Monday, 27 February 2017

Who Killed Karna - Part 1

The title of this post should make it evident what I plan to talk about. It is common knowledge that it was Arjuna who killed Karna on day 17 of the Kurukshetra war, using his Anjalika astra to decapitate Karna. After all, I wrote a post about Karna's death in the past, titled Why Did Arjuna Kill A Chariotless, Weaponless Karna? However, a while back, I came across many references that could possibly suggest that it was not Arjuna, but instead Bhima who killed Karna after quaffing the blood from all of Karna's limbs. This also suggests that Bhima most likely did not tear the chest of Dushasana, nor did he quaff the blood of Dushasana... So, I planned to write a few posts dedicated to showing how Karna actually died at the hands of Bhima, a while back. But due to my busy schedule, I was not able to write these posts. Now that I have time, I will write a series of three posts that will show that Bhima infact slayed Karna.

This post, the first one in the series will be dedicated to providing some references that support that Bhima slayed Karna and quaffed his blood. The second post in the series will address and debunk all the other verses in the epic that suggest Bhima slayed and quaffed Dushasana's blood instead of Karna's blood. The third and final post in this series will however be the longest, and in that I will consider the sections in Karna Parva, to show the exact point in the war when Bhima killed Karna and any Arjuna-Karna encounters prior to Karna's death on that day.

All posts will mainly use references from Mahabharatha translated into English by Kisari Mohan Ganguly. I might occasionally use references from the BORI Critical Edition, translated into English by Bibek Debroy, as the need arises. Since the BORI Critical Edition is not available online, I will provide quotes of the appropriate text, whenever I use the BORI Critical Edition.

One instance that gives us the subtle hint that it was Bhima who killed Karna and quaffed his blood is the conversation between Bhima and Gandhari in Stri Parva Section 15, where, after the war is over, Gandhari questions Bhima how he could commit the barbaric act of drinking the blood of his foe. Below is an excerpt of the conversation from Stri Parva Section 15, with my comments in brackets:

Hearing these words of Bhima, Gandhari said, ‘Since thou praisest my son thus (for his skill in battle), he did not deserve such a death. He, however, did all that thou tellest me. When Vrishasena, however, had deprived Nakula of his steeds, O Bharata, thou quaffedst in battle the blood from Duhshasana’s body! Such an act is cruel and is censured by the good. It suits only a person that is most disrespectable. It was a wicked act, O Vrikodara, that was then accomplished by thee! It was undeserving of thee.’

[As you can see, here Gandhari accuses Bhima of quaffing the blood from Dushasana's body. But what is interesting to note here, is that she says this happens when Vrishasena had deprived Nakula of his steeds. A cross check with Karna Parva, however, suggests that (if we are going to go by the text) Dushasana's blood was quaffed by Bhima in Karna Parva Section 83, prior to Nakula's encounter with Vrishasena. It was only after Dushasana's death and after Bhima quaffed his blood that Vrishasena proceeded towards Nakula, in Karna Parva Section 84, out of respect for the fallen Dushasana. Hence, if we go by the text, there is some discrepancy. This leaves us with two questions:

1. Did Dushasana really die prior to the Nakula-Vrishasena fight, in Karna Parva Section 83? Or is it possible that he died in the midst of the fight,, in Karna Parva Sections 84-85?

2. Is the person that died in the midst of the Nakula-Vrishasena fight by Bhima not Dushasana, but in fact another person?

Lets first address option number 1. If Dushasana died in the midst of the Nakula-Vrishasena fight in Karna Parva Section 84, we would find atleast some mention of Dushasana, or some subtle hint that Dushasana was still alive in that section or possibly in a later section. However, in Karna Parva, there are only 3 mentions of Dushasana after Karna Parva Section 83. All these 3 mentions occur in Karna Parva Section 84.

