Thursday, April 17, 2008

PDE Mahabharata: Ashwatthaman Cursed


Reading Guide. In this episode, you will read about the consequences of Ashwatthaman's night raid on the Pandava camp, including the strange story of the gem in his forehead, a supernatural amulet which he was born with and which protected him all his life from hunger, thirst, poison, the attack of wild animals, and much more. There are legends that Ashwatthaman is even now still alive; see the story here for example: The Legend of an Immortal.

Source. Indian Myth and Legend by Donald A. Mackenzie (1913). [300 words]




Night Raid | 70. Ashwatthaman's Jewel | Mourning


When it was told to the Pandava brethren that their camp had been raided in darkness by the bloodthirsty Ashwatthaman, Yudhishthira exclaimed, "Alas! Sorrow upon sorrow crowds upon us, and now the greatest sorrow of all hath fallen. Draupadi mourns the death of her brother and her five sons, and I fear she will perish with grief."

Draupadi came before her husbands and, weeping bitterly, said, "For thirteen cruel years you have endured shame and exile so that your children might prosper. But now that they are all slain, can you desire to have power and kingdom?"

Said Krishna, "O daughter of a rajah, is thy grief so great as is Kunti's and Gandhari's, and as great as those who lament the loss of their husbands on the battlefield? Thou hast less cause than others to wail now."

Draupadi was soothed somewhat, but she turned to Bhima and said, "If thou wilt not bring to me the head of Ashwatthaman, I will never again look upon thy face."

Said Yudhishthira, "Ashwatthaman is a brahmin, and Vishnu, the greatest of the gods, will punish him if he hath done wrong. If we should slay him now, O Draupadi, thy sons and thy brother and thy sire would not be restored unto thee."

Draupadi said, "So be it. But Ashwatthamann hath a great jewel which gleams in darkness. Let it be taken from him, for it is as dear unto him as his life."

Then Arjuna went in pursuit of Ashwatthamann and found him, and returned with the jewel.


Night Raid | Ashwatthaman Cursed | Mourning




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