Karna is my role model, I keep on reading about him but I am unable to find the moment of his death, I also read that Lord Krishna tested him when he was on deathbed, I would like to know what exactly happened?

Thanks in advance!!!

3 Answers 3


Detailed story related to Karna death can be read in Mahabharata, Karna Parva, Section 90 and Mahabharata, Karna Parva, Section 91.

Krishna testing Karna at time of death is not mentioned in Mahabharata. Karna's last moment is described in Mahabharata, Karna Parva, Section 91 as follows:

Meanwhile the diadem-decked and high-souled Arjuna, recovering his senses, took up a shaft, fatal as the rod of Death, and called anjalika. Then Vasudeva, addressing Partha, said, "Cut off with thy arrow the head of this enemy of thine, viz., Vrisha, before he succeeds in getting upon his car." Applauding those words of the lord Vasudeva, and while the wheel of his enemy was still sunk, the mighty car-warrior Arjuna took up a razor-headed arrow of blazing effulgence and struck the standard (of Karna) bearing the elephant's rope and bright as the spotless sun. That standard bearing the device of the costly elephant's rope, was adorned with gold and pearls and gems and diamonds, and forged with care by foremost of artists excelling in knowledge, and possessed of great beauty, and variegated with pure gold. That standard always used to fill thy troops with high courage and the enemy with fear. Its form commanded applause. Celebrated over the whole world, it resembled the sun in splendour. Indeed, its effulgence was like that of fire or the sun or the moon. The diadem-decked Arjuna, with that razor-headed shaft, exceedingly sharp, equipped with wings of gold, possessed of the splendour of fire when fed with libations of clarified butter, and blazing with beauty, cut off that standard of Adhiratha's son, that great car-warrior. With that standard, as it fell, the fame, pride, hope of victory, and everything dear, as also the hearts of the Kurus, fell, and loud wails of "Oh!" and "Alas!" arose (from the Kuru army). Beholding that standard cut off and thrown down by that hero of Kuru's race possessed of great lightness of hand, thy troops, O Bharata, were no longer hopeful of Karna's victory. Hastening then for Karna's destruction, Partha took out from his quiver an excellent Anjalika weapon that resembled the thunder of Indra or the rod of fire and that was possessed of the effulgence of the thousand-rayed Sun. Capable of penetrating the very vitals, besmeared with blood and flesh, resembling fire or the sun, made of costly materials, destructive of men, steeds, and elephants, of straight course and fierce impetuosity, it measured three cubits and six feet. Endued with the force of the thousand-eyed Indra's thunder, irresistible as Rakshasas in the night, resembling Pinaka or Narayana's discus, it was exceedingly terrible and destructive of all living creatures. Partha cheerfully took up that great weapon, in the shape of an arrow, which could not be resisted by the very gods, that high-souled being which was always adored by the son of Pandu, and which was capable of vanquishing the very gods and the Asuras. Beholding that shaft grasped by Partha in that battle, the entire universe shook with its mobile and immobile creatures. Indeed, seeing that weapon raised (for being sped) in that dreadful battle, the Rishis loudly cried out, "Peace be to the universe!" The wielder of Gandiva then fixed on his bow that unrivalled arrow, uniting it with a high and mighty weapon. Drawing his bow Gandiva, he quickly said, "Let this shaft of mine be like a mighty weapon capable of quickly destroying the body and heart of my enemy, if I have ever practised ascetic austerities, gratified my superiors, and listened to the counsels of well-wishers. Let this shaft, worshipped by me and possessed of great sharpness, slay my enemy Karna by that Truth." Having said these words Dhananjaya let off that terrible shaft for the destruction of Karna, that arrow fierce and efficacious as a rite prescribed in the Atharvan of Angiras, blazing with effulgence, and incapable of being endured by Death himself in battle. And the diadem-decked Partha, desirous of slaying Karna, with great cheerfulness, said, "Let this shaft conduce to my victory. Shot by me, let this arrow possessed of the splendour of fire or the sun take Karna to the presence of Yama." Saying these words, Arjuna, decked with diadem and garlands, cherishing feelings of hostility towards Karna and desirous of slaying him, cheerfully struck his foe with that foremost of shafts which was possessed of the splendour of the sun or the moon and capable of bestowing victory. Thus sped by that mighty warrior, that shaft endued with the energy of the sun caused all the points of the compass to blaze up with light. With that weapon Arjuna struck off his enemy's head like Indra striking off the head of Vritra with his thunder. Indeed, O king, with that excellent Anjalika weapon inspired with mantras into a mighty weapon, the son of Indra cut off the head of Vaikartana in the afternoon.


