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English Reading Comprehension Set 48

Directions (Q.1-10): Read the following passage carefully and answer the questions given below it. Certain words/phrases in the passage are printed in bold to help you locate them while answering some of the questions.

Indra foresaw that a supreme contest was inevitable between his son Arjuna and Karna; and he put on the garb of a Brahmana and came to Karna, who was reputed for his charity, and begged of him his earrings and armour. The Sun god had already warned Karna in a dream that Indra would try to deceive him in this manner. Still, Karna could not bring himself to refuse any gift that was asked of him. Hence he cut off the earrings and armour with which he was born and gave them to the Brahmana. Indra, the king of gods, was filled with surprise and joy. After accepting the gift, he praised Karna as having done what no one else would do, and shamed into generosity, bade Karna ask for any boon he wanted. Karna replied: “I desire to get your weapon, the Sakti which has the power to kill enemies.” Indra granted the boon, but with a fateful proviso. He said: “You can use this weapon against but one enemy, and it will kill him whosoever he may be. But this killing done, this weapon will no longer be available to you but will return to me.” With these words Indra isappeared. Karna went to Parasurama and became his disciple by representing to him that he was a Brahmana. He learnt of Parasurama the mantra for using the master weapon known as Brahmastra. One day Parasurama was reclining with the head on Karna’s lap when a stinging worm burrowed into Karna’s thigh. Blood began to flow and the pain was terrible, but Karna bore it without tremor lest he should disturb the master’s sleep. Parasurama awoke and saw the blood which had poured from the wound. He said: “Dear pupil, you are not a Brahmana. A Kshatriya alone can remain unmoved under all bodily torments. Tell me the truth.” Karna confessed that he had told a lie in presenting himself as a Brahmana and that he was in fact the son of a charioteer. Parasurama in his anger pronounced this curse on him: “Since you deceived your guru, the Brahmastra you have learnt shall fail you at the fated moment. You will be unable to recall the invocatory mantra when your hour comes.” It was because of this curse that at the crisis of his last fight with Arjuna, Karna was not able to recall the Brahmastra spell, though he had remembered it till then. Karna was the faithful friend of Duryodhana and remained loyal with the Kauravas until the end. After the fall of Bhishma and Drona, Karna became the leader of the Kaurava army and fought brilliantly for two days. In the end, the wheel of his chariot stuck in the ground and he was not able to lift it free and drive the chariot along. While he was in this predicament, Arjuna killed him. Kunti was sunk in sorrow, all the more poignant because she had, at that time, to conceal it.

1. How did Parasurama find that Karna was not a Brahmana?
1) Karna himself confessed his identity before Parasurama.
2) Karna bore the sting of a worm without any tremor.
3) Parasurama had acquired the ability to know everything through his third eye.
4) He asked Karna’s father about his identity.
5) None of these

2. Why did Karna decide to become Parasurama’s disciple on the pretext that he was a Brahmana?
1) Because Parasurama was a Brahmana.
2) Parasurama hated Kshatriyas and Sudras.
3) Parasurama was a man who believed in strict notions of castes.
4) Karna was a Kshatriya and he knew that Parasurama would not allow him to become his disciple unless he pretended to be a Brahmana.
5) Not given in the passage

3. Why could Karna not refuse the demands for his earrings and armour made by Indra?
1) Because Karna was the son of Indra.
2) Because Karna was known for his charity.
3) Karna, being the son of a charioteer, could not refuse Indra, the King of Gods.
4) Karna was deceived by Indra in the guise of a Brahmana.
5) None of these

4. Why did Parasurama curse Karna?
1) Because Karna decided to use the Brahmastra on Parasurama.
2) Because Karna failed to learn the techniques of a Kshatriya.
3) Because Karna concealed his identity and betrayed his master.
4) Because Karna had vowed to destroy the hermitage of Parasurama.
5) None of these

5. What would be the effect of the curse?
1) That Karna would not be able to recall the Brahmastra spell when his hour came.
2) That the invocatory mantra would cease to act on the person targeted
3) That he would not be able to pass the spell to his friends
4) That he would be killed by his own invocatory mantra of the Brahmastra
5) None of these

6. Which of the following is the synonym of the word "Tremor"?
1) fear 
2) trembling 
3) offering
4) sorrow 
5) anger

7. Which of the following is the synonym of the word "Poignant"?
1) defile 
2) straight 
3) foul
4) painful 
5) close

8. Which of the following is the synonym of the word "Predicament"?
1) difficulty 
2) fancy 
3) hurry
4) emergency 
5) vanity

9. Which of the following is the antonym of the word "Reclining"?
1) resting 
2) standing 
3) waiting
4) thinking 
5) rejoicing

10. Which of the following is the antonym of the word "Torments"?
1) suffering 
2) pain 
3) anxiety
4) trouble 
5) comfort

1.   2
2.   5
3.   2
4.   3
5.   1
6.   2
7.   4
8.   1
9.   2
10. 5

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