Like the 5 pandavas, Karna is also a son of deva. But he is mentioned as having more qualities than any single Pandava or even as having all the qualities of 5 Pandavas.

So the question is :

  • What makes Karna special compared to other Pandavas?

Karna is always called as Suryaputhra while defining his qualities. If that is the reason,

  • Why is Surya special among devas?
  • Karna is present in everyone. He is as alive as at any moment when we decide about our life, whether it is bitter or sweet. Mahabharatha is the fight against Adharma or non-dharma which means that it is fight against 'that' which is devoid of dharma. The idea of Dharma is synonymous with idea of what it is not at any moment. In the schema of dharma, {Krishna himself being the architecture}. Karna represents staticity instead of dynamicity towards the attitude of life. Jun 1, 2016 at 19:38

3 Answers 3

  • Karna was son of Surya and kunti.
  • He was first son born to Kunti before her marriage.
  • His guru is called lord Parshurama.
  • He was son of two mothers(Kunti and Radha) like lord Krishna.
  • He had special powers especially his shield and earrings.
  • He gave more respect to friendship(with Duryodhana ) than anything else.
  • He donated many more things including his shield.

Because he sacrificed his soul for his brothers.

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    @learningBrain - Though all the points you have quoted are true, it does n't make Karna special. Infact, he is as bad as Duryodhana himself. It is infact Duryodhana started all the war listening to words of Karna. Karna calls Draupadi a "vaishya" in Mahabharata. Can there be biiger rogue than Karna? It is absolutely wrong to say Karna is special or greater than Arjuna. Karna is just one of great archers..But, Arjuna was always a better archer and human being than Karna. Karna fans may get offended, But an unbiased reading of Mahabharata should provide the answer that Karna is no special.
    – user808
    Feb 5, 2015 at 7:52
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    @Krishna i think you doesn't fully understood humans characters of mahabharata.why not?you should also try to understand behind of each mistakes of karna.why karna calls draupati as vaishya?before he was shamed by draupati at kampalyam.
    – Dharma
    Feb 5, 2015 at 8:09
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    @@iloveepics-It appers, as if, you have digested ever thing Vyasa has written in Mahabharata. Wonderful. All the best.But,Karna is one of the biggest crook in Mahabharata is a fact however hard you may try put forward some of his so called good qualities.Using the same reasoning of yours, there are many asuras who do show some good qualities, but that doesnt make them great or special.Same is the case with Karna. Karna is as bad as Duryodhana. Anyway, iam not interested in discussing such characterless human characters like Karna.I would rather concentrate on the Supreme lord Krishna
    – user808
    Feb 6, 2015 at 14:04
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    May be you were right.but we should think all point of views because every human beings had some good qualities and opposite whatever.its all based their situation and circumstance.
    – Dharma
    Feb 6, 2015 at 15:42
  1. Karna in his previous birth was a rAkshasa who was a great , almost undefeated warrior and was subdued by Nara and Narayana. The Rakshasa (I forget his name) had an armor with 1000 chinks. Nara and Narayana each performed penance for a 1000 years and fought him for the next 1000 years. They alternated their penance and battle. Each such 1000-year battle merely chipped off 1 chink from the rakshasa's armor. This occurred 999 times and one chink still remained. Narayana stated that the rakshasa will be defeated/killed in his next birth and their next avatara. This same rakshasa with one remaining chink in his super-armor was born as Karna with vestigial armor and earrings.

  2. Sun God is praktyaksha nArAyana, sarva sAkshi and the bestower of health, wealth, wisdom and self-realization. Anyone who has received his grace is certainly a force to reckon with. Even Lord Hanuman received his formal education from Sun God. Karna was born by the grace of the great sage Durvasa and the grace of the Sun God.

  3. He is a warrior non-pareil. It is said the Karna was defeated in battle only after 6 forces combined against him. These 6 are Krishna, Arjuna, Salya, Indra (who appropriated his armor and earrings), kunti (who asked him to spare her sons), mother earth (who cursed him)

  4. His generosity and charity are extolled even by the Gods (e.g. Indra)

  5. He is a loyal friend.

  6. Had Krishna not intervened, he would have won Draupadi in the matsya yantra test conducted for her prospective groom.

  7. His dedication to his cause is indeed praiseworthy. He is said to have vowed to give up liquor and meat till he defeated (or was defeated by) Arjuna

However, he lied to Parasurama about his caste and received his curse and heckled at Draupadi. These are particularly tragic in this warrior's history.

The story of Nara/Narayana and the rakshasa and other stories about Karna can be found in the BHagavata and Mahabharata.

