Mahabharata Santi Parva Chapter 1:2

Mahabharata Santi Parva (Rajadharmanusasana Parva) Chapter 1:2

That hero who had the strength of ten thousand elephants, who in this world was an unrivalled car-warrior, who was possessed of leonine pride and gait, who was endued with great intelligence and compassion, whose liberality was very great, who practised many high vows, who was the refuge of the Dhartarashtras, who was sensitive about his honour, whose prowess was irresistible, who was ready to pay off all injuries and was always wrathful (in battle), who overthrew us in repeated encounters, who was quick in the use of weapons, conversant with every mode of warfare, possessed of great skill, and endued with wonderful valour (that Karna) was a son of Kunti, born secretly of her, and therefore, a uterine brother of ours. Whilst we were offering oblations of water unto the dead, Kunti spoke of him as the son of Surya. Possessed of every virtue, that child had been cast into the water. Having placed him in a basket made of light materials, Kunti committed him to the current of Ganga. He who was regarded by the world as a Suta's child born of Radha, was really the eldest son of Kunti and, therefore, our uterine brother. Covetous of kingdom, alas, I have unwittingly caused that brother of mine to be slain. It is this that is burning my limbs like a fire burning a heap of cotton. The white-steeded Arjuna knew him not for a brother. Neither I, nor Bhima, nor the twins, knew him for such. He, however, of excellent bow, knew us (for his brothers). We have heard that on one occasion Pritha went to him for seeking our good and addressed him, saying, 'Thou art my son!' That illustrious hero, however, refused to obey Pritha's wishes. Subsequently, we are informed, he said unto his mother these words, 'I am unable to desert Duryodhana in battle! If I do so, it would be a dishonourable, cruel, and ungrateful act. If, yielding to thy wishes, I make peace with Yudhishthira, people will say that I am afraid of the white-steeded Arjuna. Having vanquished Arjuna with Kesava, therefore, in battle, I will subsequently make peace with Dharma's son.' Even these were his words as we have heard. Thus answered, Pritha once more addressed her son of broad chest and said, 'Fight Phalguna then, but spare my four other sons.' The intelligent Karna, with joined hands, then replied unto his trembling mother, saying, 'If I get thy four other sons even under my power, I will not slay them. Without doubt, O goddess, thou shalt continue to have five sons. If Karna be slain with Arjuna, thou shalt have five! If, on the other hand, Arjuna be slain, thou shalt have five, numbering me.' Desirous of the good of her children, his mother once more said unto him, 'Go, O Karna, do good unto those brothers of thine whose good thou always seekest.' Having said these words, Pritha took his leave and came back to her abode. That hero has been slain by Arjuna,—the uterine brother by the brother! Neither Pritha, nor he, had ever disclosed the secret, O lord! That hero and great bowman was therefore slain by Arjuna in battle.