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Karna was the first son of the virgin Kunti, wife of Pandu, by the sun god Surya, and was born wearing armor and earrings. To escape the shame of his birth his mother abandoned him in a basket on a river. He was rescued and adopted by the charioteer Adhiratha, while his birth mother went on to have five more sons, collectively known as the Kuntis, including the famous warrior Arjuna, who was trained in the use of the doomsday Brahmasiras weapon. Karna was taught archery by the immortal Parashurama. The Kuntis competed against each other and Karna won, thus becoming the champion-hero of the Kauravas. He is considered the epitome of courage and generosity.

His story forms part of the sacred Indian epic, the Mahabharata.


Encyclopedia of Religion. 16 vols. (New York: Macmillan, 1987)
Beck, Sanderson. "Literature of India." Available at: http://www.san.beck.org/EC12-Literature.html
"Shadow Stories of Indonesia." Available at: http://www.pacificnet.net/gamelan/story.html
"Mahabharata." Available at: http://www.joglosemar.co.id/mahabharata.html
"Parashurama." Available at: http://freeindia.org/biographies/parasuram/


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