The Karna Design Pattern

Numitor and his brother Amulius were descendants of fugitives from Troy and upon their father’s death, they received the throne of an ancient city near Rome. Numitor became the king and Amulius in charge of the royal treasury. Soon Amulius dethroned Numitor and fearful that Numitor’s daughter would produce children, she was sworn to abstinence. Well, we all know how well abstinence works, and before the daughter realized that she was pregnant and gave birth to twins. Amulius ordered that the daughter and both her children be killed.

The servant who had to kill the twins did not do it and instead put them in a basket on the banks of the Tiber river. The basket was carried downstream and the twins were  found by a shepherd Amulius who raised them as his own children. One of them grew up to be a dacoit and the other a software engineer. No, they grew up to be Romulus and Remus, known as the founders of Rome.

If this story has an uncanny similarity to the story of Karna don’t be surprised. The seventh century BCE  biography of Sargon says

My city is Azupiranu, which is situated on the banks of the Euphrates. My high priestess mother conceived me, in secret she bore me. She set me in a basket of rushes, with bitumen she sealed my lid. She cast me into the river which rose over me. The river bore me up and carried me to Akki, the drawer of water. Akki, the drawer of water, took me as his son and reared me. Akki, the drawer of water, appointed me as his gardener. While I was a gardener, Ishtar granted me her love, and for four and […] years I exercised kingship

Besides Moses, and Karna, others who have undergone this ordeal include Perseus who was cast into the open sea, but was saved by the fisherman Dictys, and King Nyatri Tsanpo, regarded as Tibet’s first recorded monarch, who was sent floating in a casket down the Ganges. Like the story of the great deluge, this is also one of the recurring themes across cultures. Also, without this pattern the Hindi movie industry would have folded in the early 70s.

One thought on “The Karna Design Pattern

  1. Interesting! I have also heard of similarities between the Jatayu-Sampaati story and the story of Icarus in the Greek mythology (the story of Jatay-Sampaati flying too close to sun and Sampaati’s wings getting burned and so on…
    Icarus story has the same idea:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Icarus)
    Have people carefully studied such stories comparing with Indian puraanas ? I have heard of the field called “comparative mythology” but do not know anything more. Could you add something more ?

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