RashmiRathi By Ramdhari Singh Dinkar | The Story of Brave Karna | What Is the Meaning of Rashmirathi? | Why Karna was Abandoned by His Mother? | Life of Karna | Karna and Duryodhana Friendship
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RashmiRathi By Ramdhari Singh Dinkar
Rashmirathi by Ramdhari Singh Dinkar is the most famous book by Ramdhari Singh Dinkar. It is a life depiction of Karna, one of the strongest warriors of the Mahabharata War. The Mahabharata War was fought between Pandavas and Kauravas. It was a fight between right and wrong, however, in Rashmirathi, Ramadhari Singh Dinkar writes from the point of view of Karna. He was the most unfortunate warrior in the whole story of Mahabharata.
This collection or series of poems by Ramdhari Singh Dinkar is completely based on the life of Karna. In this poem, He has depicted Karna’s life from his birth to death.
What Is the Meaning of Rashmirathi?
Rashmi – means the rays of the Sun and Rathi – The one who is riding on the chariot. Hence, Rashmirathi means, “The One who is riding the chariot of rays of the Sun”. The one who is riding the Rays of the Sun.
Karna was the son of the Sun. His mother Kunti, who was the mother of 5 Pandavas, had a boon that she can mentally invoke any of the 5 gods and bear a son from them. Out of excitement she invoked the Sun god and got Karna as a Son. She was unmarried at that time, hence, due to the fear of society, she abandoned Karna.
So Karna was the son of the Sun, he had an armor attached to his body since birth. Due to this fact as well, Ramdhari Singh Dinkar would have called him Rashmirathi.
Why Karna was Abandoned by His Mother?
As discussed earlier, Kunti was ashamed to reveal that she gave birth to a boy before her marriage, so she abandoned Karna. She put Karna in a basket and left it in the Ganges. The boy in the basket was later found by the royal charioteer Adhiratha. Adhiratha and his wife Radha were childless and hence, they adopted Karna to be their son. Hence, Karna was called Radheya, the son of Radha.
Life of Karna
Karna led a mediocre life and he wanted to become a warrior. However, he was not a royal blood, because his father was a charioteer, hence, he could receive the education like royal princes. If Kunti had not abandoned him, he would have received the education of royal princes.
He then went to Parashurama to get an education and learn different war skills. Once, he was sitting under a tree and his teacher Parashurama was sleeping in his lap. An insect started biting his legs and there was a stream of blood. He did not even flinch as it could have broken the deep sleep of his teacher. As the blood stream touched Parashurama, he woke up and was surprised to see the insect biting Karna. Parashurama then concluded that someone, who can bear the pain, must be a Kshatriya.
He asked Karna “Why did not you move?”. On this Karna replied that Parashurama was fast asleep, and he did not want to wake him up.
Karna had lied to Parashurama that he is a Brahmin. Parasurama was Vishnu’s incarnation, and he took a vow to remove Kshatriyas from the world. He understood that Karna was a Kshatriya. He cursed Karna, that he will forget all the knowledge that he has received from Parashurama when he will need it the most. What a sad story.
There was a competition kept for Draupadi’s marriage (Swyamvara – Swayam + Vara – Which means selecting the husband of her choice) and Karna also participated in the event. However, Draupadi said that she would not marry a charioteer’s son. She would marry a royal blood and then Arjuna won the competition and he married Draupadi.
We will look into it when I translate the poem of Rashmirathi into English. Will try to discuss all the events and look at the unfortunate life of Karna.
The only mistake, that he was abandoned by Kunti, changed his entire life. It was not his fault, not at all. But it shaped his life negatively.
Karna and Duryodhana Friendship
When the world did not recognize Karna as a Kshatriya as he did not have any kingdom to rule, Duryodhana helped and made him the king of the Kingdom of Anga. Duryodhana raised a voice in support of Karna when the world was against him. This event was the beginning of Karna and Duryodana’s Friendship.
When we look into the poem of Rashmirathi, Karna even rejects the position in heaven and the position on the throne for his friendship with Duryodhana.
At times he suggested Duryodhana to be on the right path, however, he was so loyal for his friendship that he supported Duryodhana in any case.
Karna fought from Duryodhana side and against Pandava. Krishna knew that Duryodhana dares to fight the great battle of Mahabharata because he is backed up by mighty Karna. Krishna convinces Karna to leave Duryodhana and the battle will be averted. However, great Karna denied Krishna that he cannot betray Duryodhana and for his friendship he will not even like to take the golden throne or even the rule of heaven.
We will get into these events in detail. However, do you think that Karna was on the wrong side supporting Duryodhana?
In my opinion, Karna was on the right side as per his perception and point of view. Duryodhana had supported him when no one cared about him. Duryodhana supported him when he was being demotivated and humiliated. He was on the side of friendship.
The life of Karna was not easy. It was full of mysteries, and he was betrayed a lot of times. However, he was loyal towards his friendship.
In other views it was his thirst to become victorious and be known for his skills which made him take the wrong side. Maybe, he was the one who could have ended the war in a minute by taking a small decision to join Pandavas. He was the elder one and would have easily got the throne. We will look into all this while I translate the poem into English.
Quotes From Rashmirathi
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