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Vriddhakshatra’s Curse 

- June 18, 2021

By Aditya Sen

The battle of Mahabharata is regarded as the greatest war. The strategies that were adopted to win the war changed the way they were fought forever. One of these indigenous battle strategies was the ‘Chakrayvuha’. This was a wheel-shaped labyrinth designed in such a complex way that only one with knowledge of the formation could break in and break out of it. On the thirteenth day of battle, Drona, as the commander, called for the formation of the Chakravyuha.

The only ones with the knowledge of penetrating the formation were Krishna, Arjuna, Pradyumna and Abhimanyu. With Arjuna and Krishna away responding to a challenge to combat, and Pradyumna not participating in the war, Abhimanyu, Arjuna’s son, was the only one present in the Pandava camp who could enter the Chakravyuha. However, he only knew how to penetrate the formation and not how to find a way out. Having no choice, Yudhishthira promised Abhimanyu that the bravest Pandava warriors would follow his lead and break in with him, and would ensure his safe exit. 

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Illustration: Dilip Kadam

Convinced, Abhimanyu entered the Chakravyuha and tried to lead the Pandavas through it. But that day, Jayadratha, the king of Sindhu, invoked a boon he had received from Lord Shiva. This boon gave him the power to oppose the Pandavas in warfare, thus he was able to hold them off from entering the Chakravyuha. Meanwhile, Abhimanyu was trapped inside the Chakravyuha and with no backup, he was killed after fighting the unfair attack from all sides.

Arjuna was devastated when he learnt of his son’s death. He blamed Jayadratha for this and vowed that he would kill him before the next day’s sunset.  If he failed to do so, he vowed to give up his life by jumping into a burning pyre. However, when Jayadratha was born, a sage had approached his father, King Vriddhakshatra. The sage had predicted that Jayadratha would be killed in a great war. Saddened by hearing this, Vriddhakshatra uttered a curse saying,

“Whoever is responsible for my son’s head to touch the ground, will instantly be blown to pieces.”   

Illustration: Dilip Kadam

The next day, after learning Arjuna’s intentions, Dronacharya had three military formations in place to protect Jayadratha from Arjuna. But Bheema and Arjuna annihilated all three military formations. They seemed to be on a demonic rampage, driven completely by revenge. However, when dusk was nearing, the warriors stationed to protect Jaydratha had still not been defeated. To get Jaydratha exposed from their protection, Krishna used his yogic powers to create an illusion that the sun was about to set. Immediately, the Kauravas started to rejoice, knowing Arjuna’s oath. Just then, Jayadratha came out of hiding, and upon seeing him, Krishna dispelled the illusion. The sun rays again fell on the battlefield and Krishna pointed at Jayadratha. Rage took over Arjuna as he furiously readied his arrow, but Krishna advised Arjuna.

“Severe his head and make it land on his father’s lap.”

Arjuna nodded and took aim. He left an arrow that went whirling towards Jayadratha at lightning speed. 

Illustration: Dilip Kadam

Vriddhakshatra was meditating and offering his evening prayers in the woods nearby when suddenly his son’s head came shooting from the sky and fell on his lap. Unaware of this, when he got up after his prayers, the head fell from his lap and onto the ground. In that instant, Vriddhakshatra was blown to pieces, as he fell victim to his own curse.   

Read our special collection Mahabharata – 3 vol set, now available on the ACK Comics App, Kindle, Amazon, Flipkart, and other major e-tailers. 

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