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Ashwatthama - Son Of Drona And A Cursed Immortal

Ashwatthama – Son Of Drona And A Cursed Immortal

Ashwatthama was born with the cry of a horse. His name literally means the sacred voice of the horse. It is said that he was born after Dronacharya entered a deep penance for years and finally got a son who was equal to Lord Shiva in terms of valour and might. An impressed Lord Shiva gifted the child that was equal to him in terms of valour and might and the child also possessed a divine gem that would make him above the human beings with protection from hunger, thirst, and fatigue.

When Ashwatthama was a kid, he was often mocked and ridiculed by his rich friends that would have all the luxuries of life. One day, while he was playing with them, one of the friends was drinking milk and he also wanted to drink milk. The friends saw this as another opportunity to mock and ridicule him. They mixed flour with water and gave it to Ashwatthama who drank it. Drona then manages to get the job of becoming the teacher of Hastinapur with the help of Kripacharya and Bhishma.

Ashwatthama was Drona’s favourite and would often do tricks to learn more from him. He would also be given smaller pots when all the students would be given pots to fetch water from the well. As a result, Ashwatthama spent more time with Drona until Arjuna realized this and started using Varunastra to fill water in the pot. This is also a foretelling of how the two favourites of Drona are against each other and would be fighting in a war when they grow old.

Ashwatthama was instrumental in the war and was worthy of becoming the commander-in-chief on several occasions but was not given the chance until the 10th day of the war. His name also played a pivotal role in disarming Drona. Krishna had devised a plan in which cries of the murder of Ashwatthama would reach Drona and he would drop his weapons and be killed. This murder enraged Ashwatthama so much that he released his Narayanastra. Krishna knew the fallacy of the weapon and told the Pandavas army to drop their weapons and render the Astra useless. Ashwatthama also uses his Agniastra that manages to kill ¾ of the Pandava army.

Along with Kripacharya and Kritvarma, Ashwatthama managed to raid the Pandava’s camp and set it on fire. Fortunately, the Pandavas were away with Krishna. When they returned, they sought to avenge their children’s death. Ashwatthama was hiding at Ved Vyasa’s camp and Arjuna released his Brahmastra on him to which Ashwatthama replied by releasing his own Brahmastra. The clash could have erased the earth so Vyasa and Narada told them to take it back. Arjuna called it back but Ashwatthama didn’t know how to do that. He, instead, aimed it at Uttara’s womb and plans to kill the only heir to Hastinapur’s throne.

Krishna protected the child and the mother. He then went on to remove the gem from Ashwatthama’s head and cursed him for immortality with leprosy as he was never afraid of death on the battlefield. It is believed that he is still roaming in the forests with the curse.

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