We should speak the truth at all times, not just when it is convenient for us to do so. Yudhisthira adhered to the dharmic path even when he had to face problems of a huge magnitude, said Goda Venkateswara Sastrigal, in a discourse. The war between the Pandavas and Kauravas was in full swing. The Kaurava army was led by Drona, after the death of Bhishma on the battlefield, and so the Pandavas now faced a huge challenge.
Drona was the son of sage Bharadwaja. He grew up in the hermitage of his father and mastered the Vedas. Having obtained knowledge of weaponry from the great Parasurama, Drona visited the court of his friend King Drupada, but the latter spurned Drona’s friendship arrogantly. Angered by it, Drona left for Hastinapura where he demonstrated his skills to the princes. The princes were playing ball, and accidentally, the ball fell into a well. They did not know how to retrieve it.
Drona offered to help. With the power of Vedic mantras, he made a blade of grass as sharp as a weapon, and using it, he pierced the ball. He repeated the process, piercing each blade with another, until he was able to finally pull out the ball with ease.
Such was Drona’s prowess that he could turn grass into a weapon! His capacity to inflict damage on the enemy in a battle can, therefore, be imagined. So when Drona took charge of the Kaurava army, he inflicted huge losses on the Pandava army.
But Drona had a weak spot, and that was his inordinate love for his son Aswattama. Lord Krishna decided to use this as a means to kill Drona. Bhima killed an elephant called Aswattama. Krishna then instructed Yudhisthira to announce that Aswattama has been killed, the idea being that Drona, unable to bear the loss of his son would stop fighting. But Yudhisthira, refused to utter a lie. So he said to Drona distinctly that Aswattama has been killed, but uttered inaudibly the word ‘elephant.’ The word ‘elephant’ was not heard by Drona. Drona, therefore, thought his son had been killed. The point to note, however, is that even when Krishna asked him to lie, Yudhisthira did not.