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War Day 18: Ashwatthaamaa as Commander-in-Chief-Day-1
18th day of war - After Duryodhan's Fall...
Ashwatthaamaa Goes to Kill Paandav

Sanjaya  said - "Ashwatthaamaa, Kritvarmaa and Kripaa headed towards south and arrived near the Kuru camps, in a forest around the sunset. They got frightened and stayed there for a while. But then they heard the noise of Paandav's happiness, Fearing the pursuit they fled towards east. They took a rest for a while.

Dhritraashtra said - "My son had 10,000 elephants strength, it is really incredible for Bheem to blow down my son. And my heart is also made by something so strong that it does not break into 1,000 pieces hearing the slaughtering of my 100 sons. I cannot live in Paandu's sons' kingdom. I myself am a king and I am a father of the king too. O Sanjaya,   How can I live like a slave of Paandav? Well, tell me what happened next."

Sanjaya said - "They proceeded again in that forest but saw a dense forest further with several water bodies. They found a banyan tree and retired there They cleansed themselves and said their evening prayers. The night was falling and the animals were becoming dreadful. They were tired, for a while they talked about the destruction of both armies, then they lay down on bear earth. Kripaa and Kritvarmaa were very tired so they were half sleepy, but Ashwatthaamaa was very furious, so he could not sleep. So he cast his eyes around and saw another banyan tree full of crows. Crows were sleeping there secured from all sides. The then he saw an owl coming with a great speed and attacking sleeping crows. He tore the wings of some and killed some, and then he flew away.

Ashwatthaamaa thought for a while on this incident and learnt something from it. He thought, "Invincible Paandav cannot be killed by me, and I have vowed to kill them before the king. If I fight with them fairly, I will have to lie down. Sometimes old sayings are good like, "Enemies should be killed even when they are tired, or wounded, or eating, or retiring, or resting, They should be treated same in all conditions." Thus he made up his mind to kill Paandav in night (like an owl) and started thinking about the execution of his plan.

Then he awakened both [Kripaa and Kritvarmaa] and told his plan. Both felt ashamed hearing it and didn't feel even the need to reply him. Then Ashwatthaamaa said - "Our king is dying because of unfair act of Bheem. He went further than this that he touched his head with his foot, that underwent the sacred bath. If your wisdom doesn't approve my plan then tell me something else which is proper considering these circumstances."

Kripaa said - "We have heard you, now you listen to me. All men are governed by these two forces only: Destiny and Exertion. There is nothing greater than these two. Our acts cannot become successful by Destiny alone or by Exertion alone. The Success springs from the union of the two. Exertion, where Destiny is not auspicious; Destiny, where Exertion is not exercised; both situations are fruitless. Sometimes Destiny has settled a course of events, and thus acts automatically without the help of Exertion. For all that, the wise, with the help of their skills, recourse to Exertion. Recourse may be had to Exertion, but Exertion succeeds through Destiny only. It is in consequence of Destiny that one who sets himself to work, depending on his Exertion, attains the success. While the Exertion, even of a competent man without its Destiny, goes fruitless. Thus those people who are idle and fool, disapprove Exertion; while who are wise, they do not disapprove Exertion.

Generally, an act performed is not seen unproductive in the world; while the absence of action is seen as a grave misery. A person obtaining something itself, without making any efforts, as opposed to not obtaining anything even after efforts, is not seen. One who is busy in actions is capable of supporting life, opposed to that man who is idle never obtains happiness in life. If somebody is seen enjoying luxurious life without any Exertion, he soon becomes an object of hatred. He normally injures himself.

Efforts become ineffective in consequence of these two reasons, Destiny without Exertion and Exertion without Destiny, Without Destiny no act becomes successful in this world. Devoted to action and with skill, a person who always bows down to Devtaa becomes successful and is never lost. The same is the case with the one who properly waits upon the aged learned people for counsel as what is good for him and what is not, and obeys their counsel.

This Duryodhan embarked on a project without seeking counsel to learned people. He disregarding all his well wishers and obeying the wicked, waged war with Paandav who are much superior in all qualities. That is why he is burning in grief. Regarding ourselves, since we followed that sinful wretched that is why this calamity has fallen on us. Because of this calamity I fail to see what is good for us.

