|F for Father of Karna (Surya)|
On Earth, the young girl Kunti was excited. Her eyes shining with happiness, she invoked Lord Surya as she uttered the Shloka taught her by Sage Durvasa. Within a few seconds, the Sun God appeared before her, bound by the mantra. Though he didn’t look too happy about it, he gave Kunti what she sought. A baby boy! His work done, Surya rose up into the skies, as it turned light once again.
Aghast, Kunti looked at the newborn baby in her arms. The little one shone almost as bright as the Sun himself. He even wore a golden armour and earrings of gold. Kunti raised a hand to shade her eyes from the brilliance. Karna stared up at the sky, a beatific smile on his baby face, as if in acknowledgement of his father, the Sun.
Surya watched helplessly as Kunti placed Baby Karna in a basket and let him float in the River Ganga. It wasn’t possible for Surya to take the baby with him. The little one wouldn’t be able to survive outside the Earth.
Golden rays shielded the baby as the basket floated along the river. Surya gave a sigh of relief when a charioteer picked up Baby Karna and made him his own. Glad to see his baby boy in safe hands, Surya went about his duties.
Surya peeped into the charioteer’s home to check on his son from time to time. He could see that the child was well loved. Surya was proud to see that his son was growing up to be a fearless man.
Moreover, Karna had acquired one special quality from his father – the art of giving. Karna gave people whatever they asked for - gold, precious stones, jewellery, houses, land, elephants, horses, cattle, just about anything that he could lay his hands on. One just had to ask Karna for something and receive it the very next second. Surya was mighty proud of his son.
The father of Karna was disturbed when he saw that his son had taken the side of Duryodhana. Duryodhana was the epitome of Adharma. That way lay ruin. But how could he stop his son from taking the Kaurava’s side? Karna was bound by gratitude, the same way his father, the Sun God, had been bound by Sage Durvasa’s mantra. Surya sighed deeply. There was no way he could stop Karna from a sure death in war.
It was Day 17 of the Kurukshetra war. Karna was still going strong as he faced Pandava Arjuna. Suddenly, his chariot wheel got stuck in the soil. When Karna got down to lift it, Lord Indra appeared before him in the form of a Brahmin seeking alms. This was one time when Surya so wished that his son wasn’t a giver. Not having anything else to give the old man, Karna took out his knife to cut off his golden armour and earrings that he was born with and handed them over to him. Surya watched in anguish as Karna did away with the last vestige of protection that he had given to him at birth. Knowing that there was no way that he could stop Karna’s death, Surya hid his face behind dark clouds as the skies opened up and poured on the land of Kurukshetra, just as Arjuna released the arrow that drove into Karna’s unprotected chest.
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