Veda Vyasa

(1500 BC? / Kalpi, Jalaun, Uttar Pradesh / India)

Mahabharata, Book I - The Anointment Of Karna - Poem by Veda Vyasa

Crested Karna, helméd Arjun, proudly trod the spacious green,
Kripa, skilled in herald's duties, spake upon the dreadful scene:

'This is helmet-wearing Arjun, sprung of Kuru's mighty race,
Pandu's son and borne by Pritha, prince of worth and warlike grace,

Long-armed Chief! declare thy lineage, and the race thou dost adorn,
Name thy mother and thy father, and the house that saw thee born,

By the rules of war Prince Arjun claims his rival chief to know,
Princes may not draw their weapon 'gainst a base and nameless foe!'

Karna silent heard this mandate, rank nor lineage could he claim,
Like a raindrop-pelted lotus bent his humble head in shame!

'Prince we reckon,' cried Duryodhan, 'not the man of birth alone
Warlike leader of his forces as a prince and chief we own,

Karna by his warlike valour is of crownéd kings the peer,
Karna shall be crownéd monarch, nations shall his mandate hear!'

Forth they brought the corn and treasure, golden coin and water jar,
On the throne they seated Karna famed in many a deathful war,

Brahmans chanted sacred mantra which the holy books ordain,
And anointed crownéd Karna king of Anga's fair domain,

And they raised the red umbrella, and they waved the chowri fan,
'Blessings on the crownéd monarch! honour to the bravest man!'

'Now the holy rites accomplished, in his kingly robes arrayed
Karna unto prince Duryodhan thus in grateful accents prayed:

'Gift of kingdom, good Duryodhan, speaketh well thy noble heart,
What return can grateful Karna humbly render on his part?'

'Grant thy friendship,' cried Duryodhan, 'for no other boon crave,
Be Duryodhan's dearest comrade, be his helper true and brave,'

'Be it so!' responded Karna, with a proud and noble grace,
And he sealed his loyal friendship in a loving fond embrace!


Poet's Notes about The Poem

MAHABHARATA: CONDENSED INTO ENGLISH VERSE

By Romesh C. Dutt (1899)
THE EPIC OF THE BHARATAS
BOOK I: ASTRA DARSANA

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, September 25, 2012



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