In both BR Chopra's and Star Plus' Mahabharat TV shows, before the main Mahabharata war, both sides agree on some rules on how the war should be fought. This answer lists all those rules and I'm quoting one below.

Two warriors may duel, or engage in prolonged personal combat, only if they carry the same weapons and they are on the same mount (no mount, a horse, an elephant, or a chariot).

Now the TV shows also portray Arjuna, Drona, Bhishma and Ashvatthama massacring defenseless foot soldiers violating the above rule from day one of the war.

  1. As per Vyasa's Mahabharata, did Arjuna et al. really break the above rule?
  2. If yes, are their actions justified?
  • 2
    basically archer would be protected by basic warriors, so without killing them how to kill archer. can you provide episode number/link to check the exact rule?
    – Lakhi
    Commented Aug 3, 2019 at 17:09
  • @Lakhi Most of the episodes of any serial during war stage.
    – Vikas
    Commented Aug 4, 2019 at 7:57
  • 1
    Asking questions just by watching serials is not a very good question.Why should warriors from Mahabharata follow rules decided in B.R Chopra Mahabharat? ;-) They add many folklores and also include writer's opinion to show serial more interesting to the viewers. They want ratings. "how moral it is?" leads to opinions. Commented Aug 4, 2019 at 8:13
  • @Sarvabhouma the rules I mentioned are not from serials, those were mentioned in an answer on this site. Further, I clearly asked Is it a part of Vyasa Mahabharat before we discuss moral or immoral.
    – Vikas
    Commented Aug 4, 2019 at 8:51
  • "But if you have seen these serials, following rules are broken from the day one. Arjuna, Ashwathama, Drona, Bhishma etc are shown massacring the basic warriors" You're mentioning serials and saying soldiers are massacring in TV serials. If you are mentioning the other answer, I think there is no need to mention those serials. Commented Aug 4, 2019 at 8:54

1 Answer 1


The description of an Akshauhini is as follows:

'One chariot, one elephant, five foot-soldiers, and three horses form one Patti; three pattis make one Sena-mukha; three sena-mukhas are called a Gulma; three gulmas, a Gana; three ganas, a Vahini; three vahinis together are called a Pritana; three pritanas form a Chamu; three chamus, one Anikini; and an anikini taken ten times forms, as it is styled by those who know, an Akshauhini.

O ye best of Brahmanas, arithmeticians have calculated that the number of chariots in an Akshauhini is twenty-one thousand eight hundred and seventy. The measure of elephants must be fixed at the same number. O ye pure, you must know that the number of foot-soldiers is one hundred and nine thousand, three hundred and fifty, the number of horse is sixty-five thousand, six hundred and ten.

The foot-soldiers will be fighting among opponent foot-soldiers and protecting elephants

The foot-soldiers that protected the elephants, endued with broad chests, and capable of smiting effectually, with wrath excited, and armed with pikes and bows, and bright battle-axes, and with maces and clubs, and short arrows, and lances, and with shafts, and stout bludgeons mounted with iron spikes and swords, well-grasped of the brightest polish, ran hither and thither, O king, and seemed resolved to take one another's life.

Naturally, they have to be eliminated for winning a war.

Arjuna did slaughter many elephants, foot-soldiers, apart from those who were on chariots. Similar will be the case with other warriors.

And in that awful slaughter of kings, heroic combatants were slain and car-warriors with those that guided their cars. And elephants with resplendent housings of gold and gorgeous standards (on their backs), afflicted with broad-headed shafts failing upon them, suddenly fell down, deprived of life and their bodies mangled by Kiritin. And forcibly struck by Partha with his winged arrows of great impetuosity and broad-headed shafts of keen-edge and points, the standards of innumerable kings stationed at the heads of their yantras and Indrajalas were cut off.

And bands of infantry and car-warriors, in that battle, and steeds and elephants, fell fast on the field, their limbs paralysed, or themselves speedily deprived of life, affected by Dhananjaya with those shafts.

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