On the 17th day, Arjuna and Karna are face to face. Karna uses Bhargavastra against Pandava army. Arjuna is not unable to counter this weapon. So Krishna told him to withdraw temporarily. They visited Yudhishthira who was outside the battlefield, wounded by the weapons of Karna.

But after insulted by Yudhishthira for retreating, Arjuna returned to the battlefield. Now both of them are face to face with each other once again.

Everyone including Devas, celestial Rishis, Apsaras, Gandharvas and all the beings in the higher realms witness this battle between two of the greatest warriors.

The fight started between Arjuna and Karna. Both are equally capable warriors. As the battle intensified, Arjuna pushed back Karna’s chariot 10 steps backwards every time but by the energy of the arrows. But Karna was only able to push Arjuna’s chariot 2 steps backwards.

Krishna praised Karna and admired the skill of Karna. When questioned by Arjuna, Krishna said it is impossible for any human ever to push his chariot backwards because the chariot of Arjuna contains both Hanuman and Krishna, thus holding the entire weight of the universe. Krishna said no human ever had or ever will attain this feat as it is impossible to even to shake the chariot.

Curse of Brahmin, Parashurama and Mother Earth to Karna begin to fructify:

During the war, suddenly Karna’s chariot wheel was trapped in the mud as a result of the curse that he had received earlier from Mother Earth.

Karna still defended himself, but forget the incantations to invoke Brahmanda Astra due to the curse of his guru Parashurama.

Karna asks Arjuna to pause as he gets down from his chariot to free the wheel. He reminds Arjuna of the etiquette of war.

But Krishna encourages Arjuna to attack Karna against the rules of the war. Arjuna attacked Karna when he was trying to lift the wheel of his chariot.

Karna somehow defended himself and invokes Rudra Astra, hitting Arjuna on his chest. Arjuna’s bow Gandiva for the first time fell down as he loses his grip on it.

Following the rules of the war, Karna did not try to kill unconscious Arjuna but instead use this time to lift the wheel.

Arjuna recovers and uses the Anjalika weapon against weapon. Though it is prohibited to attack a weaponless warrior or to attack an enemy from the back according to the rules of the war.

Now the curse of Brahmin fructifies that he will be killed by his enemy when his attention is diverted in the middle of a combat.

Still, Arjuna attacked weaponless Karna from the back and killed him as suggested by Krishna.

To know more about Suryaputra Karna and his death, read the complete article:


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    Parashu Rama didn't curse Karna. The curse of Mother Earth has no scriptural basis. He used divyastras in the war and he remembered them. "Arjuna pushed back Karna’s chariot 10 steps backwards every time but by the energy of the arrows. But Karna was only able to push Arjuna’s chariot 2 steps backwards." What is the source of this? Don't say it is from a TV serial. When did Arjuna fall unconscious? lol. Quote from authentic scriptures besides your own blog.. Oct 17, 2017 at 16:59

Once, a Krishna testing karna story was told by bhagavan Sri sathya sai baba during a discourse in 1997

