Hindu Culture


By December 6, 2021February 16th, 2023No Comments
Ashwatthama-Mahabharats Most_Temperamental_Warrior_

Do you know that Mahabharat has 7 great immortal warriors and one of the most intriguing of them was Ashwatthama? Considered as one of the most talented fighters but sadly Krishna cursed him to live on till the end of Kali Yug. In fact, many people even claim sighting the historic character seen in deplorable conditions. So, what made Krishna curse the mighty Ashwatthama to immortality? Let’s take a look at the story behind it.

Story Of Mahabharat

Birth of Ashwatthama

Long time ago, Rishi Dronacharya and his wife Kripi, who was the twin sister of Kripacharya, lived in very poor conditions and were eager to start a family. They prayed for many years to lord Shiva for the blessing of a son. Lord Mahadev accepted their prayers and Kripi conceived.

As this son was born, instead of crying like a baby, he neighed loudly like a horse (Ashwa). His neigh was so loud that it resounded in all directions. Kripi and her husband Dronacharya heard an Aakashwani stating, ‘The child is a blessing from Lord Shiva. He is an extraordinary child and “Ashwatthama” is perfect name for him’

As a child, Ashwatthama was truly unique as he was born with a mani (precious stone) in the middle of his forehead. This stone would protect him from any kind of negative effects and unwanted entities. Since he had Lord Shiva’s blessings, he was also a chiranjivi, noone and even death couldn’t defeat him.

Ashwatthama’s arrival to Hastinapur

Young Ashwatthama was growing as were his talents but his parents financial condition kept worsening. To calm Ashwathama’s hunger, his mother Kripi would give him flour mixed in water as milk. Finally, one day Dronacharya, tired of his condition, decided to visit King Drupada, the ruler of Panchala and his childhood classmate.

Drupada made fun of Dronacharya and refused to help him stating that a King and a beggar could never be friends. Guru Kripacharya witnessed this scene and later invited Dornacharya to Hastinapur, where Bhishma resided. Bhishma appointed Dronacharya as the Guru of Pandavas and Kauravas, because of his vast knowledge and intelligence . Drona, Kripi and Ashwatthama shifted together at Hastinapur where the young child started training alongside the princes of Hastinapur.

Emerging friendship between Duryodhan and Ashwatthama

One day a very interesting thing happened, Duryodhana invited Ashwatthama at his palace to play. Once all of them were finished playing. All were given milk, now this was cow’s milk boiled with saffron and other assorted nuts. As Ashwatthama drank the milk he immediately realized that his mother had tricked him. The warmth with which Duryodhana offered him hospitality touched a young Ashwatthama’s heart. He vowed to always protect Duryodhana and help him in his time of need.

Rise of Ashwatthama

The children grew fast and Dronacharya taught them the best warfare methods he knew. His favorite student was Arjuna who he wished to make ‘sarvashreshtha dhanurdhara’, the greatest archer of the time. He even taught Arjuna the nuances of Brahmastra, the deadliest weapon in warfare.

While he was grooming the princes of Hastinapur, Drona’s fatherly affection towards his talented son got the best of him. Ashwatthama was extremely talented, but his quick temper always ended up causing more harm than good. Drona decided that he will impart the best of his knowledge to Ashwatthama as well and hoped that the responsibility will make him more thoughtful of his actions.

Dronacharya taught his temperamental son everything and exclusively about Brahmastra too. He insinuated the importance of having such crucial knowledge and explained that invoking an astra of this magnitude could even harm the entire Universe. Ashwatthama merely laughed at his father’s concern and said that he is a mighty warrior and such directions are not needed for one like him. This made the royal teacher wonder if he had made a mistake but alas it was too late.

Beginning of Mahabharat’s War

The misinformation of Ashwatthama’s death killed his father, Dronacharya due to grief (After seeing Drona mercilessly killing the Pandava sena, Krishna had instructed Yudhishthir to shout, ‘Ashwatthama died, not the man, the elephant’). This deeply affected Ashwatthama, who later took the charge in his hand.

As the war progressed to its 18th day, it was clear that Kauravas were depleting and not much hope was left. Seeing this, Duryodhana ran and hid in the Dwaipayan lake. He was discovered soon by the Pandavas and when he came out to fight, Bhim hit Duryodhana on his thigh breaking it into pieces. They then leave the Kuru prince to die, bleeding on the shore.

Once they left, Ashwatthama came to the aide of Duryodhana but he knew that his friend can not be brought back. He vowed to take revenge on all Pandavas and end their lineage. Ashwatthama along with his uncle Kripacharya and Kritavarma entered the Pandava camp the same night to annihilate any warrior they find.

As Kripacharya and Kritavarma waited outside, a furious Ashwatthama entered, the very personification of death for any and all Pandavas. What they were unaware of was that Krishna and Pandavas had already left for some urgent work and were not present at the camp. Instead Ashwatthama found the sons of the Pandavas and their bodyguards.

Role of Ashwatthama in Mahabharat War

Ashwatthama mercilessly killed them all. When Lord Krishna and Pandavas returned and encountered that barbaric scene. The 5 brothers were grief stricken when they saw their young sons’ corpse. They vowed to find Ashwatthama and execute him. The raider meanwhile ran away to Rishi Vyasa’s ashram but there was no escaping the grieving Pandavas and their cohort Krishna.

To save himself he invoked the Brahmastra, failing the good advice of his late father. Krishna asked Arjuna to invoke his Brahmastra to counter Ashwatthama’s weapon. As the two celestial missiles were about to collide, Guru Vyasa appeared at the scene and stopped the two Brahmastra with his divine powers. He asked both the warriors to retract their astras as it would be fatal to the planet.

How it all ended?

Arjun obliged but a hot headed Ashwatthama refused to do so and decided on a severe action for the weapon. He directed the weapon towards Uttara, Abhimanyu’s wife to end the unborn grandchild of Arjun and hence the lineage of Pandavas. This is where Krishna stepped in. He released his Sudarshan Chakra to protect Uttara’s womb and the son within it.

Sudharshan Chakra entirely engulfed the Ashwatthama Bhrahamastra. Hence, it saved Uttara’s child. Lord Krishna was angry with Ashwatthama and his intention to hurt an unborn child.

For his brutality and his foul intents Krishna cursed Ashwatthama with leprosy that will eat away his skin. His body will have several cuts and blood and pus will ooze from them.

There will be no release by death for him and he will continue to live in this deplorable state forever.’ After this, Krishna instructed Bhim to pluck out the precious stone in Ashwatthama’s head and once done, they left him bleeding and moved on.


Ques. What was the Ashwatthama curse?

Ans. Krishna cursed Ashwatthama for his ill intents. He said tha Ashwatthama will suffer from leprosy. There will be deep severe cuts on his body which will be hard to heal.


Ques. Is Ashwatthama named under Maharashtra warriors?

Ans. Ashwatthama was born to be a warrior but due to his evil intents he killed even the innocents in the war. No, so he was not a warrior.


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Chetna Kaushik

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