Ashwatthama assassinated members of the Pandava camp in the dead of the night when they were sleeping. It is a heinous crime.

One should not cast weapons against kine, brahmanas, kings, women, friends, one's own mother, one's own preceptor, a weak man, an idiot, a blind man, a sleeping man, a terrified man, one just got up from sleep, an intoxicated person, a lunatic and one that is careless. The ancient preceptors always preached this truth to men. - Mahabharata X.6.21

What punishment did he get for this crime? Please refer to the Verse numbers from Mahabharata.

Clarification - I know that Ashwatthama was cursed by Krishna for living a wretched life for 3000 years. But that was due to his sin of directing his Brahmastra to an unborn foetus. Here I am asking about his punishment for killing sleeping men.

  • @YDS that curse was for directing his brahmastra towards the foetus. " this weapon of mine shall fall on the foetus that is in the womb of Virata's daughter, upon that foetus which thou, O Krishna, art desirous of protecting.' The holy one said, "The fall of this mighty weapon will not be fruitless. The foetus will die. But being dead, it will live again and have a long life! " This is not for the sin of killing sleeping person. So it does not answer my question. Sep 9, 2021 at 7:49
  • actually Pandavas went to punish Ashwatthama for that crime only but he used brahmashira against them.. then Arjuna also used brahmashira in defend and later revoked it but Ashwatthama couldn't revoked and redirected to Parikshit instead..so the punishment was for combined crimes..
    – YDS
    Sep 9, 2021 at 8:01
  • @YDS can you please cite the verse from Mahabharata that says the punishment is for "combined crimes"? Sep 9, 2021 at 12:27

1 Answer 1


Pandavas went to punish Ashwatthama for the crime of killing Pandva children and Dhrishtadyumna but he used the divine weapon brahmashira against them. Then, Arjuna also used brahmashira in defend and later revoked it but Ashwatthama couldn't revoke and redirected it to Parikshit instead. Later Ashwatthama was curshed by Lord Krishna and his gem (was born with him) was taken by Pandavas. This was the combined punishment for his all sinful deeds.

Mahabharata: Sauptika Parva: Section 16:

Vaishampayana continued, "Drona's son, then, having made over his gem to the high-souled Pandavas, cheerlessly proceeded, before their eyes, to the forest.

Then the mighty Bhimasena, desired by the king, gave that celestial gem unto her and said these words: "This gem, O amiable lady, is thine. The slayer of thy sons hath been vanquished...

Having vanquished Drona's son, we have set him free for the sake of his being a brahmana and of the respect that should be shown to our deceased preceptor. His fame hath been destroyed, O goddess, only his body remains! He has been divested of his gem and on earth he has been reft of his weapons!"

Draupadi said, "I desired to only pay off our debt for the injury we have sustained. The preceptor's son is worthy of my reverence as the preceptor himself. Let the king bind this gem on his head,...

Related: Ashvatthaman's immortality?

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