Why was Karna though having Kavach and Kundal still defeated by warriors like Arjuna during Draupadi swayamvar, Drupada during guru dakshina, Gandharavas during ghosh yatra?
I am not sure which MB version is authentic out of KMG and BORI? However, I have read only KMG which I find carry biased description and factually incorrect at many places. If Pandavas retreated from war it is mentioned as retreat but if Kuru warriors retreated it is mentioned as FLED? If Bhima jumps from chariot to new chariot then he jumps like lion but when Karna changes his chariot then he is mentioned VANQUISHED? So I will answer the question by applying logic and common-sense to the description of facts provided in KMG.
First of all, Karna was Vasusena. He was called Karna because he cut off his Kavach and Kundal. Going by this logic all the events where "Karna" is said to be defeated, he would not be carrying his divine Kavach Kundal because by that time he was known as "Karna" meaning no Kavach Kundal.
Secondly, two of 100 Kaurava brothers was also named Karna. Therefore, there are all chances that writers and readers of present day MB would have used and understood "Karna" wrongly. Radheya Karna was 'suta' by cast. Radheya karna was not kshtriya prince. But during Draupad war, the Karna is described as 'Kshtriya prince'. Hence obviously it's noone other than 'Gandhari's son Karna' who was kshtriya princeFor example - Karna in Drupad war is mentioned to be defeated by Drupad in just one line. Same KMG mentions specifically Radhey beginning his Digvijay by defeating same Drupad and his sons from Panchala and that too after Draupadi's humiliation episode? How can both be true? I am forced to trust the latter more because Karna repeated his prowess in Kurukshetra war when he was slaughtering Panchalas mercilessly and Arjun had to butt in. On the contrary, Arjun could not repeat his Virat war's feat in Kurukshetra where he needed Krishna's help every now and then. Therefore, for me Virat war seems to be glorified interpolation in MB.
Thirdly, Kavach Kundal appeared significant only when they were donated to Indra. Except that event the divine accessories do not find significant mention in entire MB. Same is true for Karna's Vijaya bow unlike Arjun's Gandiva which is repeatedly mentioned in almost every chapter. It is only Karna's KK which are hyped without any event supporting their relevance. May be they also got some mention because Arjun's father tricked Karna to part ways from them to ensure Arjun's victory if not to save his life.
Coming back to the wars mentioned where Karna is said to be defeated, my answers are as below:
Drupad war: Why would Karna pay Gurudakshina of Kurus when his Guru was Parasurama? Let us assume that he still went with them because he was Drona's student for sometime before shifting to Parasurama but so was Dhrishtdyuman as well..! What Gurudakshina did Dhrishthdyuman pay Drona? But then Dhrishthdyuman was supposed to be born after this war to avenge his father-Drupad's defeat by Drona in this vey battle. So how could KMG mention that he was Drona's student along with Kuru princes??? This is what is confusing in KMG.
Now let us read what KMG says about Karna in this war. This is how first attack on Drupad is described,
"Those bulls among men, smiting the Panchalas on their way, laid siege to the capital of the great Drupada. And Duryodhana and KARNA and the mighty Yuyutsu, and Duhsasana and Vikarna and Jalasandha and Sulochana,--these and many other foremost of Kshatriya princes of great prowess, vied with one another in becoming the foremost in the attack. And the princes, riding in first class chariots and following the cavalry, entered the hostile capital, and proceeded along the streets."
We are told Karna was there which establishes 2 points - 1. It could either be Radhey or Kaurava Karna, and 2. If it was Radhey then he had already earned name "Karna" after donating divine KK and if he was not Radhey then Radhey was not defeated in gurudakshina war.
Now let us see how he was defeated?
"And careering over the field of battle like a fiery wheel, king Drupada with his arrows smote Duryodhana and Vikarna and even the MIGHTY KARNA and many other heroic princes and numberless warriors, and slaked their thirst for battle. Then all the citizens showered upon the Kurus various missiles like clouds showering rain-drops upon the earth. Young and old, they all rushed to battle, assailing the Kurus with vigour. The Kauravas, then, O Bharata, beholding the battle become frightful, broke and fled wailing towards the Pandavas"
So Karna - Kaurava or Radhey w/o KK got defeated in just one line? But this is what happened in his Digvjay campaign..
Vaisampayana continued, "Then, O bull among the Bharatas, that mighty bowman, Karna, surrounded by a large army, besieged the beautiful city of Drupada. And he, after a hard conflict, brought the hero under subjection, and, O best of monarchs, made Drupada contribute silver and gold and gems, and also pay tribute. And, O foremost of kings, having subdued him, (Karna) brought under subjection those princes that were under him (Drupada) and made them pay tribute."
