Mahabharata is associated with our lives in some way or the other, especially its stories which teach various lessons for us to follow. Considering the events that took place during the Kurukshetra war, what is the first thing that comes to your mind when someone says Mahabharata? For most of us, it’s Draupadi’s vastraharan or Bhishma Pitama dying on a bed of arrows. However, there are some other touching moments that make us stick to our TV screens and force us to read about this epic war every time we hear about it. 

Let’s take a look at some of the heart-wrenching instances from the Mahabharata:

1. When Abhimanyu bravely entered the chakravyuh knowing he wouldn’t be able to make it out alive. 

Abhimanyu grasped the secret of advancing through the Chakravyuh while he was in his mother’s womb, but what he couldn’t listen to was the trick to come out of that battle formation. On the 13th day of the war, he came to help the Pandavas and entered the Chakravyuh alone with whatever knowledge he had. His incomparable courage, valor and fighting ability stunned everyone that day but as fate would have it, he was killed by a joint and clever attack of the Kaurava army. 

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2. When Krishna tried to stop the war but was turned down a peaceful negotiation by the Kauravas.

Krishna approached the Kauravas with an intention of stopping the war. Duryodhana, however, confident of his army, rejected his proposal which ultimately led to the Kurukshetra war.


3. When Kunti revealed to Karna that she was his real mother.

As war approached, Kunti revealed to Karna that he was her son and asked him to join the Pandava army. But Karna refused and told her to keep this news as a secret until this death. He explained the complexity of the situation to her and that he cannot betray the trust of the Kauravas. He then promised to not to kill any of the Pandavas except for Arjuna.


4. When Yudhishtra pawned his wife Draupadi in the risky game of dice with the Kauravas.

Draupadi’s vastraharan is often considered one of the main reasons that led to the war. After losing almost everything in the game of dice with the Kauravas, Yudhisthir put his wife Draupadi at stake and lost her as well. She started praying to Krishna to protect her while she was being disrobed by Dushasana. As he started unwrapping the layers of her saree, her saree kept on getting extended and ultimately, he was forced to stop. Following this, Draupadi vowed to not to tie her hair until she saw Dushasana on his death bed.

5.  When Eklavya cut off his thumb without thinking twice just so that he could respect Dronacharya with guru dakshina.

As Eklavya was not allowed to take archery lessons from Guru Dronacharya, he faithfully practiced the skill in front of the mud statue of Dronacharya. On meeting his only guru, he offered his right thumb to him as guru dakshina

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6. When Arjuna learnt the truth that Karna was his brother after killing him on the battlefield.

While he was fixing the wheel of his chariot, Karna was killed by Arjuna against the rules of the war. Later on, Arjuna and all the Pandavas got to know that Karna was their brother. Saddened by the fact that they killed their own brother, they went to blame their mother, Kunti and their guide, Krishna for all that happened.


7. When Ashwatthama attempted to kill Abhimanyu’s son, Parikshit in his mother’s womb with an intention of ending the lineage of Pandavas.

Saddened by the death of his father Dronacharya, Ashwatthama challenged Arjuna for a fight and invoked  a powerful weapon called Brahmastra. Already setting up a counter attack, Arjuna took his Brahmastra back after their fight was intervened by vyasa. However, Ashwasthama did not have the knowledge to retract it and directed it towards Uttara’s womb. Later on, Uttara (Abhimanyu’s wife) delivered a dead baby who was brought back to life by Krishna.

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8. When the Pandavas broke Dronacharya heart by lying to him about his son’s death. They then beheaded him while he was meditating out of grief.

Dronacharya was proving to be unconquerable on the 15th day of war so Krishna devised a plan to bring him down. He knew that Drona loved his son Ashwatthama very much. Krishna, along with other Pandavas convinced Drona that his son had died fighting on the battlefield by killing an elephant of the same name. Listening to this, Drona got dejected to such an extent that he laid down all his arms on the ground and started meditating for his son’s death. Dhristadyumna took this golden opportunity and beheaded the unarmed Drona who was busy searching for his son’s soul in heaven.


9. When a bundle of arrows pierced Bhishma Pitamah’s chest and he remained lying on the bed of arrows.

Bhishma was considered a mighty warrior who could not be killed unless he lowered his bow himself. So as to achieve the impossible, Krishna suggested Arjuna to take in Shikandi (a woman who was raised as a man) into the battle. The ploy worked and Bhishma lowered his bow and arrows seeing a woman on the battlefield. Arjuna took advantage of this and struck Bhishma a great number of arrows that pierced his chest, making him lie on the bed of arrows till he attained salvation.


10. When Gandhari got to know about the death of all her sons and cursed Krishna for the same.

The war got over with the Pandavas killing all the hundred Kaurava brothers. Gandhari, Kaurava’s mother, was struck with grief and in return held Krishna responsible for her sons’ death. She cursed him that Krishna and his clan, the Yadavas, will also die a same death.


Did we miss any other heart-wrenching moment from this epic war? Tell us in the comments.