Reply – Re: வஞ்சகன்--கண்ணனா, கர்ணனா?
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Re: வஞ்சகன்--கண்ணனா, கர்ணனா?
— by விஜையன் விஜையன்
Karna was intoxicated/drunk during the war
between the Kauravas and the Gandharvas:-
"the Kuru prince, surrounded by the
cowherds, began to # sport and wander
And the citizens also and the soldiers by
thousands began to sport, as best pleased them,
in those woods, like the celestials. And the
herdsmen, well skilled in singing and dancing and
instrumental music, and virgins decked in
ornaments, began to minister to the pleasures of
Dhritarashtra's son. And the king surrounded by
the ladies of the royal household began
cheerfully to distribute wealth and food and
# drinks_of_various_kinds amongst those that
sought to please him, according to their desires."
Duryodhana and others were making merriment
there, they were celebrating a party. Duryodhana,
surrounded by the Kuru ladies, distributed
wealth, food and various types of drinks among
his followers (i.e. Karna, Sakuni, and other Kuru
Duryodhana and others were celebrating a party
there, so it is obvious that the drinks that they
were taking was not water or milk. [Lol... were
Karna and Duryodhana children that they would
drink milk in a party?]
Karna, Duryodhana and others were drinking
# wine .
"And the king, attended by # all_his_followers ,
began also to slay hyenas and buffaloes and
deer and gayals and bears and boars all around.
And the king, piercing by his shafts those
animals by thousands in deep forest, caused the
deer to be caught in the more delightful parts of
the woods. Drinking # milk and # enjoying, O
Bharata, various other delicious articles and
beholding, as he proceeded, many delightful
forests and woods swarming with bees inebriate
with floral honey and resounding with the notes
of the peacock, the king at last reached the
sacred lake of Dwaitavana."
Here it is written that Duryodhana, along with all
his followers (including Karna, Sakuni and
others) were enjoying and drinking milk. This is
complete insanity to think that Kauravas were
celebrating a party by drinking milk. Obviously
they drank some kind of wine (made from milk
and other objects).

Asura Vow Of Karna After Gandharva War-

Karna vowed not to drink wine again in his life. He pointed out incidence of Gandharva war where he was drunk

Hear me, O elephant among kings! So long as I do not slay Arjuna, I shall not allow any one to wash my feet, nor shall I taste meat. And I shall observe the Asura vow 1 and whoever may solicit me (for any thing), I never shall say, 'I have it not.'

Conclusion:- Karna and others were drinking
wine, obviously they were partially (if not
completely) drunk during their encounter with the
Gandharvas. This contributed greatly to their
defeat in the battle against the Gandharvas.
Analysis of the war between the Kauravas and
the Gandharvas:-
"when the Gandharvas were so commanded by
Chitrasena, they rushed weapons in hand,
towards the Dhritarashtra ranks. And beholding
the Gandharvas impetuously rushing towards
them with upraised weapons, the Kuru warriors
precipitously fled in all directions at the very
sight of Duryodhana."
Point-1: The war started here.
Point-2: The whole of the Kuru army fled
(including Duryodhana, his 100 brothers and
Sakuni), seeing the Gandharvas rushing towards
them with various weapons.
"And beholding the Kuru
soldiers all flying from the field with their backs
to the foe, the heroic Radheya alone fled not."
Point: The whole of the Kuru army fled, only
Karna remained on the battlefield.
"And seeing the mighty host of the Gandharvas
rushing towards him, Radheya checked them by
a perfect shower of arrows. And the Suta's son,
owing to his extreme lightness of hand, struck
hundreds of Gandharvas with Kshurapras and
arrows and Bhallas and various weapons made
bones and steel. And that mighty warrior,
causing the heads of numerous Gandharvas to
roll down within a short time, made the ranks of
Chitrasena to yell in anguish."
Point-1: Karna alone checked the whole force of
the Gandharvas, and within a short span of time,
he slew hundreds of Gandharvas.
Point-2: While fighting with the Gandharvas,
Karna effectively used various types of arrows
and various types of other weapons. And while
using those weapons, he displayed his extreme
lightness of hand.
