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Why it was necessary to lie to Drone to kill him?
From MBTN=Mahaabhaarat Taatparya Nirnaya [read it here]   Read also  Arjun or Bheem

The fact that “Dharm” is an extremely subjective issue is well known. In any given situation, the answer to “What is the right thing to say or do?” is tricky to determine. Having the right principles and firm belief in those principles is what comes handy in situations requiring a finer interpretation of Dharm.

In the Mahaabhaarat, Bheemsen is a follower of the Bhaagvat Dharm. One of the principles of this route is complete surrender to the Supreme Lord Vishnu. For the followers of this path, whatever Lord Vishnu states constitutes Dharm. Bheemsen demonstrates this on numerous occasions. One such occasion was the slaying of Dronaachaarya.

On the 15th day of the great war, when Aachaarya Drone was staging an impressive battle destroying thousands of Paandav's soldiers, Lord Krishn decides that the time to end Drone has come now. He instructs the Paandav to adopt a seemingly incorrect method to kill Drone. He advises them to tell Drone that Ashwatthaamaa has been slain. This, He says, will make Drone lay down his arms. The reaction of the Paandav clearly reflects the extent to which they follow Dharm. I reproduce the below paragraph from Ganguli’s translation of the Mahaabhaarat.

“Beholding the sons of Kunti afflicted with the shafts of Drona and inspired with fear, Kesava, endued with great intelligence and, devoted to their welfare, addressed Arjuna and said, ‘This foremost of all bowmen is incapable of being ever vanquished by force in battle, by the very gods with Vasava at their head. When, however, he lays aside his weapons, he becomes capable of being slain on the field even by human beings. Casting aside virtue, ye sons of Pandu, adopt now some contrivance for gaining the victory, so that Drona of the golden car may not slay us all in battle. Upon the full of (his son) Aswatthaman he will cease to fight, I think. Let sonic man, therefore, tell him that Aswatthaman, hath been slain in battle.’ This advice, however, O kin was not approved by Kunti’s son, Dhananjaya. Others approved of it. But Yudhishthira accepted it with great difficulty. Then the mighty-armed Bhima, O king, slew with a mace a foe-crushing, terrible and huge elephant named Aswatthaman, of his own army, belonging to Indravarman, the chief of the Malavas. Approaching Drona then in that battle with some bashfulness Bhimasena began to exclaim aloud, "Aswatthaamaa hath been slain." That elephant named Ashwatthaamaa having been thus slain, Bheem spoke of Ashwatthaamaa’s slaughter…”

All the Paandav know very well that Krishn is the Supreme Lord himself. Still, Arjun out rightly rejects the advice. Arjun’s action is even more difficult to comprehend because just 15 days earlier, he listened to the Geetaa and swore that he would completely follow Krishn’s instructions (Bhagavad Geetaa – Chapter 18 – Shlok 73). Clearly, this constituted a complete deviation from Dharm. Yudhishtir only hesitatingly accepts to do this.

Bheemsen, on the other hand, proceeds to kill an elephant named Ashwatthaamaa and immediately informs Drone that Ashwatthaamaa has been killed. Drone, expectedly does not believe him because he knows that Bheemsen always does what Krishn asks him to do. So, he questions Yudhishthir. According to me, Bheemsen’s anticipates this and therefore kills the elephant. Otherwise, if Drone would accept his word itself, Bheemsen wouldn’t have even blinked to say the same without even bothering to kill the elephant.

Yudhishthir, with great difficulty, tells Drone that Ashwatthaamaa has died, and whispers at the end that it was an elephant that had died ("Ashwatthaamo hatha kunjaraha”). The chariot of Yudhishthir, which always stayed a few inches above the ground, comes down after this “A-Dharm”. Outwardly, it would appear that the chariot came down because of the lie. But, the real reason is that Yudhishthir did not follow the words of Krishn, which was A-Dharm and hence the chariot came down.

One of the names of Vishnu in the Vishnu Sahastra Naam is Dharm (“Dharmo dharmaviduttamaha….”). The Dharm in the world is governed by Krishn. What he says is Dharm. Hence, Yudhishthir not following Krishn’s words is very much against Dharm.

There is one more reason why Yudhishthir did a grave mistake. Just before the commencement of the war, on the battlefield, the Paandav approached Bheeshm and Drone. They seek their blessings and ask them how they can be slain. At that time, Drone clearly tells them (link – Page 101) that they would need to make him give up his arms in order to kill him. In effect, Drone permits them to do whatever is necessary to make him give up arms. So, Krishn was only advising them to follow the option provided by Drone. Even after this, Yudhishthir refuses to comply.



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Created by Sushma Gupta  On 5/27/04
Modified on 04/29/12