WHEN Aswatthama heard howDuryodhana lay mortally injured, and learnt the
details of the combat, his righteous anger swelled like the sea. The deception, practised
by the Pandavas in order to bring about his father's end, had been rankling in his mind.
Now, when he learnt how Duryodhana had been stricken down mortally
against all rules of chivalry, he went to the spot where Duryodhana was lying and there
took an oath that he would that night send the Pandavas to the abode of Yama.
Duryodhana, who was in the last physical agony of departing life, was
transported with joy when he heard Aswatthama take this oath. He immediately ordered those
who stood nearby to install Aswatthama as Supreme Commander of the Army with due ceremony
and, when that was over, said to Him: "All my hopes are in you."
It was sunset and the forest was in utter darkness when under a big
banian tree Kripacharya, Kritavarma and Aswatthama halted for rest. They were so greatly
fatigued that Kripacharya and Kritavarma fell fast asleep as soon as they lay down.