Point-3: Karna alone checked and overwhelmed
the vast Gandharva host.
"And although they
were slaughtered in great numbers by Karna
endued with great intelligence, yet the
Gandharvas returned to the charge by hundreds
and thousands. And in consequence of the
swarms of Chitrasena's warriors rushing
impetuously to the field the earth itself became
soon covered by the Gandharva host."
Point-1: Karna slew a very large number of
Point-2: In spite of Karna's continuous onslaught,
the Gandharvas continued to rush towards him in
great numbers.
Point-3: The Gandharva army was much larger
than the Kuru army. The Gandharvas were so
many in number that the earth seemed to be
filled with the Gandharvas. Karna alone
withstood that vast force.
"Then king
Duryodhana, and Sakuni, the son of Suvala, and
Dussasana, and Vikarna, and other sons of
Dhritarashtra, seated on cars the clatter of
whose wheels resembled the roars of Garuda,
returned to the charge, following the lead of
Karna, and began to slaughter that host. And
desirous of supporting Karna, these princes
invested the Gandharva army, with a large
number of cars and a strong body of horses.
Then the whole of the Gandharva host began to
fight with the Kauravas. And the encounter that
took place between the contending hosts was
fierce in the extreme and might make one's hair
stand on end."
Point-1: When Duryodhana beheld that Karna
alone had checked the vast Gandharva force, he
returned to the battlefield, along with his
brothers and the Kuru army.
Point-2: Karna thus got a strong back-up, and
continued to fight.
Point-3: A general war commenced between the
Kuru army and the huge Gandharva host.
The Gandharvas, at last, afflicted
with the shafts of the Kuru army, seemed to be
exhausted. And the Kauravas beholding the
Gandharvas so afflicted sent up a loud sound."
Point-1: In the general engagement, the Kuru
army led by Karna completely overwhelmed the
Point-2: At this point of the battle, the
Gandharvas were nearly exhausted, and were on
the verge of defeat.
"And seeing the Gandharva host yielding to fear,
the angry Chitrasena sprang from his seat,
resolved to exterminate the Kuru army. And
conversant with various modes of warfare, he
waged on the fight, aided by his weapons of
Point-1: When Karna, supported by the Kuru
army, had nearly vanquished the Gandharvas,
and the Gandharvas were struck with fear,
Chitrasena (king of the Gandharvas) entered the
Point-2: Chitrasena didn't engage in a duel/single
combat with Karna (or any other Kuru warrior).
And, he used neither any ordinary weapon nor
any celestial weapon against the Kuru army. He
directly used an illusion against the Kuru army.
He knew that he wouldn't be able to defeat
Karna in a single combat. He also knew that if
he had used any weapon (be it ordinary or
celestial), Karna would have baffled it with ease.
So he directly used an illusion.
Point-3: Chitrasena was a Gandharva.
Gandharvas possessed illusionary powers, and
were well-acquainted with illusions (and
illusionary warfare). But Karna and others in the
Kuru army were humans, who didn't possess
illusionary powers. According to the rules of war,
a warrior/warriors possessed of illusionary
powers should not use illusions against him/
those who doesn't/don't possess illusionary
powers, and if he/they does/do so, that is
considered as 'deceit' and 'violation of rules of
war'. Chitrasena used illusions against Karna and
the Kuru army (who were humans), and thus
violated the rules of war.
Note-1: Some people may ask where I have
found that using illusions against those who
didn't possess illusionary powers is a violation of
the rules of war.
Dhritarashtra said, 'When the Rakshasa fighting by DECEITFUL MEANS thus disappeared, tell me, O Sanjaya, what the warriors of my army thought.'
I would suggest them to read
the narratives of the duel between Abhimanyu
and Alamvusha on the 9th day and the duel
between Karna and Ghatotkacha on the 14th
night. In these duels Alamvusha and Ghatotkacha
(both of whom were Rakshasas, and possessed
of illusionary powers) used illusions against
Abhimanyu and Karna (both of whom were
humans, not possessing illusionary powers)
respectively and both of those Rakshasas were
marked as 'deceitful' for their acts (i.e. using
illusions against human warriors).
