Who was Ashwathma?
Ashwathama was the son of Guru Dronacharya. So he is often called “Drauni”. Guru Dronacharya was the royal preceptor(Guru) of Kauravas and Pandavas.
Ashwathama cried like a horse at the time of birth, hence his name was “Ashwathama”. Meaning the sacred voice of a Horse.
He is one of the most complex and underrated characters of Mahabharata. His story remains largely unexplored even with a great role in the Kurukshetra war.
Why does Krishna curse Ashwathama?
Aswathama promised Duryodhana that he would kill all the Pandavas at the end of the War. He attacked Pandava’s camp in the middle of the night. But he ended up killing 5 sons of the Pandavas & Draupadi.
The Pandavas incensed by this act chased Ashwathama. He had a great fight with Arjuna. During the fight, Aswathama invoked “Brahmastra”. Arjuna, in response, invoked “Pashupatastra”.
Sadhus advised both of them to take back their weapons, fearing the destruction of the world. While Arjuna was able to do so, Ashwathama could not.
Due to this, he was given the option of choosing any single target to destroy. Out of anger, he directed the weapon to the womb of Uttara, Arjuna’s daughter-in-law.
At this time, Uttara was carrying unborn Parikshit, the son of Abhimanyu. The Brahmastra burn the fetus, but Krishna saved the stillborn child. And cursed Ashwathama with leprosy, roaming the world 3000 years as an unloved castaway.
In another version, it is believed that he was cursed to remain alive till the end of Kaliyuga.
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