  • 1
    The demon you're thinking of is named Dambodhbhava, AKA Sahasrakavacha. Dambodhbhava's story is told in the Udyoga Parva of the Mahabharata, but I can't find any mention of Dambodhbhava being reborn as Karna. See my answer here: hinduism.stackexchange.com/a/2395/36 Feb 6, 2015 at 16:14
  • @keshav I found this link mahabharata-resources.org/variations/karna-sahasrakavaca.html but haven't checked the references mentioned here yet. Feb 7, 2015 at 10:04
  • @SreekumarR That link doesn't mention any actual Hindu scriptures that describe Karna as a reincarnation of this demon. Apart from Tamil and Malayalam folktales, it only cites Madhvacharya's commentary on the Mahabharata and someone else's commentary on the Narayaniya, which is itself a summary of the Srimad Bhagavatam. But as far as I can tell neither the Mahabharata nor the Srimad Bhagavatam actually talk about Karna being this demon's next birth. Feb 7, 2015 at 12:21
  • By the way, at least according to the version of the story given in the Udyoga Parva of the Mahabharata (and that's the only version I've found in Hindu scripture), only Nara fought Dambodhbhava, not Narayana. In fact, the whole reason Parashurama tells this story to Duryodhana is to basically say "The battle with Dambodhbhava shows how powerful Nara was, but Narayana was even more powerful than Nara. Krishna is a rebirth of Narayana, so do you really think you could defeat him?" Feb 7, 2015 at 15:25
  • @KeshavSrinivasan Why would anyone reveal Karna's previous birth in Mahabharatha? Karna's prowess is due to Lord Surya and sufferings due to Sahasrakavacha. Padma Purana actually mentions but a different version of story. And obviously, Lord Surya is greater than Yama Dharma Raja, Vayu, indra and Aswini Kumaras and so was Karna.
    – The Destroyer
    May 2, 2016 at 3:49

Karna is special because of the fanfiction created by his fanatics irrespective of his portrayal in manuscripts of Mahabharata

1). He was gifted the celestial armor and ear-rings due to the request of Kunti to Surya but his fanatics skipped this part in folklores to show his birth as a tragedy

2). Suta wasn't a lower caste but a mixture of Brahmana and Kshtriya hence had the status of high caste.

3). Karna was loved by his foster parents but his fanatics made his foster mother Radha hate him initially to help him gain sympathy.

4). Kunti kept taking report of Karna through her spies when he was getting raised up by Adhiratha and Radha but again this part is also skipped.

5). Karna was taught by Drona and Kripa the art of warfare along with other Kuru princes but this part is not only skipped but horribly modified to not only help Karna in gaining sympathy but also in demeaning Drona.

6). Karna was cursed by Parshurama when the letter found out the reason of Karna's rejection by Drona in teaching Brahmastra and Parshurama tagged him a wicked person.

7). Karna was very rich even before becoming a King as he used to donate golds and diamonds.

8). Karna only equalled Arjuna in Rangbhoomi not surpassed him.

9). Karna wasn't rejected in Draupadi swayamvar but failed to string the bow.

10). Karna was defeated by Bhima in his Rajsuya conquest.

11). Karna didn't protested in Draupadi's humiliation.

12). Karna wasn't drunk in Ghoshyatra still he was defeated by Gandharvas.

13). Karna lost to Arjuna many times in Virata war and lost his brother in front of his sight.

14). Karna was rescued from Satyaki on 12th day of Kurukshetra war.

15). Karna was defeated by Abhimanyu on 13th day and the former attacked the latter when the latter was chariotless and bowless.

16). Karna was defeated by Bhima,Satyaki and Arjuna on 14th day.

17). Karna was overpowered by Arjuna on 16th day.

18). Vijaya bow wasn't given to Karna by Parshurama rather it was unknown son of Bhrigu who gave Vijaya bow to Karna.

19). Karna was defeated by Bhima on 17th day despite having Vijaya bow.

20). Karna openly accepted that Arjuna alone defeated him in Virata war and Arjuna is unmatched warrior on 17th day.

21). Karna was killed fairly by Arjuna on 17th day.

  • 2
    Welcome to Hinduism SE. Answers on this site should be backed up with proofs from Hindu scriptures.
    – Aby
    Mar 23, 2019 at 3:44
  • I answered in this way after reading other answers of this question. I said that the resources of my logics are the manuscripts of Mahabharata but other people don't mentioned the resources of their logics Mar 23, 2019 at 3:50
  • Alright then, so it's all about the reputation Mar 23, 2019 at 8:57
  • Why can't I downvote this answer 100 times :) Jul 19, 2020 at 2:52

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