Note-2: If a warrior possessed of illusionary
powers use illusions against another warrior
possessed of illusionary powers, then that's not a
violation of the rules of war. (In case of
Rakshasa vs Rakshasa, Naga vs Naga,
Gandharva vs Gandharva, Naga vs Rakshasa,
Gandharva vs Rakshasa etc. scenarios)
"And the Kaurava warriors were then all
deprived of their senses by the illusion of
Chitrasena. And then, O Bharata, it seemed that
every warrior of the Kuru army was fallen upon
and surrounded by ten Gandharvas. And attacked
with great vigour, the Kuru host was greatly
afflicted and struck with panic. O king, all of
them that liked to live, fled from the field."
Point-1: In consequence of Chitrasena's sudden
illusionary attack, all Kuru warriors (including
Karna) were deprived of their senses. Karna and
others were nearly unconscious.
Point-2: Beholding the Kuru warriors (including
Karna) almost unconscious owing to the terrible
illusion of Chitrasena, the nearly defeated
Gandharvas attacked them with greater vigour.
This was another violation of the rules of war,
because attacking (or striking) unconscious
warriors was against the rules of war, but the
Gandharvas violated this rule also.
Point-3: Being thus attacked, large part of the
Kuru army fled from the battlefield. Only Karna,
Duryodhana, Duryodhana's brothers, Sakuni, and
a smaller portion of the Kuru army remained on
the battlefield.
while the entire Dhritarashtra host broke and
fled, Karna,
that offspring of the Sun, stood there, O king,
immovable as a hill. Indeed, Duryodhana and
Karna and Sakuni, the son of Suvala, all fought
with the Gandharvas, although every one of them
was much wounded and mangled in the
Point-1: As Karna and few other Kuru warriors
(who remained in the battlefield) were almost
unconscious, the Gandharvas used the
opportunity to mangle and wound them badly.
Point-2: Though nearly unconscious and
exceedingly wounded, yet Karna stayed on the
battlefield, and fought to the utmost of his
Point-3: Karna lost his back-up force, as all of
them were almost unconscious, practically
At this point, let me clear some doubts that
often arise.
Doubt-1: Why did Karna fail to counter
Chitrasena's illusion?
Answer: Chitrasena used the illusion suddenly. At
first he wasn't in the battlefield. When Karna had
nearly defeated the Gandharvas, he suddenly
entered the battlefield and just after entering,
used a terrible illusion to make Karna and others
unconscious. Chitrasena did it without any
warning or challenge. He used deceit to defeat
Karna and others.
Also people may question why Karna didn't use
any celestial weapon to counter the illusion (as
though he was nearly unconscious, yet he wasn't
completely senseless). The answer is Karna was
already drunk (though not completely, but he
drank wine just before the war, so it is obvious
that he was partially drunk), and when Chitrasena
used illusion, he became almost unconscious,
and in that condition, it wasn't possible to invoke
into existence celestial weapons as in order to
shoot celestial weapons complete concentration
is required (and it is completely foolishness to
expect that a drunk and almost unconscious
warrior could have complete concentration).
So, this is the reason why Karna had failed to
counter Chitrasena's illusion.
Doubt-2: Karna possessed his impenetrable
armour and ear-rings during Gandharva War.
Then how was he defeated?
Answer: Karna's armour and ear-rings had made
him immortal/unslayable, but it hadn't made him
invincible/undefeatable. Karna's armour and ear-
rings used to protect him from mortal/lethal/
deadly threats only, not from defeat.
Doubt-3: How did the Gandharvas manage to
mangle Karna exceedingly as Karna possessed
his impenetrable armour at that time?
Answer: Karna was exceedingly mangled, but it
is not mentioned in which parts of the body he
was mangled. So, it can be assumed that the
Gandharvas mangled those parts of Karna's body
which were not covered by his armour (forehead,
neck, hands, thighs etc.).
Karna also used the same technique to mangle
Abhimanyu on the 13th day of the Kurukshetra
War, when the latter was encased in an
impenetrable armour.
