Ashwatthama’s sin and Yudhishtira’s mind being freed of guilt


Ashwatthama, the son of Drona decided to do something that would please his master Suyodhana. He cut off the heads of five of Pandava’s sons by Draupati when they were sleeping.  But even Suyodhana was not pleased with his act. Arjuna tried to console Draupati by telling that he would cut off the head of Ashwathama and put it before her. Ashwathama sped hastily to escape the wrath of Arjuna, he decided to use the Brahma asthra weapon to save himself. Seeing the radiation spread everywhere Arjuna asked his dear friend and charioteer Krishna the source of this powerful radiation. Krishna advises Arjuna that Ashwathama has released the Brahmasthra and that he doesn’t know how to retract it. Arjuna countered the Brahmasthra released by Ashwathama and retracted both the weapons to save the world. He then tied Ashwathama with ropes and dragged him in front of Panchali. Panchali was unable to bear a Brahmana, and Guru Dronacharya’s son to be tied with ropes and cried out to release him. Arjuna inorder to please his brothers and wife sheared off with his sword the head-tuft of Ashwathama along with his crest jewel that was a natural feature on his head and sent him away.

They then proceeded to Ganga to perform rites of their dead relatives. After consoling one and all Krishna was about to proceed to Dwaraka when Uttara rushed towards Krishna and cried that a fierce missile is coming fast towards her and to protect her from it. Krishna understood that this was the Brahmasthra again that Ashwathama had sent inorder to efface the entire Pandava line. Each of the Pandava brothers was now taking up arms to counter the fierce Brahmasthra. Krishna used Sudarshana Chakra to protect the Pandavas and the foetus of Uttara which was the only way to keep the Pandava lineage in continuity. Kunti Devi praised Lord Krishna for protecting the Pandavas from all perils till now. She saluted the supreme Lord and praised with hymns. The Lord blessed her that she would attain to loving devotion of God.

Yudhishtira lamented over the casualities of the war and his dead relatives. He was very distressed that Krishna was also leaving him and proceeding to Dwaraka. Yudhishtira wanted to clear all his doubts regarding righteous conduct and proceeded to Kurukshetra where Bheeshma had fallen in battle and was lying in a bed of arrows awaiting an auspicious moment to depart from his body. All the Pandavas and Lord Krishna saluted Bheeshma. Assembled there were also great munis like Vasishta, Sri Suka, Kashyapa, Angiras, Sri Suka and many others.

Bheeshma knowing that Lord Krishna is the perfect being Narayana, the origin of all explained the Maya of the Lord and how supreme devotion to the Lord has blessed him with His vision when he was about to leave his body. Yudhishtira then asked Bheeshma many questions regarding virtue which Bheeshma explained in detail. When it was time for him to end his life, the Uttarayana(Northern solstice of the sun) he fixed his mind on the Lord and praised him. Thus Bheeshma breathed his last and united himself with the Supreme Self.

Yudhishtira’s mind being freed from all confusion now did all his duties by resigning to Krishna. All the subjects of his kingdom were happy and free from trouble and diseases, the kingdom prospered and the earth always remained fertile.

Krishna proceeded to Dwaraka after staying in Hastinapura for a few months. All women, children, the royal household of Hastinapura, Pandavas and everybody knew that Krishna was the supreme Lord and they were quite sad that He was leaving. Still they put on a happy face as they didn’t want to shed tears when the Lord was going before them.

Krishna travelled through many places and finally reached Dwaraka. He sounded his conch Panchajanya to announce his arrival. The citizens of Dwaraka extended a cordial reception to Him. When he entered his home he was embraced by his mother and her sisters. His wives also were overjoyed just like the ego of man considers the witness-I as involved and identified with all its modifications, they did not realize that the Supreme Lord even though in close association with Prakriti remains unattached and dwells in the Atman. They looked upon him as an uxorious man under their thumb in privacy.

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