We always encounter such question that without Krishna, Arjuna could have been killed very first day of the great war of the Kurukshetra.
I have answered this question on Quora Could Karna have killed Arjuna if Lord Krishna was not on Arjuna’s side?
Before we go and find out what could have been happened, just verify the word of Parashurama, whose most favorite three pupils viz Karna, Drona and Bhishma and more were fighting from the Kaurava side.
Parashurama’s words in the Kuru court letting us that how much Arjuna was capable. He said “O king! Discard your vanity and go to Dhananjaya(Arjuna) before a weapon has been affixed to Gandiva, the best of bows. He possesses Kakudika, Shuka, Naka, Akshisamtarjana, Santana, Nartana, Ghora and Ajyamodaka as the eighth. All men who are pierced by these confront their death, or move around insane, or lose their senses and become unconscious, or go to sleep, or jump around, or vomit, or urinate, or incessantly cry and laugh. Partha’s qualities are innumerable and Janardana is superior to him. You have known him as Kunti’s son, Dhananjaya. O great king! But know that Nara and Narayana are Arjuna and Keshava, brave warriors and bulls among men.” REF – BORI Udyoga Parva
Bhishma Approving the words “O Indra among kings! One might think that there is nothing that is equal to strength. O Indra among kings! O slayer of enemies! You have thus seen that one must tolerate the foolish, the dumb, the deaf and those who are superior in strength. O immensely radiant one! O king! The eleven and seven akshouhinis176 were not equal in strength to the great-souled Arjuna. The illustrious Pandava, the son of the chastiser of Paka, roamed around and slew and shattered them in the battle.” REF – BORI Shanti Parva
Yudhishthira also sent the message to Duryodhana “Karna thinks that it is possible to take up weapons against Arjuna in battle. There were many great battles in earlier times? Why was Karna not a source for recourse then?43 Karna knows and so does Suyodhana, Drona knows and so does the grandfather,44 and all the other Kurus also know that there is no wielder of the bow like Arjuna. All the Kurus know, and so do all the other assembled lords of the earth, that Duryodhana can perform evil acts only if Phalguna, the destroyer of enemies, is not present. Dhritarashtra’s son thinks that he can take away the riches that I have gathered, from the Pandavas. Knowing these intentions, Kiriti will fight with a bow that is as long as a palm tree. The sons of Dhritarashtra survive as long as they have not heard the twang of the extended Gandiva. ” REF – BORI Udyoga Parva
Now, let us see what all Arjuna has done without Krishna and could Karna have killed Arjuna?
Karna was nowhere equal to Arjuna, not even Abhimanyu, so killing Arjuna was the best Dream for Karna, but unfortunately that was the dream only, not the reality.
- Arjuna was the master of Dhanurveda and got the Brahmshira weapon from Drona and a certified warrior with his ability, while Karna was asking the Brahmastra weapon to defeat Arjuna.
- In Drupada capturing Karna was defeated by Drupada, however Arjuna captured him alive and fulfilled the desire of Drona.
- In the Draupadi Syamvara, Karna was defeated by Arjuna and unable to string the bow.
- In Digvijya Yatra, Karna was Defeated by Bhima.
- In the Ghosha-yatra Karna was defeated by Ghandharavas, whom Arjuna defeated easily.
- In Virata war, Karna was defeated four times by Arjuna.
- In whole Kurukshetra war, Karna was every time defeated by Arjuna.
Now, except Kurukshetra war, there was no Krishna in any battles.
Still, If we are thinking that Krishna helped Arjuna than think which weapon of Karna could have killed Arjuna?
- Vasva Shakti
- Bhargawa Weapon
- Brahmastra Weapon
- Agneya, Varuna, Vavya Weapon
- or Nagaastra
These were the powerful weapons with Karna, now let me show you which weapon could be countered by another.
- Vasva weapon could be easily countered by Vajra, Vaishanava, Pashupata weapon. (any one)
- Bhargawa Weapon – Countered by Brahma Weapon
- Brahmastra – Brahmastra was easily countered by Brahmastra, as Arjuna was the Master of Brahmastra and Brahmshira.
- Agneya, Varuna, Vavya Weapon – These all were countered many times by all the warriors, Including Karna and Arjuna.
- Nagaastra – Nagaastra (disguise Ashwashena) could be easily countered by Arjuna. And this is the incidents, which suggest us that Karna was not a good archer, even Shalya guessed that weapon would not harmed Arjuna anyhow, and it will not hit the target. Even Arjuna also possessed the Nagastra – read where he had slain Sampatkas warrior to using this weapon. (Shalya Parva)
So, Karna was not capable to kill Arjuna, anyhow (With or without Krishna), he was not equal to the son of Arjuna – Abhimanyu!!!