Karna is one of the most favorite characters of Mahabharata. Few people know that Karna’s sons took part in Kurukshetra war. And least people know Karna’s one son survived in Kurukshetra war. His name was Vrishaketu.
Karna and Vrushali had ten sons, Vrishasena, Sudama, Vrishaketu, Chitrasena, Satyasena, Sushena, Shatrunjaya, Dvipata, Banasena, and Prasena. All sons of Karna took part in the war of Mahabharata except, Sudama who was killed during Draupadi’s Swayamvar. Vrishaketu survived Kurukshetra war and after the war, he joined Pandava’s. He was a mighty and skilled archer. It was one of the reasons why he was closer to Arjuna and hence was favorite of Krishna as well.
After the Mahabharata war, Vrishaketu took part in Yudhishthira’s Ashwamedha Yagya. Also, he used to accompany Arjuna on military campaigns. Vrishaketu went along with Arjuna to North East kingdom Manipur. Arjuna challenged Babruvahana for war. He did not know at the moment that Babruvahana was his own son. Vrishaketu fought bravely. But, in the battle, Babruvahana killed Vrishaketu first and then killed Arjuna. Arjuna’s wife Uloopi was the reason Babruvahana accepted Arjuna’s challenge and killed him. Uloopi wanted to free Arjuna from a curse. When Arjuna is killed Uloopi brings the magical Naga-mani (Naga Pearl) which brings Arjuna back to life.But, Vrishaketu could not be saved.
It is said that Vrishaketu was the last mortal man to know the mantra’s to invoke and use astra’s such as Vayu-Astra (Wind Astra), Varuna-Astra (Rain Astra), Agneyastra (Fire Astra), Brahmastra, Pashupatastra, and Narayanastra. But, never passed on the knowledge because of Krishna’s orders.
There are debates around Vrishaketu about, why he was not chosen as the successor of Hastinapura’s throne after Yudhishthira? Many have claimed that because Vrishaketu was also a Suta-Putra because his mother Vrushali was from a charioteer clan. But, the fact is that Yudhishthira wanted him to be the successor but he died before he could be the king. Such was the end of the bloodline of the great warrior Karna!