The first mention of Dushasana is in the following introductory sentence of Karna Parva Section 84:
"Sanjaya said, 'After the slaughter of Duhshasana, O king, ten of thy sons, heroes that never retreated from battle, all of whom were great car-warriors, endued with mighty energy, and filled with the poison of wrath, shrouded Bhima with their shafts. Nishangin, and Kavachin, and Pasin and Dundadhara and Dhanurgraha, and Alolupa, and Saha, and Shanda, and Vatavega and Suvarchasas, these ten, afflicted at the slaughter of their brother, united together and checked the mighty-armed Bhimasena with their shafts.
This sentence supports that Dushasana was slaughtered in Karna Parva Section 83, prior to the Nakula-Vrishasena fight in Karna Parva Section 84. The next mention of Dushasana in Karna Parva Section 84 is made by Shalya to convince Karna, who was struck by fear upon Dushasana's slaughter, to rush and fight against the Pandava army:
Then Shalya, that ornament of assemblies, understanding the state of Karna's mind from a survey of his features, addressed that chastiser of foes in words suited to the hour, "Do not be grieved, O son of Radha! This deed does not become thee. Afflicted with the fear of Bhimasena, these kings are all flying away. Exceedingly pained by the calamity that has befallen his brother Duhshasana in consequence of his blood having been quaffed by the high-souled Bhima, Duryodhana is stupefied! Kripa and others, and those of the king's brothers that are still alive, with afflicted hearts, their rage quelled by sorrow, are tending Duryodhana, sitting around him.
This again supports that Dushasana was killed in the previous section Karna Parva Section 83. Now lets look at the last mention of Dushasana in Karna Parva Section 84. This mention occurs when Vrishasena is attacking Nakula:
Possessed of mighty weapons, Karna's son then, desirous of showing his regard for Duhshasana, quickly took up another bow, and pierced Nakula, the son of Pandu with many mighty celestial weapons.
The respective verse in the BORI Critical Edition (Karna Parva Section 62) reads as follows:
Wishing to show his respect to Duhshasana, who had lost his life, the one who knew about great weapons, then struck Nakula with divine and great weapons.
From this text, it becomes obvious that Vrishasena attacked Nakula to show his regard/respect to Dushasana, who had just recently been killed. Hence this third mention of Dushasana also supports that Dushasana was killed in Karna Parva Section 83, prior to the Nakula-Vrishasena fight in Karna Parva Section 84. So we can rule out possibility 1.

Now we will consider possibility 2. Is it possible that the person that Bhima killed and quaffed the blood of, was not Dushasana, but instead another warrior? Continue reading below, where this possibility is considered...]

Bhima replied, saying, ‘It is improper to quaff the blood of even a stranger, what then need be said about quaffing the blood of one’s own self? One’s brother, again, is like one’s own self. There is no difference between them. The blood, however, (that I am regarded to have quaffed) did not, O mother, pass down my lips and teeth. Karna knew this well.

[As you can see here, Bhima tells Gandhari that the blood did not pass down his lips and teeth. But what is fascinating is that he also says that "Karna knew this well". But what was the need to specifically mention this? If he wanted to mention that all others that were around Dushasana had seen that the blood did not pass down his lips and teeth, then he could have given a list of 2-3 other warriors as well that were around Dushasana at the time (such as Duryodhana, Kritavarma, etc...). Why single out Karna? Furthermore, if Bhima meant that Karna was a spectator that saw him drinking the blood, then Karna should have been really close to Bhima at the time. Such closeness cannot be accomplished by Karna situated on a chariot near the chariot of Dushasana, as the distance would still be too far to see one's teeth, lips and throat with detail. This implies that Karna was right next to Bhima when Bhima drank the blood, thus suggesting that Karna could have potentially been the one whom Bhima drank the blood of, and that later poets tampered with the original narrative, replacing Karna's name with Dushasana's name, generating the narrative we are seeing today... According to this theory, Karna was still alive when Bhima was drinking his blood.

Furthermore, in Sauptika Parva Section 16 of the Mahabharatha, there is a quote that suggests that when Bhima quaffed the blood, his victim was still alive:
The wretched Duryodhana, that obstacle on the way of our sovereignty, has been slain. I have quaffed the blood of the living Duhshasana. We have paid off the debt we owed to our enemy. 
Note that the text mentions Dushasana here. However, the main point I am trying to make here is that the victim was still alive when Bhima drank his blood. This suggests that it is likely that Bhima drank the blood of the living Karna (in sync with my above theory), instead of the already dead Dushasana (the mainstream theory, mentioned in the direct narrative of Karna Parva Section 83). I will address why this quote says Dushasana and not Karna, in the next post of this series, and give more support to my claim that later poets replaced Karna's name with Dushasana's name in the above passage...

