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Where was Ashwatthama when Pandavas spread the false news of his death? On that day, was Ashwatthama too far from his father like Arjun was when Abhimanyu died? If so then, how Dronacharya could believe that Bhim killed him and came back from that site?

Also, Dronacharya already knew that Ashwatthama is Chiranjeevi (Drona did many years of severe penance to please lord Shiva in order to obtain a son who possesses the same valiance as of Lord Shiva. Hence, Ashwatthama was born immortal due to the blessing of Lord Shiva.) and can not be slain then, how he could believe the fact that Bhim killed his son.

By seeing that Drona gave up his weapons and Dṛṣṭadyumna is approaching him, why nobody from Kaurvas Army revealed the truth to their Army chief?

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Addressing your questions one by one.

Q. Where was Ashwatthama when Pandavas spread the false news of his death? On that day, was Ashwatthama too far from his father like Arjun was when Abhimanyu died?

Yes, Ashwatthaman was far away from Drona and not at his sight. This is what gave his chance to Pandavas to plan the way to slay Drona. Ashwatthaman didn't had any idea what was happening to his father. He was in the middle of the battle. That's the reason he asked why Kaurava forces are retreating.

Only Drona's son, Aswatthaman, like a huge alligator coming up against the current of a stream, rushed against his foes. A fierce battle took place between him and many warriors headed by Sikhandin and the Prabhadrakas, the Panchalas, the Chedis, and the Kaikeyas. [Section CXCIV, Drona Parva].

That why he asked Duryodhana why Kaurava forces were retreating instead of fighting.

Proceeding towards Duryodhana, Drona's son, approaching the Kuru king, said, 'Why, O Bharata, are the troops flying away as if in fear? Although flying away, thus, O monarch, why dost thou not yet rally them in battle? [Section CXCIV Drona Parva]


Q. If so then, how Dronacharya could believe that Bhima killed him and came back from that site?

Bhimasena killed an elephant named Ashwatthama from his own army and shouted that Ashwatthama is dead. Dronacharya didn't believe his words. He knows the prowess of his son and continued to fight.

Then the mighty-armed Bhima, O king, slew with a mace a foe-crushing, terrible and huge elephant named Aswatthaman, of his own army, belonging to Indravarman, the chief of the Malavas. Approaching Drona then in that battle with some bashfulness Bhimasena began to exclaim aloud, 'Aswatthaman hath been slain.' That elephant named Aswatthaman having been thus slain, Bhima spoke of Aswatthaman's slaughter. Keeping the true fact within his mind, he said what was untrue, Hearing those highly disagreeable words of Bhima and reflecting upon them, Drona's limbs seemed to dissolve like sands in water. Recollecting however, the prowess of his son, he soon came to regard that intelligence as false. Hearing, therefore, of his slaughter, Drona did not become unmanned. Indeed, soon recovering his senses, he became comforted, remembering that his son was incapable of being resisted by foes. [Section CXCI, Drona Parva].

After this incident, fought with more rage. Then sages appeared at that place in their subtle forms and said that he was fighting unrighteously. They informed that time has come to end his life. Hearing their words, he has realized that his last hour has come. He became extremely cheerless and inquired Yudhishtira whether his son was slain or not. Dronacharya firmly believed that Yudhishtira would never speak a lie. That was the reason he asked Yudhishtira only and ignored Bhimas's words. After making up his mind, Yudhishtira uttered loudly that Ashwatthama is dead adding indistinctly the world elephant (after the name).

Hearing these words of their as also those spoken by Bhimasena, and beholding Dhrishtadyumna before him, Drona became exceedingly cheerless in battle. Burning with grief and exceedingly afflicted, he enquired of Kunti's son Yudhishthira as to whether his son (Aswatthaman) had been slain or not. Drona firmly believed that Yudhishthira would never speak an untruth even for the sake of the sovereignty of the three worlds. For this reason, that bull among Brahmanas asked Yudhishthira and not any body else. He had hoped for truth from Yudhishthira from the latter's infancy. [Section CXCI, Drona Parva].


Q.By seeing that Drona gave up his weapons and Dṛṣṭadyumna is approaching him, why nobody from Kaurvas Army revealed the truth to their Army chief?

After Bhimasena said his son is no more, he didn't believe and continued his fight more vigourously. So, no one from Kaurava troops might not have revealed the truth.

It doesn't take much time to utter a sentence that someone is dead. Drona felt distressed and renounced his weapons as soon as he heard Yudhishtira. It is already explained above that he had firm faith in Yudhishtira that he never utters a lie. After getting that confirmation from Dharma Raja, he didn't ask anyone else. Even someone said his son is alive, he would not believe. He gave up weapons when Yudhishtira said Ashwatthama is dead. He also realised that his last hour on earth has arrived by the words of Sages. So, he never asked others confirmation or checked for his son himself.

