• I ask this qusetion because of confusion about kunti getting a boon from karna
  • The boon was karna should not kill the pandavas except arjuna and karna should not use same astra twice against arjuna ?


  • As karna refused to use the same astra twice and any of the pandavas were not killed by karna is this boon got by kunti true ?

  • Or is it a myth created by movies please refer clearly ?

1 Answer 1


It was not a boon from Karna to Kunti but a promise.

Karna promises Kunti that he shall only slay Arjuna in the battle even he has a chance to slay Yudhistira and others. Using the same astra twice is not at all mentioned in the conversation of Karna and Kunti.

For the sake of Dhritarashtra's son, I shall fight against thy sons to the best of my strength and might. I must not, however, abandon kindness and the conduct that becometh the good. Thy words, therefore, however beneficial cannot be obeyed by me now. This thy solicitation to me will not yet be fruitless. Except Arjuna, thy other sons, Yudhishthira, Bhima, and the twins, though capable of being withstood by me in tight and capable also of being slain, shall not yet be slain by me. It is with Arjuna alone, among all the combatants of Yudhishthira, that I will fight. Slaying Arjuna in battle, I shall achieve great merit, or slain by Savyasachin, I shall be covered with glory. O famous lady, the number of thy sons will never be less than five. Five it will always be,--either with me, or with Arjuna, and myself slain.'

Udyoga Parva section 46

Hearing those words from Karna, Kunti was trembling with grief and embraced her son and said these words :

'Indeed, O Karna, even if what thou sayest seemeth to be possible, the Kauravas will certainly be exterminated. Destiny is all. Thou hast, however, O grinder of foes, granted to four of thy brothers the pledge of safety. Let that pledge be borne in thy remembrance at the time of shooting of weapons in battle.' And having told all this, Pritha also addressed Karna, saying, 'Blessed be thou, and let health be thine.'

But during the battle with Arjuna, Karna refuses to use the same shaft twice. This is not a part of the promise to anyone but his morality not to use a failed arrow twice. When a snake asks to shoot the same shaft twice against arjuna, he refuses.

Karna said, "Karna, O snake, never desires to have victory in battle today by relying on another's might. Even if I have to slay a hundred Arjunas, I will not, O snake, still shoot the same shaft twice." Once more addressing him in the midst of battle, that best of men, viz., Surya's son, Karna, said, "Aided by the nature of my other snaky weapons, and by resolute effort and wrath, I shall slay Partha. Be thou happy and go elsewhere."

Karna Parva section 91

So Kunti neither asked for a promise about using same shaft twice nor Karna granted it.

  • Karna was always the reason for his own fate. His morals stopped him from succeeding. Dec 27, 2017 at 21:54
  • yes I agree with the response provided by Sarvabhouma. However, if my memory serves me well, Sri Rajagopalacharyar (Rajaji), in his abridged version of The Mahabharata (known originally as "vyaasar virundhu"), did mention that Kunti got the boon from Karna requesting not to use the nAgastra on Arjuna twice. I don't know the source of these versions, and in my copy of The Mahabharata I do not see Kunti asking for it, or Karna granting it. And in other versions I happened to read, I did not find any such account. I agree with @Sarvabhouma's response.
    – Vidyarthi
    Jan 11, 2020 at 5:29
  • To add, Kunti, at least according to certain versions of The Mahabharata, asked for no boons from Karna to spare her other sons, made no request except requesting Karna to abandon the enmity and join Pandavas. Karna was unable & unwilling to do that. After a lengthy dialog and explanations, questions, and a little blame, he says all he could do was to vow not to be the direct cause of death for Kunti's sons other than Arjuna. He tells Kunti that she would either have Arjuna or Karna after the war, and not both. It was Karna's own offer, and not explicitly requested by Kunti in any way.
    – Vidyarthi
    Jan 11, 2020 at 5:35

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