Now returning back to the passage from Stri Parva Section 15... In that passage, Bhima consoles Gandhari by using Karna's name and saying that Karna knew that the blood did not pass below his (Bhima) lips and teeth, and hence he (Bhima) did not perform a barbaric act when killing the victim. Ideally, we would expect that Bhima would use the name of the victim and say that the victim knew that the blood did not pass below his (Bhima) lips. The reason for this is that Gandhari was mourning for the victim and hence knowing that the victim knew that the act was not barbaric would be more important for Gandhari than the opinion of any bystander. Going by such reasoning, we can indirectly determine, from Bhima's speech, whom the victim must have been. Bhima does not say that Dushasana knew that the blood did not pass below his (Bhima) lips and teeth. Instead he says that Karna knew that the blood did not pass below his (Bhima) lips and teeth. Hence, Bhima's speech seems to suggest that Karna was the victim of the blood quaffing and that Bhima was trying to console Gandhari by saying that this victim, Karna, knew that the blood did not pass below his (Bhima) lips and teeth, and hence his (Bhima) act was not barbaric.

That being said, even after analyzing the indirect evidence to reason that Bhima quaffed Karna's blood, there is one slight issue here. If we accept that a later poet tampered Bhima's narrative to attribute victimhood to Dushasana instead of Karna, by replacing Karna's name with Dushasana's name, then the original narrative would involve Bhima addressing Karna as his brother.

Why would he do that?

My answer to that would be that Bhima called Karna a brother to console Gandhari. Gandhari was in extreme pain upon the death of her sons. She along with many others considered Karna no less than a brother to Duryodhana, in light of the friendship between Karna and Duryodhana. In fact, in Virata Parva Section 50, Ashwatthaman tells Karna:
This thy wise uncle, fully conversant with the duties of the Kshatriya order--this deceitful gambler Sakuni, the prince of Gandhara, let him fight now!
As you can see, Ashwatthaman addresses Shakuni as the uncle of Karna, thus implying that Karna was like a brother to Duryodhana. Hence, Karna was treated by many of his contemporaries as a brother of Duryodhana, and by extension, like a son of Gandhari... By addressing Karna as a brother, Bhima was trying to show affection towards Karna at that moment so that Gandhari would feel that Bhima was no longer bitter towards Karna and that his behavior of quaffing Karna's blood was motivated solely by the necessity of war. Such thoughts, once running in Gandhari's head, would work to console her, as she would realize that Bhima was not bitter towards her son Karna when killing him.

Hence, Bhima addressing Karna as a brother was a way to console this brother's mother, Gandhari...]

My hands only were smeared with blood. Seeing Nakula deprived of his steeds by Vrishasena in battle, I caused the rejoicing brothers to be filled with dread. When after the match at dice the tresses of Draupadi were seized, I uttered certain words in rage. Those words are still in my remembrance, I would, for all years to come, have been regarded to have swerved from the duties of a Kshatriya if I had left that vow unaccomplished. It was for this, O queen, that I did that act. It behoveth thee not, O Gandhari, to impute any fault to me. Without having restrained thy sons in former days, doth it behove thee to impute any fault to our innocent selves?’

[Over here, we see that Bhima corroborates Gandhari's earlier words that Bhima had performed the dreadful act of blood quaffing when Nakula was deprived of his steeds by Vrishasena in battle. This suggests that what Gandhari said earlier was not a lie, but instead the truth. Furthermore, as I said above, Bhima addresses Gandhari and says "without having restrained thy sons in former days" because he knew that Gandhari considered Karna no less than a son...

In continuation of Bhima's attempt to console Gandhari, he says that the blood quaffing was done to "cause the rejoicing brothers to be filled with dread". Bhima therefore tries to console Gandhari by saying that his behavior was not fueled by bitterness towards her son Karna, but rather was a necessity of war. Realizing that Bhima did not hate her son Karna, Gandhari's anger and pain would naturally subside to some extent, thereby allowing for her to be consoled by Bhima's words...]

So that was one reference that gets us thinking on whether Bhima actually killed Karna and quaffed his blood instead of that of Dushasana. We find another such reference in Stri Parva Section 18. Below I am posting the appropriate excerpt from that section, with my comments in brackets, as usual.

There, Duhshasana sleepeth, felled by Bhima, and the blood of all his limbs quaffed by that heroic slayer of foes. Behold that other son of mine, O Madhava, slain by Bhima with his mace, impelled by Draupadi and the recollection of his woes at the time of the match at dice.

[Here, Gandhari says that the blood from all the limbs of Bhima's foe was quaffed by Bhima. However, if we look at Karna Parva Section 83, we are told that only the blood from the chest of Dushasana was quaffed by Bhima:
Drawing then his whetted sword of keen edge, and trembling with rage, he placed his foot upon the throat of Duhshasana, and ripping open the breast of his enemy stretched on the ground, quaffed his warm life-blood.
This is another discrepancy that puts doubt on the story that Bhima quaffed the blood of Dushasana. However, without coming to any half baked conclusion, lets continue reading...]

