Snippets From Kurukshetra War In Mahabharata-II: Casualties In War

Second part of a series on compiling information about Kurukshetra war as mentioned in the Mahabhārata.

Vyāsā mentions in detail the casualties in the war. There are details of who killed whom, when, at what time of the day, with whose help, and sometimes also the name of the Ayudhā (weapon) or Astrā or Bānā (arrow) used to kill! Given below are some samples:

KAURAVĀ SIDE

The following kings and princes were killed in the war:

2nd day –     Kalingā king Kethumā and Kalingā prince Chakradevā killed by Bheemā

4th day –     8 Kauravā princes like Jalasandhā, Sukshenā, Ukkrā, Veerabāhu,

Sulochanā killed by Bheemā

5th day –     Arjunā kills 25,000 Mahārathās

6th day –     Abhimanyu kills Vikarnā (Dhuryodhana’s brother) and some more Kauravā princes

8th day –     Bheemā kills a number of brothers of Dhuryodhanā – Aadhityakethu, Bhavāsi, Gundodharā, Mahadharā, Aparājithā, Pandithagā, Visālākshā, Kundabedhi, Dheergabāgu, Subhāhu and Anādhrushti.

He also kills Sunābhā, Virājā, Deepthalāchanā and Maharadwajā

Aravān (son of Arjunā) kills the brothers of Sakuni

10th day –     Bheeshmā brought on death-bed by Arjunā.

11th day –     Dhronā kills the Pānchālā soldiers Vyākradhā and Simhasenā

12th day –     Bagadattā, Sudhanmā and 3 step-brothers of Karnā are killed by Arjunā. He also kills 2000 soldiers, Vrukshā and Asalā, the 2 brothers of Sakuni.

Bheemā kills Angā, the Mlechchhā king

13th day –     Abhimanyu kills Suvekshanā, Dheergalochanā (Dhuryodhanā’s brothers) and Kundabedhi, Rukmaradhā son of Salyā, Salyā’s brother and Lakshmanā, son of Duryodhanā. He also kills one of Karnā’s half-brother, Bruhatbālā the Kosalā king, a king by name Asumahā and 10,000 soldiers

14th day –     Arjunā kills Srudhāyudhā, Sudhakshinā, and the king of Avanthi- Vindhā and his brother Anuvindhā. He also kills the 2 brothers Srudhāyu and Arsudhāyu and their 2 sons.

Ghaṭōtkacha, son of Bheemā kills Alambusā, Alambalā, and Alāyudhā

Bheemā kills several (may be about 44) Kauravā princes (Dhuryodhanā’s brothers) like Dutchalā, Dhurjayā, Dhurmathā, Dutchagā, Dhurdharā, Jayā, Chitrā, Upachitrā, Chitrākshā, Chāruchitrā, Sirāsanā, Chitrāyudhā, Chitravarmā, Chatrunjayā, Chatrusahā, Chitran, Thridā, Chitrasenā, Vikaranā, Dushkarnā, Dhurmarshā and Dhurmugā. Bheemā also killed Bahlikā

Sātyaki killed Jalasandhā, a Magadha king, Alambusā, Bhurisravā, Somadattā and Puri, a soldier

Jayadrathā, king of Sindh is killed by Arjunā

15th day –     Dhronā sits in meditation and leaves his body, his head on the lifeless body is cut off by Dhrushtadyumnā

16th day –     Bheemā kills Semadhurthi

17th day –     Arjunā kills Dhandādhā and Dhandā of Magadha kingdom. He also kills 10 of the Kauravā princes. Arjuna kills 400 elephants, 1000 horses and 8000 soldiers.

Sātyaki kills Karnā’s son Prasenā

Bheemā kills Dutchāsanā and nine more Kauravā princes

Nakulā kills 2000 soldiers

Arjunā kills Vrukshasenā son of Karnā and also Karnā using an arrow named Anjaligā

18th day –     Nakulā kills Chitrasenā, Sathyasenā and Sukshenā, all sons of Karnā. Yudhishthirā kills Salyā and his brother. At the time of Salyā’s death, the Kauravā army is left with 200 chariots, 100 elephants, 500 horses and 3000 cavalrymen. Sātyaki kills Sālvā and Kshemadurthi

Bheemā kills 10 Kauravā princes – Sruthavarmā, Jayathsenā, Shrudhandagā, Dhurvimochanagā, Dhurvshagā, Dhurmarshanā, Sujānā, Jayadhrathā, Puribālā, Ravi – after which Sudarshanā is the only surviving brother of Duryodhanā. Yuyuthsu, the half-brother of Duryodhanā and who fights for the Pāndavās leaves the field to go to Hastināpur before the end of the war

Sahadevā kills Sakuni and his son Uloogā

PĀNDAVĀ SIDE

The following kings and princes were killed in the war:

1st day –     Utthrā, son of Virātā, is killed by Salyā and Swethā, another son of Virātā, is killed by Bheeshmā

5th day –     Sātyaki’s 10 sons are killed by Bhurisravā

7th day –     Dhronā kills Sangā, Virātā’s son

8th day –     Aravān, son of Arjunā by Nāgā princess Uloopi is killed by Alambusā. Bheeshma kills 10,000 soldiers every day for 10 days, till he is felled by Arjunā.

