Lord Krishna goes to the court of Duryodhana to negotiate on behalf of the Pandavas. The mission, aimed at peace, fails as the Kauravas are adamant that they will not yield even an inch of land to the Pandavas.
War between the Kauravas and the Pandavas, therefore, becomes a certainty. Krishna’s task now is to ensure the victory of the Pandavas, and how He goes about achieving this shows His cleverness, explained V.S. Karunakarachariar in a discourse.
Army chief appointment
As the first step, the Lord has to make sure that the Kauravas do not have an invincible army chief. On their side is Aswattama, son of Drona. He is an incomparable warrior.
It would have been the most natural thing for Duryodhana to appoint him as chief of the Kaurava forces.
And Krishna wants to make sure this does not happen. As His task of trying to make the Kauravas see reason fails, Krishna decides to leave.
Though all the allies of the Kauravas are present, Krishna asks Aswattama to step aside for a moment. This is viewed with suspicion by Sakuni and Duryodhana. They wonder what could be the reason for Krishna trying to have a private conversation with Aswattama.
This is what Krishna wanted.
Krishna then drops His ring and Aswattama picks it up and hands it to the Lord.
This gesture heightens the suspicions of Sakuni.
When the time for appointment of the army chief comes, Aswattama name is not given a thought at all as Sakuni now sees him as a secret ally of Krishna or a mole planted by the Lord amongst the Kauravas.
It is only when the Kaurava army is routed and Duryodhana is on the verge of death, Aswattama is made the army chief. But only three survivors, including Aswattama, are left.
Thus the services of the person who would have been the ablest commander are lost to the Kauravas because of Krishna’s cleverness.
Success is assured to those on whose side the Lord is and defeat is guaranteed, if He is not on one’s side.