Rathachakra Udharu De – Moropant (Krishna Karna Conversation)

Rathachakra Udharu De – Moropant (Krishna Karna Conversation)

Moropant (मोरेश्वर रामजी पराडकर) was a very prominent Marathi poet of 17th century. He is considered the last pandit of Marathi poetry. He was also popularly known as Mayur Pandit. He had mastery over Arya vrutta (metre) and Pruthvi chhand. His poetry in Arya vrutta is so popular that, they are known as मोरोपंतांच्या आर्या i.e. Moropant’s Arya’s

“Rathachakra Udharu De..” is one such poem of Moropant which is widely popular amongst Marathi speaking community. In old days kirtankar‘s (spiritual speakers) used to sing this poem in spiritual gatherings. “Rathachakra Udharu De” is a poem on Krishna and Karna Conversation in Mahabharata during the war when Karna’s chariot wheel is stuck.

Karna struggling with the chariot wheel

“Why did Lord Krishna choose Arjuna?”

“Why Karna was killed unfairly?”

“Why Lord Krishna asked Arjuna to attack Karna while he was unarmed?”

“Why Arjuna is better that Karna?” or vice-versa

These are some of the most popular questions which still fan debates amongst people who read Mahabharata.

There are two distinct kinds of people in India who believe in Mahabharata. One on the side of Lord Krishna and one on the side of Karna. Interestingly, everyone knows it is the Dharma which wins in the end!

One of the most interesting parts of Mahabharata is Conversation between Lord Krishna and Karna during the war of Mahabharata. There are a lot of theories and anti-theories presented in favor of both. Karna gets more sympathy for obvious reasons. But, ultimately the word and wisdom of Lord Krishna overpower emotional outreach of Karna.

Karna asked Arjuna during the war not to pick weapons because Karna’s chariot’s wheel was stuck in the ground.  It was considered adharma in those days to attack a person who doesn’t have any weapon in his hands (unarmed). Also, it was not in accordance with the rule set by Bhishma that, a warrior on the chariot must not fight with a warrior on foot.

Karna tried to remind Arjuna and Krishna about these rules. Even in Mahabharata Karna says that “please wait, let me move the wheel of the chariot and then we can fight. It is not that I am afraid of you or Krishna. But, you should follow the dharma. At that moment Krishna reminded him that, there is no need to follow dharma while attacking Karna because he always chose the side of adharma.

This poem depicts this conversation between Krishna and Karna. The poem is in Sanskrit-prachur Marathi (Marathi with a lot of Sanskrit influence). I will try to put explanation and translation of each verse.


स्ववधोद्यतार्जुनातें कर्ण म्हणे, “बळ तुझे अनंत रहा
स्वस्थ मुहूर्तभरि, रण-श्रद्धा पुरवील, गा, अनंतर हा. ।।१।।

When Karna saw that he is going to get slayed by Arjuna, he said, “Let your valor be infinite
please take a pause, in this battle of ours I am going to give you enough opportunities to fight anyhow ||1||

रथचक्र उद्धरूं दे श्रुति-शास्त्रज्ञा, महा-रथा कुल-जा,
साधु न हाणिति अरिला, पाहति अ-धृतायुध व्यथाकुल ज्या. ।।२।।

Let the chariot wheel get free O’ learned one in religious literature and the wisdom of dharma, born in the lineage of great warriors
Good people who follow dharma do not attack the enemy if they see he is not ready for fight or is in some kind of distress ||3||

तूं स्वरथी, क्षितिवरि मी, तूं सायुध, मी अशस्त्रकवच रणीं;
न वधावें मज, जो मी गुंतुनि गेला असें रथोद्धरणीं. ।।३।।

You are mounted on your chariot, I am on my feet, you are well equipped with weapons, I am unarmed and only have my immortal shield to bring for the fight for now
Do not kill me while I am busy moving my chariot ahead ||3||

भ्यालों न तुज हरीसहि; जो न तुला विमुख, काय कातर तो?
किथतों यास्तव कीं जन धर्में भवसिंधु, नायका, तरतो. ।।४।।

I am not afraid of you even if you are with Hari (Lord Krishna) who will never abandon you in any case
I also know that, he is well known in public as the saviour of dharma and is the ocean of emotions who always protects good people and becomes the hero ||4||

रक्षावा धर्म बुधें, कुशळाचा धर्म हा निधी, राहें
स्थिर, जें करिसि निरायुधमथन करिल धर्महानि, धीरा, हें”. ।।५।।

