Karna - A hero of the Mahabharata

In the vast Mahabharata, this very short passage resonates in a strangely contemporary fashion by questioning filiations, loyalty (to whom, to what), trickery, duty, deceit, identity and social recognition.

The question of Karna's identity is not restricted to that of his biological origins. Even if Karna finds himself to be the eldest son of queen Kunti, the war, about to set him against his brothers, will still take place. So, who is Karna?

He is an exceptional warrior who can conquer the best in the use of all types of weaponry. Karna can single-handedly beat the 5 valiant Pandavas.

But in this chivalrous society, one can only compete with people of similar rank; one can only be recognised by one’s peers. The orphan Karna, despite his exceptional gifts, has no place there. Not even the love of a mother. Until the day when, in his mad desire to annihilate the Pandavas, Duryodhana has only one hope of help: to possess Karna's invincibility by buying his loyalty.

But this loyalty is based on a bargain, in the transaction with a deceiver. Karna, who is still ignorant of his true royal origins at this time, knows this. On the more or less long or perilous path which leads us to ourselves, are we not, like Karna, orphans in search of our true origin?