Lesser Known Facts of Death of Lord Krishna & Pandavas

Death of Lord Krishna

Out of the four yugas, it is the Dwapara Yuga that precedes the current Kali Yuga according to the scriptures in Hinduism. As per the Bhagavata Purana, this age or yuga lasted for 8,64,000 years. It is during the Dwapar Yuga that the world saw the great Hindu epic in the form of Kurukshetra war, Mahabharata. In this war, Lord Krishna gave both Kauravas and Pandavas an opportunity to choose between his army called Narayani Sena or himself alone on the condition that he would not use any weapon. Arjuna, on behalf of the Pandavas, chose to have Lord Krishna on their side.

Thus Lord Krishna appeared as his charioteer and motivated him to fulfil his Karma while following the noble principles, even if he had to fight with his own family members who had disgraced Draupadi and had encroached everything that belonged to Pandavas. Without lifting any weapon but creating strategies to bring downfall of the egoistic Kauravas who had forgotten their Dharma, Lord Krishna emerged as the chief aid in securing victory to the Pandavas.

We may have been hearing stories of the Mahabharata and watching television shows manifesting Hindu religion’s greatest epic, but most of us still are ambiguous as to how Lord Krishna and Pandavas fell prey to death. Here are some eye opening facts that will explain the exit of such great souls from this mortal world:

Death Of Lord Krishna

The beginning of end of Dwapar Yuga

The victory in the Kurukshetra war itself was beginning of a new end. The great war that destroyed many people’s lives and killed humanity caused sadness and grief to the Pandavas. They were not filled with happiness but were rather speechless seeing the kind of mass destruction that a single war caused.

Role of Gandhari’s curse

Before the last phase of the war, Duryodhana was to meet his mother, Gandhari to seek her blessings, which would convert all parts of his body where her vision falls into diamond. Knowing this, Lord Krishna tricked Duryodhana in wearing a banana leaf to cover his groin and thigh area. When Gandhari’s vision and blessings fell on his entire body except for the covered part, she feels unhappy. When Bhima’s gigantic blows had no effect on Duryodhana, Lord Krishna signals him to hit the thigh area and this is how Duryodhana succumbed to death.

Seeing her son dead, Gandhari breaks into tears and heavily mourns at the war’s consequence. Lord Krishna and Pandavas went to offer respect and condolences but, with heart filled with vengeance and anger, Gandhari cursed Lord Krishna and Pandavas for giving her the pain of losing a child. She said that if her devotion towards Lord Vishnu and loyalty towards her husband is true, then Lord Krishna and his whole Yadava race will have to die in 36 years and Dwarka will be flooded and every Yadava kin will perish by killing one another. Lord Krishna said ‘Thathaastu’, which means your wish will be fulfilled. This is because he knew that the moral values, compassion, mercy and selflessness were gradually diminishing as the Kali Yuga was approaching.

Meanwhile in Dwarka

After the coronation of Yudhishtira as the king of Hasthinapur, Lord Krishna went to Dwarka to rule over his beautiful kingdom. Owing to Rukmini, Goddess of Wealth’s blessings, people enjoyed luxurious life and this is when the curse of Gandhari started taking its course towards reality. With so much materialistic happiness around the Yadavas, they forgot the importance of good conduct, following principles, moral ethics and humility.

Curse of eminent sages

While people had lost their sense of behaviour and culture and were leading life like hooligans, great sages like Vishwamitra, Durvasa, Vashista and Narada among others went to Dwarka to visit Lord Krishna and Balarama while being on a pilgrimage. A group of boys belonging to Yadava clan decided to play a prank on those sages to test their powers. One of those boys was Sambha, son of Lord Krishna and Jambavati, who came dressed as a woman and was covered with many robes to disguise him as a pregnant woman. Then the boys asked those sages, whether the lady will deliver a  boy or girl and the sages with their divine powers understood their notorious intentions. They were extremely furious and said that the boy imitating as a pregnant woman will give birth to a lump of iron, which will end the whole Yadava race.

Curse Being Fructified

Without apologising and in arrogance, the Yadavas left the scene and next day Sambha developed labour pains and as per curse, delivered a mace. Now the scared Yadava boys went upto Lord Krishna and explained the entire sequence of happenings. Lord Krishna stated that time has come for Gandhari’s curse to act and since Sambha was a blessing of God of Destruction, Lord Shiva, he had played his part correctly in initiating the destruction. However, it was decided to grind the mace into fine powder and cast into sea.

But everything except for a sharp triangular piece from that mace was not ground to fine powder and it was thrown into the sea. People were relieved that the curse now won’t get fructified. However, the fine powder was pushed back ashore and lay on the coast of Dwarka, where a certain kind of lush green grass grew significantly. The triangular piece was swallowed by a fish, which was caught by a hunter and it got crafted into a fine poisonous arrow.

The day of destruction of own race came

Yadavas had by now completely forgot about the curse and one fine day gathered at the beach and consumed alcohol, which robbed them off their senses. Not in their true senses, they began recalling the horrifying past of the war between Kauravas and Pandavas and started teasing one another. In fit of rage, it was Satyaki who jumped on Krithvarma and cut his head off. Then each of their supporters started quarrelling and fighting and in this process, Lord Krishna’s innocent son Pradyumana was killed.

As those people had come to the beach for pleasure, they did not bring weapons with them. They therefore, started picking up grass stems and killed each other because those grass stems were sharp iron blades grown from the same fine particles of the iron mace that Sambha delivered. In few moments all Yadavas were killed by their own clan members and only Lord Krishna and his charioteer Daruka and other one Babhru survived who then went to locate Balarama.

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Balarama brings end to his incarnation

Lord Krishna approached Balarama, who was meditating. But Balarama had left his mortal body behind to join the Naga community in Vishnu Loka as he was the incarnation of Adi Shesha. Seeing this, Lord Krishna understood that it was time for him to leave this world.

Lord Krishna Leaves The Mortal World

When Lord Krishna started thinking of the ways to go back to his original abode, he remembered a past event. At one instance, on request of saint Durvasa, Lord Krishna applied payasam on his entire body except feet as his legs were resting on the ground. The sage observed it and said that Lord Krishna had not applied payasam on his feet and his death was on his foot.

Thinking about this instance, Lord Krishna went to Yoga Samadhi and at this point, a hunter named Jara entered the forest and mistook the moving foot of Lord Krishna for a deer and shot the poisonous arrow made from the triangular piece of the iron born to Sambha. When the hunter realised his mistake, he pleaded lord for forgiveness but Lord Krishna told him that death is inevitable.

Lord Krishna even said that in Treta Yuga, Lord Rama had killed Sugriva’s brother Vaali from behind. This hunter Jara was Vaali in his previous incarnation and now the price for the same was reaped as the laws of Karma remain the same for the world’s creator too.

This is how Lord Krishna left the mortal world giving some very important inspirational lessons about living life with kindness, honesty, humanity and following duties as per Karma and Dharma. Now the end of the Pandavas too was near as the Kali Yuga approached. Let’s read a continuation of this saga after Lord Krishna’s death, which will also mark the beginning of the Pandavas’ journey towards heaven:-

The news of destruction of Yadava clan reaches Pandavas

On orders of Lord Krishna, his charioteer Daruka met the Pandavas and informed them about the curse of Gandhari coming true in Dwarka. The news caused heartfelt grief for the Pandavas and Dharmraja Yudhishtir asked Arjuna to save the remaining people in Dwarka as the place was supposed to be flooded within seven days of Lord Krishna’s death. Arjuna performed the last rites of Lord Krishna and Balarama, while their wives pounced into the funeral pyre as Sati.

Failure of Arjuna

Arjuna commenced the journey towards Indraprastha along with many ladies and children belonging to Dwarka. While the Dwarka city was sinking into the sea, some robbers saw that only one man was safeguarding the ladies. They hence, decided to rob them. Being known as a great archer who displayed his adept skills in archery during the Kurukshetra war, Arjuna tried to lift his bow to shoot arrows, but to his dismay, every effort went into vain. He forgot all incantations that could invoke magical arrows and the thieves successfully kidnapped the women and killed many others.

Sage Veda Vyasa’s advise to Pandavas

While some ladies themselves jumped into the river and some burnt themselves alive, Arjuna was deeply saddened and was feeling hopeless about himself. On reaching Hastinapur, the Pandavas visited sage Veda Vyasa and explained the whole destruction tale of Yadavas and inability of Arjuna in saving Yadava women. The sage then consoled them and also said that their life’s purpose has fulfilled. Thereby, the Pandavas decided to renounce their kingdom and they coronated Parikshit as the king of Hastinapur and Yadava Prince Vajra as the king of Indraprastha.

The beginning of Mahaprasthanika Parva

The Mahaprasthanika Parva is the shortest book in the Mahabharata epic, which recites the journey of the Pandavas towards Mount Sumeru in Himalayas as it is known as the path for heaven. So after renouncing their righteous kingdom, Pandavas and their common wife, Draupadi started climbing Mount Sumeru, when a dog befriended them and accompanied them on this journey. However, one by one death came to everyone expect Yudhishtira.  

Draupadi was the first one to fall prey to death as she was imperfect and never equally loved all her husbands. She suffered from vice of partiality and preferred Arjuna over rest of her husbands. While the remaining Pandavas embarked on their journey, it was Sahadeva who died next because of his arrogance of having too much knowledge and wisdom. After Sahadeva, Nakula was the next one to die and his death was a result of his pride of being the most handsome person in the world. Next in line was Arjuna who died because of his pride and vanity that he was the most skilled and bravest warrior in the world.

Now while, Yudhishtira, Bhima and the dog continued climbing the mountain, Bhima felt exhausted to walk any more and fell down. Bhima was imperfect as he was glutton and used to eat too much without considering other’s hunger. So now, it was just Yudhishtira and the dog who commenced the rest of the journey, when Lord Indra appeared in his chariot. Lord Indra tried to lure him to sit in his chariot to complete his rest of the journey but said that the dog won’t be allowed on the chariot. Yudhishtira told him that the dog had been accompanying him in his journey towards heaven in mortal form without fearing death, then he certainly cannot abandon him for sake of his own happiness in heaven.

Seeing this, the dog transforms into God of Dharma or Lord Yama and praised Yudhishtira for his virtue and commitment and asks him to continue the rest of the journey with Lord Indra in his chariot.

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Swargarohana Parva Or The Book Of The Ascent To Heaven

The last and one of the shortest books of the Mahabharata epic is the Swargarohana Parva that describes the arrival of Yudhishtira in heaven and what he witnesses in hell. After entering heaven, Yudhishtira is shocked to see Duryodhana, Bheeshma, Dronacharya and other Kaurava sons but he couldn’t find the Pandavas and his wife Draupadi.

When asked for explanation, Lord Yama said that the Kauravas died as warriors were supposed to, on the war field. They followed their Kshatriya dharma and fought till death and this earned them the merit to secure a place for themselves in the heaven.

When Yudhishtira asked where his brothers and wife were, Lord Yama took him to hell saying that they are experiencing punishment according to the sins they have committed. Once their debts will get paid, they will be sent to heaven. Horrified after seeing the gore and blood in the hell and being disheartened by the sufferings caused to his brothers and wife, Yudhishtira decided to be with his family in everything that they endure and therefore asked the divine chariot to return to heaven.

He was firm that he would love to stay with good people in hell instead of staying with enemies in heaven. However, this too turned out to be an illusion to test him and he was informed that his brothers and wife are already in heaven.

However, it is also believed and mentioned in some ancient scriptures that Yudhishtira had spoken just one white lie owing to which he was taken on a trip to hell. When the Mahabharata war was on, it was felt that until Guru Dronacharya dies, the Pandavas cannot win and this is why Lord Krishna made a strategy. He told Pandavas that Guru Dronacharya was extremely fond of his son Ashwatthama and if he hears that his son has died in the war, then he will become emotionally weak and will put down his weapons. Lord Krishna asked Bhima to find and kill an elephant named Ashwatthama and claim to Guru Dronacharya that he had slain Ashwatthama, his son.

On killing the elephant of the same name, Bhima went to Guru Dronacharya and proclaimed that his son was killed in war by him. But Guru Dronacharya did not believe him and went to confirm it from Yudhishtira who never spoke lie. However, in a puzzled state of mind, Yudhishtira responded saying that Ashwatthama was dead but he was not sure if it was a human or elephant. Due to this white lie, there are many ancient sources that claim that it cost him his smallest finger on the left hand before reaching heaven.

The sacred Bhagavad Gita, therefore, describes the teachings of Lord Krishna who emphasises on the fact that no one can escape from the bondage without balancing Karma. If you ever desire to give direction to your destiny, then start controlling your Karma and it is only through good Karma that you will reach the stage of enlightenment and finally attain liberation.

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