Apr 26, 2024, 04:57 PM IST

Who was Ashwatthama and why was he cursed?

Pavan Naidu

Mahabharata is an ancient Indian epic that contains many compelling characters. One of its most important characters was Ashwatthama.

Ashwatthama, son of Guru Dronacharya was born after the harsh penance his parents underwent; their dedication was in hopes of receiving blessings from Lord Shiva.

And therefore, Lord Shiva blessed Ashwatthama with the boon of being a Chiranjeevi (immortal). He was born with a jewel on his forehead that gave him extraordinary powers.

Moreover, he was one of Duryodhana’s trusted friends and also fought for the Kaurava army in the battle of Kurukshetra.

In the battle of Kurukshetra, Ashwatthama was a pivotal figure, especially after seeing his close friend, Duryodhana lying to death. Fueled by pain and wrath, Ashwatthama seeks vengeance against the Pandavas.

After the battle was finished, Ashwatthama visits the Pandavas camp with the intention kill all the Pandavas brothers. However, he ends up killing all the five sons of Draupadi. 

Ashwatthama then goes to seeks redemption from Sage Vyas for the sin he committed. Meanwhile, Pandavas also reached Sage’s Ashram to get hold of Ashwatthama after he killed their sons.

Ashwatthama releases Brahmastra to kill all five Pandavas. In retaliation, Arjuna also releases the same powerful weapon to save themselves.

Sage Vyas uses his divine power to stop the two Brahmastras from colliding. He also asked both the warriors to retrieve their weapons. Arjuna obeys Sage’s order, but Ashwatthama, who claimed that he dosen’t know how to retrieve the weapon, intentionally changes the direction of Brahmastra towards Uttara womb, who was carrying Abhimanyu’s child.

Shri Krishna who eventually saved Abhimanyu’s child from the powerful weapon cursed Chiranjeevi Ashwatthama saying that he would roam around the world seeking peace, sympathy, and mercy, which was even worse than death.