It is said that adversities accrue to a person because of his prarabdha karma; whether he be a dharmik or adharmik person.

In an enmity between such people, if the adharmik person is affected by his prarabdha, should the dharmik one wait for that prarabdha to get over and then destory the enemy? Or should the person continue to destroy the enemy irrespective of prarabdha?

The reason of asking is, because of some kings like Prthviraj Chauhan, who let their mleccha enemies off 16 times, when they were without weapons. Is this dharma? Is this the magnanimity of the king and is such magnanimity greater than his duty of protecting his subjects?

Yes, dharma says to be friendly to everyone. But, if dharmik just meant sitting and preaching, there would be no need for Kshatriyas. Further, prayogas to destroy an enemy would not be mentioned in tantras.

What do dharmashastras/ tantras say with regard to eliminating your enemy when he is facing bad prarabdha? Should you be magnanimous like Prthviraj Chauhan or should you continue to fight even when the enemy is faced with adversity?

Is this like a situation where ordinarily lying is not permitted except for those few circumstances as given in the Manusmriti?

Please note: I would like special focus on the King aspect. Should a king pardon the enemy in war or kill him?

I may consider answers from Non-dharmashastras (Puranas, tantras, etc) but only after a proper explanation.

  • This has been answered in Panchatantra. Can take the pains to quote and reply if that's an acceptable source Aug 12, 2023 at 9:47
  • Yes that’s an acceptable source. And does is explain or merely gives one line? (In a way a one liner is there in the Mahabharata too) @Carmensandiego.
    – Adiyarkku
    Aug 12, 2023 at 12:13
  • Dharmashastras state that although killing anything is a sin, it isn't a sin when done as a part of a scripturally-sanctioned ritual or in self-defence. Prayogas of destroying enemies are to be used only for self-defence & not to target the innocent. Shiva Purana states that the executioner is never tainted with the sin of murder for executing criminals because he does it under orders of his employer, the king & following the orders of your employer is the svadharma of the employee.
    – অনু
    Aug 12, 2023 at 14:09
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    It is based on whether they are natural enemies or circumstancial. Covered in Mahabharata and Panchatantra in details. Will compose an answer soon Aug 12, 2023 at 16:07
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    Krishna premi swami hits the hammer on the nail in his Mahabharata upanyasa about Kurukshetra war and why it was necessary - Punishment is Nyaya. Forgiveness is Guna. Don't equate Nyaya with Guna. A king is supposed to punish. A sanyasi is supposed to forgive. A forgiving king and a punishing sanyasi both go to Naraka.
    – ram
    Aug 16, 2023 at 0:24

2 Answers 2


First of all you can't "wait for prarabdha" of your adversary to get over simply because you will never know how much prarabdha of his is left to fructify or it can be the case that his prarabdha may entail defeat, death etc. You are only responsible for your actions or specifically have control over your actions, and not of anyone else let alone your adversary.

I will skip explaining Prithviraj Chauhan's actions as most of his accounts are anachronistic anecdotes. Besides there is no anecdote that says he didn't finish off Ghori because he was waiting for Ghori's prarabdha to get over. Instead will focus on the questions related to how King should deal with foes especially mlecchas given the decay in righteousness with gradual lapse of Yuga. Quoting the relevant portion from Apaddharmanusasana Parva , part of Santi Parva

The king should always stay with the rod of chastisement uplifted in his hand. He should always display his prowess. Himself without laches, he should mark the laches of his foes. Indeed, his eyes should ever be used for that purpose. At the sight of a king who has the rod of chastisement ever uplifted in his hand, every one is struck with fear.

A king possessed of wisdom should cut away the very roots of his foe. He should then win over and bring under his sway the allies and partisans of that foe.

That king who does not crush a foe reduced to subjection by military force, provides for his own death like the crab when she conceives.