Doubt-4: Karna failed to counter Chitrasena's
illusion, so was he a poor warrior?
Answer: No, not at all. Karna failed to counter
Chitrasena's illusion owing to some specific
factors (Karna's being drunk, his being almost
unconscious, use of deceit by Chitrasena). But
when Karna fought with the same Gandharvas
during his digvijay, he successfully countered
their illusions and defeated them easily. Also
Karna successfully countered hundreds of terrible
illusions created by Rakshasa Ghatotkacha.
"All the Gandharvas then, desirous of
slaying Karna, rushed together by hundreds and
thousands towards Karna. And those mighty
warriors, desirous of slaying the Suta's son,
surrounded him on all sides, with swords and
battle-axes and spears. And some cut down the
yoke of his car, and some his flagstaff, and
some the shaft of his car, and some his horses,
and some his charioteer. And some cut down his
umbrella and some the wooden fender round his
car and some the joints of his car. It was thus
that many thousands of Gandharvas, together
attacking his car, broke it into minute
Point-1: Though Karna was almost unconscious
and exceedingly wounded, yet he continued to
fight with the Gandharvas, slaying many of them.
Point-2: Considering Karna as their main threat,
the Gandharvas concentrated their attack on
Point-3: Many thousands of Gandharvas, armed
with various kinds of weapons, together attacked
on Karna's chariot.
Point-4: An exceedingly wounded, almost
unconscious and intoxicated Karna failed to
counter this fierce group attack.
Point-5: Karna was not using his celestial Vijaya
bow and his celestial chariot during this war. He
was using an ordinary bow and an ordinary
chariot at that time. Some Gandharvas cut off
Karna's bow, some slew his horses, some slew
his charioteer, some cut down his standard,
some cut down his umbrella, some cut down his
flagstaff, some cut off the yoke of his chariot,
some cut off the shaft of his chariot, some cut
off the wooden fender around it, and some cut
off the joints of it. This was the most ferocious
and brutal group attack in the whole
Weaponless Karna left Battle :-
"And while his car was thus attacked, Karna
leaped therefrom with sword and shield in hand,
and mounting on Vikarna's car, urged the steeds
for saving himself."
Point-1: At this point of the war, Karna's
condition was:- half-intoxicated, almost
unconscious, exceedingly wounded, bowless,
steedless, driverless, chariotless, without any
effective back-up, and surrounded by enemies
Point-2: Only a sword and a shield remained in
Karna's arsenal. Karna took up those weapons
and leaped from his broken chariot.
Point-3: It was impossible to counter
Chitrasena's illusion in that condition, that too
using an ordinary sword. So Karna decided to leave battle for recovery
Point-4: But to leave battle also wasn't an
easy task. Gandharvas had surrounded him and
they wanted to kill Karna. Karna cut through the
ranks of the Gandharvas with his sword, and
reached Vikarna's chariot.
Point-5: Vikarna's charioteer was already slain
by the Gandharvas. So, Vikarna was on a
driverless chariot. So, Karna didn't have any
chance to fight by using that chariot. Under
these dire circumstances, Karna himself drove
that chariot, and retreated out of the battlefield.
Incidents that followed after Karna left battle:-
Vaisampayana said, "After that great warrior
Karna had been routed by the Gandharvas, the
whole of the Kuru army, O monarch, fled from
the field in the very sight of Dhritarashtra's son.
And beholding all his troops flying from the field
of battle with their back to the foe, king
Duryodhana refused to fly. Seeing the mighty
host of the Gandharvas rushing towards him, that
represser of foes poured down upon them a thick
shower of arrows. The Gandharvas, however,
without regarding that arrowy shower, and
desirous also of slaying him, surrounded that car
of his. And by means of their arrows, they cut
off into fragments the yoke, the shaft, the
fenders, the flagstaff, the three-fold bamboo
poles, and the principal turret of his car. And
they also slew his charioteer and horses, hacking
them to pieces. And when Duryodhana, deprived
of his car, fell on the ground, the strong-armed
Chitrasena rushed towards him and seized him in
such a way that it seemed his life itself was
taken. And after the Kuru king had been seized,
the Gandharvas , surrounding Dussasana, who
seated on his car, also took him prisoner. And
some Gandharvas seized Vivinsati and
Chitrasena, and some Vinda and Anuvinda, while
others seized all the ladies of royal household."
