“Vaisampayana continued, ‘When the spectators, with eyes expanded withwonder, made way for that subjugator of hostile cities, Karna, that herowith his natural mail and face brightened with ear-rings, took up his bowand girded on his sword, and then entered the spacious lists, like awalking cliff.
That far-famed destroyer of hostile hosts, the large-eyedKarna, was born of Pritha in her maidenhood. He was a portion of thehot-beamed Sun and his energy and prowess were like unto those of thelion, or the bull, or the leader of a herd of elephants. In splendour heresembled the Sun, in loveliness the Moon, and in energy the fire.Begotten by the Sun himself, he was tall in stature like a golden palmtree, and, endued with the vigour of youth, he was capable of slaying alion. Handsome in features, he was possessed of countlessaccomplishments. The mighty-armed warrior, eyeing all around the arena,bowed indifferently to Drona and Kripa. And the entire assembly,motionless and with steadfast gaze, thought, ‘Who is he?’ And they becameagitated in their curiosity to know the warrior. And that foremost ofeloquent men, the offspring of the Sun, in a voice deep as that of theclouds, addressed his unknown brother, the son of the subduer of theAsura, Paka (Indra), saying, ‘O Partha, I shall perform feats before thisgazing multitude; excelling all thou hast performed! Beholding them, thoushall be amazed.’ And, O thou best of those blest with speech, he hadhardly done when the spectators stood up all at once, uplifted by someinstrument, as it were. And, O tiger among men, Duryodhana was filledwith delight, while Vibhatsu was instantly all abashment and anger. Thenwith the permission of Drona, the mighty Karna, delighting in battle,there did all that Partha had done before. And, O Bharata, Duryodhanawith his brothers thereupon embraced Karna in joy and then addressed himsaying, ‘Welcome O mighty-armed warrior! I have obtained thee by goodfortune, O polite one! Live thou as thou pleasest, and command me, andthe kingdom of the Kurus.’ Kama replied, ‘When thou hast said it, Iregard it as already accomplished. I only long for thy friendship. And, Olord, my wish is even for a single combat with Arjuna.’ Duryodhana said,’Do thou with me enjoy the good things of life! Be thou the benefactor ofthy friend, and, O represser of enemies, place thou thy feet on the headsof all foes.”
“Vaisampayanacontinued, ‘Arjuna, after this, deeming himself disgraced,said unto Karna stationed amidst the brothers like unto a cliff, ‘Thatpath which the unwelcome intruder and the uninvited talker cometh to,shall be thine, O Karna, for thou shall be slain by me.’ Karna replied,’This arena is meant for all, not for thee alone, O Phalguna! They arekings who are superior in energy; and verily the Kshatriya regardethmight and might alone. What need of altercation which is the exercise ofthe weak? O Bharata, speak then in arrows until with arrows I strike offthy head today before the preceptor himself!’
“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Hastily embraced by his brothers, Partha thatsubduer of hostile cities, with the permission of Drona, advanced for thecombat. On the other side, Karna, having been embraced by Duryodhana withhis brothers, taking up his bow and arrows, stood ready for the fight.Then the firmament became enveloped in clouds emitting flashes oflightning, and the coloured bow of Indra appeared shedding its effulgentrays. And the clouds seemed to laugh on account of the rows of whitecranes that were then on the wing. And seeing Indra thus viewing thearena from affection (for his son), the sun too dispersed the clouds fromover his own offspring. And Phalguna remained deep hid under cover of theclouds, while Karna remained visible, being surrounded by the rays of theSun. And the son of Dhritarashtra stood by Karna, and Bharadwaja andKripa and Bhishma remained with Partha. And the assembly was divided, asalso the female spectators. And knowing the state of things, Kunti thedaughter of Bhoja, swooned away. And by the help of female attendants,Vidura, versed in the lore of all duties, revived the insensible Kunti bysprinkling sandal-paste and water on her person. On being restored toconsciousness, Kunti, seeing her two sons clad in mail, was seized withfear, but she could do nothing (to protect them). And beholding both thewarriors with bows strung in their hands the son of Saradwat, viz.,Kripa, knowing all duties and cognisant of the rules regulating duels,addressed Karna, saying ‘This Pandava, who is the youngest son of Kunti,belongeth to the Kaurava race: he will engage in combat with thee. But, Omighty-armed one, thou too must tell us thy lineage and the names of thyfather and mother and the royal line of which thou art the ornament.Learning all this, Partha will fight with thee or not (as he will thinkfit). Sons of kings never fight with men of inglorious lineage.’
“Vaisampayana continued, ‘When he was thus addressed by Kripa, Karna’scountenance became like unto a lotus pale and torn with the peltingshowers in the rainy season. Duryodhana said, ‘O preceptor, verily thescriptures have it that three classes of persons can lay claim toroyalty, viz., persons of the blood royal, heroes, and lastly, those thatlead armies. If Phalguna is unwilling to fight with one who is not aking, I will install Karna as king of Anga.’
“Vaisampayana said, ‘At that very moment, seated on a golden seat, withparched paddy and with flowers and water-pots and much gold, the mightywarrior Karna was installed king by Brahmanas versed in mantras. And theroyal umbrella was held over his head, while Yak-tails waved around thatredoubtable hero of graceful mien. And the cheers, having ceased, king(Karna) said unto the Kaurava Duryodhana, ‘O tiger among monarchs, whatshall I give unto thee that may compare with thy gift of a kingdom? Oking, I will do all thou biddest!’ And Suyodhana said unto him, ‘Ieagerly wish for thy friendship.’ Thus spoken to, Karna replied, ‘Be itso.’ And they embraced each other in joy, and experienced greathappiness.'”