Rashmirathi Lyrics and Meaning | Rashmi Rathi by Ramdhari Singh Dinkar | A Poem for Brave Karna

Introduction ~ Rashmirathi Lyrics and Meaning

Rashmirathi Lyrics and Meaning. Rashmirathi by Ramdhari Singh Dinkar is a khanda-kavya. This means that this collection of poems is divided into parts. Rashmirathi book is easily available to purchase. However, in this collection of posts we are trying to provide the meaning of the Rashmirathi Poem.

Many people and celebrities recite this poem; however, these are the most famous lines people understand. We present you with the meaning of the poem in English and Hindi.


Rashmirathi is a combination of 2 words. Rashmi (meaning Sun Rays) and rathi (the one who rides it). It is about the man or the person who is using the Sun rays as his charriot. This in particular about Karna from Mahabharata.

Karna was a less-sung warrior of Mahabharata. We read Mahabharata with the perspective that Kauravas were bad, and Pandavas were the righteous. Even before we read the Mahabharata, this perception is filled in our minds as to what are we going to read about. Whereas Ramdhari Singh Dinkar looked at this with a different perspective.

With this perspective he wrote a great book or collection of poems about brave Karna. He dedicated Rashmi Rathi to Karna. This is one book which is completely dedicated to Karna.

Karna fought the war of Mahabharata from Kaurava’s side. The Pandavas won the battle, and they ruled over Hastinapur. As they were victorious, all the praised was given to them. Karna being on the wrong side, did not get much attention.

In Mahabharata, Karna was humiliated and demoralized at every step. That one step that Duryodhana took and made him the king of Anga, made Karna to remain obelized to Duryodhana his whole life.

We will see in the Rashmirathi poem as how Krishna tells karna that he can get the throne of Hastinapur if he leaves and stops supporting Duryodhana. However, for his friendship with Duryodhana and thinking about the respect that Duryodhana got him in the society, he refuses the gold throne for his friendship.

This is a poem of high ideology, the story of Karna, and high morals. At the same time, it is inspiring and motivating. Reading this will fill you with positivity.

Rashmirathi Book

Rashmirathi book is a collection of poems written by Ramdhari Singh dinkar. It has 7 chapters which are called Sarga. These 7 sargas are different stories in a form of poem whicha are related to Karna’s life.

Most famous poem from Rashmirathi is “Krishna Ki Chetawani”. In this part, Krishna goes to Duryodhana and asks him to give 5 villages Pandavas, however, Duryodhana is adamant and does not want to give any land to Pandavas. Rather he tried to capture Krishna, and then Krishna shows his real Vishnu roop (Viraat Roop).

Rashmirathi book is read, recited, and liked by every generation. Coming generations can also take a learning from this book.

Rashmirathi Summary

As I mentioned earlier that Rashmirathi is a collection of poems, and it is dedicated to Karna. Let us know a little background about this poem’s origin.

This poem is an excerpt of the battle of Mahabharata and Karna’s life in Mahabharata.

King Shantanu ruled over the Indian sub-continent. He had 2 sons, Chitrangada and Vichitravirya.

Vichitravirya had 3 sons, Dhritrashtra, Pandu, and Vidura. Vidura was born of a maid and hence, he was not the one who was going to get the throne. However, Vidura never wished to get the throne. Vidura played an important role in Mahabharata.

Dhritarashtra was the elder brother, and he should have become the king. However, he was blind by birth and considered unfit for being a king.

Pandu was the younger brother, and he was made the king of Hastinapur.

Dhritrashtra had Gandhari as his wife. He had 100 sons and 1 daughter “Dushala” from Gandhari. He had 1 more son named “Yuyutsu” who was born of his wife’s maid.

Pandu had 2 wives “Kunti” and “Madri”. He had 5 sons known as Pandavas. Yudhisthira, Bheema, and Arjun born of Kunti. Nakul and Sahdev were sons from Madri.

Kunti had a boon that she could invoke any 5 divine gods to provide her a son. Yudhisthira was born from Dharmaraj or Yamaraj. Bheema was born of Vayu (Wind). Arjuna was born of Indra.

Kunti taught the same mantra to Madri, and she was able to get twins from Ashwini Kumaras (These are the divine physicians in Hinduism).

So, this mantra or boon was used 5 times. However, we see those 3 times it was used by Kunti, and 4th time it was used by Madri. Where was the remaining 1 mantra used?

When Kunti was unmarried, to test the boon, she invoked the Sun god to get a son. Karna was born as Sun’s son. However, Kunti was unmarried at the time of Karna’s birth. She abandoned Karna. We will look into this while explaining the poem.

Coming back to the Dhritrashtra and Pandu, Dhritrashtra’s son believed that he should get the throne as his father was the elder brother. Even if he was blind, the rule should pass on to Duryodhana. However, Pandavas were the heir of the ruling king and as per law the throne should have been passed to their elder brother Dhritrashtra.

This was the main reason for the clash between Pandavas and Kauravas. Duryodhana played many tricks to kill or prevent Pandavas from getting the throne.

Karna was a great archer; however, he was considered a son of a charioteer, he did not get the fame as it was given to Arjuna. Duryodhana, during an incident in Mahabharata made him the king of Anga Kingdom and accepted Karna as his friend. Duryodhana knew the talents of Karna and he believed that Karna being in his side can make him victorious.

The whole story of Rashmirathi starts from here. The story of clash, the story of righteousness, the story of friendship, the story of war. There are many aspects of this poem.

I hope I was able to explain it well. Please comment.

Rashmirathi Poem Meaning in English

This is an effort by me to present this poem with its meaning in English and Hindi. When explained with meaning and background about each and every line, this poem will become marvelous.

This poem is going to touch the souls with its great meaning. Ramdhari Singh Dinkar has written every line by heart, and they should not be missed.

We might listen to its lines a Mutiple time on social media and other platforms. However, I thought of writing its meaning.

There are only small parts which are famous because they are sung in Veer Ras and are good enough to impress people. However, there are several heart touching lines about Karna, Karna and Duryodhana friendship, and the ideologies of Karna. Hope, you will like reading these translations and explanations of lines from Rashmirathi.


I have tried to break down the complete poem into parts and tried to put the meaning of the lines in the poem. I have described little background in this post, and it will surely help in getting the context of the poem.

In every part there is something to learn. There is something to inspire and there is something that will make you think. Rashmirathi is a great poem with great meaning.

Read these parts one by one and you will be able to understand how great this poem is.

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