Salya was crestfallen and he went to Duryodhana. The king was deep in despair and a picture of woe. Tears flowed incessantly. He was unable to speak. He was still not reconciled to the fact that Karna was dead. Seeing Salya, the bow and chariot of Karna, Duryodhana broke down.
Salya found it very difficult to console the king. He himself was shaken to the very depths. Ashvatthama and others came to Duryodhana to console but they could not do much. Krishna and Arjuna went to see Yudhisthira and gave them the good news for which Yudhisthira had been waiting eagerly. Yudhisthira went into the field to see Karna. He saw the glowing body of Karna and also of his three sons. The seventeenth day had ended.
In the dead of night Duryodhana went to his grandfather and sobbed at his feet. Bhishma touched Duryodhanas head tenderly and said ‘Why do you weep my child? What is making you so much unhappy?’ Duryodhana told him about Karna s death. Bhishma said, ‘Do not grieve, Radheya wanted to die like a Kshatriya. He was one and he died like one.
Duryodhana was startled, He asked his grandfather what he meant by his words. He said, ‘I always believed that Karna was Kshatriya, his actions were all Kshatriya like. But since you say, that he was a Kshatriya. I request you to tell me about it.’ Bhishma said, ‘Only if you promise me that this secret will never be told by you to anyone., only then I can tell you this, Radheya wanted it that way. I had given a promise to him that I would tell about the secret of his birth to you, only after his death and that too on the condition that you do not tell it to anyone else.’ Duryodhana said, ‘If Karna wanted it that way, I shall respect the wishes of my friend. I will never tell this secret to anyone.’
Bhishma then said ‘Radheya was Kaunteya. He was a Pandava. Then Bhishma told the tragic story of the entire life of Karna. His birth as a result of Sun visiting Kunti before her marriage, His abandonment in Ganga. Bringing up by Atiratha and Radha. His quest for knowledge rejection by Drona, learning acquired at Parashurama ashram. The curse of Parashurama, the curse of the brahmin, His gift of Kavacha and Kundala to Indra, and his meetings with Krishna and Kunti.’
Now, Duryodhana was trying to absorb the extent of the greatness of his friends and his extreme devotion to him. He cried that why was he not killed in place of Karna. He became senseless with grief. Finally Bhishma consoled him. But Duryodhana had lost all his will to live. He wanted to die only. He walked back to his camp. He was thinking about the greatness of the man called Karna. He knew that he was the eldest Pandavas, yet he did not go to his brothers. He choose to remain with his friend Duryodhana. He gave away his life for the sake of friendship while fighting against his own brothers. The rain of tears from his eyes was unstoppable too, Overwhelmed with grief he quietly stole into his tent, but there was no trace of sleep in his eyes. The greatest of his supporter had fallen. The war was now a futile and hopeless exercise. He was,now for the first time not looking forward for the battle at the next day.