Point-1: After Karna's retreat, the remaining
small portion of the Kuru army also fled (main
part of the Kuru army had fled long before
Karna's retreat).
Point-2: Though in imminent danger, Duryodhana,
Dussasana, and his other brothers remained in
the battlefield. [I appreciate them for their
bravery, as though all of them were intoxicated
and almost unconscious and badly wounded (just
like Karna) they didn't retreat, anyway, this
decision was a foolish one, as none of them had
the capability to counter illusionary attacks]
Point-3: Duryodhana, Dussasana, his other
brothers and their wives were all captured by the
Return of Karna:-
"And as the king
Duryodhana was seated on an elevated bedstead
endued with the effulgence of fire, himself
looking like the moon under an eclipse, towards
the small hours of the morning Karna,
approaching him, said, 'Fortunate it is, O son of
Gandhari, that thou art alive! Fortunate it is, that
we have once more met! By good luck it is that
thou hast vanquished the Gandharvas capable of
assuming any form at will. And, O son of the
Kuru race, it is by good luck alone, that I am
enabled to see thy brothers--
mighty warriors all--come off victorious from that
encounter, having subjugated their foes! As
regards myself, assailed by all the Gandharvas, I
fled before thy eyes, unable to rally our flying
host. Assailed by the foe with all his might, my
body mangled with their arrows, I sought safety
in flight. This however, O Bharata, seemed to me
to be a great marvel that I behold you all come
safe and sound in body, with your wives, troops,
and vehicles, out of that super-human
Point-1: After recovery, though late, Karna
returned to assist Duryodhana. He found
Duryodhana safe and sound, and thought that
Duryodhana had defeated the Gandharvas.
Point-2: Here we can find a great quality of
Karna. He never used any excuse for his failures.
Unlike Arjuna, he never blamed destiny for his
failures. Karna had the mental strength to
accept/acknowledge his faults. Here Karna didn't
use make any attempt to justify his action [i.e.
retreating from the Gandharvas]. He simply
accepted that he was defeated.
Arjuna never acknowledged his failures. He
remained boastful and egoistic. Karna was the
opposite. This is one of the main differences
between Karna and Arjuna in case of moral
Point-3: It should be noted that Karna and
Duryodhana's brother Vikarna both had retreated
from the battlefield. But Vikarna (who was ready
to lay down his life for the sake of Duryodhana,
in consequence of his regard for duties to
brother) didn't return to assist Duryodhana, only
Karna returned. Karna cared for Duryodhana
more than anyone else.
Now let me clear another doubt.
Doubt: Why did Karna take so much time to
Answer: When Karna had retreated, he was
intoxicated, almost unconscious and exceedingly
wounded. Now where did he go after retreating?
Obviously he went to a nearby encampment
[Duryodhana had set up camps at many places
while on his way to Ghosha-yatra]. There he
must have undergone some treatment [he was
badly wounded], and he may also have become
unconscious [he was already intoxicated and
nearly unconscious owing to Chitrasena's
illusion]. When he recovered, he equipped
himself with weapons and a fresh chariot. He
didn't have any back-up, so he must have tried to
rally the remaining army, but he failed, as the
surviving soldiers had all fled. So he alone
returned to assist Duryodhana. And in this
process, he became late to return.
So, reasons of Karna's defeat/retreat were:-
1. Karna's being intoxicated/drunk
2. Chitrasena's sudden illusionary attack [1st
use of deceit by the Gandharvas]
3. Karna's being exceedingly wounded by the
weapons of the Gandharvas [2nd use of deceit
by the Gandharvas]
4. Karna's being weaponless [sword can't be
used for countering illusions]
I hope all Karna fans now understand why and
how Karna was defeated in Gandharva War.