Source : sss30-02

The first President of Indonesia was Dr. Sukarno His father was a great student of the Mahaabhaaratha. Admiring the great qualities of Karna as a warrior and a magnanimous donor, who never refused anything which a supplicant sought from him, the father named his son Sukarno, though he was a Muslim. In this manner, foreigners cherish what is great in Bhaaratheeya culture. But, Bhaaratheeyas, oblivious to the glory of their culture, are imitating occidental practices. It would be good to remember the supreme sacrificing spirit of Karna. Although because of his association with some evil minded men, his name got tainted, no one can equal the spirit of sacrifice of Karna. The great Mahaabhaaratha war came to a close on the seventeenth day with the fall of Karna. The Paandavas were celebrating their great victory over Karna. The Kauravas felt utterly hopeless as Karna was their greatest warrior. The Paandavas rejoiced in the fall of their most powerful opponent. But, Krishna was sitting apart and appeared to be immersed in sadness. Arjuna went to him and asked why he was feeling sad on a day when they should be rejoicing over their victory Krishna told him that Bhaarath had lost its most heroic warrior that day. The hero who had brought glory and good name to Bhaarath had fallen. "I feel immensely sad be- cause the country is losing such a great hero." On hearing these words, Arjuna looked at Krishna with a feeling of amused surprise. He said: "Krishna! To ensure the victory of the Paandavas you chose the role of charioteer. Because of that, Paandavas won their victory. Instead of rejoicing over this victory, why are you feeling sad over the fall of our enemy?" Krishna replied: "Karna is the very embodiment of sacrifice. Sacrifice is a synonym for Karna. In the entire world you can not find one other man equal in the spirit of sacrifice to Karna. In weal or woe, triumph or defeat he could not forget the quality of sacrifice. Have you got that spirit of sacrifice? No." Krishna then asked Arjuna to follow Him. Darkness had enveloped the battlefield. Krishna was proceeding with Arjuna. In his sweet voice, Krishna was exclaiming: "Karna! Karna!" Karna was gasping for breath in his last moments. He cried: "Who is calling me? I am here." Following the direction from which the words came, Krishna went near Karna. Before approaching Karna, Krishna assumed the form of an indigent Brahmin. Karna asked him- "Who are you, Sir?" Karna was nearing his last breath. Even at that moment, without any hesitation or faltering in his voice, He put that question to the stranger Krishna, as the Brahmin replied: "For a long time I have been hearing about your reputation as a charitable person. You have acquired fame as Dhaana. Karna (Karna the great giver). Today, not knowing about your plight, I came to ask you for a gift. You must give me a donation." "Certainly, I shall give you whatever you want," replied Karna. "I have to perform tHe marriage of my son. I want a small quantity of gold," said Krishna. "Oh what a pity! Please go to my wife, she will give you as much gold as you need," said Karna. The "Brahmin" broke into laughter He said: "For the sake of a little gold have I to go all the way to Hastinapura? If you say, you are nor in a position to give me what I ask I shall leave you." Karna opened his mouth, showed the gold fillings in his teeth and said: "I shall give this to you. You can take them." Assuming a tone of revulsion, Krishna said: "What is it you suggest? Do you expect me to break your teeth and rake the gold from them? How can I do such a wicked deed? I am a Brahmin." Karna picked up a stone nearly, knocked out his teeth and offered them to the "Brahmin". Krishna in his guise as "Brahmin" wanted to test Karna further: "What? Are you giving me as gift teeth dripping with blood? I cannot accept this. I am leaving," He said. Karna pleaded: "Svaami, please wait for a moment." Even while He was unable to move, Karna took our his arrow and aimed it at the sky. Immediately rain dropped from the clouds. Cleaning the teeth with the rain water, Karna offered the teeth with both his hands. Krishna then revealed his original form. Karna asked: "Who are you, Sir?" Krishna said: "I am Krishna. I admire your spirit of sacrifice. In any circumstance you have never given up your spirit of sacrifice. Ask me what you want." Beholding Krishna's beauteous form, Karna said with folded hands- "Krishna! Aaapadh-baandhava (reliever of troubles)! Lokarakshaka (protector of the world)! Oh Lord, who holds the universe in yore palm, what can I seek from you? At riffs moment of my passing, I am fortunate to close my eyes gazing at your Divine form. This is my greatest blessing. This is boon enough for me. To have the vision of the Lord before one's passing is the goal of human existence. You came to me and blessed me with your form. This is enough for me. I offer my salutations to you," Arjuna was observing the whole scene. Krishna turned to him and said: "Are you prepared for this kind of sacrifice?" Arjuna bowed his head in silence. The Lord praised the greatness of the quality of sacrifice in man. Of all kinds of sacrifice, the greatest is the sacrifice made for God. "Oh Lord! That heart which you gave unto me, I am offering to you. What else can I bring to offer at your lotus feet? I prostrate before you. Please accept my offering." This was the prayer addressed by Karna to Krishna

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