The Ring must fit the Finger

The Pandavas and Kauravas showed off their skill in arms.

Before their teachers, families and an enthusiastic crowd.

The greatest admiration went to the foremost Arjuna.

Sink in envy and hate, did the Kaurava Duryodhana.

Suddenly, a god-like youth entered the arena.

He offered salute to the gurus, Kripa and Drona.

He showed off his skills in arms with careless ease.

To Arjuna he said, “Claim you the best, what a tease.”

Around the challenger, threw his arms, Duryodhana.

Your name, name your wish, to oblige stands Hastinapura.

I’m Karna, here to win your love and best Arjuna.

The Pandava hero laughed and spewed scorn at Karna.

“O Partha, desist with talk, let your weapons dance,” said Karna.

“With one throw, my lance shall reduce you,” replied Arjuna.

Bhaskara, the Sun and Indra of the Thunderclouds appeared in the heavens.

The divine fathers came to encourage their sons and watch the play of weapons

Guru Kripa said, “The Pandu is a prince of the Kuru race.

Before joining combat, Karna, reveal your parentage.”

Karna stopped and paid with lowered head, for his mother’s mistake.

Duryodhana crowned him a king. “He’s now a prince, if that’s what it takes.”

Karna the new king of Anga, made ready to fight Arjuna.

Then he saw his father, the charioteer Adhiratha.

The first-born of Kunti rushed to his father and fell at his feet.

Bhima the third-born laughed. “A charioteer’s son, see how he weeps.”

Karna was reduced not by weapons but by careless words.

Duryodhana embraced him with words of comfort.

The two friends rode away to the Kingdom of Anga.

Watch them go did the Bhagavan Bhaskara and Lord Indra.

Indra knew that he had to deny Karna his special armour.

In a dream the Sun God warned Karna of the impending danger.

Indra in the garb of a brahmin came to Karna, known for his charity.

He begged Karna to give him the armour and earrings attached to his body.

Karna knew the beggar was none other than Indra on an errand.

But he could not deny any man, let alone a god from heaven.

With a sharp blade, Karna cut and tore at his body and removed his father’s gifts.

Shaken and reduced by such piety, Lord Indra offered in return a boon, a gift.

Karna said, “Give me your weapon, the Sakti, so I might kill all my enemies.”

Indra gave the boon and said, “You can kill but only one, whoever it might be.”

Next, Karna pretended to be a brahmin and became a disciple to Parasurama.

From the hater of the kshatriya clans, Karna learned the secret of the divine Brahmastra.  

While sleeping on Karna’s lap, Parasurama woke with a start.

A beetle had burrowed into Karna’s thigh and out flowed his blood.

Karna apologised, he had not moved, lest it woke his teacher.

“Speak the promise, for no brahmin acolyte can withstand this torture.”

Parasurama cursed Karna his disciple for having taken him for a fool.

“When the time comes, the Brahmastra will fail and you will die in a bloody pool.”

When Arjuna faced Karna in the Kurushestra War he forgot the Brahmastra mantra.

Thus, younger brother killed the older; sowed the land for the Age of Kali Yuga.

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Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2020

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Next Friday: Drona’s Seedlings

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