It is not clear if he was a part of the assembly when Draupadi was being disrobed. There is no mention of him being there and in my view if he would have been there, he would have stood up to the heinous act.

How did I reach this conclusion, he had the guts to oppose and talk back to Karna and Duryodhana even in public.

However, there is a very interesting incident that happens in the Virata war in which Arjuna, dressed as a eunuch defeats the entire Karuava army including Karna and Ashwatthama.

So here I go and putting my favorite parts in bold:

Drona and Bheeshma are alarmed when the realize that that are up against the mighty Arjuna. As usual, the boisterous Karna blows his own trumpet and brags that he would single handedly defeat Arjuna. Kripa says that it would be foolish and suggests that they make a combined attack, as that would be their only hope of success.

The vain Karna throws a tantrum again and insults Kripa and Drona and ends up saying “What business have men learned in the Vedas, who love and praise their enemies, got here?”

Aswatthama, Drona’s son and Kripa’s nephew, had had enough and gives a tremendous verbal whipping to Karna, one of my favorite portions of the Epic. Here is what Ashwatthama says:

“We have not yet taken the king back to Hastinapura, and the battle is yet to be won. Your brag is idle vainglory. It may be that we are not kshatriyas and that we belong to the class that recites the Vedas and the sastras. But I have not been able to find in any sastra that it is honorable for kings to seize kingdoms by cheating at dice. Even those, who fight and conquer kingdoms, do not crow too loudly about it.And I cannot seewhat you have done to be proud of. The fire is silent and yet cooks the food. The sun shines but not on him. Likewise, Mother earth sustains all things, movable and immovable, and supports her burden without so much as a whisper. What claim to praise has a kshatriya who has unlawfully seized another’s kingdom at a game of dice? To have cheated the Pandavas of their kingdom is no more a matter of glory than to have spread traps for unsuspecting birds.

O Duryodhana, O Karna, in what battle did your heroes defeat the Pandavas? You dragged Draupadi to the assembly. Are you proud of it?

You have destroyed the Kaurava race like an empty-headed clod that fells a big sandal tree for love of its fragrance.

A fight with Arjuna, you will find, is a very different thing from a throw of the dice. The Gandiva will send forth sharp arrows and not fours and twos as in the game of dice. Vain fools, do you think that Sakuni can, by mere cheating, sneak a victory in battle for you?”

What a whopping…!

Ashwatthama was a Man of Honor


(Source: Mahabharata by C. Rajagopalachari)

May god bless Rajaji’s soul for writing the Masterpiece that still brings solace and guidance to many till date) Thank You Raja Ji

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