Addressing the dice-won princess of Pancala in the midst of the assembly, this Duhshasana, desirous of doing what was agreeable to his (elder) brother as also to Karna, O Janardana, had said, "Thou art now the wife of a slave! With Sahadeva and Nakula and Arjuna, O lady, enter our household now!"

[Here Gandhari says that the person whose blood Bhima drank (Dushasana, according to this text) had addressed Draupadi in the midst of the sabha, saying something along the lines of "Thou art now the wife of a slave! With Sahadeva and Nakula and Arjuna, O lady, enter our household now!". Lets look to find references of this speech being said in the sabha, both within Sabha Parva and outside of it...


Upon looking in Sabha Parva, we find that it is only Karna (not Dushasana) that addresses Draupadi in such words. In Sabha Parva Section 67 he alone addresses Draupadi and tells Dushasana:
Vaisampayana continued,--"The kings that were there hearing these words of Vidura, answered not a word, yet Karna alone spoke unto Dussasana, telling him. Take away this serving-woman Krishna into the inner apartments.
Then, three sections later, in Sabha Parva Section 70, Karna tells Draupadi:
O excellent one, the slave, the son, and the wife are always dependent. They cannot earn wealth, for whatever they earn belongeth to their master. Thou art the wife of a slave incapable of possessing anything on his own account. Repair now to the inner apartments of king Dhritarashtra and serve the king's relatives. We direct that that is now thy proper business. And, O princess, all the sons of Dhritarashtra and not the sons of Pritha are now thy masters. O handsome one, select thou another husband now,--one who will not make thee a slave by gambling. It is well-known that women, especially that are slaves, are not censurable if they proceed with freedom in electing husbands. Therefore let it be done by thee. Nakula hath been won, as also Bhimasena, and Yudhishthira also, and Sahadeva, and Arjuna. And, O Yajnaseni, thou art now a slave. Thy husbands that are slaves cannot continue to be thy lords any longer.
As we can see, in the sabha itself, it is only Karna who addresses Draupadi and says that she and her husbands are slaves and that she should now go to the inner apartments of King Dhritarashtra. Furthermore, in Karna Parva Section 73, Krishna tells Arjuna:
(Thou rememberest also) the harsh and bitter words that Karna cruelly said unto Krishna in the (Kuru) assembly, in the presence of the Pandavas and Kurus, 'The Pandavas, O Krishna, are dead! They have sunk into eternal hell! O thou of large hips, choose other lords now, O thou of sweet speeches! Enter now the abode of Dhritarashtra as a serving woman, for, O thou of curving eye-lashes, thy husbands are no more! The Pandavas will not, O Krishna, be of any service to thee today! Thou art the wife of men that are slaves, O princess of Pancala, and thou art thyself, O beautiful lady, a slave! Today only Duryodhana is regarded as the one king on earth; all other kings of the world are worshipping the agency by which his administration is kept up. Behold now, O amiable one, how all the sons of Pandu have equally fallen! Overwhelmed by the energy of Dhritarashtra's son, they are now silently eyeing one another. It is evident that they are all sesame seeds without kernel, and have sunk into hell. They will have to serve the Kaurava (Duryodhana), that king of kings, as his slaves.'
As you can see above, throughout the epic, it is Karna, not Dushasana that is referred to have called Draupadi and her husbands as slaves, and ordered her to go to the inner chambers of King Dhritarashtra. Since this speech was said by Karna, it implies that the one who Bhima killed and quaffed the blood of was not Dushasana (who never uttered the above speech mentioned by Gandhari), but instead Karna.]

A third reference that suggests that it was Bhima that killed Karna and quaffed his blood is found in Shalya Parva Section 61, upon Duryodhana's death. After Duryodhana dies, Bhima is praised by the Srinjayas and Panchalas. Some of them say:

Having fought a wonderful battle, by good luck, O sinless one, thou hast quaffed the blood of Duhshasana, like a lion quaffing the blood of a buffalo! By good luck, thou hast, by thy own energy, placed thy foot on the head of all those that had injured the righteous-souled king Yudhishthira!

