Karna’s Naga Ashwasena story is one of the few fascinating story in Mahabharata about Karna’s principles. This incident took place on the seventeenth day of the war of Kurukshetra.
Arjuna had killed Karna’s son, Vrishasena, in order to make Karna experience the pain that he himself had borne when Abhimanyu was brutally executed. But Karna refused to grieve his son’s death and continued to fight Arjuna in order to keep his word and fulfill Duryodhana’s destiny.
Finally when Karna and Arjuna came face to face, a serpent called Naga Ashwasena secretly entered Karna’s quiver. This serpent was the one whose mother was relentlessly burnt when Arjuna had set Khandava-prastha ablaze. Ashwasena, being in his mother’s womb at that time, was able to save himself from getting charred. Destined to avenge his mother’s death by killing Arjuna, he transformed himself into an arrow and waited his turn. Karna unknowingly released Naga Ashwasena at Arjuna. Realizing that this was no ordinary arrow, Lord Krishna, Arjuna’s charioteer, in his bid to save Arjuna’s life, sunk the wheel of his chariot in the ground by pressing his feet against its floor. This made the Naga, who was speedily advancing like a thunderbolt, miss his target and hit Arjuna’s crown instead, causing it to fall on the ground.
Disheartened, Naga Ashwasena returned to Karna and asked him to fire him towards Arjuna once again, this time making a promise that he would definitely not miss his target. After hearing Ashwasena’s words, this is what the mighty AngaRaj said to him:
“It is beneath my stature as a warrior to shoot the same arrow twice. Find some other way to avenge your family’s death.”
Saddened by Karna’s words, Ashwasena tried to kill Arjuna on his own but failed miserably. Arjuna was able to finish him off in a single stroke.
Who knows what would have happened had Karna released Ashwasena for the second time. He even might have killed Arjuna or at least would have injured him. But he upheld his principles and did not use the presented opportunity. Such was the character of AngaRaj. He was the man of his words and the epitome of morality. He was the ultimate warrior.
When Arjun and Duryodhan, had both gone to meet Krishna before Kurukshetra, the former went in later, and seeing the latter at his head, he sat at Krishna’s feet. Krishna woke up and then gave them the choice of either his entire Narayana Sena, or he himself as charioteer on a condition, that he would neither fight nor hold any weapon. And he gave Arjun, the chance to select first, who then choose Krishna as his charioteer. Duryodhan could not believe his fortune, he had wanted the Narayana Sena, and he got it on a platter, he felt Arjun was plain foolish. Little did Duryodhan realize that while he got the physical powers, the mental and spiritual power was with Arjun. There was a reason why Arjun choose Krishna, he was the person who provided the intelligence,the guidance, and he knew the weakness of every warrior in the Kaurava camp.
Apart from that the bonding between Arjun and Krishna, goes a long way back too. The entire concept of Nar and Naryana, and the former needing the guidance from the latter. While Krishna had always been the well wisher of the Pandavas, guiding them at all times, he had a special bonding with Arjun, both being great friends. He guided Arjun during the Khandava Dahanam, in his battle with the Gods, and later he ensured his sister Subhadra was married to Arjun, when his brother Balaram wanted to marry her to Duryodhan.
Arjun was the best warrior in the Pandava side, Yudhistir while being the most wise among them, was not exactly a “great warrior”, who could take on Bheeshma, Drona, Kripa, Karna, it was only Arjun who was an equal match to them. Bheem was all brute force, and while that was needed, for physical and mace combat with the likes of Duryodhan and Dushashan, he could not have been effective in handling Bheeshma or Karna. Now while Arjun was the finest warrior ever, he also needed strategic advice, and that was where Krishna came in. Unlike physical combat, battle in archery needed quick reflexes, strategic thought, planning, and this is where Krishna was an invaluable asset.
Krishna knew that only Arjun could face Bheeshma or Karna or Drona on equal terms, but he also knew that he like any other human beings, had this internal conflict. Arjun faced an internal conflict over fighting with his beloved grandsire Bheeshma or his Guru Drona, to kill or not kill, and that is where Krishna came up with the entire Gita, the concept of Dharma, destiny and doing your duty. In the end it was Krishna’s guidance that made the entire difference to the Kurukshetra war.
There is an incident when Arjuna goes overconfident and then Krishna tells him – “Hey Parth, don’t be overconfident. If I was not here, your chariot would have been blown away long ago due to the damage done by Bheesma, Drona and Karna. You are facing the best athimaharathis of all times and they do not have the armor of Narayana”.
Krishna was always closer to Arjuna than Yudishtra. Krishna made his sister marry Arjuna, not Yudishtra, when Balarama planed to have her married to Druyodana. Also, when Aswathama asked for the Sudarshana Chakra from Krishna, Krishna told him that even Arjuna, who was his dearest person in the world, who was even dearer to him than his wives and kids, never asked that weapon. This shows Krishna’s closeness to Arjuna.
Krishna had to protect Arjuna from Vaishnavastra. Bhagadatta had the Vaishnavastra which would kill the enemy for sure. When Bhagadatta sent that weapon to Kill Arjuna, Krishna stood up and took that weapon around his neck as a Garland. (It was Krishna who gave that Vaishnavastra, the personal astra of Vishnu to Bhagadatta’s mother after Killing Narakasura, who was the father of Bhagadatta.)
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Most Badass hindu God which I would love to mention about is Lord Krishna. Starting right from his childhood. As a kid growing up in Brindavan, he sent a whole lot of Asuras sent by Kamsa to their death. Then he dances on the hood of the mighty serpent Kaliya, forcing him to leave the Yamuna.
And if that is not enough, he advises the villagers to worship Govardhana mountain, since that is the real life giver, instead of Indra. And when Indra unleashes his anger, sending a huge thunderstorm, he lifts up the entire mountain on his finger, protecting all the villagers, making Indra eat humble pie there.