Does it not appear strange that Karna along with Kauravas could do nothing against Drupad but same Karna, alone, defeated whole battery of Panchala warriors including same Drupad and princes Dhrishthdyman & Shikhandi? Which Karna would Krishna and Kunti plead to switch over side? Certainly not to the one who lost alongside Kauravas by single Drupad...! No mention of Vijaya bow in this war.
ohk , alright , for one second , i can believe that he participated then again there are poitns to be ponder .
POINT-1 : The above passage suggests that Drupada smote Karna. According to dictionary, the word 'smote' means either 'wounded' or 'killed', but it doesn't mean 'defeated'. Drupada didn't kill Karna that's obvious, so the real meaning of the sentence is Drupada just wounded Karna, Duryodhana, and others, but couldn't defeat them.
POINT-2 : Then the Panchalas made a fierce attack on the Kauravas, and the Kauravas fled. Again there is no mention of Karna fleeing. 'Kauravas' mean the sons of Dhritarashtra, and Karna was not a son of Dhritarashtra.
POINT-3 : Therefore, it is evident that Karna was neither defeated nor did he retreat in Guru-dakshina war.
Q- So what happened then?
Simple, Kaurava princes fled, but Karna remained in the battlefield, as a warriro never retreat unless he dies or get defeated. so then Pandava princes joined in, the fighting continued, and finally Drupada was captured by Arjuna. And as Karna was present in the battlefield, this can't be called his defeat in any way.
Draupadi Swaymwar: Arjun defeated Drupad in gurudakshina war but not Karna. But Karna could lift and string the bow which no Kshatriya could except Arjun in Draupadi's swaymwar..! Another description which defies reasoning. Arjun is Brahmin who accomplishes the feat of swaymwar. Monarchs cry foul play and attack Drupad for the insult. Bheema and Arjun take up tree trunk and bow respectively to stop them. Shalya counters Bheema and Karna advances towards Brahmin Arjun to counter him. Brahmin Arjun attacks Karna without warning and makes him swoon. After regaining his senses Karna attacks him with extra caution and matches him shot for shot. Seeing brahmin's extra-ordinary skill he asks him if he is Arjun or Indra or Parasurama? Arjun tells lie and claims to be Brahmin. Karna desists from further fight with a Brahmin. Is this defeat? He is also called Karna in this fight hence can be concluded he was not carrying his divine KK. No mention of Vijaya bow here as well.
Gandhrava fight: An argument ensues between Kuru soldiers and Gandharva guards in the forest. Duryodhan comes to know about it and gets angry. The battle begins and Gandharva soldiers get beating but when more Gandharavas join their side Kauravas start getting rooted. Seeing Kauravas and their army fleeing Karna joins them and starts countering Gandharavas alone.The thing to be mention is ,Karna was intoxicated by the alchol at that time.This makes the retreating army come back and continue fighting. Karna comes into flow swing and start slaughtering Gandharavas in thousands. Seeing his army getting slaughtered Gandharava king Chitrasen uses his illusionary power without coming out in open. The illusion makes one Gandharva appear to be tens who start breaking Karna's chariot by attacking in thousands. Karna, after getting chariot broken, boards Vikarna's chariot and leave the battle scene. Chitrasen never came in front of Karna. Karna did not use any celestial weapon. Karna was called Karna hence without divine KK. No mention of Vijaya bow as well. Just to mention - Arjun, Bheem, Nakul and Sahadev used Kuru army to attack Gandharvas. Arjun used celestial weapons on Chitrasen who came out to fight himGandharva didnt even fought with them as he was on his side .. In the end Chitrasen reveals that he was sent by Indra to save Pandavas from Duryodhan & Co...???
Virat war: Karna attacks Arjun thrice. Third time he is hit in his chest by Arjun's arrow after breaking his bow. Broken bow could not be celestial Vijaya bow and divine Kavach would not allow Karna to be hit in chest. This proves that Karna was fighting resourceful Arjun by ordinary means. Though I have proved above why Virat war cannot be believed to be true I am mentioning this war to explain why Karna met so-called defeat in Virat war to be fair in my assessment.
In some books from south mentions that karna was not even present there .
Some books says noone get defeated . They keep on fighting till sunset .
Some say , no one was ready to attack an eunuch
Also in some other , maybe in Bori , it was written that Arjuna used the banned weopons against the enemies.
There is no solid fact about Virat war .I personally believe it to be a major interpolation So this incident can not be trustedEdited by .Karna - Thursday, June 1, 2017 at 11:18 PM
Mahabharat was written after the kurukshetra war, at that time Surya putrwould have got named as karna