Bhagawan Surya comes to warn Karna in his dream

From the moment, Dharmaraja Yudhishtira saw Karna adorned with the celestial kavach and kundal, a great fear entered his heart. He knew that Karna was more than a match for Arjuna. He constantly worried about the prowess and dexterity of Karna never voicing his views to his brothers.


However, the pious Lomasha Maharshi was well-aware of his concerns and sought to reassure him. He promised his devout disciple Dharmaraja Yudhishtira that his fears and concerns will be set aside very soon.


After the twelve years in exile passed, the Pancha Pandavas along with Draupadi commenced their thirteen year in hiding eluding the spies of Duryodhana. Indra decided to ask for the kavach and kundal from Karna. Reading Indra’s mind, Bhagawan Surya went to Karna who was devoted to Brahmans, gallant and truthful. He was sleeping blissfully on a beautiful bedspread. Bhagawan Surya, the personification of mercy, out of love for his son, gave him darshan in his dream at night.


He assumed the guise of a scholarly Brahman and was lustrous like the sun. Wanting to educate Karna, Bhagawan Surya said thus, “Listen to me, O exalted Karna, the epitome of Truth. I will tell you something that is in your interest.


Karna! Indra, to help the Pandavas will take the form of a Brahman and ask for your kundal and kavach. Your magnanimity is well-known in the entire universe and it is common knowledge that you will give anything a satpurusha asks of you while you ask nothing in return.


You not only give the satpurushas everything they ask for but also wealth and anything else they may need. You do not say no to anybody and send them away dejected.


Knowing your generous nature, Indra will come to you to ask your kavach and kundal. Do not give your kavach and kundal to him. Speak to him with humility and explain to him why you can’t give those away. This will be in your interest.


So, every time he is about to demand for your kavach and kundal, offer him wealth and other valuable items and keep giving him reasons as to why you can’t part with them and prevent him from asking for the prized kavach and kundal.


Offer him various precious stones, women, cows, wealth and other dazzling items. Shower him with offerings and illustrate the beautiful things you can offer him and try to defer him.


Karna! If you give away these beautiful kundals that you have been born with to Indra, then your longevity will be greatly reduced and you will become subservient to death. You cannot be killed by your enemies in the battlefield when you adorn your kavach and kundal. Listen to my words.


Both these bejewelled kavach and kundal have been obtained from the sacrosanct amrut. Therefore, if you value your life, then you must definitely protect both these items.”


Karna offered salutations and said, “Bhagawan! You have displayed utmost affection towards me and rendered me precious advice that is in my interest. May I know who you are? Please tell me if you desire to. You have taken the form of a Brahman. Pray tell me who you are.”


Brahman, “Son! I am the radiant Surya. I am fulfilling my rightful duty by giving you darshan out of affection. Listen to what I have to tell you. It will do you good.”


Karna bowed respectfully and said, “It is my greatest fortune that You O Surya Bhagawan who is the personification of virtue and fortune has said something to me that is in my interest. Please kindly listen to what I have to say.


You are kind and generous and offer boons. I request You to be pleased with me and I say this with love and affection. That if I am dear to You, then please do not try to shake me from my vrat.


Everyone in this universe are well-informed about my vrat and know that if exalted Brahmans so demand, then I am even prepared to give up my life. If Indra comes as a Brahman to help the Pandavas and asks the coveted kavach and kundal from me, then I will definitely give it to him. This I will do so that my reputation does not get tarnished in the three worlds.


Brave warriors like me should be prepared to give up their life to safeguard their glory. It is deplorable to protect one’s life in a manner that will bring them disrepute. If Indra comes to me to ask for my kavach and kundal, then my fame will increase in this universe while they will gain infamy.


So, Bhagawan Surya, I am willing to give up my life to accept glory. I beg You to understand my vrat. Hence, I will give this exalted bhikshā to Indra and attain the highest goal in the universe.”


Bhagawan Surya replied, “Do not act in a manner that will be detrimental to your friends, well-wishers, sons and wives and your mother and father. Listen to what I have to say.


Glory is only to the physical body made of five elements. One is useful only when the jeeva resides within this body. Once the jeeva has departed from the physical frame, then it is subjected to fire and knows nothing about fame or infamy.


It is my duty to protect my bhaktas and I am telling you something that is in your interest. Obey my command. I repeat what I have said earlier. Do not give away your kavach and kundal to Indra. You must be clever and use different ways to dissuade Indra from asking for your kavach and kundal.


You are always eager to fight with Arjuna and look upon him as your rival and this will surely happen in the battlefield. If you want to remain undefeated even by Arjuna whom Indra will help himself, then you must adorn this kavach and kundal.


If you wish to defeat Arjuna in the battlefield, then you must definitely not part with these brilliant items.”


Karna heard the words and said, “I am your servant and have infinite faith in You. Even woman, son, friends and my body is not dear to me as You are. You are my refuge. O brilliant Bhagawan!


I lay my head on Your Lotus Feet and beg You to look upon with me with kindness. Please forgive me for what I am about to say now.


I do not fear death also as much as I fear telling an untruth. I do not think twice about giving up my life should the Brahmans ask that of me. I have many rare astras with me and I will surely defeat Arjuna in the battle.


I have learnt astravidya from the mighty son of Jamadgni, Parasuram and Dronacharya. This is my vrat of giving dāna. So, please command me in a way wherein I can even give up my life to Indra when he comes.”


Bhagawan Surya said, “If you are determined to give these two to Indra, then ask for any astra in return that will seal your victory. Make it clear to him that you will hand these two to him only on the condition that He should bless you in return.


You will always be invincible when you adorn these two. Indra will surely try to snatch these two to destroy you in the war using Arjuna. Therefore, you must praise him with sweet words to please him to give you an astra.


You should say, “O thousand-eyed One! I will give you this exalted kavach and these two kundals but you must also bestow on me an extraordinary shakti that will destroy the enemies. You must hand over your kundals only on this condition.


With that shakti, you will be able to kill your enemies in the war. That shakti of Indra will not return to him unless it has killed several enemies in the battlefield.”


Thus, the dream ended and Karna woke up remembering the conversation. He pondered over what had been told to him and decided to seek Indra’s shakti in return for his priceless kavach and kundal.


[Excerpt: Kundalāharanaparva, Vanaparva, Mahabharat]

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