The war under the leadership of Drona
Author - Deepak MR
After the fall of Bheeshma, the kings in the Kaurava camp approached Karna and asked him to save them from defeat. He promised to fight fiercely and kill Arjuna. Karna then went to the battlefield to take Bheeshma’s blessings. Bheeshma blessed him, saying he was also like his grandson and he asked Karna to protect Duryodhana’s army.
Karna then proposed to Duryodhana that Drona, who was the senior-most warrior, should be made the commander. Drona was thus made the commander of the Kaurava forces. Drona then planned a strategy to seize Yudhishtira so they could force him to play the game of dice and send him again into exile. He asked Duryodhana to ensure Arjuna was kept away. Hearing of this, Arjuna swore to protect Yudhishtira.
The battle began the next day with Drona organizing the cart formation and the Pandavas responding by making the Krauncha formation. The battle commenced with Drona launching a fierce attack and slaughtering Pandava soldiers.
A fierce fight took place between Ghatotkacha and Alambusha. Abhimanyu fought with Paurava and when that king cut his bow, he rushed at him with a sword and prepared to behead him. Jayadratha saved Paurava and fought with Abhimanyu, but his sword was broken. Shalya then hurled a javelin at Abhimanyu, who caught it in his hand and hurled it back to destroy Shalya’s chariot.
Bheema then fought with Shalya and Vrishasena, the son of Karna, took on the Pandavas. Drona attacked Yudhishtira and killed the prince of Panchala who was with him. He then charged towards Yudhishtira to capture him. Just as it seemed the war would be lost, Arjuna arrived. He launched such a terrible attack that the sky turned dark with a dense barrage of arrows. Arjuna thus saved the day for the Pandavas.
Drona was upset that Arjuna could not be stopped and complained about it in the post-war meeting. The Trigarta king Susharma then told him he and his brothers had taken a vow to kill Arjuna to die. They were the Samashapatakas, who were determined to finish Arjuna.
The next day, they challenged Arjuna, and he accepted the challenge. He asked Drupada’s son, Satyajit to protect Yudhishtira. The battle between the Samshapatakas and Arjuna was terrible. One by one, Arjuna slaughtered the Trigartas, but they kept attacking him. There was such a terrible shower of arrows that the sky became dark.
Arjuna then used the Vayavyastra to create a gale that blew away the shower of arrows and the Trigartas. Meanwhile, Drona had arranged the Garuda vyuha while Yudhishtira formed the Ardhachandra Vyuha. There was a furious battle between Drona and Satyajit that ended with Satyajit’s death. Drona then killed Virata’s brother, Shatanika.
Bheema then entered the battle and had to face the Kaurava warriors. Duryodhana attacked Bheema with an elephant division but was defeated. Then Bhagadatta entered the arena seated on his mighty elephant Supratika, looking like Indra on Airavata. Bhagadatta then killed the King of Dasarnas. He defeated Yudhishtira and Satyaki and made Bheema flee from the battlefield.
Meanwhile, Krishna saw the cloud of dust and realized that it was Bhagadatta. He asked Arjuna to quickly deal with the Samashapatakas. Arjuna used the Vajra and destroyed the Samashapatakas. Krishna then took Arjuna to Bhagadatta. A fierce fight took place. Despite the opportunity to kill Bhagadatta from the side, Arjuna refused to do so because it was adharma.
Bhagadatta dislodged Arjuna’s crown with his spear. An angry Arjuna then destroyed his bow and pierced him with arrows. The furious king of Pragjyotisha who was the son of Narakasura used the Vaishnavastra on Arjuna. Krishna stood up and the weapon struck him on his chest. Seeing its master, the weapon of Vishnu turned into a garland. Bereft of his mighty astra, Bhagadatta was weakened and Arjuna finally killed him.
Shakuni used his powers of illusion to fight Arjuna, who used celestial weapons to counter him. Meanwhile, Ashwatthama fought with Nila and killed him. Arjuna killed three brothers of Karna. The battle was terrible and the two armies suffered huge losses.
The next day, which was the thirteenth day of the war, Drona made a strategy. The Samashapatakas challenged Arjuna for battle and took him away from the battlefield. Drona then formed the Chakravyuha, which was an unbeatable format that only Arjuna and Krishna knew how to break.
