The early sections of the Bhagavata Purana describe in detail the threats to the Pandava race at the end of the Mahabharata war. Parikshit, the sole descendant of the race, faced the risk of being destroyed in his mother’s womb, even before being born because of the vengeful act of Aswathama, Drona’s son, who desired to exterminate the Pandavas. He killed Draupadi’s sons when they were asleep. All were shattered at this heinous act of massacre.

Arjuna vowed to bring the head of the murderer to Draupadi so that she could avenge the loss of her sons. Seeing Arjuna pursuing him, the frightened Aswathama resorted to the ultimate weapon, the Brahmastra. He knew its use, but was not aware of how to withdraw it. Its effects immediately were felt — when unbearable heat and light in all directions began to cause suffocation. Arjuna himself became scared of the dangerous portents and prayed to Krishna for advice and guidance.

The omniscient Lord’s proximity to the Pandavas gave them the greatest ever protection against all the untold disasters they faced, said Embar Sri Kasturi in a lecture. Acting on Krishna’s timely advice Arjuna sent a counter weapon and retracted both the weapons. He now bound Aswathama and took him a prisoner to Draupadi for suitable punishment. The noble Draupadi could not bring herself to harm Drona’s son and empathised with the sorrow his mother would undergo if he were lost to her. To honour the promise to Draupadi, Krishna suggested to Arjuna the punishment of removal of his hair which would be equal to humiliation.

As Krishna was preparing to leave for Dwaraka, Uttara, Abhimanyu’s wife, realised a great discomfort in her womb and feared for the safety of the foetus in it. She came running to Krishna and sought His help, knowing none other could do anything. Krishna knew it was the result of the Brahmastra of Aswathama heading to destroy the foetus. Krishna saw the need to use His Sudarshana to neutralise the effect of the Brahmastra. By His extraordinary manifestation He protected the embryo in Uttara’s womb. When the child was born lifeless, it was Krishna who gave it life by His yogic powers.

Keywords: hinduism

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