[A superficial analysis of this speech would reveal that Dushasana's blood was quaffed by Bhima. However, lets try looking at the first sentence of the speech more deeply, in context of the second sentence. In context of the second sentence, the first sentence implies that Bhima quaffed the blood of the person that injured Yuddhistira in war. Now lets ask a simple question. Did Dushasana ever injure Yuddhistira very badly in the war? The answer would be no. Then who did injure Yuddhistira badly in the war? On day 17 of the war, it was Karna who injured Yuddhistira badly and had nearly killed him. In Karna Parva Section 63, Yuddhistira's plight upon the encounter with Karna is described as follows:

After Karna had gone away, Kunti's son Yudhishthira retreated, borne, O sire, by the fleet steeds of Sahadeva. With his twin brothers accompanying him, that ruler of men, quickly repairing in shame to the (Pandava) camp, his body exceedingly mangled with shafts, alighted from the car and hastily sat down on an excellent bed. The, arrows then being extracted from his body, the royal son of Pandu, his heart exceedingly afflicted with sorrow's dart, addressed his two brothers, viz., those two mighty car-warriors, the sons of Madri, saying, "Repair quickly to the division of Bhimasena. Roaring like a cloud, Vrikodara is engaged in battle."
Furthermore, in Karna Parva Section 65, when Arjuna could not find Yuddhistira on the battlefield and asked Bhima about his whereabouts, just see Bhima's reply. It is evident that Karna had injured Yuddhistira so badly that he had nearly died:
Not seeing his brother Yudhishthira of Ajamida's race, the diadem-decked Arjuna, adorned, besides, with a necklace of gold, speedily approached Bhima and enquired of him the whereabouts of the king, saying, "Tell me, where is the king?" Thus asked, Bhima said, "King Yudhishthira the just, hath gone away from this place, his limbs scorched with Karna's shafts. It is doubtful whether he still liveth!"
Since it was Karna who was the only one that injured Yuddhistira in such a bad manner, the Srinjayas and Panchalas were likely referring to Karna (not Dushasana) when they referred to the person whose blood was quaffed by Bhima.]

Another reference that suggests that Bhima killed Karna and drank his blood is found in Karna Parva Section 9. After Dhritarashtra finds out about Karna's death, he says:

Having himself provoked such fierce hostility though dissuaded by all his friends what, indeed, did Duryodhana, who has suffered a great loss in battle of friends and followers, say? Beholding his brother slain in battle by Bhimasena, and upon his blood being drunk, what indeed, did Duryodhana say?

[So here, Dhritarashtra asks Sanjaya what Duryodhana said upon beholding his brother slain by Bhima and having his blood being drunk. As I said earlier, Karna was also considered a brother of Karna due to his proximity via friendship with Duryodhana. So, this can either refer to Karna or Dushasana. Lets continue reading subsequent verses to ascertain the context in which the aforementioned verses are spoken. This will tell us whether Dhritarashtra was referring to Karna or to Dushasana when he says "beholding his brother slain in battle...".]

My son had, with the ruler of the gandharvas, said, "Karna will slay Arjuna in battle!" When he saw that Karna slain, what indeed, did he say? What, O sire, did Shakuni, the son of Subala, who had formerly been filled with joy after going through the match at dice and cheating the son of Pandu, say when he saw Karna slain? What did that mighty car-warrior among the Satwatas, that great bowman, Kritavarma the son of Hridika, say when he saw Vaikartana slain? Endued with youth, possessed of a handsome form, agreeable to the sight, and celebrated throughout the world, what, O Sanjaya, did Ashvatthama, the intelligent son of Drona, upon whom brahmanas and kshatriyas and vaishyas who are desirous of acquiring the science of arms wait, for protections, say when he saw Karna slain? What did Sharadvata's son Kripa, O sire, of Gotama's race, that foremost of car-warriors, that teacher of the science of arms, say when he saw Karna slain? What did the mighty leader of the Madras warriors, that king of the Madras, the great bowman Shalya of the Sauvira clan, that ornament of assemblies, that foremost of car-warriors (temporarily) engaged in driving the car, say when he saw Karna slain? What also did all the other warriors, difficult of defeat in battle, those lords of earth that came to fight, say, O Sanjaya, when they behold Vaikartana slain?

[As we can see here, the subsequent verses clearly reveal that Dhritarashtra was referring to Karna when speaking the earlier verses about Duryodhana's brother being killed and his blood being drunk by Bhima. This suggests that it was Bhima that had killed Karna and drunk his blood.]


I will end this post with one last piece of evidence, again from Karna Parva Section 9, that refutes the claims that it was Arjuna that had killed Karna:

that high-souled hero of great prowess relying upon whose valour my son had forcibly dragged the wife of the Pandavas to the assembly, and there in the midst of that conclave, in the very sight of the Pandavas and in the presence of the Kurus, had addressed the princess of Pancala as the wife of slaves, that hero of the Suta caste, who in the midst of the assembly had addressed Krishna, saying, "All thy husbands, O Krishna, that are even like sesamum seeds without kernel, are no more, therefore, seek some other husband, O thou of the fairest complexion!" and in wrath had caused her to listen to other expressions equally harsh and rude, how was that hero slain by the foe?

