Ashwathama’s desire for Krishna’s discus

Posted on August 29, 2010


Drona imparted the knowledge of Brahmastra weapon to his disciple Arjuna. Ashwathama, son of Drona was however not able to endure that fact that his father chose to teach this knowledge to someone else other than his own son. Ashwathama urged Drona to reveal the knowledge of the weapon. Drona obliged unwillingly and imparted the knowledge to him, but warned that the weapon should not be used even in times of great danger, especially against human beings.

Knowing the restlessness of his son, Drona said, “O Ashwathama, it seems you will not tread the path of virtue”. Hearing this, Ashwathama was overcome by despair and he wandered the earth in grief.

* * *

While Pandavas were spending their time in the forest, Ashwathama visited Dwaraka and stayed there for a while. One day, he visited Krishna when the latter was alone by the seashore. He urged Krishna to offer His Discus in exchange for the Brahmastra weapon.

Krishna replied, “O Ashwathama, the Gods, Danavas, Gandharvas and Men assembled together, are not equal to even a hundredth part of my energy. I have this bow, this dart, this discus, and this mace. Tell me which of these do you desire to possess. Without giving me the weapon you wish to give, choose a weapon of mine that you may be able to wield and use in battle”.

Ashwathama, as if challenging Krishna, solicited the discus, and Krishna told him to take it. Aswattama suddenly rose and seized the discus with his left hand. He failed, however, to even move the weapon. He then tried with his right hand but in vain. Dejected and tired, Ashwathama resigned.

Krishna told Aswattama, “Even Arjuna, my dearest friend on earth, never spoke these words that you uttered here. Even Pradyumna, the son whom I obtained through ascetic penances and observances of Brahmacarya for twelve years never solicited my discus. Balarama of great might never said such words to me! Neither did Gada nor Samba. But you asked me to give you the discus. Tell me one thing – whom were you planning to fight using this weapon?”

Drona’s son replied, “After offering my worship to you, O Krishna, it was my intention to fight you. If I had attained your discus, I would have become invincible. Having failed, I am about to leave this place. I have realized that there is none other than you who can wield this”. Saying this Aswattama departed.

Krishna later narrated this incident to Yudhishtira at the end of the war. At that time, He described Aswattama as wrathful, wicked-souled, restless and cruel.

(Source: Mbh 10.12)

Posted in: Mahabharata