A king should ascertain all future dangers; when they are present, he should conquer them; and lest they grow again, he should, even after conquering them, think them to be unconquered. The abandonment of present happiness and the pursuit of that which is future, is never the policy of a person possessed Of intelligence. The king who having made peace with a foe sleeps happily in truthfulness is like a man who sleeping on the top of a tree awakes after a fall. When one falls into distress, one should raise one's self by all means in one's power, mild or stern; and after such rise, when competent, one should practise righteousness. The king should always honour the foes of his foes. He should take his own spies as agents employed by his foes. The king should see that his own spies are not recognised by his foe. He should make spies of atheists and ascetics and send them to the territories of his enemies.

Even as certain insects of sharp stings cut off all flowers and fruits of the trees on which they sit, the king should, after having inspired confidence in his foe by honours and salutations and gifts, turn against him and shear him of everything. Without piercing the very vitals of others, without accomplishing many stern deeds, without slaughtering living creatures after the manner of the fisherman, one cannot acquire great prosperity. There is no separate species of creatures called foes or friends. Persons become friends or foes according to the force of circumstances. The king should never allow his foe to escape even if the foe should indulge piteous lamentations. He should never be moved by these; on the other hand, it is his duty to destroy the person that has done him an injury.

Please note that it is mentioned at the end of this section that such is the behavior expected from a king in season of distress i.e. when he has invoked Apaddharma

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    Great answer! From what I understand, it is foolish of a Kshatriya (not necessarily king), to let his foes loose, because they will come back to attack him. He must necessarily take an opportunity presented by the enemies prarabdha to eliminate him. Simple logic: if he doesn’t, the enemy will come back and destroy him and is not favourable for the bigger goal of protecting his subjects/ sitting on his rightful throne to rule with dharma. Thank you.
    – Adiyarkku
    Aug 13, 2023 at 13:21
  • See the below answer. How will this compare with what Bhagavan did when Ravana lost all his splendour? Is it acceptable because he’s god? Bhagavan can’t be called foolish.
    – Adiyarkku
    Aug 13, 2023 at 13:23
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    @Adiyarkku Thank you for your kind words. It is indeed unfortunate that Hindus celebrate the supposed magnamity of Kshatriyas (factual or fictional) even though their actions were orthogonal to what's mentioned in scriptures. As far as what's mentioned in the other answer is concerned I believe Lord Krishna after demise of Duryodhana had conceded that they needed deciet to win the war. Ofcourse Pandavas suffered for their sins (thus their stay in naraka albeit short period). Lord Krishna ofcourse didn't need to suffer but he still took the curse of Gandhari upon himself and his clan Aug 14, 2023 at 4:13

Krishna counsels Arjuna to kill Karna when he was on the ground.


Then Vasudeva, addressing Partha, said, "Cut off with thy arrow the head of this enemy of thine, viz., Vrisha, before he succeeds in getting upon his car."

On the other hand, Rama gave Ravana a reprieve in their first encounter because he had lost all his weapons.

  • Ya but whatever Krishna says is counted as adharma na? So then by him telling Arjuna anything, how does it justify dharma?
    – Adiyarkku
    Aug 12, 2023 at 15:53
  • whatever Krishna says is counted as Dharma. @Adiyarkku. Karna deserved it even though it looks like adharma because he first broke the rules of dharma by hitting abhimanyu along with multiple warriors (when only 1-1 was allowed).
    – ram
    Aug 16, 2023 at 0:26
  • @mar ideally yes, but a lot of allegations on the internet and tv serials are raised on him that he conducted the war in an adharmik fashion, which is why my comment.
    – Adiyarkku
    Aug 16, 2023 at 2:48
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    @Adiyarkku - yes, they will raise those points. that IS the goal of krishna avatar. to make people question him, and the answer is that - whatever he does is right. even during ramayan time, when rama did everything by the book, people slandered him then and now. Acharyas are actually angry with Rama - that He tried to play by the rules of dharma, which would make people think He is bound by dharma, rather than the truth that dharma is bound by Him, which is exactly what Krishna avatara elucidates. Whatever Krishna does - THAT is the definition of dharma.
    – ram
    Aug 16, 2023 at 8:01
  • @adiyarkku you can include Krishna in "lots of people" who claimed he carried out adharma in the war (when Duryodhana lists Krishna's adharmic deeds as he lay dying, the Devas showered flowers on him.)
    – S K
    Aug 16, 2023 at 11:16

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