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Is Ashwatthama still alive? Wikimedia
  • Ashwatthama was Guru Drona’s son
  • Lord Krishna was furious at Ashwatthama as he killed Pandava’s sons
  • Krishna cursed him with horrible kind of leprosy that would haunt him for as long as 3,000 years

August 13, 2017: In Hindu mythology, Ashwatthama was a warrior and we all have grown up listening to the mythological tales. One wonders if he is alive, not as a result of being immortal but rather as curse given to him by Lord Krishna.

Ashwatthama, also known as Drauni was the son of Guru Drona; he is the avatar of one of the eleven Rudras and also is one amongst the seven Chiranjivi. His grandfather was the Brahmin sage Bharadwaja. After Arjuna and Karna, Ashwatthama (on behalf of the Kauravas) was the one who killed most number of warriors in the Kurukshetra war.

According to Hindu mythology, Lord Krishna was furious at Ashwatthama as he killed Pandava’s sons. Krishna cursed him, for killing Pandava’s sons with an unending life of pain and suffering. It is believed that Krishna cursed him with horrible kind of leprosy that would haunt him for as long as 3,000 years. Krishna also warned everybody that Ashwatthama would not be helped by anyone or even provided with food or shelter. His body was thus covered in ghastly wounds which wouldn’t heal due to the curse. It was so worse that blood and pus came out of his wounds constantly.

Why was this curse given to him? Mythology has the answers. As per Mahabharata, Ashwatthama was adored by his father. False rumors spread about his son’s death in the Kurukshetra war led to his father dying at the hands of Prince Dhrishtadyumna. Ashwatthama was brimmed with revenge, he got permission from the dying Duryodhana to be brutal in killing Dhrishtadhyumna after the war had ended. As he promised Duryodhana at the end of the war that he would kill Pandavas. So, he attacked their camp at odd hours, in the middle of the night, but by error ended up killing 5 Pandavas sons of Draupadi. The Pandavas were full of rage by this act that they chased him, which ultimately resulted in his fight with Arjuna.

When the fight was going on, Ashwatthama invoked the ‘Brahmastra’ against Arjuna and Arjuna in response to that invoked the ‘Pashupatastra’. The Sages feared that it will lead to the destruction of the world and thus advised both of them to take back their weapons immediately. While Arjuna could do as advised by the sages, Ashwathama could not and was given the option to choose any single target to destroy.

Out of ill will, he directed the weapon straight to Uttara’s womb, she was Arjuna’s daughter-in-law. Uttara was carrying the son of Abhimanyu- the unborn Parikshit, who upon birth was going to be the future heir of the Pandava brothers. The Brahmastra weapon was proved to be successful in completely burning the fetus, but Krishna somehow was able to save the stillborn child and then he cursed Ashwatthama with leprosy and also that he will wander the world helpless for 3,000 years.

ALSO READ: Here’s Why the “When” of Mahabharata Question remains Irrelevant: The Underlying Narrative of the Epic is able to withstand Time!

As per a different version of this tale, it is believed that he was cursed that until the end of the Kaliyuga he has to remain alive. Some people believe that Ashwatthama migrated to Arabian Peninsula. It means that he should be still alive still and there has been proof of it (even though vague) that he is indeed alive.

There is a doctor in Madhya Pradesh who claimed that he had patient with a tough wound- a septic forehead. Even after applying a fail-proof medical solution many times, the wound did not go and it kept bleeding. Shocked to see this, the doctor said that according to him, the wound seems ageless and can’t be cured. He added, “I wonder are you Ashwathama”, and laughed after it. When he turned to him to apply the next dose, the patient just vanished. The story was claimed to be true and thus it’s said that maybe he is alive.

There is a Yogi called Pilot Baba who claims that he had met Ashwatthama (he was living with tribes at foothills of Himalaya). It is believed that each morning Ashwatthama offers flowers to a Shivling. Apart from this, according to locals, a very tall man with a noticeable dent on his forehead and on the middle of his forehead visits a restaurant owner once every year, somewhere in the foothills of the Himalayas. Once a year, he goes and eats all the food prepared by the owner and drinks a minimum of 100 liters of water. These claims have been made by locals who see the man every year.

The villagers on the other hand claim that the man after quenching his thirst and anger then quietly disappears into the forest only to appear the next year. It is said that in the Dwayapar Yuga the average height of a man used to be anywhere between 12-14 foot and a man of this stature cannot be from this era. Also, the people at that time had massive appetites and could live on food they ate once a year for the whole of next year. However, even with all these stories, Ashwatthama sightings are very rare since he has the power to choose to be visible or remain invisible.

– by Kritika Dua of NewsGram. Twitter @DKritika08


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