161) When the two Brahma-shirostras collide, destruction of living beings too takes place. Therefore, the compassionate Arjuna prayed for their well being too.
162) Still, the collision of those two astras certainly causes loss of lives. Hence, in order to stop their collision, Sri Vyasa stood between them at that very moment.
163) Sri Krishna (Dwaipayana), the omnipotent one, the Supreme Being and the son of Satyavati, stopped the two astras at a distance and said to the two of them.
164) “Earlier too, there were people who knew this astra. Still they had never done such a thing. How can a noble person do something like this that is harmful to the world?”
165) When Sri Vyasa spoke thus, Arjuna said – “O Lord! I invoked this astra as a counter when there was great danger. Kindly excuse me”.
166) Ashwathama too said similarly. Sri Vyasa then said to the two of them – “Withdraw your astras”. Arjuna immediately did so. But, Ashwathama was unable to withdraw it. Sri Krishna then started to speak.
167-168) “Arjuna is a Brahmachari since his childhood and possesses the Tejas of a Kshatriya. Therefore, he was capable of withdrawing the astra. However, even though Ashwathama is the son of Drona, he was unable to withdraw it since he has lost his Brahmacharya”. Then Sri Vyasa said to Ashwathama – “Since you are unable to withdraw the astra, handover the jewel that is present on you as a natural (jewel)”.
Note: Ashwathama had promised Duryodhana discretely to unite with his wife and produce progeny that would rule the world. This was a great sin for a Brahmana and hence he had lost his Brahmacharya.
169) “Since you have already lost to Bhima, handover that precious and radiant stone to him and withdraw the astra from the Pandavas at least in your words”.
Note: Although Ashwathama could not withdraw the astra physically, Sri Vyasa wanted him to at least utter his intention of withdrawing it from the Pandavas.
170-171) When Sri Vyasa said thus, Ashwathama plucked out that jewel – that relieves one from ageing and death and ensures one does not feel hunger, thirst or tiredness, that carried a divine fragrance, that relieved darkness and was auspicious – from his head and gave it to Bhima. He wished for the astra to only spare the five Pandavas. Then, Sri Vyasa, the lord of the Vedas, said to Arjuna.
Note: Ashwathama refused to comply with Sri Vyasa’s instructions. Instead of wishing for the relief of all Pandavas, he wished that the astra spare only the five brothers.
172) “Arjuna! Nullify the astra that Ashwathama released” – when he said thus, Arjuna bowed to him and nullified that astra too.
173) Sri Krishna, the head of the Yadavas, said to Ashwathama – “Call out the sparing of at least one progeny of the Pandavas with your words”. When he said thus, Ashwathama replied.
Note: Sri Krishna asked Ashwathama to say it in words that he would like the astra to spare at least one of the progenies of the Pandavas.
174) “Out of favoritism, you intend to save your nephew. But I shall direct the astra to fall on Uttaraa’s womb itself”.
Note: Ashwathama says here that Sri Krishna intends to save Subhadra’s grandson – the child of Abhimanyu and Uttaraa.
175) Sri Krishna said again – “If you are intent of killing the womb, desist firmly from invoking the astra on it”.
176) “O egoistic Ashwathama! Get the astra to fall on Abhimanyu’s dead body. (If you release it on the womb) I shall bring to life once again the fetus that will die from your astra.
177) Even then, Ashwathama stated that he would release the astra against the womb. At that moment, Sri Krishna, appearing to be a little angry, told him.
178) “O evil minded one! See what my capability is! You do whatever you can. Even if you try with all your might I shall bring that fetus back to life”.
179) “The progeny of the Pandavas shall definitely last a thousand years on this Earth. Being protected by me, none can ever become capable of destroying it”.
180) “I know your crooked thinking about killing the progeny of the Pandavas and giving rise to the progeny of Duryodhana. That shall never happen”.
