The story of Ashwaththama

Ashwaththama, a great warrior

Ashwaththama is widely known for a misdeed done by him in the Mahabharta, but few of us know that he was a great warrior. He was the son of the guru of Pandavas, and Drona admired his son greatly.

Drona and Ashwaththama
Drona and Ashwaththama

He fought in the epic battle of Mahabharata as the commander of the forces from the camp of Kauravas (the antagonists) against the Pandavas (the protagonists), as did his father, Dronacharya.

As Karna was born with Kavach and Kundal,  Ashwaththama also had a jewel (mani) embedded in his forehead which saved him from demons, Gods, snakes and from worldly botheration of hunger and thirst.

His hate with Pandavas

He developed great hatred towards Pandavas as they resorted to unjust means to neutralise Drona from the battlefield. After Duryodhana was defeated by Bhima, he became quite convinced to kill Pandavas by any means. With the help of Kripacharya, they attacked the Pandava’s camp in night and beheaded them. Later, it was discovered that Draupadi’s five sons, or upapandavas were killed.

Parikshit and Lord Krishna episode

He did not stop here. He did the most heinous thing. He tried to kill the unborn son of Abhimanyu’s in his mother’s womb. Drona loved Ashwaththama greatly, but he had the wisdom not to teach the Brahmastra in totality. So, Ashwaththama knew how to invoke that, but he did not know how to retract this deadly weapon.

 

So, when he invoked this on Abhimanyu’s son, and Shri Krishna had to intervene to save the future king of Hastinapur, known as Parikshit.

Shri Krishna saving Parikshit
Shri Krishna saving Parikshit

After this, Shri Krishna took out the jewel from Ashwaththama’s head and cursed him to be alive. It is believed that he is still alive and suffering from ailments.

Thus a misdeed wiped all of his virtue. So much of qualities but so little achieved.