To save the friend who had whollydepend- ed on him, Rama was driven to
bear the sin of killing Vali, in disregard of the rules of fairplay. So also, now did
Yudhishthira decide to bear the shame of it, for there was no other way.
Bhima lifted his iron mace and brought it down on the bead of a huge
elephant called Aswatthama and it fell dead. After killing the elephant Aswatthama, Bhima-
sena went near the division commanded by Drona and roared so that all might hear.
"I have killed Aswatthama!" Bhimasena who, until then, had
never done or even contemplated an ignoble act, was, as he uttered these words, greatly
They knocked against his very heart-but could they be true? Drona beard
these words as be was in the act of discharging a Brahmastra. "Yudhishthira, is it
true my son has been slain?" Dronacharya asked addressing Dharmaputra.
The acharya thought that Yudhishthira would not utter an untruth, even
for the kingship of the three worlds.