Yudhishthira's statement:

Peace find I none after having slain my grand-father, and that foremost of men, Karna, who never fled from the field of battle.


Here are some incidents where Karna fled

Shrouded with showers of shafts shot from Bhimasena's bow, Karna once more turned his back upon Bhimasena. Beholding the Suta's son turn back and flying away on foot, covered all over with the arrows of Kunti's son, Duryodhana said, 'Go ye quickly from all sides towards the car of Radha's son.' http://sacred-texts.com/hin/m07/m07132.htm

Another incident

Then, thrown by the Rakshasas who had become more powerful in consequence of the night, there began to fall on the field of battle a thick shower of stones. And a ceaseless shower of iron wheels and Bhundis and darts and lances and spears and Sataghnis and axes also fell there. Beholding that fierce and awful battle, the kings, thy sons, and Karna, also exceedingly pained, fled away. http://sacred-texts.com/hin/m07/m07152.htm

Before Kurukshetra

And at this, Karna's vision was obscured and his senses left him. And regaining consciousness, he felt a great pain, and leaving the combat fled in a northernly direction. And at this, the mighty car-warrior Arjuna and Uttara, both began to address him contumely.'"http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/m04/m04060.htm

Their are several other instances. Like Abhimanyu, Drupada, Ghatotkaca, Gandharvas, Suvraja, Satyaki etc. So Yudhishthir's statement makes no sense.

  • "Backing out" is one of the strategies, explained to the royals. Bhima never backed out (or he didn't learn that strategy). No one (including Karna) during the Kurukshetra fled away from the war itself. Karna didn't leave the battlefield in earlier wars too. Probably Yudhisthira is referring to that.
    – iammilind
    Apr 14, 2018 at 0:56
  • But he left in the war against Gandharvas abandoning the fight, the same with Drupad and Suvajra (according to mahabharat tatparniya). these are all before the Kurukshetra war. Apr 15, 2018 at 14:06
  • That's a good point. However, I am not very sure if he really abandoned the war. He probably went to collect the weapons and came back. This was also shown in the BRC Mahabharata series. Need to check in the scripture though.
    – iammilind
    Apr 15, 2018 at 14:11
  • I can easily check for you. Here is karna's version of the story. Narrative: As regards myself, assailed by all the Gandharvas, I fled before thy eyes, unable to rally our flying host. Assailed by the foe with all his might, my body mangled with their arrows, I sought safety in flight. This however, O Bharata, seemed to me to be a great marvel that I behold you all come safe and sound in body, with your wives, troops, and vehicles, out of that super-human encounter. sacred-texts.com/hin/m03/m03245.htm Other characters in Mahabharata gave their twocents about this conflict aswell. Apr 16, 2018 at 3:43

1 Answer 1


न हि शान्तिं प्रपश्यामि पातयित्वा पितामहम् ।
कर्णं च पुरुषव्याघ्रं संग्रामेष्वपलायिनम् ।।12।।

Peace find I none after having slain my grand-father, and that foremost of men, Karna, who never fled from the field of battle.

Here what Yudhisthira mean is Karna never fled from the idea of war i.e. he never fled when battle arised.

Here Karna is compared with the Tiger , who is faugh or took part in every battle and never fled or came on the back foot , feared ,not participated etc. after seeing battle is imminent

He didn't mean he never fled inbetween battle or during the battle but never fled or got afread of battle etc.

Here is the screenshot of alternate translation by other publication.

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