Mahabharata Tatparya Nirnaya: Chapter 27: Part 5

  • 161) “For the Suras and Asuras, Bhima and Duryodhana are the refuge. Arjuna and Karna are, in turn, dear to these two and equal to their own lives. Hence, the Suras and Asuras are getting into a fight over them”
    • Note: Bhima, being an Avatara of Mukhyaprana, was the best amongst Devatas and Duryodhana, being an Avatara of Kali, was the refuge of the Asuras.
  • 162) “This could cause a great calamity to the world. Therefore, let there be an equal fight between these two” – when Shiva said thus, Brahma replied – “Where there is Krishna, there is victory”.
  • 163) “Sri Krishna’s decision never goes wrong. It is his wish to grant victory to Arjuna”. Indra then said – “Let Arjuna emerge victorious. Also, may Karna be slain”. He then bowed down to Brahma, who said – “May it be so”. Brahma then addressed the Asuras and Devatas.
  • 164) “Neither for Karna-Arjuna, nor for Bhima-Duryodhana should you fight amongst yourselves anywhere. You should only watch their battle” – when Brahma said thus, all of them calmed down and started watching their duel.
  • 165) Both Karna and Arjuna started showering great many weapons and powerful astras. Bhima, who was in his chariot, started protecting Arjuna. Satyaki, Dhrishtadyumna and the rest surrounded Arjuna and stood there powerfully, letting out loud roars.
  • 166) Duryodhana, Ashwathama and others surrounded Karna in order to protect him. A battle ensued then. In that duel, Karna exceeded Arjuna and started hurting him with clusters of arrows. Bhimasena then picked up a mace out of anger and said.
  • 167) “I shall kill Karna with my mace. Else, you show your valour and kill him immediately” – when Bhima spoke thus, Sri Krishna advised him in order to ensure the Avesha of Nara inside him manifested further.
  • 168) Arjuna then became manifest with increased strength and rendered Duryodhana, Ashwathama, Krupa and Krutavarma chariot-less with his arrows. The destroyer of enemies hurt them with arrows that had excellent feathers.
  • 169) All of them started watching that amazing duel from a distance. Seeing the superhuman achievement of Arjuna there, the son of Guru Drona held Duryodhana by his hand and said.
  • 170) “You have seen Bhima’s strength and also Arjuna’s power. You have also seen how we lost to them. Enough of enmity with them. Get together and rule the Kingdom. I am with you”.
  • 171) “If I stop him, Arjuna will halt the battle. Sri Krishna never likes enmity. Bhima is one who always follows Sri Krishna’s words. Yudhisthira is calm minded. The twins are also similar”.
  • 172) “I have spoken thus for your well being. Understand it. I am not saying all of this out of fear. I cannot be killed in any way. My maternal uncle (Krupa) too is likewise. (Therefore) You need not doubt my words”.
  • 173) When Ashwathama said thus, Duryodhana replied – “Bhima has just drunk Dushasana’s blood. He has danced like a tiger. Therefore, there can never be a truce with him in any way”.
  • 174) When he spoke thus, the son of Drona became silent. Karna and Arjuna filled the entire sky with their shower of great astras, leaving no gaps.
  • 175) With the intention of killing each other, they fired the Agneyastra, Varunastra, Aindrastra and other weapons at each other. In the end, they fired the Brahmastra too at each other and roared. They shone (in front of everyone) by countering each other’s astras.
  • 176) Arjuna’s strength slowly started to increase in effect. Unable to fight him, Karna released an excellent arrow at him that had the Brahmastra and included a serpent weapon.
    • Note: That serpent-arrow was none other than a sarpa named Ashwasena that had escaped the fire when Arjuna had burnt the Khandava forest, and was keen on taking revenge. So it had entered the quiver of Karna waiting for a suitable occasion.
  • 177) Sri Krishna pressed the chariot with his feet and rendered the astra futile. That weapon destroyed the divine crown of the son of Indra. The naga which was in the arrow returned towards Karna.
  • 178-180) When Arjuna’s chariot was sunk into the Earth by five inches, the arrow that was aimed at his forehead destroyed Arjuna’s crown. When it was traveling (towards Karna) in the sky, Arjuna, being instructed by Sri Krishna, killed that enemy who was the son of Takshaka with arrows and brought him down on the Earth, even as Karna was watching. Karna had learnt how to speedily execute a Brahmastra from Sri Parashurama.
    • Note: That snake was the son of Takshaka and was called Ashwasena. When Arjuna had burnt the Khandava forest, Ashwasena had managed to survive and, since then, was seeking revenge on Arjuna. For this purpose, he had entered the quiver of Karna as an arrow. Due to Sri Krishna’s grace, Arjuna escaped from it and also managed to kill the snake in turn.
  • 181) When Karna started battling Arjuna again with great astras, the Earth below started to swallow the wheel of his chariot. At the same time, due to the curse of Sri Parashurama, he could not remember any divine astras.
    • Note: Karna had once been cursed by a Brahmana that the wheel of his chariot would sink in battle at a crucial time. Sri Parashurama had cursed him to forget divine astras at a critical juncture in war as he had lied to him about being a Brahmana.
  • 182) Karna, desiring to lift the wheel of the chariot, requested Arjuna to give him time for the same. Sri Krishna said – “Not possible”. Arjuna then picked up the most terrible Anjalika astra that Shiva had given him.
  • 183) Combining that astra with the Punya of his accumulated Satya and Dharma, Arjuna released that arrow for killing Karna. He cut off Karna’s head with that weapon even as Karna was readying to release an arrow.
    • Note: In order to ensure that the arrow did achieve the desired result of killing Karna, Arjuna poured the entire punya accumulated by him over the years through Satya and Dharma.
  • 184) On the second day and during the second half of the day, the son of Indra cut off the head of the son of Surya. That (head) flew up into the sky with speed and fell down.
    • Note: It was the second day of Karna’s commandership and the 17th day of the war.
  • 185) When Karna was (thus) killed, Duryodhana became sunken faced and he withdrew his army and went away along with Shalya. Dharmaraja heard the news of Karna’s killing and rushed there and saw his body.
  • 186) He praised Sri Krishna, Arjuna and Bhima profusely. Other great battle heroes too praised them. They returned to their camps along with Sri Krishna and, remaining subservient to him always, rejoiced there happily.

|| End of chapter 27, known as ‘Karna Vadha’, from the Mahabharata Tatparya Nirnaya, composed by Srimadanandatirtha Bhagavatpada ||

|| Sri Krishnarpanamastu ||

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