Let me clear two other doubts.
Doubt-1: Karna was defeated by the Gandharvas.
So was he inferior to them in warfare?
Answer: No, Gandharvas had defeated an
intoxicated Karna through deceit. Karna again
encountered the Gandharvas during his digvijay,
and at that time he defeated them easily,
because at that time Karna wasn't intoxicated
like the previous encounter.
[Bhishma to Karna]
"Many kings, amongst whom Nagnajit was the
foremost, while staying in Girivraja, as also the
Amvashthas, the Videhas, and the # Gandharvas,
were # all # vanquished by thee."
Point-1: During digvijay, Karna defeated the
Point-2: This time Karna was not intoxicated, so
he didn't let the Gandharvas to use deceit. He
vanquished them, and forced them to pay tribute
to Duryodhana.
Yudhisthira's opinion about Karna's strength and
"Only one great bowman, viz., the # Suta's_son,
shineth in it! That foremost of car-warriors is
# incapable_of_being_vanquished by the three
worlds with their mobile and immobile creatures,
including the gods, Asuras and GANDHARVAS,
and the Kinnaras and great serpents!
Point-1: Yudhisthira was a very truthful person,
he used to speak the truth always, he lied only
once in his life (in case of Drona). So his words
can be trusted without any doubt.
Point-2: Yudhisthira confirmed that Karna was
far superior to the Gandharvas in warfare.
Point-3: Yudhisthira knew about Karna's defeat
at the hands of the Gandharvas during Ghosha-
yatra. Yet he said that Karna was undefeatable
by the Gandharvas. Why? Because Yudhisthira
also knew that the Gandharvas had defeated
Karna not by their might, but with the help of
Point-4: Some "people" may claim that
Yudhisthira's words were only ornamental
language. I would like to ask them why
Yudhisthira didn't use these words in case of
Duryodhana, Dussasana, Salya, Bhima, Nakula or
any other warrior. This was not any ornamental
language, Yudhisthira just described the might of
Doubt-2: Was Chitrasena superior to Karna in
Answer: No, Chitrasena was in no case superior
to Karna. He had defeated Karna through deceit.
During digvijay, Karna defeated Chitrasena and
compelled him to pay tribute to Duryodhana. This
time Karna was cautious, and he didn't let
Chitrasena use any type of deceit. So, Chitrasena
got defeated.
Point-1: Some "people" may say nowhere it is
mentioned that Chitrasena was defeated. I would
like to inform them of the fact that without
defeating the king a kingdom can't be
conquered, so it is crystal clear that Karna had
defeated Chitrasena (king of the Gandharvas)
Point-2: Also Chitrasena was a preceptor and
friend of Arjuna. Obviously Chitrasena didn't
show any type of mildness towards Karna (who
was Arjuna's mortal enemy). Chitrasena fought
against Karna using all his power during digvijay,
still he was defeated by Karna. This proves
Karna was far superior to Chitrasena in warfare.
Analysis of the battle between the Pandavas and
the Gandharvas:-
And speaking unto them thus, Pritha's
son, Dhananjaya, capable of wielding the bow
with his left hand also, then rained a shower of
sharp pointed sky-ranging shafts upon those
rangers of the firmament. Thus attacked, the
mighty Gandharvas then encountered the sons of
Pandu with a shower of arrows equally thick, and
the Pandavas also replied by attacking those
dwellers of heaven. And the battle then, O
Bharata, that ranged between the active and
agile Gandharvas and the impetuous son of
Pandu was fierce in the extreme."
Point-1: The battle between the Pandavas
the Gandharvas started here.
Point-2: Karna didn't have any back-up during the
first round of his encounter with the Gandharvas,
as at first the whole Kuru army had fled even
without fighting. On the other hand, Arjuna got a
strong back-up by Bhima, Nakula, and Sahadeva.
Point-3: Karna was intoxicated during the battle,
whereas the Pandavas were not.
"Then those Gandharvas
decked in golden garlands and accomplished in
celestial weapons, showing their blazing shafts,
encountered the Pandavas from every side. And
as the sons of Pandu were only four in number
and the Gandharvas counted by thousands, the
battle that ensued appeared to be extraordinary."
