Kunti, the first wife of King Pandu of Hastinapur, was blessed with a special boon. The boon gave her powers to invoke any God of her choice and the God invoked would bless Kunti with a son. Kunti used the boon four times. Before her marriage to King Pandu of Hastinapur, she invoked the Sun god and bore Karn. Fearing questions from people about the birth of the child, she abandoned Karn. After her marriage to Pandu, she invoked Yama (God of Death and righteousness), Vayu (God of Wind) and Indra (God of Sky and the ruler of heaven) and bore Yudhisthir, Bheem and Arjun respectively. The sons of Kunti were the finest warriors of the Mahabharat. Each of them had their share of testing times and they all came out as winners. Their stories have inspiration for us. Here’s from Karn:
Karn – Born with a divine armour and a pair of earrings, Karn was abandoned by Kunti at birth. Adopted and brought up by foster parents and braving his share of struggles, he grew up to be one of the finest archers of the time. Circumstances led to a situation where Karn was to fight his brothers at Kurukshetra. Karn, over the years, had loathed the Pandavs siblings, particularly Arjun. Karn’s feelings were equally reciprocated by Arjun. The war at Kurukshetra was expected to be the decider when it came to their rivalry. Only Karn and none other could prove to be the nemesis of Arjun and that’s what kept Indra worried. Indra had equipped Arjun with powerful divine weapons for the war, but he also knew none would prove effective against Karn’s divine armour and earrings. Karn’s benevolence was known far and wide. Karn would never let down a request, irrespective of its nature. He had particularly pledged to honour requests that came in right after his prayers and people from all walks of life lined up to see him after his prayers. None ever returned dissatisfied. Indra decided to guise as a sage and request Karn for his armour and earrings as alms. The Sun god, Karn’s godfather, got an inkling of Indra’s plan and warned Karn. On hearing the conspiracy, Karn wasn’t perturbed. Instead, he said that he would happily part with his armour and earrings but wouldn’t go back on his pledge. Sun warned Karn of the dire consequences of losing his divine possessions. Fearless that Karn was, he stood firm on his stance. The next day, Indra played his plan. He appeared as a sage after Karn was done with his prayers and asked for the armour and earnings. Karn smiled and happily scrapped off the armour from his body. He then snapped his earrings. There was no remorse on Karn’s face as he profusely bled and finally handed over the armour and earrings to Indra. Impressed by Karn’s commitment to his pledge and guilty of the pain he had caused, Indra appeared in his actual form and blessed Karn with a boon. Karn thought for a minute and asked Indra for his thunderbolt. Indra’s thunderbolt was a fatal divine weapon, known to never miss its mark. Since Indra had granted the boon, he handed over his weapon to Karn. Indra however added a condition, stating that Karn would be able to use the weapon just once. Karn smiled and assured Indra that he too had no intentions of using the weapon twice. Indra knew Karn would use the thunderbolt against Arjun and his worry only worsened, as he disappeared from the scene. Though devoid of his divine armour and earrings, Karn returned home more powerful than before, for he stuck to his principle of giving!
Read Part 2 – Inspiration from Yudhisthir here: The Sons of Kunti & Their Inspirational Stories: Part 2 of 4 – Yudhisthir and his fine judgement
Read Part 3 – Inspiration from Bheem here: The Sons of Kunti & Their Inspirational Stories: Part 3 of 4 – Bheem being himself, always
Read Part 4 – Inspiration from Arjun here: The Sons of Kunti & Their Inspirational Stories: Part 4 of 4 – Arjun choosing quality over quantity
Read more about Karn – The man wronged – The story of Karn