Karna Parva - The conclusion of the Karna Parva
Karna’s son, Vrishasena attacked Nakula, who had to escape in Bheema’s chariot. Seeing Vrishasena attack his family, an angry Arjuna launched a fierce attack on him. He let loose a volley of arrows that broke down Vrishasena’s defence and killed him.
Wild with anger at his son’s death, Karna shot hundreds of arrows at Arjuna, who countered them all. The battle between the two was so fierce that all the celestial beings assembled to see the battle. Joining them was none other than Brahma himself.
As the fight became terrible, Karna asked Shalya what he would do if Arjuna killed him. Shalya replied then he would pick up his weapons and kill both Arjuna and Krishna. Arjuna then asked the same question to Krishna who laughed and said that it was impossible for Karna to kill Arjuna.
Seeing the terrible battle, Kripa asked Duryodhana to stop the battle and sue for peace. But Duryodhana refused. Both Karna and Arjuna used the most powerful of weapons against each other. Karna then shot serpent shaped arrows that struck Krishna and passed into the ground. As they returned to Karna, Arjuna shot them down.
Arjuna then killed all of Karna’s protectors and guards. Karna affixed a serpent arrow and aimed it at Arjuna. Shalya asked him to change his aim since it would miss Arjuna, but Karna refused and released the arrow. Seeing the arrow come towards them, Krishna pushed his feet onto the ground, causing the chariot to sink. The arrow missed Arjuna and hit his crown.
Krishna then told Arjuna that the serpent was Ashwasena, the son of Takshaka, who had escaped from the Khandava forest. Arjuna then cut the serpent into many pieces.
Karna then used the Brahmastra and to counter it Arjuna used the Aindrastra. Arjuna then charged towards Karna, intending to kill him with the Raudrastra, but just then Karna’s chariot got caught in the earth.
Karna then remembered the curse of a Brahmana whose cow he had killed accidentally. The Brahmana had cursed him saying that his chariot would be stuck just when he battled his most powerful enemy.
Karna reminded Arjuna of dharma and asked him to wait while he freed the chariot wheel. Krishna questioned Karna about where his dharma was when he insulted Draupadi. The two warriors continued their fight, releasing celestial weapons at each other.
Arjuna released the Agneyastra and Karna countered it with a Varunastra. Arjuna then cut off Karna’s flag. As the flag fell, so did the glory of Karna and the aspirations of the Kauravas.
Arjuna then took out the powerful Anjalikastra. The weapon with six tufts was released, and it glided through the air. Striking Karna on the neck, the weapon beheaded the King of Anga. His lifeless body fell to the ground, and a beam of energy rose in the air and went to the heavens.
The Pandava army celebrated in joy at the fall of the Kaurava commander. Seeing their supreme leader dead, the Kaurava army fled from the battlefield. Seeing Karna fall, Shalya took the chariot and went to Duryodhana and told him the terrible news. Duryodhana wept in grief and mourned the death of his beloved friend.
Arjuna and Krishna went to Yudhishtira and informed him of Karna’s death. Yudhishtira praised Arjuna for his great deed and went to the battlefield to see the body of Karna. He rejoiced at the killing of Karna and thanked Krishna for helping Arjuna win the greatest of battles.
Even as Sanjaya narrated the story, Dhritarashtra swooned and fell to the ground, losing his senses. Gandhari helped him recover and consoled him.
End of Karna Parva