Monthly Archives: December 2011

The curse of Ashwaththama – Mahabharat

Seven people apart from five Pandavs survived the Mahabharat war (Kurukshetra). These are Krishna, Kripacharya, Yuyutsu, Kritivarma, Vrishakethu, Satyaki, and Ashwatthama.Ashwatthama , the son of Drona, guru of Pandavas and Kauravas was the great warrior who also commanded the Kauravas army post Drona demise. He is supposed to not die and  this was not as a result of any boon, but rather surprisingly, result of a curse, which was given to him by Sri Krishna, because of his misdeeds during the last days of Mahabharat war. After Drona was killed by Pandavas because of a half-lie, spoken by Yudhisthir, who was the eldest of the Pandavas, Ashwatthama, vowed to kill all Pandavas.
Ashwaththama consoling Duryodhana on his deathbed

Mahabharat - Indian mythology pic where Ashwaththama is sitting close to Duryodhana

One night he saw an owl attacking crows, and in the morning, the situation was reversed, when crows attacked the owl. Inspired by this incident, he attacked the Pandavas during  night and beheaded all Pandavas, but they were Upapandavas, or five sons of Draupadi.
Ashwatthama also used Brahmastra to destroy all pandavas and Arjuna and Krishna intervened. He did not know how to retrieve this, directed this towards the womb of Uttara (wife of Abhimanyu) who was carrying Abhimanyu’s son (Parikshit). This was an attempt to end the lineage of the Pandavas. Krishna used his sudarshan chakra to stop the Brahmastra and save Uttara’s unborn child who later was known as Pariskshit.

Due to above misdeeds, Krishna cursed him to suffer and carry the burden of all people’s sins on his shoulders and will roam alone like a ghost without getting any love and courtesy till the end of Kaliyuga. A gem or mani which was on his forehead was also taken from him. This is believed that Ashwatthama will be freed by Kalki-Avatar, the tenth incarnation of Sri Krishna.

In Hindu mythology or Indian mythology and especially in the epic Mahabharat, we can find many instances of misdeeds, and also see that the power is bestowed to the people who can misuse it. For example, the Brahmastra was in wrong hands. How relevant this is today as we see that nuclear weapons do not necessarily kept by good people only. Similarly we find similar instances in World mythology as well.

Only history will tell who is wrong and who is right as in the case of Ashwatthama, who thought he was avenging the wrong doing of Pandavas, but if we look at the bigger picture, we find that this is not the case. But Lord Krishna knew this, didn’t he?

Karna – the unfortunate who deserved

Karna – The most virtuous warrior from Mahabharata

In Indian mythology, I don’t come across anyone who is as gifted as Karna, and at the same time, most unfortunate as well. He had everything, yet he ended up having nothing. The reasons, one may argue would his deeds, or the company he kept,but at the same time, we must think that he had to accept what he was given to him, god or if we want this to put more correctly, Ved Vyasa, did not give him too many choices.

karna-indian_mythology-world-mythology-mahabharat

Karna

To start with, being the eldest son of Kunti, he should have been the king, but her curiosity proved to be the undoing of this person. The price which he had to pay for his mother’s curiosity is overwhelming. He was the best warrior amongst the all Pandavas, he had the Kavach and Kundal to prtotect him, but even the gods conspired against him.

Sometimes we wonder, why Surya just chose to warn him and not to protect him, as Indra have done for Arjun. Even he had left him to fight against the gods. Here lies the utlimate curse, a mere mortal cannot think to win against the gods, and if he tried too, then there were curses to ensure that he failed. There was one from his teacher, which proved to be undoing of this great man. On the other hand, Drona, made sure that Arjun remained the best archer in the world and went out of way to ask for Eklavya’s thumb.

Even in the battlefield, his charioteer Shalya, use to praise his opponent Arjun, where do you heard such kind of odds against a man.

The only person who probably have recognized Karna’s prowess correctly was Shri Krishna, and he did salute him in the battlefield, much to the amusement of Arjun. Nevertheless, Karna comes across with a character which is hard to find. I would say that he did not die for his weaknesses, but paid for other’s fallacies. Who says that this earth is a great place to live?