181) “Just as the desire for Moksha of a person who turns away from Sri Hari never fructifies, your resolve on this issue too will fail. Therefore you shall always move around sitting on humans. Let Earth be inaccessible for your movement”.
Note: Ashwathama is cursed by Sri Krishna here. He becomes incapable of walking by himself and will be carried always by other humans.
182) “O dull witted one! Till the lineage of the Pandavas remains, may you roam around in forests always, emanating bad odour and always being filled with wounds”. Sri Vyasa too concurred with the curse of Sri Krishna and said – “May it be so”.
183) When the two forms of Sri Hari said thus, Ashwathama requested Sri Krishna Dwaipayana – “O Lord! May I get your company whenever I desire. May I not get any obstacle for the same”.
184) When he requested in this way, Bhagavan Badarayana said – “May it be so”. Ashwathama bowed to him and left from there, thinking of what he saw in his dreams.
185-187) Ashwathama thought of all the events he had seen in his dreams – his killing of Draupadi’s sons, Arjuna taking an oath to kill him, Arjuna capturing him and taking him to the camp, Draupadi asking he be released, Bhima refusing to do so and snatching his jewel as per Sri Krishna’s words and sending him out of the country. Thinking of these and other incidents he had dreamt, Ashwathama felt all those incidents had in effect come true. The best amongst wielders of weapons then entered the forest.
Note: All the incidents mentioned in this shloka are given as actual incidents in the Srimadbhagavata. In the Skanda Purana, these incidents are said to have been in his dreams. Sri Madhwacharya beautifully integrates together all three granthas in this manner.
188) Ashwathama will undergo all (the difficulties) Sri Krishna had imposed and will later obtain the shishyatva of Sri Vyasa and classify the Vedas in the next Dwapara Yuga.
Note: A new Vyasa arrives in every Dwapara Yuga. In the next Dwapara, Ashwathama will take over the position of Vyasa and classify the Vedas.
189) He will then become one among the saptarshis and, due to the grace of Sri Vyasa and due to devotion to Sri Krishna, will attain unison with his original form (of Rudra).
190) Krupa then went to the Pandavas and was accorded great respect as a Guru. He then became Acharya to those born in that lineage.
191) After that, he will once again become the shishya of Sri Vyasa and serve him. He will become, along with his nephew, one of the Saptarshis. Krutavarma obtained the consent of Sri Krishna and returned to Dwaraka.
192) Bhimasena gave that precious jewel handed over by Ashwathama to Draupadi and consoled her a lot. Draupadi, giving up her anger due to Bhima’s words, gave that jewel to the King.
193-194) If that jewel which is fit for Kings was given by Bhima to her, then ordinary citizens and Dharmaraja may suspect Bhima to be partial towards women. Thinking thus, Draupadi gave that precious stone to the King. She used to always engage herself in doing that which was pleasant to her husband. The King wore that stone on his head and became resplendent like the Sun.
195) Like noble-men who win over inner-enemies, the Pandavas entered their capital city, along with Sri Vyasa and the best amongst the Yadavas and their wives.
196) When, after Yudhishthira, Bhima went forward to bow at the feet of Dhritharashtra, Sri Krishna, the Supreme Being, moved him aside and placed an iron replica of him in front of the King.
197) That replica was used by Duryodhana for practicing mace-fight. Hugging it, Dhritharashtra smashed it into pieces. Even as he was bleeding (from his mouth), he exclaimed – “O Son! Bhima!”. Shouting thus, he fell down.
198) Sri Krishna told him – “Bhima is not dead. He cannot be killed, neither by you nor by anyone else. Your thinking has become clear to us. O King! It appears that your mindset is still sinful”.
199) “Due to defective thinking, you supported your sons who were of the most evil nature, and came under their control. You are experiencing the results of that now. It is not fair to get angry at Bhima”.
200) When Sri Krishna said thus, Dhritharashtra invited Bhima with a calm mind. Bhima bowed at his feet. His brothers and the others too bowed to him.