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Karna as we know gave up his grace (his blessings, which he got from the donations and charity all his life) to lord Krishna during the final stages of his life, and only then did he become too weak to be taken out.

So all his life's work of charity is gone and only thing remains is the bad things he did in the name of Friendship.

So is he in heaven or hell?

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Karna no longer exists as a distinct being. Let me explain.

In the Swargarohanika Parva of the Mahabharata, Yudhishthira arrives in Devaloka in his own body (which he did by successfully going on the Swargarohini mountain path, unlike his brothers and Draupadi who fell off). He is initially presented a false vision of the Pandavas, Karna, and Draupadi all residing in Asuraloka, but that was just a test to see if Yudhisthira was willing to reside in Asuraloka with his loved ones, which he passed. Yudhisthira is then shown the truth, which is that his loved ones are in Devaloka after all. In particular, he sees Karna:

In another place, the delighter of the Kurus beheld Karna, that foremost one among all wielders of weapons, resembling a dozen Suryas in splendour.

But Karna didn't live in Devaloka forever; since he was an incarnation of his father Surya, he eventually merged with Surya, as described in the next chapter of the Swargarohanika Parva of the Mahabharata:

Slain on the field of battle, O foremost of men, Karna entered Surya.

By the way, even if Karna had exhausted his previous punya, he still died a noble warrior's death on the battlefield, which is enough punya for a Kshatriya to go to Devaloka. That's how Duryodhana managed to go to Devaloka despite his sins.

  • I am pretty sure that , karna would have done some bad deeds .As a result of them , he might have had some time in hell too before entering surya.Even though I dont see any explicit mention of that in any puranas or MB. Basically he exhausted his good and bad deeds and instead of reincarnating on earth , he entered into surya. – tekkk Mar 4 '15 at 3:40
  • Well, he wouldn't really need to exhaust his good deeds and bad deeds before uniting with Surya. He's not like an ordinary person; he's an incarnation of a god, so he can be reabsorbed by that god at any time. – Keshav Srinivasan Mar 4 '15 at 13:33
  • @Keshav Duryodhana going to Devaloka is also part of the illusion that Yudhishtra was subjected to test him, is it not? – Naveen May 9 '15 at 14:45
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    @Naveen No, the Kauravas genuinely went to Devaloka, as they died in battle, an meritorious death for Kshatriyas: sacred-texts.com/hin/m18/m18003.htm "Surrounded by the deities, the Kuru king Yudhishthira then proceeded from that spot. He was accompanied by Dharma, and the great Rishis uttered his praises. Indeed, he reached that place where those foremost of men, those heroes, viz., the Pandavas and the Dhartarashtras, freed from (human) wrath, were enjoying each his respective status." – Keshav Srinivasan May 9 '15 at 15:22
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    @Naveen See also this chapter sacred-texts.com/hin/m18/m18005.htm "The sons of Dhritarashtra were all Rakshasas of fierce might. Sanctified by death caused by weapons, those high-souled beings of prosperity all succeeded in attaining to Heaven." Note that these chapters of the Swargarohanika Parva occur after the illusion is over. So the illusion was just the Pandavas being in Asuraloka.. – Keshav Srinivasan May 9 '15 at 15:27
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Question: Where was Karna in the afterlife?

Answer: karna was in hell aka patala. Yudhishthira told Dharma he did not see Karna in heaven:

"Yudhishthira said, ‘Ye deities, I do not see here Radha’s son of immeasurable prowess, as also my high-souled brothers, and Yudhamanyu and Uttamaujas, those great car-warriors that poured their bodies (as libations) on the fire of battle, those kings and princes that met with death for my sake in battle. Where are those great car-warriors that possessed the prowess of tigers? Have those foremost of men acquired this region? If those great car-warriors have obtained these regions, then only do you know, ye gods, that I shall reside here with those high-souled ones. If this auspicious and eternal region has not been acquired by those kings, then know, ye gods, that without those brothers and kinsmen of mine, I shall not live here. At the time of performing the water rites (after the battle), I heard my mother say, ‘Do thou offer oblations of water unto Karna.’ Since hearing those words of my mother, I am burning with grief. I grieve also incessantly at this, ye gods, that when I marked the resemblance between the feet of my mother and those of Karna of immeasurable soul, I did not immediately place myself under orders of that afflicter of hostile ranks.

Dharma told Yudhishthira that Karna was in hell: Yudhishthira finds Karna in hell:

"Hearing those words of beings in woe, Yudhishthira of compassionate heart exclaimed aloud, ‘Alas, how painful!’ And the king stood still. The speeches of those woe-begone and afflicted persons seemed to the son of Pandu to be uttered in voices that he had heard before although he could not recognise them on that occasion. "Unable to recognise voices, Dharma’s son, Yudhishthira, enquired, saying, ‘Who are you? Why also do you stay here?’ "Thus addressed, they answered him from all sides, saying, ‘I am Karna!’ ‘I am Sangamitra!’ ‘I am Shona!’ ‘I am Radha!’ ‘I am Adhiratha!’ ‘I am Vrishali!’ ‘I am Vipatha!’ ‘We are the sons of Karna!’ Even thus, O king, did those voices speak.

Source: Svargarohanika Parva of Mahabharata.

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    When you copy something from a site, give proper attribution. – The Destroyer Sep 3 '17 at 13:36
  • Can you please quote in which chapter of Mahabharata these passages occur? Preferable with the link. We have to give attribution to the author/translator of the passages. – Sarvabhouma Sep 3 '17 at 13:37
  • @Sinister I added the link. – The Destroyer Sep 3 '17 at 13:38
  • I already gave the source. – Knowledge Seeker Nov 4 '17 at 21:38

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