Mahabharata

XTerms of Use: My purpose in using this site is to read or use as a reference, books that I have already read or own. Also I'd like to preview unread books. I do declare that my intention is not to read books for free, denying due royalty owed to the Author and Publishers.

330

"O, DURYODHANA, you are yet alive, hear the news and rejoice! All the Panchalas have been slaughtered. The sons of the Pandavas have also been all done to death. The entire army of theirs has been destroyed. We made a night attack on them when they were asleep. There are only seven survivors now on the Pandava side. On our side, Kripacharya, Kritavarma and I remain."

Thus said Aswatthama to the dying Duryodhana who, on hearing this, slowly opened his eyes and, with struggling breath, gasped out these words:

"Aswatthama, you have indeed done for me what neither the great Bhishma nor the valiant Karna could achieve! You have gladdened my heart and I die happy." Saying this, Duryodhana expired.

When he saw the unexpected destruction of his army as a result of the attack during sleep, Yudhishthira gave way to grief and broke down:

"At the very moment of victory, we have been totally defeated. The vanquished have indeed triumphed. Draupadi's children, who survived the onslaught of the formidable Karna, have, by our unwariness, been crushed and destroyed like vermin. We have allowed ourselves to be destroyed like a merchant ship which, having successfully crossed the big seas, returns home but capsizes in a ditch and is lost."

Draupadi was overwhelmed by inconsolable grief. She came to Dharmaputra's side and wept. "Is there no one to avenge my children's slaughter, by destroying this great sinner Aswatthama?" she cried.

When she said this, the Pandavas immediately went out in search of the murderer. They looked for him in all sorts of places and found him, at last, on the bank of the Ganga, hiding himself behind Vyasa.

When he saw the Pandavas and Janardana approaching, Aswatthama quietly took up a blade of grass and charged it with the mantra of destruction and sent it forward saying: "May this destroy the race of the Pandavas." And it went straight to the womb of Uttara who bore in her the son of Abhimanyu.

331

The race of the Pandavas would have been destroyed thereby but for the intervention of Sri Krishna who saved the child in the mother's womb. This child was Parikshit who was later crowned by Yudhishthira when the Pandavas retired to the forest.

Aswatthama pried out the shining jewel that was part of his head and gave it to Bhima, acknowledging his defeat, and went away to the forest. Bhima took the great jewel and, going to Draupadi said: "Angel of spotless purity, this is for you. The man, who killed your beloved sons, has been vanquished. Duryodhana has been destroyed. I have drunk the blood of Duhsasana. I have avenged the great outrage and discharged my debts."

Draupadi took the jewel and, going up to Yudhishthira bowed and said: "Faultless king, it befits you to wear this in your crown."