A man in this situation should take advice from his friends in whom he has confidence, humility, and prosperity. One's actions should have root in them. Those should be done with intelligent friends, and in a settled understanding with cool mind. Now we should consult Dhritraashtra, Gaandhaaree and Vidur as what we should do. They will surely tell us for our good. And this is my resolution that those men whose acts do not succeed even after the Exertion, certainly they are afflicted by their Destiny."

Hearing these words Ashwatthaamaa again grieved for his friend and made a wicked resolution and said to both - "Faculty of understanding is different in different men and each man is pleased with his own understanding. Every man regards himself more intelligent than others. Every man respects his own understanding and accords its praise. Everyone speaks ill of other's wisdom. A man in youth has a different kind of wisdom and understanding, while when he is in his middle age does not prevail the same, and while he becomes old, a different kind of wisdom develops in him. In one and the same person, through want of wisdom, understanding becomes different at different times. One that is agreeable at one time becomes disagreeable at another time. Therefore whatever one has resolved with one wisdom, one should endeavor for the same. All men relying on their own judgment and wisdom endeavor for different purpose considering them beneficial to them. The resolution I have thought is to dispel my grief. I will tell it to you now.

When Bhagavaan created people, He gave everybody a profession and some excellence to carry out that profession. I am born in Braahman's family, unfortunately I have entered into Kshatriya's profession. Now I want to adopt a Braahman's duties as opposed to Kshatriya's and that path is not of nobleness. I have excellent weapons. If I cannot take revenge of killing my master then how will I stand amidst men? Today I am going to adopt my master's steps. Today Paandav will sleep very happily without their armor in their camp. I will kill them all, along with their leader Dhrishtdyumn, in sleep. I will get my peace of mind only after killing all Paanchaal. That is how I will pay my debt to my master."

Kripaa said - "Even Indra cannot stop you to carry out your plan today, because your heart is set today for injustice. However, both of us will accompany you in the morning. Tonight you take rest, we will go tomorrow in the morning. United with ourselves you will kill all Paanchaal with their followers. You have been awake for many nights, take some rest then you will be able to kill them very well. Who is there, even in Devtaa, who can face the son of Drone protected by Kripaa and Kritvarmaa? We will not retreat from battle until Paandav are killed, or we are killed by them."

Ashwatthaamaa said - "How can a person who is afflicted, or who is very angry with someone, or who is always thinking about acquiring wealth, or who is under the power of lust, can sleep? And all the four reasons are present in my case. I have to take revenge of killing of my master, and I cannot sit quiet until I kill Dhrishtdyumn. Only after killing all of them I will sleep without anxiety."

Kripaa said - "Who lacks intelligence, and who has no control on his passions, in my opinion cannot understand the considerations of morality, even if he listens to his elders. Similarly, an intelligent person who does not practice humility, fails to understand the results of morality. A brave man, who lacks understanding, even by living under learned people, fails to know his duties. While a wise man, by waiting upon a learned person for even a moment, succeeds in knowing his duties. An intelligent person who has controlled his passions, and who waits upon his superiors, succeeds in knowing all the rules of morality, and never disputes with what is accepted by all.

A person having brain disorder does not welcome soothing words. Do something only which is truly beneficial, not just to yourself only, so that you don't repent afterwards. In this world to kill sleeping people is not appreciated by the leaders of religion. The same applies to those who have laid down their arms and got down from their vehicles. And the same applies to them also who say "We are yours", or whose animals are killed, or their vehicles are broken. All the Paanchaal will be sleeping tonight like a dead. The man who will kill them like this, will surely sink in Hell. You have not done anything so far like trespassing, but when the morning will break, you will be considered a red spot on a white sheet. This is my opinion."

Ashwatthaamaa said - "You are right, uncle, but Bheeshm, Karn, my father, Duryodhan all were killed like that only. My father was killed when he had laid his weapons, today I will also kill them when they have taken off their armor. They are all unrighteous and sinful. Why don't you say this about them also? No one can persuade me to change my plans. I am in hurry to kill them, how can I sleep?" After saying this Ashwatthaamaa got up, yoked his horses to his chariot and proceeded towards his enemies. Seeing this Kripaa and Kritvarmaa said - "What are you up to? We have promised you to accompany you tomorrow. Don't distrust us." But Ashwatthaamaa was very angry, he said - "They killed my father when he has laid down his weapons, today I will kill them in the same situation. Get ready and wait for me here only." But both followed Ashwatthaamaa."


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Created by Sushma Gupta On 05/27/04
Modified on 04/08/13