Was it Kunti who told Karna about his birth?
Right before the war began at Kurukshetra, Kunti goes to Karna to tell him he is her son. This is after Krishna’s peace mission fails. But is this when Karna comes to know that he is not Adiratha’s son? No, in fact, he already knows this when Kunti talks to him.
The Pandavas ask Krishna to make every effort to avert war before he leaves for Hastinapura as peace messenger. Despite Krishna’s best efforts, Duryodhana refuses to return Indraprastha. He also refuses Yudishthira’s offer to settle for just 5 villages and says that he won’t give even a needle point of territory.
Krishna leaves Hastinapura but he meets Karna and has a conversation with him. He tells Karna that he is Kunti putra and he can avert the war that is sure to kill large numbers of people. Krishna asks Karna to join his brothers, the Pandavas. As the eldest of Kunti’s sons, he would be given the kingdom by Yudishthira. Without Karna supporting him, Duryodhana will not go to war. This is Krishna’s final bid to stop the destructive war coming up.
Karna Tells Krishna that he already knows about being Kunti’s son but he still won’t leave Duryodhana’s side. He also admits that he knows Duryodhana will lose both the war and his life and so will all of those who support the Kauravas. Yet, he says, he cannot leave Duryodhana’s side at this crucial time.
Just as Karna predicts, all the Kauravas meet with defeat at Kurukshetra and as feared by the Pandavas, enormous destruction does take place despite their best efforts to avert it. While Karna knows even before Krishna’s peace treaty and before Kunti’s visit that he is Kunti-putra, when do the Pandavas know? Find out in my next blog post.