Point-1: The Pandavas continued to fight with
the Gandharva army.
Point-2: Karna had already slain large numbers
of Gandharvas. So the Pandavas faced a much
smaller and exhausted Gandharva army, unlike
Karna, who had to deal with an overwhelmingly
large and fresh Gandharva army.
"And as the cars of Karna and Duryodhana had
formerly been broken into a hundred fragments
by the Gandharvas, so were the cars of the four
heroes attempted to be broken. But those tigers
among men began to encounter with their
showers of arrows thousands upon thousands of
Gandharvas rushing towards them. Those rangers
of skies endued with great energy, thus checked
on all sides by that arrowy down-pour,
succeeded not in even coming near to the sons
of Pandu."
Point-1: The Gandharvas attempted to break the
chariots of the Pandavas. But the Pandavas
resisted them.
Point-2: Arjuna used his celestial Gandiva bow
and his celestial and indestructible chariot, so he
was in a more advantageous position than Karna.
Point-3: Gandharvas succeeded in breaking
Karna's chariot, but they failed to break the
chariots of the Pandavas. From this, people may
claim the Pandavas were better than Karna. But
we must remember that at first Chitrasena used
illusion (violating rules of war) and Karna was
nearly unconscious, in this situation, Gandharvas
succeeded in breaking his chariot. But Pandavas
didn't face this situation. So this doesn't prove
the Pandavas' superiority over Karna.
"Then Arjuna whose ire had been
provoked, aiming at the angry Gandharvas,
prepared to hurl against them his celestial
weapons. And in that encounter, the mighty
Arjuna, by means of his Agneya weapon, sent
hundreds of thousands of Gandharvas to the
abode of Yama."
Point-1: Arjuna started to use celestial weapons
against the Gandharvas, sanctioning that he was
unable to defeat the Gandharvas by means of
ordinary weapons. [But Karna had nearly
defeated the Gandharvas by using ordinary
weapons before the deceitful use of illusion by
Chitrasena, this again proves Karna's superiority
over Arjuna]
Point-2: Arjuna slew large number of
"And that mighty bowman, Bhima,
also, that foremost of all warriors in battle, slew,
by means of his
sharp arrows, Gandharvas by hundreds. And the
mighty sons of Madri also, battling with vigour,
encountered hundreds of Gandharvas, O king,
and slaughtered them all."
Point: Bhima, Nakula, and Sahadeva, - all slew
large number of Gandharvas. Arjuna had a strong
supporting team, while Karna didn't get this
"And as Gandharvas
were being thus slaughtered by the mighty
warriors with their celestial weapons, they rose
up to the skies, taking with them the sons of
Dhritarashtra. But Dhananjaya, the son of Kunti,
beholding them rise up to the skies, surrounded
them on every side by a wide net of arrows."
Point: Gandharvas then rose up in the sky, but
Arjuna confined them by creating a net of
confined within that arrowy net like birds within a
cage, they showered in wrath upon Arjuna maces
and darts and broad-swords. But Arjuna who was
conversant with the most efficacious weapons,
soon checked that shower of maces and darts
and broad-swords, and in return began to mangle
the limbs of the Gandharvas with his crescent-
shaped arrows. And heads and legs and arms
began to drop down from above resembling a
shower of stones. And at that sight, the foe was
struck with panic."
Point: Gandharvas showered various weapons on
Arjuna, however, Arjuna checked that downpour
of weapons.
"And as the Gandharvas were
being slaughtered by the illustrious son of Pandu,
they began to shower from the skies a heavy
downpour of shafts upon Arjuna, who was on the
surface of the earth. But that chastiser of foes,
Arjuna, endued with mighty energy checked that
shower of arrows by means of his own weapons
and began, in return, to wound them."
Point: Gandharvas showered arrows on Arjuna,
but Arjuna checked that arrowy downpour.
