Karna, an incomparable warrior, was the son of Kunti
and the sun-god
. In his childhood, he was fostered by Radheya, the wife of Ayanaghosa who was a cowherd. As a child, he was very much interested in studies. So he approached the great sage Parashuram
to practice archery. Parashuram accepted only Brahmins
as his disciples. Karna concealed his identity and pretended to be a Brahmin before the master. Ignorant of the truth, Parashuram received him as his student. Soon Karna became the favorite disciple of Parashuram. He mastered every aspect of archery within a short span of time.
One day when Parashuram was resting with his head on Karna’s lap, a large insect bit Karna on his leg. Karna did not want to awaken his master, so he remained as such tolerating the pain. Within few moments, there rushed a stream of blood and this wet Parashuram. When he opened his eyes, he was startled and wondered how a Brahmin could tolerate pain for such a long time. Thus Parashuram realized that Karna was not a Brahmin and cursed him that he could not utilize his power at critical moments, especially during the war.
Duryodhana, one among the kaurava princes, was the intimate friend of Karna. Later in the Kurukshethra war between Kauravas and Pandavas, Karna favored the Kauravas. Finally he received his death from Arjuna.