I am back to blogging after 3 weeks. In one way it was a relief! Writing about the great war and the killings was demanding and it was just a 18 days war! History tells us that humans never could give up war and have persisted with it all through.
In the morning, Dhristadhyumna's charioteer who had managed to survive informs the pandavas about the brutal massacre. Yudhisthira faints when he hears the news. He recovers with the ministrations of his brothers and Satyaki. Yudhisthira then laments 'Our victory has now turned into defeat. People who faced Karna have now given up their lives due to carelessness. Merchants who crossed the seas have now drowned in the river. Those who died will attain heaven, but how will Draupadi. who has lost her father, brother and her sons face this calamity?'
Yudhisthira then asks Nakula to fetch Draupadi and walks to the place of massacre. Draupadi faints as soon as she sees Yudhisthira and Bheema supports her from falling. She recovers and then addresses Yudhisthira, 'Maharaja! You sacrificed your children for Khsatriya dharma, but you have got your kingdom and will soon forget this tragedy and will be happy! But how can I forget that my children were killed while they were asleep. The pain is unbearable. If you do not kill that evil man along with the others who were part of this, I will take my life!' and sinks down next to Dharmaraja.
Yudhisthira looks at the inconsolable Draupadi, 'Krishne! You are aware of dharma, your brother and the children all died while following khsatriya dharma. Do not grieve for them. Ashwatthama has gone away to some far away place. How will you come to know that he has been killed?'
Draupadi has an answer, 'I have heard that he was born with a jewel on his head, if you bring me the jewel from his head I will know that he is dead.' and she turns towards Bheema, 'There is no one equal to you in valor. In the past, you have saved us in Varanavarata, later from Hidimba and me from Keechaka in Viratnagara. Now you must go and kill Ashwatthama for me!' and starts to cry uncontrollably!
Unable to see bear the sight of Draupadi's miserable condition Bheema takes Nakula as his charioteer and proceeds. After Bheema departs Krishna asks Yudhisthira, 'How is it that you sent only Bheema? He is going to be in great danger. Ashwatthama has a special astra Brahmashira, which was given to him by his father. Drona gave it to Arjuna first, but Ashwatthama also wanted it. Drona yielded unwillingly with a condition that he should not use it during a war. Drona was not certain that Ashwatthama would use it wisely. Ashwatthama has it still and he is short tempered, cruel, evil natured and thoughtless. He may use it. We must protect Bheema.' He then readies his chariot and takes Arjuna along with him and races to stop Bheema.