna acts in the epic as well as after his death.[127][128] These questions arise with the circumstances related to his birth and through his death. Karna chooses loyalty to his lifelong friend and "good policy based on his heart" to be of higher value than accepting Krishna's recommendation that he switch sides and become the king as the eldest son of Kunti based on dharmasastras.[85][129][130] According to Gurcharan Das, the character of Karna in the ancient Hindu epic suggests a social debate between "inherited status" and "deserved status", a debate that remains relevant to the contemporary times.[131] Das writes,

As the Karna story unfolds, similar to other stories in epic,[132] it raises moral dilemmas. With each dilemma, the Mahabharata presents various sides and shades of answers through the characters. According to Bimal Matilal, the characters face a "choice between irreconcilable obligations", between two good or two poor choices, where complex circumstances must be considered. These circumstances make the evaluation of the choices complicated and a decision difficult, subjective.[133] When circumstances lead to a conflict between two choices that are both right in their own premises, then following one duty becomes "contrary to the duty according to the other". Under these circumstances, there is an inherent subjective weighing of one moral duty against another.[133][134]

According to the Indologist Adam Bowles, while the Hindu Arthashastra text presents an objective analysis of situations, its dharmasutras, dharmasastras and the epics attempt to deal with the more complex, subjective scenarios of life.[137] The dharma, according to the Mahabharata and as Karna's story illustrates, is sukshma (subtle) and subjective to circumstances.[138] According to Julian Woods, these stories suggest that the difficulty isn't really between "dharma and adharma", but rather "conflict between different dharmas". No act, states Woods, on this earth "is wholly good or wholly bad".[139]

According to Adarkar, the Karna story also illustrates a different paradigm, one that transcends the Oedipal theories and evolutionary models of human behaviour.[148] The Karna narrative resonates deeply with some in part because of his "heroic steadfastness" (dhirata), being comfortable with who he is, his beliefs and acting according to his dharma rather than being someone who evolves and changes as he studies martial arts, or because of Krishna's advice, or Kunti's confession that Karna is her firstborn. He refuses to wear "Emperor's New Clothes", states Adarkar, and thus "being revealed as a fraud" and ever-adapting to new psychological garb.[148] He loves the parents who adopted him, he loves his friends and heritage. Karna exemplifies a personality that does not "discard identity after identity, but rather one who thrives by accepting and steadfastly hanging on to a meaningful identity".[149] A more modern era example of Karna-like human behaviour was in Mahatma Gandhi, who "after getting well-educated in a British law school and gaining international experience", steadfastly felt more empowered to embrace his heritage and culture rather than abandon or transcend it.[149]

Karna is the flawed tragic hero of the Mahabharata.[150] He is martially adept and equal to Arjuna as a warrior, a gifted speaker who embeds provocative insults for his opponents in front of an audience.[151][152] He does the right thing (dharma) yet is cruel and mean (adharma). He never questions the ethics of his lifelong friend Duryodhana rather conspires and abets in Duryodhana's quest for power through the abuse of his opponents.[153][154] He complains of "dharma failed him" on the day of his death, yet in his abuse of Draupadi, he himself ignores the dharma. He is a victim of his circumstances beyond his choosing, as much as the cause of circumstances that victimize other flawed heroes of the epic. His life story raises compassion, sorrow with an impending sense of destruction and fear (phobos and eleos) in the audience, as any good tragic drama.[155][156] According to the Indologist Daniel Ingalls, the Karna character refutes the "bon mot that Indian poets knew no tragedy" before the colonial British introduced European literature to the Indians. Karna, and many Rajput ballads, are clearly tragedies in the Aristotlean and Elizabethan sense, states Ingalls.[157]

The Karna story has been retold and adapted into drama, plays and dance performances in India and southeast Asia. These versions vary significantly from each other as well as the Mahabharata manuscript.[159][160][161]


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