Different Names of Karna (Radheya) in Mahabharat and the reason behind these popular names of Karna. One interesting fact is that Karna is not his original name. Read to know the original name of Karna. Other popular names of Karna are Radheya, Suryaputra, Angaraja etc.
Different Names of Karna in Mahabharat:
Vasunsena is the original name of Karna. Kunti is the birth mother of Karna. But at that time she is unmarried. So she decided to give him up for the sake of her reputation as people might think that she has an illegitimate (अवैध) child.
Adhiratha (charioteer of King Dhritarashtra) and his wife Radha raises Karna as their own child. They found him in a basket near the river. They become his foster parents.
Karna was born with a natural armour (Kavach) and a pair of earrings (Kundal). This is the reason why Adhiratha and his wife Radha, named him, Vasusena – the one who is born with wealth.
It is probably the most popular name used in the Mahabharat to address him as the name ‘Karna’ is later given to him. Karna is called Radheya as he is the adopted son of Radha, who nurtured him as her own son.
Similar to the above reason, since Adhiratha is the foster father of Karna, he is also known as Adhirathi – Son of Adhiratha.
This is the name we are all familiar with. But many of you might not know that Karna is not his original name. Karna literally means the peeler of his own skin / natural armour.
Lord Indra in disguise (as a Brahmin) asks him for his Kavach and Kundal, in order to protect his own son Arjun. Karna peeled his Kavach and Kundal and give these to him apart from knowing the fact that this will make him vulnerable in the war. Impressed by this action of his, Indra gave him the title of Karna.
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(5) Suryaputra :
Kunti gets a boon from Sage Durvasa that she will be able to invoke any deity to give her a child.
To test it, she ( being unmarried) invokes Sun deity Surya to give her a child. Surya handed over a son with natural armour and a pair of earrings to her, which later on becomes Karna.
Since Karna is the son of Sun deity Surya, he is known as Suryaputra – the son of Surya.
Vaikartana is one of the names of Karna. It also has a similar meaning as that of Karna. Also, it means the one who belongs to solar race (related to Surya).
Krishna told Arjun about how Karna peeled his Kavach and Kundal. He said,”Indeed, because of Karna, cutting off his (natural) armour and his brilliant earrings, gave them unto Sakra (Indra), it is for that he came to be called Vaikartana.”
Karna is also famous as Angaraja or Angaraj. The story behind this name of Karna is that once Guru Dronacharya organised a friendly tournament in order to showcase the skills of Kuru princes.
Karna without invitation goes there to participate in the tournament and challenges Arjun for a duel (द्वंद्वयुद्ध). Kripacharya refused this challenge of Karna saying that according to the rules, only a prince can challenge Arjun for a duel. And since Karna is not a prince, he has no right to challenge Arjun.
Duryodhana always jealous of his cousins, Pandavas, sees an opportunity to get on even terms with Pandavas. He immediately makes Karna, the king of Anga, making him eligible for a duel with Arjun.
Thus Karna came to be known as Angaraja, the king of Anga.
(8) Daanveer / Daanshoor:
Daanveer is made up of two words – Daan and Veer. Daan means charity and Veer means Hero. Therefore Daanveer means a hero who possesses undying charitable nature. Daanshoor means the one who fought like a true warrior.
Karna is famous as Daanveer because of his charitable nature. Once Arjun asks Krishna that why Yudhishthira is called Dharamraj and Karna is called Daanveer.
To explain to him, Krishna asks Arjuna to assume the form of a Brahmin. He told him to ask for sandalwood for their yajna (or yagya) both from Yudhishthira and Karna one by one.
When Arjun asks Yudhishthira for dry sandalwood, due to heavy rainfall, he failed to fulfil their request.
After that, they ask Karna for sandalwood, but here something different happens. Karna went inside and after few hours came back with dry sandalwood.
When asked where did he obtain these dry sandalwood block, Karna replied that it is not possible to get dry sandalwood from outside due to heavy rainfall. So he cut down the pillars and furniture of his room which are all made up of sandalwood.
Thus Karna goes out of the way just to help them without thinking about his own loss. Therefore he is known as Daanveer.
Vrisha means the one who is truthful in speech, engaged in penances, kept his vows and remains kind to enemies. Karna is the epitome (प्रतीक) of all these qualities. That’s why he is known as Vrisha.
Another meaning of Virisha is bull. Karna is addressed as Vrisha in Mahabharat – the warrior like a bull.
Vijaya bow is gifted to Karna by his guru Parashurama. That’s why Karna is known as Vijayadhari – the one wields Vijaya bow.
(11) Suta / Sutaputra:
Karna is the son of a charioteer (Adhiratha), who is of Suta or Souta caste. That’s why he is sometimes derisively (उपहासपूर्वक) addressed as Sutaputra – son of a Suta (charioteer class).
Although in reality, as we have seen above that he is not a Sutaputra, but a Suryaputra.
Know More about Suta Caste:
According to Manu Smriti, the people who have a Kshatriya father and Brahmin mother are of Suta caste.
Other Popular Names of Karna with which he is addressed in Mahabharat:
- Adityanandana / Arkaputra / Ravisunu / Savitra – Son of Sun deity Surya.
- Champadhipa / Champanaresh – ruler of Champa, a region along the banks of the Ganga.
- Goputra – one of the names of Karna
- Kaunteya / Kuntisuta – Son of Kunti.
- Kuruvira – the hero of Kuru race (used for both Yudhishthira and Karna)
- Kuruyodha – warrior of Kuru race
- Parashuramashishya – Disciple of Parashurama.
- Radhasuta – son of Radha
- Rashmirathi – One who rides the chariot of light.
- Saudi / Sutasunu / Sutasuta / Sutatanaya – son of a charioteer