THE attempt to
capture Yudhishthira alive failed. Drona was speaking to Duryodhana about this.
"It is clear we cannot succeed in ourefforts to seize Yudhishthira so
long as Dhanan- jaya is nearby. It is no want of interest on my part. If by some stratagem
we could draw Arjuna away to some other part of the field, I could pierce the Pandava
forma- tions and capture Yudhishthira.
I promise to seize him and deliver him to you provided he does not flee
from the battle, renouncing honour. If he does that, then also we win indeed, do we
The chief of the Trigartadesa who heard Drona say this talked it over
with his brothers, and they made a plan. They resolved to take the samsaptaka oath and
challenge Arjuna to battle and draw him away from Yudhishthira's side.
Accordingly, together with a large force, they gathered, and sat before
the fire, dressed in matted grass, and went through funeral gifts and ceremonies for them
selves as if already dead, and took their oath:
"Not till we have killed Dhananjaya will we turn back. If we flee
in fear from battle, may we be punished as for deadly sin!"