[Here King Dhritarashtra refers to what Karna said in the sabha to Draupadi and then asks Sanjaya how the Karna that said all that to Draupadi was slain.]


He who had said unto Duryodhana even these words, viz., "If Bhishma who boasteth of his prowess in battle or Drona who is invincible in fight, doth not, from partiality, slay the sons of Kunti, O Duryodhana, even I will slay them all, let the fever of thy heart be dispelled!" who also said, "What will (Arjuna's) gandiva and the two inexhaustible quivers do to that shaft of mine, smeared with cool sandal-paste, when it will course through the welkin?" alas, how could that warrior possessed of shoulders broad as those of the bull be slain by Arjuna?


[Then, according to the text, Dhritarashtra continues to ask Sanjaya how Karna was slain. However, in this passage, he deviates from the talk about Karna's insult to Draupadi, and instead moves on to mention that Arjuna killed Karna.]


He who, disregarding the fierce touch of the arrows shot from gandiva had addressed Krishna, saying, "Thou hast no husbands now" and glared at the Pandavas, he who, O Sanjaya, relying on the might of his own arms, had entertained no fear, for even a moment, of the Parthas with their sons and Janardana,--he, I think, could not possibly meet with death at the hands of the very gods with Vasava at their head rushing against him in fury, what then need I say, O sire, of the Pandavas? The person could not be seen competent to stay before the son of Adhiratha, while the latter, putting on his fences, used to touch the bowstring!

[In this text, King Dhritarashtra jumps back to talk about how Karna insulted Draupadi in the sabha. He then goes on to say that the person who killed Karna had previously fled from Karna in war]


I have broken the above passage into three parts and gave brief comments on each of the three parts. Do you notice something awkward in the text? I definitely do. The first part talks about Draupadi's insult. Then the second part deviates from the insult in an attempt to show that Arjuna was the one that killed Karna. Finally, the third part, jumps back to talk about Draupadi's insult again. This totally destroys the flow of the text. Why would Dhritarashtra address the insult to Draupadi, then deviate from that topic, and in about 3 verses, return to talk about Draupadi's insult again? It seems very absurd...

Removing the second part makes the first part text of Draupadi's insult flow much more nicely into the third part text of Draupadi's insult. This suggests that the second part is a later addition to the epic. Removing the second part would result in the following:
that high-souled hero of great prowess relying upon whose valour my son had forcibly dragged the wife of the Pandavas to the assembly, and there in the midst of that conclave, in the very sight of the Pandavas and in the presence of the Kurus, had addressed the princess of Pancala as the wife of slaves, that hero of the Suta caste, who in the midst of the assembly had addressed Krishna, saying, "All thy husbands, O Krishna, that are even like sesamum seeds without kernel, are no more, therefore, seek some other husband, O thou of the fairest complexion!" and in wrath had caused her to listen to other expressions equally harsh and rude, how was that hero slain by the foe? He who, disregarding the fierce touch of the arrows shot from gandiva had addressed Krishna, saying, "Thou hast no husbands now" and glared at the Pandavas, he who, O Sanjaya, relying on the might of his own arms, had entertained no fear, for even a moment, of the Parthas with their sons and Janardana,--he, I think, could not possibly meet with death at the hands of the very gods with Vasava at their head rushing against him in fury, what then need I say, O sire, of the Pandavas? The person could not be seen competent to stay before the son of Adhiratha, while the latter, putting on his fences, used to touch the bowstring!
Do you see how the text flows more smoothly with the interpolation removed?

Now that the interpolation in the text are removed, lets look at the text. Here, there is no mention that it was Arjuna that killed Karna. On the contrary, the text says, in the final sentence, that the person who killed Karna had previously fled from Karna in war. Now, in war, there is not a single instance prior to Karna Parva Section 9 where Arjuna fled from Karna, thus reducing the chances that it was Arjuna that killed Karna. However, in Drona Parva Section 138, we have an instance of Bhima fleeing from Karna on day 14 of the war, after he was made chariotless and weaponless by Karna:
The son of Kunti, however, whose stock of weapons was exhausted, was (obliged to turn back) pursued by Karna. Beholding the elephants, huge as hills that had been slain by Arjuna, lying (near), unarmed Bhimasena entered into their midst, for impeding the progress of Karna's car. Approaching that multitude of elephants and getting into the midst of that fastness which was inaccessible to a car, the son of Pandu, desirous of saving his life, refrained from striking the son of Radha. Desirous of shelter, that subjugator of hostile cities viz., the son of Pritha, uplifting an elephant that had been slain by Dhananjaya with his shafts, waited there, like Hanumat uplifting the peak of Gandhamadana.
This again suggests that Bhima could have been the one that killed Karna!

