But Karna did not lose heart. That
day there was a fierce battle between himself and Arjuna. Karna fought in such a way that
both armies were thrilled and full of admiration.
Krishna, Bhima and others were exhorting Arjuna: " What is this
Arjuna, Your fighting is so lifeless? Karna is subduing all your weapons. Put more fire
into your fighting,"
Do what he may, Arjuna could not gain the upper hand in the fight. So
he used the Brahma arrow. At the Very sight of it, the Kaurava soldiers were terrified and
began to run helter-skelter. But Karna was unmoved. Laughingly he used a mighty weapon and
stopped it. Not content with that, he aimed the Snake Arrow, which he had kept by to use
against Arjuna. Its blazing light lit up the whole battlefield. The Serpent, Arrow who
raced like a leaping flame would have surely killed Arjuna. But in the nick of the moment
Krishna pressed the chariot with his foot and depressed it by five inches. The Snake Arrow
who should have hit Arjuna's head struck his crown. The crown tumbled down.
Thus the Snake Arrow was wasted.
Karna thought of shooting another mighty arrow. But on account of
Parashurama's curse he could not recollect its use. Besides, the left wheel of his chariot
got stuck in the ground. The chariot tilted. The horses stumbled. All dangers
crowded on Karna as if there was no end to his misfortunes.
Karna turned to Arjuna and said: "Arjuna, the wheel of my chariot
is stuck in the ground. Give me but a moment's respite. I will lift it and set right the
chariot. Thereafter we may resume the fight. When I have got down from the chariot and I
do not have the bow, do not shoot an arrow. That would not be worthy of a warrior like
Probably Arjuna would have agreed. But Krishna came in the way.
"Arjuna, this is the right moment. If you hesitate now you cannot kill him later.
Shoot your arrow without scruple," said he. Karna jumped down from the chariot and
tried to lift the wheel with all his might. But he was unfortunate. He was a very strong
man and he did his very best, but the wheel would not move. And even as he strove, obeying
Krishna's advice Arjuna shot the Anjalika Arrow at Karna. The radiant Karna's head rolled
down as if the sun tumbled from the sky.
Thus Karna sacrificed his life for the sake of his friend and master
Duryodhana. He became the model of -truthfulness and loyalty.