When he goes to meet Kamsa, his maternal uncle who had been trying to kill him from long, he first gets rid of the wrestlers Chanura and Mushtika, along with brother Balaram. And then throwing down Kamsa from the throne, strangles him to death.
He cleverly gets rid of Shishupal, making him exhuast the “100 mistakes I spare his life” promise he had given to the latter’s mother. And earlier he had eloped with Rukmini who was betrothed to Shishupal, but had her heart on Krishna.
He did not lift a single weapon during the Kurukshetra war, yet he managed to outsmart the entire Kaurava army, though he only was Arjun’s charioteer. He knew the weak points of Bheeshma, Drona, Duryodhan,Karna and smartly used it against them. He was the reason why the Pandavasa managed to win against a vastly larger and superior Kaurava Army.
He Stole clothes of Gopis and asked them to come out of water one by one to get cloths back …
Made sure Bhishma won’t kill the Pandavas by asking Draupati to go to his camp in disguise of a common woman. Bhishma blessed her “deerga sumangali bhava” (long marriage). She then revealed her true identity and demanded that Bhishma cannot kill her 5 husbands (the pandavas) because he cannot break his own blessing. (Simply brilliant ahh?)
Engineered killing of Drona. He knew no one can kill Drona as long as he holds a weapon, and only way to make him drop it is to emotionally break him down by telling that his son died. There is no way anyone would disbelieve Yudhishtira as he is the “king of dharma”. So Krishna named an elephant as “ashwtthama” (name of Drona’s son) and asked Bhima to kill it, and then asked Yudhishthira to shout “Ashwatthama, the elephant is dead..” but “the elephant” part of the sentence in a low voice. So Drona, who was at a distance could hear only “Ashwatthama is dead“. As expected, Drona dropped weapons heart broken and Pandavas killed him with ease. (So technically, Yudhishthira the “king of dharma” didn’t lie. Hmmm..)
Made sure Bhima could kill Duryodana. Here is the story. When the war was around the corner, Duryodana was once asked by his mother Gandhari to come to her room fully naked. Duryodana didn’t know why but to carry out his mothers order, he decided to do as asked. But Krishna brain washed him to cover at least the private parts (including thigh).
In her room, Gandhari (who blindfolded herself forever after marrying blind Dritarashtra), opened her eyes to see her son for the first time. She transferred all her powers into Duryodana’s visible part of the body, making them as strong as iron. During the final duel, Krishna instructed Bhima to hit Duryodana on thighs to kill him
Engineered killing of Jarasandha: Here is the story from wiki
Bheema did not know how to defeat Jarasandha. Since, Jarasandha was brought to life when the two lifeless halves joined together, conversely, he can be killed only when these his body was torn into two halves and find a way as how these two don’t merge. Krishna took a stick, he broke it into two and threw them in both directions. Bheema got the hint. He tore Jarasandha’s body into two and threw the pieces in two directions. But, these two pieces came together and Jarasandha was able to attack Bheema again. Bheema got tired after several such futile attempts. He again sought the help of Krishna. This time, Lord Krishna took a stick, broke it into two and threw the left piece on right side and the right piece on the left side. Bheema precisely followed the same. Now, he tore Jarasandha’s body into two and threw them in opposite directions. Thus, Jarasandha was killed as the two pieces could not merge into one.
Saved Bhima fom Dritarashtra’s hug: Yeah literally! Here is the story:
Dritarashtra was blessing Pandavas after war. He hugged them one by one. When it was Bhima’s turn he remembered that Bhima killed most of his 100 sons. He was furious and wanted to kill Bhima. Krishna knew this and pushed a metal statue to blind Dritarashtra instead of Bhima. Dritarashtra crushed that metal statue into powder with his hug (what a sweet embrace)
He took Pandavas away the night Ashwatthama destroyed Pandava camp after they won the war. He knew it was going to happen. Ashwatthama, with KalBhairav entered into his body, burned the Pandava camp into ashes killing every single person.. But Krishna saved just the Pandavas & Draupati.. Why didn’t he save others? No idea! Might be that he wanted to do a balancing act.
Some more stories of Shri Krishna in short:
She disguised herself as an angelic woman and offered Yashoda a brief respite by volunteering to nurse baby Krishna (with her poisonous milk). Can we say Krishna “sucked the life out of her?”
the Tornado Demon! Trinavarta is probably the most unique rakshasa-form – ruthlessly sabatoging everything in his path. He whisked Krishna off his feet…but Krishna blew him (and his pride) away.
Bakasura – the Crane Demon – simply got greedy. Lured by Kamsa’s promises of rich and swanky rewards, Bakasura “tricked” Krishna to come close – only to betray the boy by swallowing him. Krishna forced his way out of course and put an end to him.
This giant Serpent Demon slithered his way to the outskirts of Gokul, opened his mouth wide and had all the kids squealing in delight by thinking they had discovered a brand new “cave.” They all hopped inside – only to be trapped. Some versions of the story explain Aghasura to have once been a handsome king who was cursed by a crippled sage for laughing at the poor man’s disability.
This Donkey Demon was a real pain-in-the-Ass. Even Mother Earth trembled under Dhenukasura’s stampede. This was a true joint venture between Balaram and Krishna – with Balaram taking the credit for the final blow.
A true bull-y in every sense of the word. Aristasur the Bull Demon stormed into town and challenged Krishna to a bull fight that all the heavens watched.
Another story of deception: Vatsasura disguised himself as a Calf, mixed himself into Krishna’s herd and tricked him into a duel.
This Horse Demon was apparently mourning the loss of so many of his fellow rakshasa friends, so he approached Kamsa to sponsor his battle against Krishna.