In this post, I have provided numerous evidences of Bhima being the one that likely killed Karna and drank his blood. In the next post, I will address and debunk some verses that, contrary to my claims, suggest that Bhima killed and drank the blood of Dushasana, not Karna.

Related image

33 comments:

  1. "All thy husbands, O Krishna, that are even like sesamum seeds without kernel, are no more, therefore, seek some other husband, O thou of the fairest complexion!"
    Why does Karna say FAIREST complexion? I believe Draupadi aka Krishna was dark-skinned.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think "fairest complexion" was just meant to be a compliment of one's skin. I don't think it really has to much with whether the skin is actually light or dark...

      Also, I am quite divided on whether krishna in mahabharatha actually refers to dark or not. For example, after winning draupadi and returning to the hut, this is how arjuna is described:

      Then in the stillness of the late afternoon, Jishnu, accompanied by a body of Brahmanas, entered the abode of the potter, like the cloud-covered sun appearing on a cloudy day.'"

      This suggests that the brahmins that accompanied arjuna were of dark complexion, but arjuna was of light complexion, like the sun (just like karna). So the use of the word "krishna" may have another meaning... Possibly something symbolic and "character/behavior related")

      Delete
    2. Arjuna himself said that HE WAS DARK COMPLEXIONED.

      Delete
    3. Where does arjuna call himself dark skinned? And what is the sanskrit word used? Krishna?

      Delete
    4. Ey i suggest that you edit your post's last line from Drona Parva section 138 to Drona Parva section 135.

      Delete
    5. Why section 135? Bhima flees from Karna in section 138.

      Delete
    6. If you sign out and click your link which says section 138 over here but if you actually open the link in a new tab then it says Drona Parva Section 135 f you dont believe me check it by yourself.

      Delete
    7. I did check it out and nothing was wrong. It opened up on section 138.

      Delete
  2. Anyways valid points, BUT this translation has been around since 1896 for over 120 years now. Would not any scholars have noticed this? Would they not have had similar arguments to yours? About decoding these incidents?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have actually come across a few people that have had the same opinion that krishna may actually mean something else other than dark skinned...

      Try joining this mahabharatha study group:

      https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/mahabharata_study/info

      Delete
    2. Yeah, so send a request to join the group.

      Delete
    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
  3. Replies
    1. I think only the creator of the group can add people. But send a request first. He should add you in a day or two.

      Delete
  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I don't want to believe this but this could definitely be true. Karna did kill Bhima's son Ghatotkaca he did insult his wife so Bhima may have killed him. How did Dussassana really die though then? Then again Arjuna may have killed Karna at the end of the day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If we look at BORI CE, then this is what is said about the Bhima-Dushasana fight. My comments are in brackets:

      “At that time, without any fear, your son, the younger brother of the king, showered arrows and advanced against Bhima. Vrikodara spiritedly encountered him, like a lion leaping on a large ruru deer. The battle between them was superhuman and was like a gambling match, with lives as stakes. They attacked each other fiercely and angrily, like Shakra and Shambara in earlier times. They severely struck each other with extremely energetic arrows that were capable of ending lives. They
      mangled each other, like two mighty elephants that are overcome with sexual desire and seek to indulge in intercourse. With two kshurapra arrows, Vrikodara severed the bow and the standard of your son. He struck him in the forehead with an arrow and severed his charioteer ’s head from his body. The prince picked up another bow and struck Vrikodara with twelve arrows. He controlled the
      reins of the horses himself and again rained down arrows on Bhima.”

      [As you can see here, Bhima cut the head of Dushasana's charioteer off, forcing Dushasana's attention to be divided. he now had to steer the horses and fight, instead of just fighting]

      ‘Sanjaya said, “Prince Duhshasana accomplished an extremely difficult task in that tumultuous battle. He severed Bhima’s bow with a razor-sharp arrow and pierced his charioteer with six arrows. In an instant, the great-souled one then struck Bhimasena with many excellent arrows. Bhimasena hurled a
      fierce club towards him. It struck Duhshasana and flung him a distance of ten bow-lengths away, rendering him like a wounded elephant with shattered temples. He was struck and fell down,
      trembling. O Indra among kings! It slew his horses and charioteer and having crushed the horses
      and the chariot, fell down. His armour, ornaments and garments were destroyed and, completely immobile, he shrieked in pain.

