Ashwathama is a “Maharathi” who fought for the Kauravas in the Great Kurukshetra War. He is also called Drauni, as he is the son of Guru Dronacharya.
This post takes two of the most relevant questions related to Ashwathama:
- Who is Ashwathama?
- Is Ashwathama alive?
It is said that Dronacharya did many years of penance to please Lord Shiva for obtaining a son that has the same variance in human form as Lord Shiva.
Ashwathama is recognized as one of the eight Rudras. He is also one of the seven Chiranjivi’s or the immortal ones. He was cursed by Lord Krishna when he shot the Brahmashirastra over Uttara’s womb.
Ashwathama was the final commander-in-chief of the Kauravas in the Great Mahabharata War. Ashwathama slaughtered most of the Pandava camp in a single night offensive. He crossed all limits of conduct and even misused divine Astras (weapons).
It is believed that Ashwathama is the lone survivor of the Mahabharata War who is still living.
Drauni had a gem in his forehead. This gem gave him immense power over all living beings that were lower than Manav Yoni. The gem protected him from attacks of ghosts, demons, as well as poisonous snakes and animals.
This gem was later removed from his forehead by Lord Krishna. The wound on his forehead that was caused by the removal of this gem would never heal. He would suffer from leprosy till the end of Kaliyuga.
Moreover, Ashwathama was cursed by Lord Krishna to roam in Kaliyuga due to his sinful deed of killing five innocent sons of Draupadi, wife of Pandavas.
According to the curse, Ashwathama will carry the burden of all people’s sins.
He will roam alone like a ghost. Drauni will never get any love and courtesy till the end of Kaliyuga. He will neither get any hospitality nor any accommodation.
Drauni will live in isolation from humanity and society. He will suffer from many incurable diseases that would never heal.
Thus, Ashwathama will crave for death every moment, and yet he will never die.
However, at the end of Kali Yuga, Ashwathama is destined to meet Sri Kalki, the tenth avatar of Lord Vishnu.
Who is Ashwathama?
Ashwathama is the son of Guru Dronacharya and Kripi. Dronacharya did many years of penance to please Lord Shiva for obtaining a son that possesses the same valiance as Lord Shiva.
Ashwathama was a Chiranjivi. He was born with a gem on his forehead that gave him power over all living beings that were lower than humans. Drauni was an expert in warfare. He was the final commander-in-chief of the Kaurava army in the Great Mahabharata War.
Drauni had a difficult childhood as Dronacharya led a simple life with little money or property. He was trained in warfare along with the Pandavas and Kauravas by Dronacharya himself.
Ashwathama was loyal to Duryodhana and fought for the Kauravas in the Kurukshetra War.
His father (Dronacharya) was killed deceptively by the Pandavas. Ashwathama was filled with wrath and invoked the celestial weapon called “Narayanastra” against the Pandavas.
However, on Lord Krishna’s suggestion, all the Pandava troops lay down their weapons and surrendered to this celestial weapon. Lord Krishna knew that the weapon only targets an armed person and ignores the ones who are unarmed. So, the Astra passed by harmlessly.
Ashwathama fought a terrible war against the Pandavas and killed many Maharathi (Kings) that were fighting for the Pandavas. He defeated Dhrishtadyumna and killed King Nila of Mahishmati.
Lastly, he was appointed as commander-in-chief of the Kaurava army. He attacked the Pandava camp at night. Drauni killed Dhrishtadyumna and butchered many other warriors, including Shikhandi, Yudhamanyu, and Uttamaujas. He even killed Draupadi’s children in their sleep.
When the Pandavas learned about these events, they were filled with grief. Bhima angrily rushes to kill Ashwathama. They found him at Sage Vyasa’s ashram near the bank of Bhagiratha.
Seeing the Pandavas and Lord Krishna, Ashwathama invoked the Brahmashirastra to kill them. Lord Krishna asks Arjuna to retaliate by firing the anti-missile against Brahmashirastra to defend them.
At this moment, Vyasa intervened and prevented the weapons from clashing against each other. He asks both Arjuna and Drauni to take their weapons back. Arjuna responded as he knew how to take the weapon back.
However, Ashwathama didn’t know how to take back the Brahmastra and so directed it towards the womb of pregnant Uttara to end the lineage of the Pandavas.
However, Supreme Lord Krishna went to the womb of Uttara and saved the child from Brahmastra. The child was later named as Parikshit.
Lord Krishna cursed Ashwathama that he will suffer enormously till the end of Kali Yuga, but still, he will not die.
Is Ashwathama still alive today?
Ashwathama had a boon of immortality. However, this boon was turned into a bane by Lord Krishna when he cursed Ashwathama during the battle of Kurukshetra that he will have to live a life full of miseries and sorrows till the end of Kali Yuga.
So, the most important question is that Ashwathama is still alive today?
It may sound outrageous, but many people have claimed to have seen him.
Some years ago, a doctor from Madhya Pradesh said that he treated a patient that had an unusual wound on his forehead. The doctor said that he tried all kinds of medicines and even stitched the wound, but it would never heal.
He even asked the patient if he was Ashwathama.
He surprise, after saying this as the doctor turned to look at the patient, he vanished from his cabin. Moreover, not a single person outside saw him walking out. The doctor said that the wound looked so horrific that his brains were pulled out from his forehead.
Even the famous Pilot Baba, who had been a fighter pilot with the Indian Air Force has claimed that he had seen Drauni in the foothills of the Himalayas.
He has been reported to have said that the cursed warrior now lives among the Himalayan tribes. He offers his prayers every day at a Lord Shiva temple in the Himalayas.
There is another story in which the villagers in Asirgarh (Madhya Pradesh) believe that he comes every morning to offer his prayers to a Shiva Lingam in the old fort.
So, this mysterious person could have been Ashwathama?
Ashwathama continues to live even until today with his curse. It is believed that Aahwathama is still roaming near the Narmada River in India.
However, we will tell you an incident in Mahabharata that contradicts this possibility. If we go by the Kannada version of Mahabharata, Ashwathama pleaded Parashurama to save him from Lord Krishna’s curse.
It is believed that Parashurama and Sage Durvasa had initiated Ashwathama into Shakti worship, which is supreme of all modes of worship.
It allowed Ashwathama to bypass the curse that was given to him by Lord Krishna.
So, it means that we cannot be sure that Ashwathama is still alive today.
As far as Mahabharata, Ashwathama is a very important character. He was a great warrior. However, he was pro-Duryodhana and fought for the Kauravas. He committed the sin of killing the sons of Draupadi when they were sleeping in the night.
He even used celestial weapons to kill the Pandavas. Lastly, he was cursed by Lord Krishna to live a life full of misery and sorrow until the end of the Kali Yuga. His gem was removed from his forehead. He was left to roam on earth.
Well, that’s all we have got for you in this post on Ashwathama. We believe that you would have found it useful.