O learned please be wise and protect the dharma, because dharma is the wealth of well learned and skilled person
Stay put, if you kill or torment anyone with no weapon in hand you will damage dharma so be patient” ||5||

कृष्ण म्हणे, “राधेया, भला बरा स्मरसि आजि धर्मातें
नीच व्यसनीं बुडतां निंदिति दैवास, न स्वकर्मातें. ।।६।।

Lord Krishna said, “O’ Radheya (Karna) it is astonishing to see you remembering and recalling the dharma all of a sudden
Those who ruin their lives by indulging in bad deeds always blame the destiny but never question their own deeds (karma) ||6||

जेव्हा तूं दुर्योधन, दुःशासन, शकुनि एक-मति झालां,
कैसे कपट-द्यूतीं चित्तींहि न धर्म लंघितां भ्याला? ।।७।।

When you, Duryodhana, Duhshasana, Shakuni came together
How come you never feared the dharma when you brazenly cheated in the game of dice (dyut)? ||7||

जेव्हां सभेसी नेली पांचाळी, मानिलें मनी न शर्म!
तेव्हां गेला होता कोठे, राधासुता तुझा धर्म? ।।८।।

When Panchali (Draupadi) was dragged in the court (of Dhritarashtra) you didn’t feel ashamed of yourself
Where was the thought of this (your) dharma O’ Son of Radha (Karna)||8||

फेडी वस्त्र सतीचें जेव्हां उघडे करावया आंग,
गेला होता कोठें धर्म तुझा तेधवां? वृषा, सांग. ।।९।।

When the cloaths of a sati (Draupadi) were dragged to make her naked
Where was the thought of this (your) dharma O’ Vrusha (Karna) ||9||

चारुनि विषान्न भीमा सर्प डसविले, असें नृपें खोटें
कर्म करवितां, कर्णा, होता तव धर्म तेधवां कोठें? ।।१०।।

You fed poison to Bheema, let the poisonous snakes bite him O’ you all false kings
O’ Karna where was the thought of this (your) dharma when you deed all these deeds ||10||

केले दग्ध जतु-गृहीं त्वां पांडव वारणावतीं जेव्हां,
गेला होता कोठें धर्म तुझा, सूत-नंदना, तेव्हां? ।।११।।

When the Pandava’s house was burnt down at Varanavati
Where was the thought of this (your) dharma O’ son of a lowly person ||11||

अभिमन्यु बाळ बहुतीं वधितां, त्वां वारिलें न तें कर्म;
तेव्हा गेला होता कोठें, राधासुता, तुझा धर्म? ।।१२।।

When Abhimanyu (son of Arjuna) was killed collectively by all of you, you did not refrain from taking part in it
Where was the thought of this (your) dharma O’ Son of Radha (Karna) ||12||

पूर्वीं धर्म न रुचला, त्यजिला निपटूनि जो जसा कुचला;
आतांचि बरा सुचला! काळगृहा सर्व व्हा परासु चला. ।।१३।।

You did not remember dharma then, you denounced it, rejected it as you pleased
And now you are reminding us about dharma when you are seeing your death in front of your eyes ||13||

मागेंचि धर्म करितां, जरि देतां राज्य, धर्म वांचविता;
न जगें, जो दुर्भिक्ष-व्यसनांपूर्वी न धान्य सांचविता. ।।१५।।

You should have followed the dharma in the past, also had rejected the Kingdom (given by Duryodhana) in order to save the dharma
The one who does not save or stock the grains (food) before becoming poor or indulging in wrong deeds or addictions, does not live long ||15||

आतां रक्षील कसा धर्म? तुम्हीं वित्त-मद्य-मत्तांनीं
जो लोटिला दहादां, स्वहितहि मानूनि अहित, लत्तानीं. ।।१६।।

How will save the dharma now? (how can you talk about dharma now?) you have the arrogance of wealth and liquor (you have become blind due to power and addictions)
The dharma which you rejected, you could not identify what is good for you and you violated the dharma by kicking it (throwing it away) ||16||

रक्षावा धर्म असा करिशी उपदेश, तरि असे मान्य;
रक्षितसों धर्माते; आम्हांला धर्म ठाउका नान्य.” ।।१७।।

I am fine even if you are preaching us about How to protect the dharma?
We are protecting the dharma because we know nothing apart from the dharma itself (we only follow the dharma) ||17||


I hope you liked the poetry and its explanation. Please do let me know your thoughts on it in the comments. Thank you!

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