      [Here, we find a break in the flow of the text. Bhima was overpowering Dushasana and had killed Dushasana's charioteer, forcing Dushasana to control the steeds himself. That would have definitely slowed Dushasana down, in terms of his fighting. In such a situation, how did he manage to severe Bhima's bow and pierce his charioteer?

      Anyways, then Bhima hurls a mace that blows Dushasana 10 bow lengths away. Is this logically possible? In my opinion, no. Furthermore, after the mace strikes Dushasana, it supposedly rebounds and kills the steeds, then rebounds again, kills the charioteer, and rebounds again, destroying the chariot. All this seems very illogical. Also, Dushasana's charioteer was already killed by Bhima earlier. How did he come back to life to be killed by Bhima's mace?

      There are clearly some interpolations. In my opinion, the entire second passage I posted is an interpolation. Since Bhima drinking Dushasana's blood comes following the second passage, it is also likely an interpolation...

      To be honest, later poets have probably tampered with Dushasana's death sequence greatly. So, we have probably lost the manner in which Dushasana died, forever. We won't ever know how he died...]

      Delete
    2. We will know! Also didn't Bhima vow to kill him at the end of Sabha Parva?

      Delete
  6. Replies
    1. Still have to write up part 2. Will take some time though...

      Delete
    2. i think that these are just mistranslated the possibility of Bhima killing Karna does indeed exist but i don't believe it i still think it was Arjuna.

      Delete
    3. Can you provide evidence that it is mistranslated?

      Delete
    4. No but you should make the sequel posts to this part immediately! Because it's been almost a year.

      Delete
  7. BORI CE Section 62 says this - Wishing to show his respect to Duhshasana, who had lost his life, the one who knew about great weapons, then struck Nakula with divine and great weapons. The great-souled Nakula was enraged and pierced him back with arrows that were like giant meteors. Karna’s son was skilled in the use of weapons and pierced Nakula back with celestial weapons. O king! Karna’s son slew all of Nakula’s horses with supreme weapons.
    (THIS MAKES MORE SENSE THOUGH) -Wishing to show his respect to Karna, who had lost his life, the one who knew about great weapons, then struck Nakula with divine and great weapons. The great-souled Nakula was enraged and pierced him back with arrows that were like giant meteors. Karna’s son was skilled in the use of weapons and pierced Nakula back with celestial weapons. O king! Karna’s son slew all of Nakula’s horses with supreme weapons.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I think this is one of the most significant information for me.
    And i’m glad reading your article.
    But should remark on some general things, the web site style is perfect,
    the articles is really great : D. Good job...

    จีคลับ
    goldenslot
    gclub online casino

    ReplyDelete
  9. do you think shakuni was really evil charecter in mahabarata

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Marte3, I consider Shakuni a grey character. He was not pure evil or pure good. He did have his evil side, but he also had a good side we are not really aware of. For example, after Karna and the Kauravas get defeated by the Gandharvas in Vana Parva (Karna fled but Kauravas stayed back to fight and got captured), Yuddhistira sends his four brothers to rescue the Kauravas that were imprisoned by the Gandharvas. Seeing that he got free due to the help of the Pandavas, Duryodhana resolved to starve to death. It was then that we get to see a more good side of Shakuni. Although Karna says that Pandavas' were Duryodhana's civilians and hence it was their duty to save him, Shakuni understands the depth of Duryodhana's dilemma, and hence advises Duryodhana to give back the kingdom to the Pandavas! This is the same Shakuni that defeated the Pandavas in gambling and exiled them.

      Delete
  10. i have off topic question in puranas they mention dasha (10 avatar of vishnu but why hindoo dont worship buddha and kalki avatar in festivals .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Marte3,

      As far as I know, Buddha was not an avatara of the Puranic Vishnu, and hence he is not worshiped. Kalki avatara has not been born yet, and hence is not worshiped.

      However, if we are looking at the Vedic age (so time of Vedas, Mahabharatha, Ramayana), then the Vedic Vishnu did not have any incarnations. Hence, it is technically incorrect to say that the original Vishnu has 10 avataras. Read this post of mine for more info:

      http://ancientbharatvarsha.blogspot.ca/2017/07/shiva-pre-vedic-god-vishnu-post-vedic.html

      Delete
    2. Srimad bhagavatam says Visnu had 24 avatars.

      Delete