Mahadeva blesses Ashwathama

Posted on October 5, 2010


During the eighteenth night of the war, Aswathama observed an owl attacking a murder of crows that were resting in a banyan tree for the night. The crows, with their vision compromised in the dark, succumbed to the owl’s attack.  Seeing this, Aswathama envisioned the idea of attacking Pandavas in their sleep.

He enlisted the assitance of his fellow warriors Kripa and Kritavarma to execute his plan. Aswathama justified his planned attack by citing the death of his father in a similar situation (Drishtadhyumna had killed Drona when the latter had cast aside his arms momentarily), and vowed that he shall repay Pandavas in the same manner.

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When the trio approached Pandavas’ camp, they encountered a large monster guarding the gates. The creature warded off their attack with ease and soon Aswathama found his weapons exhausted. Realizing that destiny is not in his favour, Aswathama decided to seek the blessings of Mahadeva (to subvert destiny).

After offering a prayer, Aswathama got ready to sacrifice his body in fire. At that moment, Mahadeva appeared along with his terriying ganas to bless him. Interestingly, Vyasa says that the strange ganas appeared there partly due to their eagerness to witness the imminent slaughter.

Mahadeva spoke, “There is no one dearer to me than Krishna.  For honouring him and at his word I have protected the Panchalas.  But the time for their end has arrived”. Saying this, He offered an excellent, polished sword and entered Aswathama’s body.

Filled by that divine being, Drona’s son blazed with energy and entered the camp of Pandavas. Vyasa says Aswathama entered the camp as if there was no door. He then killed Drishtadhyumna without a weapon, by raining kicks and blows. He then killed many more including Yudhamanyu, Uttamaujas, the sons of Draupadi, and Shikandi. Kripa and Kritavarma waited at the gate and they slaughtered all those who tried to escape. Aswathama then set the camp in fire, and continued his rampage.

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Later, Yudhshitira approached Krishna and asked how could the son of Drona slaughter everyone single-handedly, something that even Drona could not do in the war.

Krishna replied, “Aswathama had the blessings of the great Mahadeva. It was for this reason that he could succeed in slaughtering all. If Mahadeva can be gratified, one can accomplish anything. Do not suffer by dwelling on this fact, as it was not Drona’s son that accomplished that act. It was Mahadeva who did it”.