Oh! You in whose veins flows the blood of the Great Bharata,
Listen to the giggles of the Ganga
As she holds close to her bosom and carries away with delight,
A mother’s sole purpose of life –
Him, who she wishes to sing to every night,
Him, the love for whom her very blood turned white
If only I could hold you for a moment longer
I could let you know, my young one,
That my heart is now in flames
Burning with affection, I know not where it comes from
For Karna, your mother is but a girl of thirteen!
My black hair woven with flowers of blazing red and pure white,
Do not make me want to caress them with a laughter dancing on my pink lips.
My feet with which I danced around those magnificent gardens-
Are they not useless if they are unable to carry you to the very ends of Aryavartha?
For now, my son, I have no choice to console my aching mind but to tell you,
Of my days as I remember them
Oh! Son of the mighty Surya – origin of all lives,
Stare at my eyes as deep and mysterious as the Kshir Sagara
And you shall know how they reflect my glorious past;
Neither have I forgotten my father’s face,
Nor have I, in my wildest dreams, seen the face of my husband.
Fulfilment of a promise to his childhood companion was I to my father,
The meritorious Chandravanshi king Soorasen.
A playful friend to my little brother Vasudev before we parted,
The little princess of King Kuntibhoj I found myself to be.
Wading through the palace grounds
With dishes, spices, grains and ingredients as much as my hands could carry
So I could please the royal guests,
Who are, of course, among the gods I worship
Each time your majestic father rises above our homes from the horizon.
How I wished my life remained thus,
Sincere to my duties and enjoying the luxuries of my castle;
Chatting endlessly to my friends as we played our games when we were allowed the time,
Dreaming of the heavens and the celestial Apsaras,
Amusing myself at the stories of great warriors my mother would tell me.
Then came the day the Wise One graced us with his presence in my abode!
The wonderful sage Dhurvasa,
With that fearful ambiance around him,
Making me want to kiss his feet a thousand times
Was it not something that deserves praise
That I cared for him all the days of his stay,
My devotion surfacing its peak,
My soul yearning like never before to serve him the way he desires
To such extend he showered me with blessings
No young princess had ever possessed before?
Henceforth, I, princess Kunti, would be remembered with reverence
For I emerged victorious in gaining the favour of the Son of Atri
Able to summon the God of my choice for gift of an offspring!
Pride of Kuntibhoj I shall remain
But never will I enjoy that pride within me.
For I have brought disgrace on graceful motherhood by invoking you
From the Eye of the Universe
Only to quench my cursed curiosity!
Therefore, here I stand, admiring your milky skin,
Your round dark eyes that remind me of my own;
A baby born with golden Kundals and glittering Kavach,
You are Karna, my firstborn!
And this your boat, brimming with the finest silks and jewels,
Shall take you to where you are to grow
Ah, now you are weary and in need of sleep,
Hear my soft weep.
For this is your first lullaby,
The sobs of your mother!
If I were a woman who dared,
To follow her emotion and not her rules,
My handsome one, I would have given my very being,
To teach you and mould you-
Into a warrior so great that even the gods shall marvel at your skill,
To be a scholar so wise that all earth shall bow at your advice,
So you will be named a man with such character
That generations to come
speak of your life and follow your ways.
Embark on your adventure now, dearest,
And with unbearable pain I pierce myself
With the sorrow of leaving you;
I bid you farewell,
As the curtains of night fall over the mighty Surya
And stars peep from the skies to adore you!
My body is bound here, my birthplace,
Until the day arrives for me to choose my partner for life and depart with him;
But be brave, for a piece of my heart
I pluck out
And place here by your side.
Yes, wherever you go,
Until destiny brings you back to me,
You shall be the sun of my being
The sparkle of light I shall follow from afar.
And when my arms feel your tender ones once more,
I assure you, Karna, I shall feel pride flow through my soul again…