Arjuna of the Kuru race shot his well -known
weapons called Sthunakarna, Indrajala, Saura ,
Agneya and Saumya. And the Gandharvas
consumed by the fiery weapons of Kunti's son,
began to suffer heavily, like the sons of Diti,
while being scorched by Sakra's thunder-bolt.
And when they attacked Arjuna from above, they
were checked by his net of arrows. And while
they attacked him from all sides on the surface
of the earth, they were checked by his crescent-
shaped arrows."
Point: When the Gandharvas assailed him
violently, Arjuna started to use celestial weapons
against them indiscriminately, one after another.
He used Saurastra, Saumyastra, Agneyastra,
Sthunakarnastra, and Indrajalastra.
"And beholding the Gandharvas
put in fear by Kunti's son, Chitrasena rushed, O
Bharata, at Dhananjaya, armed with a mace. And
as the king of the Gandharvas was rushing at
Arjuna from above with that mace in hand, the
latter cut with his arrows that mace wholly made
of iron into seven pieces."
Point-1: Beholding the condition of his army,
Chitrasena rushed at Arjuna with a mace. Arjuna
cut off that mace.
Point-2: Chitrasena had suddenly used an illusion
against Karna and other Kuru warriors. But he
didn't do that in Arjuna's case.
Point-3: Chitrasena had attacked Karna without
engaging in a single combat with him and
without any challenge or warning. But he
engaged in a single combat with Arjuna. This
time he didn't use deceit. Arjuna again got an
advantage, which Karna didn't get.
"And beholding that
mace of his cut into many pieces by Arjuna of
great activity, with his arrows, Chitrasena, by
means of his science, concealed himself from
the view of the Pandava and began to fight with
him. The heroic Arjuna, however, by means of
his own celestial weapons checked all the
celestial weapons that were aimed at him by the
Point: Chitrasena now started using deceit, he
concealed himself partially. Chitrasena and
Arjuna had an encountered with celestial
weapons. Arjuna destroyed the weapons of
"And when the chief of the
Gandharvas saw that he was checked by the
illustrious Arjuna with those weapons of his he
entirely disappeared from sight by help of his
powers of illusion. And Arjuna, observing that the
chief of the Gandharvas was striking at him
concealed from sight, attacked his assailant with
celestial weapon inspired with proper Mantras .
And the multiform Dhananjaya filled with wrath,
prevented the disappearance of his foe by
means of his weapon known by the name of
Point: Chitrasena tried to make himself
completely invisible, but Arjuna stopped him from
doing so by using Sabda-veda astra.
"And assailed with those weapons by
the illustrious Arjuna, his dear friend, the king of
the Gandharvas, showed himself unto him. And
Chitrasena said, 'Behold in me thy friend battling
with thee!' And beholding his friend Chitrasena
exhausted in the battle, that bull among the sons
of Pandu withdrew the weapons he had shot.
And the other sons of Pandu beholding Arjuna
withdraw his weapons, checked their flying
steeds and the
impetus of their weapons and withdrew their
Point: Chitrasena was overpowered (but not
defeated) by Arjuna, and upon his request,
Arjuna stopped the war.
Now how did Arjuna succeed in overpowering
[Indra commanded Chitrasena]
"Dhananjaya also with his brother
should always be protected by thee in battle, for
he is thy dear friend and disciple."
Point-1: In fact, it was Indra had sent the
Gandharvas headed by Chitrasena to seize Karna
and Duryodhana. But Chitrasena's mission was
not completely successful, as he failed to seize
Karna. Though deceived by Chitrasena and the
Gandharvas in battle, and completely surrounded
by enemies, Karna had cut through the enemy
ranks using a sword and managed to retreat, and
even returned to free Duryodhana. If the
Pandavas had not set Duryodhana free from the
Gandharvas, Karna would have liberated
Duryodhana, and then he would have seized
Chitrasena instead.
Point-2: Indra had commanded Chitrasena to
protect Arjuna in case of any conflict/battle. So,
Chitrasena fought mildly with Arjuna all along,
that's why Arjuna got the upper hand over him.
This is also the reason why Chitrasena didn't
start sudden illusionary attack on Arjuna (what
he did with Karna and the Kuru army).