Directions (Q. 1 - 8): Read the following passage carefully and answer the questions given below it. Certain words/ phrases in the passage are printed in bold to help you locate them while answering some of the questions.
Indra foresaw that a supreme contest was inevitable between his son Arjuna and Karna; and he put onthe garb of a Brahmana and came to Karna, who was reputed for his charity, and begged of him his earringsand armour. The Sun god had already warned Karna in a dream that Indra would try to deceive him in thismanner. Still, Karna could not bring himself to refuse any gift that was asked of him. Hence he cut off theearrings and armour with which he was born and gave them to the Brahmana.
Indra, the king of gods, was filled with surprise and joy. After accepting the gift, he praised Karna ashaving done what no one else would do, and shamed into generosity, bade Karna ask for any boon hewanted.
Karna replied: "I desire to get your weapon, the Sakti which has the power to kill enemies." Indragranted the boon, but with a fateful proviso. He said: "You can use this weapon against but one enemy, andit will kill him whosoever he may be. But this killing done, this weapon will no longer be available to youbut will return to me." With these words Indra disappeared.
Karna went to Parasurama and became his disciple by representing to him that he was a Brahmana. Helearnt of Parasurama the mantra for using the master weapon known as Brahmastra. One day Parasurama wasreclining with the head on Karna's lap when a stinging worm burrowed into Karna's thigh. Blood began toflow and the pain was terrible, but Karna bore it without tremor lest he should disturb the master's sleep.Parasurama awoke and saw the blood which had poured from the wound. He said, "Dear pupil, you are not aBrahmana. A Kshatriya alone can remain unmoved under all bodily torments. Tell me the truth."
Karna confessed that he had told a lie in presenting himself as a Brahmana and that he was in fact theson of a charioteer. Parasurama in his anger pronounced this course on him: "Since you deceived your guru,the Brahmastra you have learnt shall fail you at the fated moment. You will be unable to recall theinvocatory mantra when your hour comes."
It was because of this curse that at the crisis of his last fight with Arjuna, Karna was not able to recallthe Brahmastra spell, though he had remembered it till then. Karna was the faithful friend of Duryodhana andremained loyal with the Kauravas until the end. After the fall of Bhishma and Drona, Karna became the leaderof the Kaurava army and fought brilliantly for two days. In the end, the wheel of his chariot stuck in theground and he was not able to lift it free and drive the chariot along. While he was in this predicament,Arjuna killed him. Kunti was sunk in sorrow, all the more poignant because she had, at that time, to concealit.