During the fight between Arjuna and Karna in the Kurukshetra war, Karna's chariot moved backwards by more than 7 steps when Arjuna's arrow hit the chariot, while Arjuna's chariot moved backwards by only two steps when Karna's arrows hit.

Krishna applauded Karna. To this, Arjuna asked that why was Krishna applauding Karna when he was able to bring back the chariot only by two steps. Krishna replied that on the chariot, Mahabali Hanuman was sitting, Krishna himself was sitting; even then Karna moved the chariot backwards by two steps; Krishna also asked Arjuna to imagine what would have happened if they were not on his chariot.

Now, my question is: Hanuman was in the flag of the chariot and he was without a material body. If the weight would have been too great, then how did the horses pull the chariot?

Taking into account these facts, then what is so special about Karna being able to move the chariot?

  • 6
    Where did you hear this story? It's not in Vyasa's Mahabharata. Commented May 27, 2016 at 8:44
  • 4
    He saw this in yesterday's Karna's TV serial on Sony TV Commented May 27, 2016 at 9:51
  • 2
    @Keshav: The thought to explore of course came to my mind after seeing Karna serial episode, but the idea was back in my mind for a very long time. I read it several times. Also, saw it in the Ramanand Sagar's Krishna serial. Commented May 27, 2016 at 12:18
  • @LalitPoptani, hahaa.. everyone should watch Bhishma (Mukesh Khanna's) speech about mahabharata
    – ram
    Commented Aug 15, 2018 at 3:56
  • This is not a valid question: "Taking into account these facts, then what is so special about Karna being able to move the chariot?" Commented Aug 16, 2018 at 22:47

2 Answers 2


The story of Arjuna's chariot moving backwards by two steps when Karna's arrows hit and Sri Krishna applauding him, does not find place in Mahabharata.

However, the following incidents did take place, which can be credited to Karna's valour.

1. Karna's arrow misses Arjuna's head due to Sri Krishna's intervention.

The Suta's son then fixed on his bow-string that foe-killing, exceedingly keen, snake-mouthed, blazing, and fierce shaft, which had been polished according to rule, and which he had long kept for the sake of Partha's destruction.

Beholding that shaft blazing in the welkin, the slayer of Kamsa, Madhava, with great speed and the greatest ease, pressed down with his feet that excellent car, causing it to sink about a cubit deep.

When the car had thus been pressed down into the earth through the exertions of the slayer of Madhu, the excellent ornament of Arjuna's head, celebrated throughout the earth, the welkin, heaven, and the waters, the Suta's son swept off from the crown of his rival, with that arrow, in consequence of the very nature of that snaky weapon and the great care and wrath with which it had been shot.

2. Gandiva drops off from Arjuna's hand due the force of Karna's arrow

That shaft of keen point and endued with the effulgence of Sakra's thunder, sped from Karna's arms, fell upon Dhananjaya's chest and penetrated it like a mighty snake penetrating an ant-hill. That grinder of foes, viz., the high-souled Vibhatsu, thus deeply pierced in that encounter, began to reel. His grasp became loosened, at which his bow Gandiva dropped from his hand. He trembled like the prince of mountains in an earthquake.


No. It is just a fake propaganda spreader by some serials. But some similar incident is there.

Drawn up with force by Karna, the earth, which had swallowed up his wheel, rose up to a height of four fingers' breadth, with her seven islands and her hills and waters and forests.

Karna lifted the whole earth including seven oceans,continents and Arjuna, his chariot, Lord Krishan, Lord Hanuman, Lord Shiva and all warriors. Even Bhima the mightiest among pandavas did no such thing.

Krishna praising Karna

O son of Pandu! I regard the mighty car-warrior Karna as thy equal, or perhaps, thy superior! With the greatest care and resolution shouldst thou slay him in great battle. In energy he is equal to Agni. As regards speed, he is equal to the impetuosity of the wind. In wrath, he resembles the Destroyer(Shiva) himself. Endued with might, he resembles a lion in the formation of his body. He is eight ratnis in stature. His arms are large. His chest is broad. He is invincible. He is sensitive. He is a hero. He is, again, the foremost of heroes. He is exceedingly handsome. Possessed of every accomplishment of a warrior, he is a dispeller of the fears of friends. Engaged in the good of Dhritarashtra's son, he always hates the sons of Pandu. No one, not even the gods with Vasava at their head, can slay the son of Radha, save thee, as I think. Slay, therefore, the Suta's son today. No one possessed of flesh and blood, not even the gods fighting with great care, not all the warriors (of the three worlds) fighting together can vanquish that car-warrior.

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