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Why Kunti abandoned her first child Karna?

Karna was raised by Dritharashtra’s childless charioteer Adhiratha and his wife Radha. He was named Radheya after being found in a basket afloat the Ganga River by the couple. 

Why Kunti abandoned her first child Karna?
Pic courtesy: Pixabay image for representation purpose only.

The great Indian epic - Mahabharata – is an ocean of learning. Often referred to as the author of the Mahabharata, Sage Vyasa, narrated the tale of a great conflict between brothers who hailed from the same Kuru lineage – the Kauravas (sons of Dhritarashtra) and the Pandavas (sons of Pandu). But what happened prior to the birth of the two parties had tremendous influence on them and this impacted the chain of events that occurred thereafter.

One such event was that of the birth of Karna – one of the biggest heroes of the battle of Kurukshetra.

Karna was raised by Dritharashtra’s childless charioteer Adhiratha and his wife Radha. He was named Radheya after being found in a basket afloat the Ganga River by the couple.

Though he was born to the Princess Kunti, he was destined to live a humble life. To know why he was abandoned by his own mother, it is important to understand the circumstance that led to his birth.

Kunti, named Pritha by her biological father –Shurasena – was raised by her childless uncle Kuntibhoja. Once when Sage Durvasa visited Kuntibhoja, Kunti was entrusted the task of looking after the learned man. Sage Durvasa was mighty impressed by Kunti’s hospitality and dedication. He blessed her with a boon that could help her invoke any God whenever she wanted to and wish for a child.

Kunti, who was quite young and immature, couldn’t believe the Sage’s words. She wanted to test if the Sage’s boon was indeed true. She worshipped the Sun God to invoke him and he instantly appeared before her.

On realising her folly, Kunti humbly requested the Sun God to return to his abode and pleaded forgiveness. But the Sun God was bound by the Sage’s boon. He had no alternative but bless Kunti with a child. With his powers, he handed over a son, born with a kavach and kundal to Kunti and said that the child would be hailed by the future generations.

Helpless and bewildered, Kunti stood with the child in her hand wondering how to face the world. She had become an unwed mother due to her disobedience.

Fearing shame and humiliation, Kunti decided to abandon her child with a lump in her throat. She put the baby in a basket and set in afloat the mighty Ganga.

Kunti was later married to Pandu, the King of Hastinapur. Once while vacationing in the forests with his wives - Kunti and Madri, Pandu unintentionally killed a Sage, who was making love to his wife, mistaking him to be an animal. In a fit of rage, the Sage, before breathing his last cursed Pandu by saying that he would die the moment he consummates his marriage with any of his wives. The Sage's haunting words compelled Kunti and Madri to remain untouched by Pandu. And since the curse made Pandu virtually childless, he asked Kunti to bear children by using the boon given to her by Sage Durvasa. Thus Yudishthir, Bhima and Arjuna were born to Kunti from Yamraj - The God of death, Vayu - The God of Wind and Indra - The King of the Devas respectively.

From Zee News

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