Unable to penetrate the Chakravyuha, Yudhishtira asked Abhimanyu to enter the formation using the knowledge he had obtained from Arjuna. Abhimanyu did not know how to exit, but Yudhishtira assured him that once he entered, the Pandavas would follow him and help him.
Abhimanyu then charged towards the Kauravas and launching a terrible attack, entered the Chakravyuha. He smashed apart the formation, shooting arrows at will, massacring the Kauravas. He was like Skanda against the asura army. Having broken into the formation, he killed the son of the King of Asmaka, even while countering the attack from Duryodhana, Karna, Dushasana, Kripa, and others.
His blazing arrows caused Karna to faint. He then killed the warriors Sushena, Drigalochana, and Kundabhedi. It was Shalya’s turn to be hit, and he fainted. Shalya’s brother came to his defence but was killed by the son of Arjuna. Dusshasana then took a vow to kill Abhimanyu and charged at him.
He could not match the skills of Abhimanyu and ended up hit with twenty-five arrows. He collapsed in the chariot and his charioteer took him to safety. Karna again attacked Abhimanyu, but his bow and flag were cut off. Abhimanyu then killed Karna’s brother and went on a rampage, slaughtering charioteers, elephant warriors, and foot soldiers.
Meanwhile, Yudhishtira, Bheema, and the other Pandava warriors tried to enter the Chakravyuha but were held back by Jayadratha, who used his boon from Shiva to repel them. Try as they could, Yudhishtira, Bheema, and the other warriors could not defeat Jayadratha and get through.
Abhimanyu then defeated Karna’s son Vrishasena, forcing him to flee. Rukmaratha, the son of Shalya was the next to attack Abhimanyu but was effortlessly defeated and beheaded. Seeing him fall, the entire Madra army attacked Abhimanyu. Without flinching, he used the Gandharvastra, gifted to him by Arjuna.
The weapon caused the army to see multiple Abhimanyus. Even as they stood stupefied, he slaughtered them all. Duryodhana’s son Lakshmana then attacked Abhimanyu. Shooting an arrow that looked like a snake, Abhimanyu cut off Lakshmana’s head even as Duryodhana watched on in shock.
Abhimanyu then defended himself from Ashwatthama, Kripa, Kritavarma, and Karna bravely. He destroyed the chariot of Vrihadvala, the king of Kosala, and then slew him. When Karna attacked him, he injured him severely, causing him to retreat.
On Drona’s instruction, Karna cut off Abhimanyu’s bow. The other Kaurava warriors killed his charioteer and smashed his chariot. When he was on the ground unarmed, the six great Kaurava warriors attacked him mercilessly. Abhimanyu then picked up a sword, but Drona broke it. He then picked up a chariot wheel, but Karna smashed it.
Picking up a mace, Abhimanyu mercilessly attacked the soldiers of Gandhara even as the Kauravas kept shooting arrows at him. Dushasana’s son then attacked him with a mace and the two young warriors clashed. Both fell on the ground but Dushasana’s son got up first and, using his mace, struck the unarmed and helpless Abhimanyu on the head, killing him.
The victorious Kauravas left the battlefield as the sun set while Yudhishtira grieved terribly. Arjuna, meanwhile, had defeated the Samashapatakas and was returning. He was worried seeing the lack of celebrations and feared the worst. Seeing his dead son, Arjuna lamented and was in deep grief.
When Yudhishtira explained how Jayadratha had stopped him and his army from joining Abhimanyu in the Vyuha, Arjuna was furious. He took an oath to kill Jayadratha the next day before sunset or give up his life. Krishna and Arjuna then blew their conches, and the soldiers sounded the drums in preparation for the next day’s great battle.
When their spies informed the Kauravas about Arjuna’s vow, Jayadratha was in a panic. He wanted to leave the battlefield but Duryodhana stopped him, promising to protect him. Drona decided to place Jayadratha at the end of the Suchi Vyuha (needle formation) with a Padmyavyuha and Shakatavyuha in front. Karna, Ashwatthama, Bhurisharava, Vrishasena, Kripa, and Shalya were assigned to protect the king of Sindhu.
The night was a terrible one, and neither Krishna nor Arjuna could sleep. Krishna went to Subhadra’s house and consoled her on her terrible loss. Subhadra lamented along with Uttara, who lost consciousness. Krishna consoled all the womenfolk and returned. He told his charioteer Daruka to be ready with his chariot so he could fight if Arjuna lost.
In their minds, Krishna and Arjuna traveled to Kailasa, where they met Mahadeva. Arjuna got his blessings and was instructed on the use of the Pashupata weapon.
The next day, the battle began fiercely with Arjuna determined to break through the Vyuhas of Drona and kill Jayadratha. The vyuha formed by Drona stretched over 48 miles long. At the entrance of the vyuha stood Drona. To reach the vyuha, Arjuna first had to defeat Dushasana. He did it easily, slaughtering thousands of elephants. Drona then blocked Arjuna.
A fierce fight ensued between the teacher and the student. Krishna then reminded Arjuna of the goal and warned that him he could not defeat Drona so easily. Bowing to Drona, Arjuna stopped fighting and moved ahead. With him were his two chariot protectors, Uttamaujas and Yudhamanyu.
Arjuna fought with King Sudakshina of Kamboja and killed him. Shrutaya and Achyutaya launched a severe attack against Arjuna, and his arrows hurt him badly, causing him to reel and clutch his flag post for support. Arjuna then counterattacked and soon the two warriors lay dead.
Thousands of elephant warriors and mlecchas, with knowledge of illusion, attacked Arjuna. None could stand against him as he slaughtered thousands and thousands of opponents as he raced towards his target.
Duryodhana complained to Drona, who told him he could not go as fast as Arjuna and hence would try to capture Yudhishtira. He asked Duryodhana to attack Arjuna and gave him a powerful armour that was used by Indra in his war against the demon Vritra.
Dhristadyumna then attacked Drona trying to break into the Vyuha. Satyaki defeated Dushasana while Kuntibhoja warded off Bahlika. Yudhishtira fought Shalya while Bheema took on Chitrasena, Vivimsati, and Vikarna. Dhristadyumna charged towards Drona with his sword, but it was cut off and Satyaki saved him. Then Satyaki smashed the bows of Drona one by one.
Arjuna was stopped by the brothers Vinda and Anuvinda, who enveloped Krishna and Arjuna with arrows. Arjuna killed both the rulers of Avanti by beheading them. The horses that raced along like light were tired. So, Arjuna used an arrow to bring water from the earth for the horses. As Krishna tended to the horses, Arjuna created a barrier to protect Krishna and the horses.
Standing before the barrier, he countered the Kauravas, killing hundreds of them. Having tended to the horses, Krishna was ready with the chariot and the two proceeded to their goal. Duryodhana who was giving chase, overtook Arjuna and challenged him.
Arjuna’s arrows failed to make any impact because of the armour given by Drona. Unable to hit Duryodhana, Arjuna targeted his chariot, destroying it and smashing all his weapons. Arjuna then proceeded towards Karna but blocked all the Kaurava warriors. A terrible fight then commenced with showers of arrows from both sides.
Meanwhile, Drona fought with Yudhishtira and when the eldest Pandava flung a powerful lance, he used the Brahmastra to neutralize it. Yudhishtira used his own Brahmastra to counter the weapon, but Drona destroyed his chariot. Sahadeva then came to Yudhishtira’s help.
Bheema had a terrible fight with the demon Alambusha, who used magic to fight. After being defeated by Bheema, Alambusha took on Ghatotkacha. In the blood curdling battle that took place, Ghatokacha killed Alambusha and smashed his body by throwing it on the ground.
During the battle, Krishna blew the Panchajanya and Arjuna twanged the Gandiva. Hearing this sound, Yudhishtira was scared that Arjuna was in trouble and sent Satyaki to help him. Satyaki charged into the Vyuha. He observed a space between the Bahlika army and Karna’s army. He then instructed his charioteer to enter the gap and move ahead fast.
Satyaki defeated Kritavarma and many other warriors before moving ahead to reach Arjuna. Charging through the Vyuha and slaughtering Kauravas by the hundreds, Satyaki blazed towards Arjuna. The valour displayed by Satyaki was unparalleled. He defeated all the great Kaurava warriors and seemed unconquerable.
Meanwhile, Drona kept fighting and killed the King of Chedi and the King of Magadha who were Pandava allies. Yudhishtira who was worried that he had sent Satyaki, sent Bheema behind him. Asking Dhristadyumna to protect Yudhishtira, Bheema charged into the Vyuha.
Drona blocked him, but Bheema flung his mighty mace and it destroyed Drona’s chariot. Dushasana attacked Bheema with his brothers but was defeated and Bheema killed eleven brothers of Duryodhana with his fiery arrows.
Bheema scythed through the Kaurava vyuha, slaughtering anyone who came in his way. He saw Satyaki and then Arjuna, and roared in delight. Arjuna roared back. Hearing the roars, Yudhishtira heaved a sigh of relief. Karna then attacked Bheema.
Both warriors hit each other repeatedly with arrows. Bheema killed Karna’s charioteer, forcing him to flee. Meanwhile, Yudhamanyu and Uttamaujas were searching for Arjuna. Seeing them, Duryodhana charged at them and smashed Yudhamanyu’s chariot. Yudhamanyu then climbed on to his brother’s chariot, killed Duryodhana’s horses, and broke his bow.
Karna once again attacked Bheema. This time Karna mocked Bheema, challenging him to defeat him. Both the warriors showered arrows at each other. Even though he was bleeding from his injuries, Bheema then destroyed Karna’s chariot. He got into another chariot and continued fighting. Bheema once again broke Karna’s bow after a fierce duel.
Seeing Karna in difficulty, Duryodhana sent his brother Durjaya to help him, but Bheema slew him ruthlessly. Bheema again destroyed Karna’s chariot making the Anga king look for another chariot. Duryodhana’s brother Durmukha then came there to support Karna but was killed by Bheema. Five more sons of Dhritarashtra charged at Bheema but were cut down. This was followed by the killing of eight more brothers of Duryodhana.
Seven more brothers of Duryodhana entered the battlefield but lost their lives. This included Vikarna and Chitrasena. The fight became more intense and Bheema kept cutting off the bows of Karna. Soon, Bheema’s chariot was destroyed, and he flung a sword that smashed Karna’s bow. When Bheema jumped in the air at Karna, the king of Anga hid in his chariot.
Bheema was without weapons and Karna picked up a bow and touched Bheema with the bow. He told him to go from the battlefield and not dare to take on him. Karna insulted him by calling him a glutton. Arjuna then angrily attacked Karna.
Meanwhile, Satyaki continued to fight with the Kauravas and had a fierce battle with Bhurishravas. Tired after his battles, Satyaki fell after being hit by Bhurishravas. When Bhurishravas dragged Satyaki by his hair to execute him, an angry Arjuna sent a sharp arrow that cut off Bhurishravas’ hand. Bhurishravas accused Arjuna of adharma and sat down on the battlefield to give up his life.
Satyaki then regained consciousness and cut off the head of Bhurishravas. When everyone accused him of adharma, he asked them why they kept quiet when Abhimanyu was killed through adharma.
The sun was moving towards the west and the day coming to a close. Krishna then took Arjuna towards Jayadratha. Duryodhana, Shalya, Vrishasena, Kripa, and Ashwatthama attacked Arjuna, but he repelled them all. When Karna attacked him, he killed his horses. Arjuna then attacked Jayadratha piercing him with arrows.
The sun was about to descend, and Krishna reminded Arjuna of his vow. Arjuna then fixed a sharp arrow and released it. The arrow ripped through the air and severed Jayadratha’s head. Jayadratha had a boon from his father, Vridhakshatra that whoever causes his head to fall on the ground would die. As per Krishna’s instructions, Arjuna sent the arrow towards the Samantapanchaka area.
Vriddhakshtra was performing his evening rituals and his son’s head fell on his lap. He got up in shock seeing Jayadratha’s head and it fell to the ground. The King Vriddhakshatra then fell dead since he had caused his son’s head to fall on the ground.
Even though the sun had set, the battle continued. Karna attacked Satyaki, who was without a chariot. On Krishna’s instruction, his own charioteer, Daruka who was following behind, came to Satyaki and asked him to climb in Krishna’s chariot. Satyaki then destroyed Karna’s chariot, forcing him to flee.
Arjuna could not tolerate Karna’s insult to Bheema and confronted him. He then challenged Karna, saying he would kill his son Vrishasena in front of him.
Duryodhana was terribly upset that he had lost seven akshauhinis of soldiers in one day. He grieved the loss of Jayadratha and thirty-one of his brothers. Drona then decided to continue the battle, even at night. A furious Duryodhana then launched a terrible attack against the Pandava forces. In the darkness, there was panic as the Pandava forces fled to escape Duryodhana’s wrath.
Drona went on the rampage and killed the Pandava ally king Sibi. From the Pandava side, Bheema started killing princes of the Kaurava camp, including two of Duryodhana’s brothers with just his bare fists. It was then Ghatotkacha’s turn to show his power. With the twilight hour having passed, his powers of Maya increased.
He fought a fierce battle with Ashwatthama. Even as Ghatotkacha was busy fighting, Drona killed his son Anjanaparva. A furious Ghatotkacha then unleashed a barrage of weapons on Drona’s son using maya but Ashwatthama destroyed them all. Ashwatthama was fiery and unbeatable as he wiped out all the rakshasas who took him on. Even Ghatotkacha could not beat him. Ashwatthama caused carnage in the Pandava camp, killing the sons of Drupada and Kuntibhoja.
Bheema then attacked Bhurishravas’ father Somadatta and made him unconscious. When the veteran Kuru Bahlika came to his aid, Bheema cut off his head ruthlessly. He then killed ten of Dhritarashtra’s sons and Karna’s brother, Vrisharatha.
Drona fought with Yudhishtira and hurled several celestial weapons at him, including the Brahmastra. Yudhishtira calmly countered all the weapons using his own celestial weapons.
Karna informed Duryodhana that he would use Indra’s Vasavi Shakti missile and kill Arjuna. When Kripa asked him not to boast, since Arjuna was unbeatable, Karna insulted Kripa. Hearing this, Kripa’s nephew Ashwatthama threatened to behead Karna but was stopped by Kripa and Duryodhana.
Karna then charged at the Pandavas. His powerful attack increased the panic in the Pandava camp and the soldiers reeled from his attack. Then Arjuna confronted him, and the two great warriors fought fiercely. Soon, Arjuna cut off Karna’s bow, killed his charioteers, and Karna jumped off his chariot and got into Kripa’s chariot.
The battle increased in intensity, with thousands of soldiers being killed on both sides. Satyaki then took on Somadatta, and the two great warriors battled fiercely. Somadatta cut off Satyaki’s bow, but picking another bow, Satyaki resumed the battle. He then broke through Somadatta’s defence and his arrows found their mark. Somadatta was dead.
Duryodhana then organized a formation asking his soldiers to bring torches so the other soldiers could battle easily. The Pandavas also asked their foot soldiers to hold torches, and the war continued through the night. The tired, exhausted, and scared soldiers continued to fight.
Yudhishtira fought with Kritavarma while Satyaki fought with Ashwatthama. Ghatotkacha came back to attack Ashwatthama. Ghatotkacha struck Ashwatthama causing him to reel, but Drona’s son retaliated with a powerful missile that caused Ghatotkacha to faint.
Bheema then defeated Duryodhana. Sahadeva took on Karna but was defeated and Karna mocked him, asking him to fight only with his equals. Nakula who fought with Shakuni was rendered unconscious but he recovered and struck Shakuni back, causing him to collapse in his chariot and his charioteer led him away.
Drona and Karna took on Dhrishtadyumna and Satyaki. The Pandava side then suffered reverses and their soldiers fled. Yudhishtira then decided to send Ghatokacha to attack the Kauravas. He wanted to keep Arjuna away from Karna since Karna had announced that he would use Vasavi Shakti on Arjuna.
Ghatotkacha then launched himself at the Kauravas, causing panic in their ranks. Assuming a terrible form that was tall as a mountain, Ghatokacha seated on a golden chariot attacked Karna. The two warriors used all types of weapons against each other.
Ghatotkacha created a dark cloud, and it showered missiles on Karna, who used the Vayavya astra to dispel the cloud. Using the anjalika arrow, Ghatotkacha smashed Karna’s bow, but he picked up a more powerful weapon and continued to attack.
Then Ghatotkacha’s enemy, Alayudha arrived and charged at him. Alayudha’s powerful attack caused Ghatotkacha to fall back. Seeing this, Bheema attacked Alayudha. The battle was terrible and Ghatotkacha rejoined the battle. The two demons wrestled with each other, seizing each other by their hair. Ghatotkacha then pulled off Alayudha’s head from his body and flung it at Duryodhana.
The demon son of Bheema then used magical weapons to destroy Karna’s chariot and then became invisible. Without getting perturbed, Karna shot arrows in all directions. Ghatotkacha then rained down a shower of swords, maces, javelins, arrows, wheels, and many other weapons. The Kaurava army was massacred and rivers of blood flowed.
Unable to tolerate Ghatotkacha’s terrible attack, the Kuru kings pleaded with Karna to kill Ghatotkacha using the Vasavi Shakti. Unable to defeat Ghatotkacha and worried that the demon would cause more damage, Karna invoked the deadly weapon of Indra. He flung the spear in the air and it raced towards Ghatotkacha, striking him in his heart.
As he fell dead, he used his magical powers one last time and grew in size. He fell on the ground like a mountain collapsing and killed thousands of Kauravas. The Kauravas celebrated the death of their nemesis while Bheema mourned his son’s death.
However, Krishna danced with glee, surprising everyone. He told Arjuna that he was now safe and the Vasavi Shakti could not harm him. Krishna then consoled Bheema. A terribly upset Yudhishtira blew his conch and attacked Karna with his army.
The war continued even in the dark. The two armies were exhausted. Arjuna then asked them to take rest until the moon was in the sky. The Pandavas stopped their attack and the soldiers of the two armies slept and refreshed themselves.
When the night was nearly complete, then the war resumed. The war was fiercer as the two sides were desperate to finish the war. Drona stood in front of the Kaurava army and launched a vicious attack on the Pandava forces, causing the soldiers to shake in fear.
Drona killed three of Drupada’s grandchildren and then crushed the Chedis, Kekeyas, Matsyas, and Srinjayas. Drona showed his prowess and none could face his arrows. Effortlessly, he killed Drupada, bringing an end to their old rivalry. He then dispatched the Matsya king Virata to the world of Yama.
An angry Bheema criticized Dhrishtadyumna for watching silently and launched himself against Drona. The sun rose and its rays marked the arrival of another day, but the war did not stop. The bloody carnage led to innumerable deaths.
Bheema then fought with Karna. When his chariot was destroyed, Bheema climbed on Nakula’s chariot and continued fighting. A fierce battle broke out between Drona and Arjuna. Drona used all his skills and unleashed all his weapons on Arjuna who countered them all.
The two great archers used the Brahmastra against each other. Duryodhana fought with Satyaki and found it difficult to counter him. Karna stepped in to save his friend and broke Satyaki’s bow. An angry Bheema then attacked Karna.
Drona was meanwhile engaged in a large-scale massacre of the Pandava forces targeting the Panchalas and Srinjayas. Seeing him fight, Krishna told Arjuna that to kill Drona, dharma must be abandoned. As per Krishna’s advice, Bheema killed an elephant named Ashwatthama and loudly proclaimed that Ashwatthama has been killed.
Drona was shocked to hear that his beloved son was dead. But he did not flinch and continued to attack viciously, releasing a Brahmastra killing five hundred Matsyas, six thousand Srinjayas, ten thousand horses, and ten thousand elephants. The seven holy sages, Kashyapa, Vishwamitra, Jamadagni, Bharadvaja, Goutama, Vashishta, and Atri appeared before him.
They criticized him for engaging in adharma and told him that his time in the world of humans was over. Drona then went to Yudhishtira to ask him if his son was really dead. Even though he didn’t like it, Yudhishtira on the advice of Krishna, had to be a part of Krishna’s plan. He loudly told Drona that Ashwatthama was dead, adding the words ‘an elephant’ in a low voice.
Drona was heartbroken and lost his senses. He no longer had the will to live. Dhrishtadyumna then shot a powerful arrow at Drona. But Drona was not ready to give up. He destroyed Dhrishtadyumna’s bow and then his chariot. Picking up a sword, Dhristadyumna launched himself at Drona. But Drona used a powerful arrow and was about to kill Dhristadyumna when Satyaki saved him.
Yudhishtira then ordered his warriors to defend their commander. The battle continued. Bheema then addressed Drona and condemned him for violating his dharma and continuing to fight even though his son was dead.
Drona then decided to give up his weapons and sat down to perform yoga. Dhristadyumna grasped at this opportunity and jumped into Drona’s chariot. Arjuna pleaded with his commander to spare the life of Drona. Intent on completing his mission, Dhristadyumna swung his huge sword and beheaded the commander of the Kaurava forces. The son of Bharadwaja was dead and his soul united with yoga.
Bheema embraced Dhrishtadyumna and celebrated while Arjuna mourned his teacher’s death. The Kauravas led by Duryodhana fled from the battlefield. Then Ashwatthama attacked the Pandavas. He was wild with anger at hearing about how his father was killed by deception.
Arjuna condemned Dhrishtadyumna for doing adharma, and the son of Drupada questioned Arjuna for killing Bheeshma by adharma. Hearing this, Satyaki charged at Dhrishtadyumna, threatening to behead him, but was stopped by Bheema.
Wild with anger, Ashwatthama decided to destroy the entire Pandava army. He invoked the almighty Narayanastra. The entire earth shook, and the oceans were in tumult as the mighty weapon was invoked. The Narayana astra then began to release iron wheels that blazed through the air, slaughtering everyone it encountered.
Even as the panicky Pandava army prepared to flee, Krishna stopped them. He told them that no one or no weapon could defeat the Narayanastra. The only way of counteracting it was to lay down one’s arms and surrender. The astra would not kill one who had surrendered.
All the Pandava warriors and soldiers threw down their weapons and gave up the idea of fighting, but Bheema was unshaken. He refused to surrender. The weapon then landed on Bheema’s head. Just as the weapon threatened to burn Bheema, Arjuna used the Varunastra to protect Bheema. Krishna and Arjuna then dragged Bheema to the ground even as he resisted.
Finally listening to Krishna, Bheema surrendered. Since the entire enemy force had surrendered before it, the Narayanastra disappeared. An angry Duryodhana asked Ashwatthama to release the weapon again. He declined, saying that it would kill him if he tried to do so. Ashwatthama then angrily attacked Dhrishtadyumna.
Satyaki came to his commander’s defence and struck Ashwatthama repeatedly with sharp arrows. Laughing loudly, Ashwatthama released a powerful missile that caused Satyaki to swoon and his charioteer took him away from the battlefield. Ashwatthama then killed two princes belonging to the Pandava side and made Bheema flee from the battle.
Arjuna then challenged Ashwatthama who released the Agneya weapon that scorched the battlefield with its flames. Arjuna countered it with the Brahmastra. Unable to counter the Brahmastra, Ashwatthama fled.
He then met Vyasa, who appeared before him and asked the sage why his weapons had become powerless. Vyasa then told them that Krishna and Arjuna were Narayana and Nara and Shiva had blessed Arjuna. Ashwatthama then bowed to Rudra and Krishna and left.
Arjuna bowed to Vyasa and told him that when he was vanquishing the enemy, he saw a mighty being in front of him killing everyone that came in front of him. Arjuna asked Vyasa who the being was, and the sage replied it was none other than the destroyer Rudra himself.
Vyasa then told Arjuna about the greatness of Shiva. He told him the meanings of the names of the Mahadeva. Vyasa told Arjuna that it was Mahadeva who stood in front of his chariot, which was why Arjuna was victorious. He then told Arjuna that no one could defeat him as long as Krishna was with him. With these words, Vyasa left the battlefield.