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After the death of Guru Drona:

The Kauravas were struck by grief and fear. Their all-conquering general was dead. Unable to believe it, they fled. Duryodhana, Karṇa, Śakuni, and the Kuru chiefs were overwhelmed by sorrow, and they ran along with their troops. As they rushed from the cheering Pāṇḍava forces, they encountered Aśvatthāmā moving in the opposite direction, like an alligator swimming against a river’s current. Surprised to see the Kauravas retreating, he stopped Duryodhana and asked, “Why do I see our army flying, O King? Why are you and all of our other heroes running away? Surely some unthinkable calamity has befallen us.”

Death news of Drona being conveyed to Aśvatthāmā by Kṛpa

Duryodhana could not tell Aśvatthāmā the news. He looked down and said nothing. Kṛpa came up to his side and Duryodhana said, “O son of Saradwata, tell Aśvatthāmā why we are fleeing.”

With tears flowing down his face, Kṛpa said, “With that foremost of men Droṇa at our head, we have waged a great battle with the Pañchālas, during which he has slain not less than fifty thousand of their number. Penetrating into the Pāṇḍava ranks, your father scorched our enemies like the Destroyer himself. None could stand before him. Therefore, the Pāṇḍavas decided upon an unfair means to check your father. Informing him that you had been slain, O child, they deprived him of his senses and power. Dṛṣṭadyumna, when he saw him anxious and desisting from the fight, flew at him with sword held high. Even as the preceptor sat in mystic meditation, and as many warriors shouted at him to stop, Drupada’s son lopped off his head. Thus did your father suffer death at the hands of a heartless warrior. This is why our troops are fleeing.” Aśvatthāmā cried out.

So Aśvatthāmā was in the battle field only when his father Drona was killed and this news was passed on to him by Kṛpa. Reference here

Why nobody from Kauravas army revealed the truth to Dronacharya?

The Pāṇḍava remembered Droṇa’s own prophetic statement at the beginning of the war: that he would be overpowered at a time when he heard something disagreeable from a creditable source. Reluctantly, Yudhiṣṭhira agreed to Kṛṣṇa’s suggestion. As the Kuru preceptor approached him, he gave him the false news. “Aśvatthāmā is dead,” he called out, adding inaudibly at the end, “the elephant,” as he could not tell an utter untruth under any circumstances.

So perhaps it was destined to have ended in this fashion, hence nobody from Kaurvas revealed the truth to Drona. Another thing is all these events happened same day and within short span.

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Just adding in the accepted answer.

Why Dronacharya believed in the fact that Bhima killed his son?

As described by Nog Shine, the sages appeared at that place in their subtle forms and said that he was fighting unrighteously. They informed that time has come to end his life. Hearing their words, he has realized that his last hour has come.

And it's known that

विनाशकाले विपरीतबुद्धिःI

When one's destruction or bad time is soon to arrive, one thinks unintelligently or negatively.

Dronacharya knew very well that Bhima can't kill Ashwatthama because

  1. Ashwatthama is Chiranjeevi (nobody can kill him)
  2. Ashwatthama had celestial weapons (like Narayanstra and Bhrahmshirastra) and Bheema didn't have such weapons

But still he partially believed in Bheema and went to Yudhishthira. Then, he didn't listen the complete sentence when Yudhishthira gave a reply. That clearly shows that his destruction time was soon to arrive, and he started thinking unintelligently or negatively.

Let us see an instance from Ramayana:

Sitaji knew that there is nothing like golden deer but still She requested Lord Rama to go after it. She very well knew that Rama has killed many Rakashas, even Laxmana tried to explain her that Lord Rama can't be in danger but still she sent Laxmana for Lord Rama's help. And, Ravana succeeded in his motive.

These instances shows that when one's destruction or bad time is soon to arrive, one thinks unintelligently or negatively.

  • "Ashwatthama is Chiranjeevi (nobody can kill him)" His immortality came after the war which was a curse. Yes, he had belief in his son's prowess. So, he thought no one can kill him because of his prowess and the weapons he had. Not because of the immortality. – Sarvabhouma Oct 29 '17 at 2:45
  • @NogShine Yes, few source says that Ashwatthama acted out of cowardice to avenge the killing of his father, resulting in a curse of immortality. However, few source says that Drona did many years of severe penance to please lord Shiva in order to obtain a son who possesses the same valiance as of Lord Shiva. Hence, Ashwatthama was born immortal due to the blessing of Lord Shiva. Also, curse is till the end of Kaliyuga but as per Puranas, he will be Vedvyas in next or 29th Dwapar Yug and one of the saptrisis in next or 8th Manavanatar which shows that he was born immortal. – YDS Oct 29 '17 at 4:06

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