O Arjuna, you know the principles of (righteousness) dharma. One should always worship and revere those belonging to the Guru’s lineage; one should never bring about grief to Guru’s family. We should not cause sorrow to any member of the Guru’s family. Unable to bear the death of my sons, I have been wailing uncontrollably. Do not make Kripi, the great lady, to bemoan the death of her son and wail like me. What is the use of this weeping and wailing? By causing her grief, my children will not be restored to life, isn’t it? If Kshatriya kings who unable to restrain their minds, destroy or harm the Brahmins they themselves will get totally destroyed”- screamed Draupadi.
Queen Draupadi, under no circumstances, overstepped the rules of righteousness! Her heart was filled with supreme levels of compassion and mercy! She was devoid of feelings of deceit and dishonesty. She always had feelings of equanimity towards everyone.
Hearing these words spoken by Draupadi, Yudhisthira who was born of an aspect of Yama (God of death) was immensely pleased. He, along with Nakula, Sahadeva, Arjuna, Lord Krishna and all others members present there unanimously agreed. All of them applauded her.
However Bhima in great anger roared, “This heinous sinner Ashwatthama has murdered children who were sleeping. By this heinous deed neither he, nor his master, Duryodhana, obtained any benefit. Elders always state that it is advisable to kill such a person”.
Lord Srikrishna who was present there and who had heard everyone speak now looked at Arjuna’s face and smilingly said, “A Brahmin should not be killed even if he has fallen to lowly degradable levels. I myself had earlier said that he should be killed for having murdered innocent children. I am the one who have made both these statements. Therefore now do as I say. Arjuna, you had earlier made a promise in order to pacify your dearest wife Draupadi. Now fulfill that promise, but yet at the same time through your action, bring happiness to Bhima, Draupadi and me”.
Arjuna understood the Lord’s feelings. He was always with Krishna. He knew that he had the responsibility of fulfilling his promise. Everyone present there was aware of the reason behind Ashwatthama’s arrogance and power. He wore on his head a jewel which was of limitless power. Therefore Arjuna chopped it off together with the hair on his head.
By killing children, Ashwathama had already lost all his luster, splendour and sanctity. Now with the jewel removed from him, even the remaining radiance was gone. Arjuna now unbound Ashwatthama and threw him away from the camp.
Dharma Shastras dictate that a Brahmin, even if he falls to the lowest levels, must not be hanged or killed under any circumstances. Punishments such as chopping off hair from his head, extracting all his wealth, throwing him out of his position, ostracizing him, banishing him or asking citizens not to offer him food and water are equal to death sentence for such degraded Brahmin.
In this way after throwing Ashwatthama out of the camp, the Pandavas together with Draupadi, bemoaned the death of their sons and completed their final rites.
With this the seventh chapter of the first canto comes to an end.
First Canto Eighth Chapter
In this chapter, saving Parikshit who was in Uttara’s womb from the Ashwatthama’s arrow, Kunti Devi’s prayerfully extolling Srikrishna and Yudhisthira’s grief are covered.
Maharishi Suta continues, “After completing the death rites, the Pandavas together with Srikrishna went to Ganga in order to give water oblations to the departed sons. The ladies walked in front. After grieving for them and completing the rituals, they once again bathed in Ganga which had been purified by the dust of Lord Krishna’s lotus feet. Yudhisthira together with his brothers, Gandhāri, Dhritarashtra, Kunti and Draupadi sat there profusely grieving for all their dead kith and kin. Krishna was observing them all.
Together with the other Maharishis He approached and consoled them stating that all living beings had to inevitably face death.
Krishna had returned back to Yudhisthira, the kingdom that had been deceitfully snatched away from him by Duryodhana and his other cunning relatives. He had ensured that the wicked kings who had unrightfully caught hold of Draupadi’s hair, and whose span of life was reduced due to this act, were killed. He got Emperor Yudhisthira to perform 3 Ashwamedha Yāgās. Like the fame attained by Indra, Krishna ensured that Yudhisthira’s virtuous fame spread in all the directions of the world.