12th day –     Virugā and Satyajit, the Pānchālā princes, Pānchālyā, son of Dhrupadā and Sadhāneegā brother of Virātā are killed by Dhronā

Dhronā also killed Vasudhānā and Kethamān

13th day –    Abhimanyu son of Arjunā is surrounded by 6 people (Krupā, Dronā, Ashvattāmā, Karnā, Kruthavarmā and Bruhatbālā), though the final blow is dealt by the son of Dutchādhanā

14th day –     Dhronā kills Veerakethu, a Pānchālā prince

Ashvattāmā kills Anjanaparvā, son of Ghaṭōtkacha

Salyā kills Sadhāneegā

Karnā kills Ghaṭōtkacha using the Astra ‘Shakthi’ which he had obtained from Indrā. Dhronā kills Virātā and Drupadhā (Draupadi’s father). He also kills 3 grand-sons of Drupadhā (they are the sons of Dhrushtadyumnā)

15th day –     Dhronā kills 20,000 Pānchālā soldiers and another 20,000 soldiers. He kills Vasudhānā, a great soldier

17th day –     Ashvattāmā kills Malayadhwaja Pāndyā, king of Pāndyā kingdom from South*

Karnā kills Mithravarmā of Kekeyā kingdom and the son of Dhrushtadhyumnā

18th day –     Duryodhanā kills Chekidānā

* The Pāndyā king brought down the crown of Ashvattāmā by cutting it to pieces. He was later killed by Ashvattāmā, who first chopped of the Pāndyā’s two hands and then beheaded him.

On the 18th day after the death of Sakuni and his son Uloogā, nothing is left of the 11 Akshouhinis of the Kauravās. The people who survive on the Kauravā side are Duryodhanā, Ashvattāmā, Krupā and Kruthavarmā. On the Pāndavā side, of the 7 Akshouhinis, the following were all that was left on the 18th day – 2000 chariots, 700 elephants, 5000 horses and 10,000 cavalrymen. Duryodhanā leaves the battlefield and is latter killed by Bheemā.

On the 18th night, Ashvattāmā enters the camp of the Pāndavās (on the banks of river Ogavati) while they were all asleep. He strangles Dhrushtadyumnā with the string of his bow and also kills Utthamaujā and Yudhāmanyu. He then kills the 5 sons of Draupadi (Prathivindyā by Yudhishthirā, Sudhasomā by Bheemā, Sruthakirthi by Arjunā, Sadhāneegā by Nakulā and Sruthasenā by Sahādevā) and Sikandi. He along with Krupā and Kruthavarmā kill the rest of the Pāndavā army. Lot of people were trampled to death by the bewildered elephants and horses. The tents were set on fire. Only the charioteer of Dhrushtadyumnā survives the on-slaught. Only 7 survived on the Pāndavā side after these killings – they are the 5 Pāndavās, Krishnā and Sātyaki (they were camping at a different place).

SURVIVORS OF THE WAR

The Kauravā side began with 2,40,570 chariots, 2,40,570 elephants, 9,62,280 horses (7,21,710 horses + 2,40,570 horses attached to the chariots),  26,46,270 men (12,02,850 cavalry + 2,40,570 soldiers on chariots + 12,02,850 men controlling chariots, elephants and horses). On the 18th day, it is mentioned that nothing remains of the entire army of the Kauravas except 4 people – Duryodhanā, Ashvattāmā, Krupācharya and Kruthavarmā.

The Pāndavā side began with 1,53,090 chariots, 1,53,090 elephants, 6,12,360 horses (4,59,270 horses + 1,53,090 horses attached to the chariots), 16,83,990 men (7,65,450 cavalry + 1,53,090 soldiers on chariots + 7,65,450 850 men controlling chariots, elephants and horses). On the 18th day, only 2000 chariots, 700 elephants, 5000 horses and 10,000 cavalrymen were left. Only 7 survived after the 18th day – the five Pāndavās, Krishnā and Sātyaki.

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The author is in the Department of NMR, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi.