In the Kurukshetra war, the Pandava side represented Dharma, and the Kaurava side adharma.Then, why numerous warriors in the Pandavas' side also died in the battle?

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    10 wars were happened between Gods and Demons and all those daityas, Rakshasa who were killed by Devas were born as humans and Earth was filled with evil and chaos. Then lord Vishnu descended to Earth as Krishna and his attendants in vaikunta as Yadavas and Devas as other allies. So, killing must happen to relieve the earth and Devas went to their original abodes and these Demons too went to heaven after war and thus Earth was relieved of burden and this was main reason for krishna Avatar.
    – The Destroyer
    Commented May 11, 2016 at 6:18
  • @TheDestroyer Nice explanation friend
    – Sakthi
    Commented Apr 17, 2017 at 12:41
  • Once Death doesnt define he is for dharma or adharma. what cause the person died that determines the dharma.. Kaurava side people died and went hell as well but those who died on Pandavas never went to hell.
    – Prasanna R
    Commented Feb 2, 2021 at 13:59

2 Answers 2


Mahabharata was a war between dharma and adharma. This is clear from what happened after the death of the Pandavas and Kauravas.

Yudhishthira was shocked to see Duryodhana in heaven while his brothers were in hell. This peculiar phenomena was explained by Indra.

Then Sakra, the lord of the deities, endued with blazing prosperity, addressed Yudhishthira and comforting him, said, "O Yudhishthira of mighty arms, come, come, O Chief of men. These illusions have ended, O puissant one. Success has been attained by thee, O mighty-armed one, and eternal regions (of felicity) have become thine. Hell, O son, should without doubt, be beheld by every king. Of both good and bad there is abundance, O chief of men. He enjoys the fruits of his good acts must afterwards endure hell. He, on the other hand, who first endures Hell, must afterwards enjoy Heaven, He whose sinful acts are many, enjoy heaven first...."

Mahabharata, Swargarohanika Parva, Section III

Duryodhana's sins were greater than his good deeds while the Pandavas had done more good deeds than bad ones. Of course neither side was perfect but on balance Pandavas were on the side of dharma while the Kauravas were on the side of adharma.

Fighting for Dharma is not the only factor governing the lives of the warriors in a war. Each of these warriors also have their own karmic history.

...As it does and as it acts, so it becomes: The doer of good becomes good, and the doer of evil becomes evil; it becomes virtuous through a virtuous act and vicious through a vicious act. Others, however, say that the self is identified with desire alone. It resolves as it desires; it does the work that it resolves; and it attains the results of the work it does.

Brhadaranyaka Upanishad, 4.4.5

Warriors fighting for dharma are earning merit. However, one cannot forget the past karmas of these warriors. So warriors who died did not have enough karmic merit to survive the war.

  • Krishna himself admitted they won the war by Adharma. They shattered the enemy king's thighs and left him alive on the spot to the mercy of wild animals. The celestials showered flowers on Duryodhana on his death-bed when he read Krishna the laundry-list of treacheries committed by him.@pradipgangopadhyay Actually neither side was dharmic.
    – S K
    Commented Apr 6, 2021 at 13:09

Mahabharat was not a war of Dharma and Adharma.

I pray to thee, O bull of the Kshatriya race, let not the Kshatriyas, old in learning and old in years, perish miserably, O Janardana, for thy sake. Oh, let this swelling host of Kshatriyas perish by means of weapons on that most sacred of all spots in the three worlds, viz.


Read this for more information.

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    'Mahabharat was not a war of Dharma and Adharma' - the very first chapter divides the two sides on that basis. See this. Commented May 8, 2020 at 17:28
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    Compare "Yudhishthira is a great tree created out of righteousness..." with the Sanskrit verse from here: "yudhiṣṭhiro dharmamayo mahādrumaḥ...". If one side is portrayed as founded in dharma that implies the other side is following adharma. Commented May 9, 2020 at 2:54
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    Check this post: Did Kauravas admit their Adharma?. Gandhari speaking about her own son: "Therefore, at my word, O king, abandon this wretch of our race." Commented May 9, 2020 at 4:57
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    Does Gandhari know her son better or Vyasa? Even assuming the whole Mahabharata is a fictional story and Vyasa its author, it was Vyasa who made Gandhari say those words. Commented May 9, 2020 at 22:18
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    @sv. These types of opinions are not valid. Same Gandhari called Duryodhana a follower of truth. That's why I was asking for the opinion of Vyasa or any high souled god like Lord Krishna or someone else. Sage Narada accepted that Duryodhana followed Dharma in his whole life. Everyone who dies in battle goes to heaven but Narada said that he got heaven because he followed Dharma. He didn't killed warriors unfairly.Can you tell me that because of which sin you are calling Duryodhana a sinner? Commented May 10, 2020 at 8:04

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