It was a bright sunny afternoon when Karna had finished his archery session. Lord Parashurama was looking tired after an intense day of training. He asked Karna, “It is too hot. I am tired. I will take some rest.” Being a good disciple, Karna asked his master to put his head on his lap. Parashurama smiled and both the teacher and student started moving towards a huge banyan tree.
Lord Parashurama, the sixth avatar of Lord Vishnu (the preserver) was one of the greatest warriors in Hindu mythology. Parashurama, a Brahmin, had received his famous axe from Lord Shiva (the destroyer).
Karna was amazed to see his guru sleeping like a baby within a few minutes. For a moment he realized that this was the man who taught him all the advanced skills of archery and the art of warfare. Today Karna was ready to fight any battle against any warrior. After a while, a bee flew in and sat on Karna’s thigh. He was feeling irritated as the bee refused to go away. Karna knew that any kind of movement could disturb the sleep of his guru. His master’s sleep was more important than the suffering this little bee gave. The stubborn bee refused to go away and started to bite and sting. It was not very long when blood started to ooze from Karna’s thigh. Within seconds, blood started to flow profusely and a stream of it touched Lord Parashurama’s cheek. Parashurama was horrified to see so much blood all around him. Karna explained to him what the bee had done and why he didn’t want to wake him up. Parashurama asked, “Karna, my love, how did you put up with so much pain without a whisper?” Karna replied, “It was not pain, My Lord. I could easily bear such discomfort.” All his life Parashurama thought that Karna was a Brahmin but a soft-bodied Brahmin could have never endured this much pain. It was not long that Parashurama realized that Karna was not a Brahmin. He was a Kshatriya (a Hindu caste of warriors). Lord Parashurama had sworn to teach his skills only to Brahmins. He demanded Karna to tell him the truth. Karna told his master that he was a charioteer’s son and was from a lower caste. He knew he had hurt his teacher’s sentiments and acquired the knowledge of mighty weapons by lying to his master. This angered Lord Parashurama, who laid a curse upon Karna that he would forget all his knowledge of weapons at the moment of his greatest need.
Years later, in the battle of Kurkhshetra (or Mahabharata War), Karna lost his powers to launch the Bramhastra (the divine weapon which could destroy anyone) and was killed by his brother and arch rival Arjun. (Abhishek Kumar)